YD Scuba Diving Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,240 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Imported post

This s a review, written by Nick Banks and originally submitted to his club's newsletter, of the 1st GUE Fundamentals Course to be held in the UK, which he attended. I think Andy Carroll (Wetlettuce on here) was also on the course. Any way, I've 'liberated' it from D-net for your delectation and perusal.

**********************************************

"I'm sure most of you are familiar with DIR or 'Doing It Right'. DIR is the style of diving taught (or preached, depending on your point of view) by Global Underwater Explorers (GUE). GUE started by offering technical courses but found a lot students lacking in the basic skills so they created a course to cover the fundamentals. This course, 'DIR Fundamentals', is now available in the UK. I was booked on the very first one in Portland, Dorset earlier this year. The course was run by the first UK DIR instructor, Andy Kerslake, although Andrew Georgitis was over from headquaters to get things running smoothly. In the end Andrew G did almost all of the teaching (he is a domineering chap).

The course was due to start at 8:00am but most of us were staying in the Aqua Hotel so we met up at breakfast. Full English nearly all round. After breakfast we moved into one of the hotel reception rooms and changed into our undersuits while the other people on the course turned up. One of the others was Chris Boardman (Olympic gold medallist etc.) who planned to report on the course for 'Diver' magazine. There were twelve of us in total. This was within the letter of GUE rules as there were two instructors but as most of the course was with Andrew G teaching and Andy K assisting it did seem crowded.

We had a quick run through of names and experience, we ranged from around 50 to 700 dives. In our undersuits we did a little stretching and AndrewG ran through how undersuits weren't designed for diving. We then put on our drysuits for more stretching and more of AndrewG describing how drysuits weren't designed for diving. Next, we put our backplates on. AndrewG described the proper and improper fit using us as examples. AndrewG and Andy K then helped us on a one-to-one level to get ours set-up correctly. This was very thorough and I think most people found it very useful. Next we added regs (cable tied to the backplate) as Andrew took us through the correct configuration and air sharing drills. The proper drill is very thorough and I'd certainly been missing a few steps previously.

Pool availability was a limiting factor and we had to go to the pool a little earlier than AndrewG would have liked. First we got down on the floor while Andrew G ran through the five basic kicks (frog, mod frog, mod flutter, backwards and helicopter) and proper trim position. If you see me in the pool on Friday randomly flailing my fins around then I'll probably be practicing these kicks. These where hard. It didn't take long before there were plenty of aching backs, knees and (especially) ankles. Once we had a reasonable idea of what to do (i.e. didn't do a backwards kick instead of a frog) we kitted up and jumped in the water in groups of three. Quite a relief as we'd been in the drysuits for a couple of hours, although the water wasn't very cooling.

We did laps of the pool changing kicks every turn under the ever watchful eyes of Andy K and Andrew G. After a lot of laps and more instruction we had to demonstrate each kick in groups of six in front of the camera. We weren't pretty and quite a few backwards kicks involved going forwards (into the pool wall).

Back to the hotel for lunch. Fish and chips for me, I needed the energy boost.

The afternoon consisted of lectures and a review of the video from the pool session; No one was looking forward to that. Fortunately we were all pretty bad. It really was a great leveller for all the differnet experiences. As Andrew G ran through the video there was much pausing and rewinding. "Who's that?" Andrew G would bellow, each time "me" would be the sheepish response from somewhere on the floor. This was a great learning experience for all. No matter how good you felt in the pool the video showed the truth. Even if you have no plans to take the course borrow an underwater video camera and have someone tape you. You'll be amazed.

We finished around 8pm. Just enough time for a pint before dinner. Andrew G gets a Guinness for each time someone forgets to clip off their primary reg. Fortunately he didn't cash them all in.

Most people sloped off to bed early a little tired and more than a little dejected.

Next morning...

Once again we met for breakfast, more full English.

Into the hall, wet backplates on for S drills and buddy skills. Our sea dives were looming. The force 8 never turned up and it was decided that we would dive off the beach at the back of the hotel. We split into four groups of three. I was buddied with a friend from the internet and Chris Boardman (and his two photographers). The water was a refreshing 7 degrees with around 2m vis (when we started). We dropped to 3m and positioned ourselves above the silty bottom. As we ran through the skills the vis deteriorated and we had to keep moving. I guess our fin kicks weren't quite perfect yet. My fin kicks and general positioning were pretty poor but I got through the skills (reg swap, air share, mask flood, mask remove) with some semblance of buoyancy control. I found it hard in the shallow water especially when I'd lost sight of the bottom and had no visual reference. I have a lot to practice, but at least I now know what to practice.

Out of the water, we dekitted and broke for lunch.

The second dive was more skills, shutdowns and shooting a bag. I couldn't do the shutdown in my singles rig and no amount of tugging my arm from Andy K could make it work. Chris ran through his very smoothly. He also shot the bag with moderate ease (he later confessed to having practiced that a lot, the big cheat). I've never used a spool and have little experience with dsmbs so I found the whole thing very difficult to do while still maintaining good trim, buoyancy and position. After a brief trip to the surface I gave up, another thing to practice. We managed to stir up a lot less silt this time and our positional control was generally a lot better.

More lectures in the afternoon. We mostly covered gas management. This was pretty informative and I found it very useful. Some of the calculations were based on rules of thumb - the reasoning was a little bit glossed over. Throughout this Andrew G demonstrated his mastery of the numbers. While this bordered on showing off it demonstrated how using a few simple rules and standard mixes allowed him to calculate and recalculate with ease. We were finished by 6pm. While I was expecting another half day I'm not sure there was much else we could have covered and my brain was certainly full and my body drained.

Into the bar for a couple of pints before dinner and more Guinness owed to Andrew G.

Overall it was very useful. I don't think it was quite the revelation to me that it was for some of the others on the course. I have read a lot of background stuff and was fairly well informed but this was no substitute for doing the course and experiencing it first hand.

This is not a course for the beginner. Several of the more experienced divers said they wished they had been shown some of this stuff years ago but if you are still unsteady in the water then task loading would be a bit much. Anyone who comes on the course needs to expect to be taken down a rung or three. You will be criticised (but mostly by yourself).

I found some of the digs at PADI and other mass market agencies and various equipment manufacturers a bit unnecessary. Some of the reasons why things are done one way and not another were a bit weak and Andrew G would often change the subject or give a standard response rather than debate a point. This was definitely in the minority, though. Most things were well reasoned and well explained.

It has certainly made me think about my diving, my dive planning and my equipment and I have several changes to make to all of these things.

Safe diving
Nick"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (Bren Tierney @ July 18 2003,11:29)]This is not a course for the beginner. Several of the more experienced divers said they wished they had been shown some of this stuff years ago but if you are still unsteady in the water then task loading would be a bit much. Anyone who comes on the course needs to expect to be taken down a rung or three. You will be criticised (but mostly by yourself).
I did this course as well, along with Tech 1 immediately afterwards.

I disagree with the statement that it's not for beginners. My regular buddy, with whom I did DIR-F, has picked up the trim much faster than I have, and he's has about a quarter the dives I have. I have far more bad habits to unlearn and I have found it very hard. The earlier you do this course the easier it is, and the quicker you pick it up. I saw a video recently of some of Andrew G's open water divers who get taught like this from day 1. They look like they'd done 400 dives, not the 4 they had!

What I will say is that DIR-F introduces a paradigm shift in thinking. I think Chris Boardman put it succunctly when he said that in all the courses he's done, and looking at Diver he's done a lot, he's never had to pay so much attention to the small things, such as Trim and Fin Kicks.

I think that's what makes the difference between this and other basic courses - it focuses on the small things that make you a good diver and more importantly things that will be useful in a real world context.

Chris

P.S. If you look carefully you can see my foot on one of the pictures in Diver Mag. My 15 minutes of fame!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
Imported post

Just wanted to add my thoughts on this.  I took a DIR Fundamentals course from Mike Kane this past January here in Sacramento.  It Definitely made me start thinking about what I'm doing in the water and how to do it better.  As with most students, I think I was pretty bad in the course, my trim was off, bouyancy control was pretty non-existenct, etc.  Since then, my buddy (who also took the course) and I actually go out to our local lake about once every other week just to practice the bouyancy skills, S-drills, etc.  It has helped tremendously.  I feel so much more in control, particularly in my PADI DM course that I'm currently taking.

I'll probably take Tech 1 and/or Cave 1 eventually but for now those are on hold because of my DM course.

Cheers from across the pond,
Tony
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
947 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (kramynot2000 @ July 24 2003,21:41)]My buddy (who also took the course) and I actually go out to our local lake about once every other week just to practice the bouyancy skills, S-drills, etc.  It has helped tremendously.  
<font color='#0000FF'>Same here (not quite as frequently as you guys though). All this skills practice is a very good thing and very rewarding/good fun.  


Regards,

Mark.
 

·
Finless: You couldn't invent him...
Joined
·
23,946 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (Mark @ July 25 2003,00:38)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] (kramynot2000 @ July 24 2003,21:41)]My buddy (who also took the course) and I actually go out to our local lake about once every other week just to practice the bouyancy skills, S-drills, etc.  It has helped tremendously.  
Same here (not quite as frequently as you guys though). All this skills practice is a very good thing and very rewarding/good fun.  


Regards,

Mark.
Does the Fundamentals of Diving manual actually explain how to do the various skills OR does it just describe what you SHOULD be able to do and leave it to the instructor to actually show how to do the skills.

I am always keen to improve my diving skills - I know I have some bad habits (moving backwards or helicopter turn I do with hands - quite well I must say but, nonetheless, with hands).

I don't want to buy the manual if it only tells me what I should be able to do and not how to do it. The moving backwars/helicopter turn is a bad example as I just find it easier with hands - lazy, I know). Would someone be kind enough to cut and paste a bit of the manual on an e mail so I can have a look at a bit of it?

Do the same considerations regarding kit, health etc apply to this course as it does for the Tech course?
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,293 Posts
Imported post

Hi

The fundamentals manual covers the philosophy of DIR and explains why the certain kit config is used, the importance of fitness, etc. There are a few 'drills' in the manual such as a motionless hover and a description of what DIR consider essential basic skills. The books not expensive and even if you aren't into DIR at all some of the stuff is very informative. Goto www.gue.com for more info

As far as the actual in water skills go you can see them on AndrewG's site http://www.fifthd.com Goto classroom and there are some videos to download.

In the course the skills are demonstrated and then you are video'd whilst attempting them. You can't argue with a video and so it helps you to become better in the water. The instructor will also be able to advise you on how to improve using the video for reference.

Kindest Regards

WL
 

·
Finless: You couldn't invent him...
Joined
·
23,946 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (wetlettuce @ July 25 2003,12:13)]Goto www.gue.com for more info

As far as the actual in water skills go you can see them on AndrewG's site http://www.fifthd.com Goto classroom and there are some videos to download.
WL,

Thanks for the info - after all these years I should be able to do the basics - except I can't fin backwards (yet). I am sure I can work that bit out.

I will def check out the online video over the weekend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,914 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (Finless @ July 25 2003,13:51)]I will def check out the online video over the weekend.
Purely out of curiosity I thought I'd have a look at these videos.
However, you can't view the videos unless you have the appropriate windows or Mac codecs installed from http://indeo.ligos.com. and unlike most drivers/codes etc these aren't free so it will cost you  $14.95 for the privilege
And if you're running Linux they don't even seem to offer support for that platform.

Typical American-style business dealings, charging you to watch what is basically an advert...  
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
947 Posts
Imported post

<font color='#0000FF'>Steve,

the videos play on Windows Media Player on my PCs at home and at work without installing any special codecs. I have never had trouble watching the videos. You need Quicktime to watch the ones on GUE's site though, but thats free.

Regards,

Mark
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,293 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ July 25 2003,15:25)]And if you're running Linux they don't even seem to offer support for that platform.
Hi

I also can watch them through windows media player no problem.

Although SteveW is right about Linux. I tried through Linux using mozilla and mplayer and they don't work although that is not unusual for Linux users


WL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,786 Posts
Imported post

Never had a problem viewing the videos either, or accessing all of the freely given information and videos on the GUE website or any of the information supplied on the WKPP site or.........
 

·
A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
Joined
·
15,343 Posts
Imported post

They wont run on my PC

I am using XP and windows media playor and they wont work


Mark Chase
 

·
Not as tall in real life
Joined
·
4,059 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (Mark Chase @ July 25 2003,17:28)]They wont run on my PC

I am using XP and windows media playor and they wont work


Mark Chase
Well I guess your PC just ain't DIR  
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
947 Posts
Imported post

<font color='#0000FF'>A quick note for Zone Alarm Pro users. The vids will not work if you have the Mobile Code Control switched on in the privacy settings. Flash sites wont work properly either with it switched on so switch it off when trying to watch the videos.

HTH.

Mark  
 

·
Finless: You couldn't invent him...
Joined
·
23,946 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (Mark Chase @ July 25 2003,17:28)]They wont run on my PC

I am using XP and windows media playor and they wont work


Mark Chase
Mark,

Did you try down loading the VIVOActive media player from the 5th Dim web site - any problems or did not bother?

I'm doing this from work SO I don't want to screw the system downloading a media player if likely to cause probs.

Tks
Bryan
 

·
A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
Joined
·
15,343 Posts
Imported post

OK down loaded them all and watched them all. and they were OK but thats about it. They were just OK. The backward fining thing what the hell use is that? Modified fin kick
?? done that for years. All in all not impressed. The reverse fin kick was the only thing of any novelty and I couldent see the point of it. Hanging free of the shot was about as impresive as tidlywinks and just as usefull where I dive. S drill
?? looks fairley standard.

All in all a bit non plussed


Mark Chase
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
1,773 Posts
Imported post

<font color='#000F22'>I agree with you Chasey ... the reverse fin kick appears to have no value at all ... if anyone says it will avoid silt-up has got to be kiddin'

Everything else is pretty standard and I've been doing it for quite a while as have many others ... and the attempt at bagging off is hamfisted at best.

Maybe there are better videos which demonstrate these dark arts.

I'm sure the videos are nothing like the course ...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (Mark Chase @ Aug. 01 2003,20:02)]OK down loaded them all and watched them all. and they were OK but thats about it. They were just OK. The backward fining thing what the hell use is that? Modified fin kick
?? done that for years. All in all not impressed. The reverse fin kick was the only thing of any novelty and I couldent see the point of it. Hanging free of the shot was about as impresive as tidlywinks and just as usefull where I dive. S drill
?? looks fairley standard.

All in all a bit non plussed


Mark Chase
It's also the attitude in the water that makes all these things possible. The main reason I struggled doing DIR-F and Tech 1 was because I didn't have the basic building blocks of good buoyancy and trim. I thought I did - indeed I thought that when I dived I looked like they do in the videos. After having seen myself on video I definitely didn't. In fact I haven't seen anybody, Tech or not, who had trim that good except for GUE/Cave qualified divers. And I've seen a LOT of divers. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places, but even the people who think they have the trim down (including myself on this one) need to see themselves on video doing those kicks in shallow water to see what they are really like. The back kick is especially hard, not just because it is counter intuitive, but because if you have the right trim, and just do it kicking straight back, the back kick sends you backwards and upwards, so the back kick actually is easier if you have crap trim!

Backwards fin kicking is definitely useful. I used it quite a bit over the weekend. Most noticably to go up the side of a wreck that curved outwards, when I was quite close in looking at the life, so I didn't have to turn around and kick the lovely plumose anemones, or use my hands and stir up all the silt. It was also useful on deco, as I was running deco and my buddy was on the spool. It meant I could stay in front of him whilst facing him without doing the circling vulture thing that just makes me dizzy...

I do almost all my diving in the channel, and the floating free thing works for me every time I dive. Remember - if you're netrally buoyant and you aren't hanging on to anything, it doesn't matter what the weather is doing topside, your depth doesn't change, you just go up and down with the swell! We did a dive on the Kyarra when it was pretty lumpy - shipping forecast said 5-6 and we had no difficulty holding a 6m or 3m stop using the floating free method. It also of course drastically improves your buoyancy if you don't have a crutch (line, be it SMB or Anchor) to lean on.

Don't you dive in the channel? Where abouts?

Chris

P.S. Admittedly I do use the back kick more than I possibly should - mainly because I've just started to really get the hang of it. I'm also told it's very useful for backing out of holes in wrecks, and much faster than using your hands when confronted by a large congar...!  
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top