TDI Full Cave program available.

TDI Full Cave Diver program is back in full swing. We are now running this program once a month and on request if needed. We visit the Karst region of Krabi and Nakhon Si Thammerent to complete the training in the caves and sinkholes there in Southern Thailand. To enter the TDI Full Cave program, the pre requisites you need would be a Rescue diver, 18 years old plus a minimum of the PADI Tec 45 or TDI Decompression procedures certification, as a couple of the training dives, we enter a couple of the deeper cave systems which will require decompression. The course is conducted over an 8 day period with an extra day scheduled if the students require any remedial work. If time is a factor, we can also run the 4 day TDI Cavern and Intro to cave program with the same pre requisites required.

Here are the links to follow to read more about the pre requisites to enter each of the programs.

www.gopro-asia.com/courses/tdi-cavern/

www.gopro-asia.com/courses/tdi-introductory-cave-

www.gopro-asia.com/courses/tdi-full-cave/

TDI Full Cave Package price is 90,000THB inclusive of  transfers / food and accomodation whilst on the mainland during the course. Equipment rentals do apply so please enquire about our daily rates for the required equipment for the training.

We recently completed Ryan Harding’s TDI Full Cave Diver program here at Bans Technical and Go Pro Asia. Ryan completed a daily journal of his thoughts and feelings after each day of training he did with us and I’d like to share that with you via this blogpost.

TDI Full Cave Diver Course Day 1 – Learnt the basics of running and tying off my lines, navigation with, and then blind, without a mask using my cookies and line arrows to get home safely, and a few surprise drills thrown in along the way to keep me on my toes!

Cave Diving Thailand
Cave Diving Thailand

TDI Full Cave Diver Course Day 2 – What looks like an innocent and beautiful but shallow place to jump in to cool off from the Thai heat, holds a sinister secret down below! We did two dives in this cave system focusing mainly on proper line laying and retrieval as well as communicating only by touch contact with my instructor. My mask was flooded for the majority of both dives to simulate a low visibility silt out… a little uncomfortable at times but it’s what the training’s for. Lesson learned today was NEVER take your eyes or your hands off that fucking line! Unfortunately I did for even just a split second and my instructor, Jeff, immediately seized the opportunity to teach me that lesson the hard way, pushed me away from the line and deflated my BCD… I sank down into a thick layer of silt and rolled around for a while until I eventually felt my way up to the surface – idiot! A good day all in all! Buzzing for day 3!

Cave Diver
Cave Diving Koh Tao

TDI Full Cave Diver Course Day 3 – We started off the day removing an old line that goes down 120m into the cave as it was unnecessary to have two permanent lines, potentially causing confusion. We were limited to removing it down to a depth of 30m as we were on a Nitrox blend of EANx32, we’ll return tomorrow on air to retrieve more of the line that is deeper down. I was drilled on how to exit safely with multiple light failures, we simulated my primary torch and both backups failing and exited safely. For the second dive I did my first lost line drill. Por took me off the line, spun me round and round and upside down so I had no idea where the line was. He then pulled my mask up and flooded it so I couldn’t see anything. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. The skill to find your lost line involves deploying your safety spool and performing a strategic and disciplined search. After 27 minutes I managed to snag the permanently line and I tied off. Not knowing whether taking a left or right turn was towards the exit I had to feel for directional arrow markers and rely on them to make a safe exit. A mistaken wrong turn at that point and I’d be swimming towards my own grave for sure. Probably the most enjoyable skills so far and as always, looking forward to tomorrow’s chaos!

Cave Diving Koh Tao

TDI Full Cave Diver Course Day 4 – Today was a tough one. The toughest so far. We started off dive one by going down deeper into the cave to retrieve more of the hazardous line that we started to retrieve yesterday, turning the dive when our NDL window was closing in on us. On the ascent I practiced a lost team member drill, effectively deploying a spare reel and laying lines in a zig zag pattern in the hope that my lost team member would snag one of the lines whilst trying to find their way out, feel a directional marker, and make a safe exit. After laying the lines, I was swiftly pulled off of them and forced into the role of lost team member… as always, my mask was pulled off so I couldn’t see anything, sweeping high and low to find a line to the exit, it took a few minutes but I eventually caught one of the lines that I had laid on the back of my fin and then determined the direction of exit using the directional arrows I had deployed onto the line, and got out alive. Happy days! For the second dive I practiced being severely entangled in a cave line. It was wrapped around me so that I couldn’t just untangle it myself, and with a limited gas supply, it’s a race against the clock to get out alive, or suffocate in a place where nobody can hear you scream. Grim. The technique involved marking my exit, cutting the line, freeing myself, tying a spare spool to the exit side of the cut line, searching for the other end of the cut line and then using various techniques and knots to tie both ends back together, with the precision of a surgeon. With my mask on it was challenging enough, but when we practiced with my mask off, it was ten times as hard. The key was to keep calm, slow my breathing, prolong my gas supply and remain methodical and pragmatic throughout. A tough day but all the more rewarding. Hopefully doing my first decompression cave dive tomorrow so very excited for that!

Cave Diver
Koh Tao Cave Diving

TDI Full Cave Diver Course Day 5 – Its been a very long day training back over in Song Hong today so a shorter post than usual before bed. For the first dive I performed my first traverse, a more complicated form of navigating under water caves resulting in us exiting the cave at a different point to that of which we entered. To do this we needed to go fairly deep with a good supply of gases and cruised around the cave system at 40m for approximately 20 minutes so racked up some planned decompression obligations on the way up. I used a Nitrox blend of EANx50 and switched over to this from my back gas (Air) to start accelerating my decompression time down from 41 minutes to just 19 minutes, saving myself a 22 minute longer hang in the cave if I had remained on air. As we exited the cave from a different point to that of which we entered it, my lines and markers had to be left down there. As such, the objective for the second dive was to go back down and retrieve the lines so that the cave is left clean for future divers to enjoy. A very tiring day of training but amazing fun as always!

Cave Diver Training Koh Tao
Exiting Carwash Cenote

TDI Full Cave Diver Course Day 6 – So far this week I’ve been doing theory and land drills in the morning and then diving in the afternoon. Today, I was in for a surprise. As I was buttering my toast and drinking my coffee, Por smiled at me and said ‘go get ready, let’s go do something fun’ … still a little bleary eyed I was being driven into the jungle for my next challenge. Shortly after surrendering my fins and having my feet tied together, I found myself trying to dive upstream in a fast moving river without fins. When diving in caves with a fast flow of water, sometimes the best technique to move forward without kicking heavily, and therefore stirring up the silt and severely compromising visibility in the cave, is to stop kicking and ‘pull and glide’ forwards. Doing this in full kit (minus the fins), managing my lines, looking after my team mate, and fighting a fast flow was tough work but a lot of fun! For the second and third dives in the afternoon I was taught how to properly survey and map caves to build a profile of them to use in future dive planning. It was logistically challenging, collecting and logging all of the necessary data accurately against a constantly shortening NDL, and also technically challenging with the heavy task loading – but great fun and really interesting from a geological perspective too. Reunited with Jeff tonight to see out the rest of the course, so looking forward to diving with the dream team tomorrow morning!

Cave Diving Koh Tao
Jeff Glenn Cave Diver

TDI Full Cave Diver Course Day 7 – Today we prepped our tanks and kitted up at the resort before heading to the cave, which was literally a hole in the ground in the middle of the jungle… The importance of logistics when cave diving has been stressed heavily throughout the course and everything is planned according to Murphys Law – ‘whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.’ And it has done. When you’re more than an hours drive away from your base, local dive shop, hospital or recompression chamber, the importance of tight planning and logistics cannot be stressed enough. The briefing focused on the correct protocols of a team moving through restrictions too tight to enter as a single team, without losing communication and awareness of one another. I changed over to my long hose so that it could be donated easily in case of emergency before following Jeff through various restrictions. We turned the dive at 40m and Por simulated being out of gas through the restriction on the way out and me donating my long hose to him, with him exiting the cave first. We then practiced communication by touch contact during a complete silt out and proceeding to exit the cave, up safely into open water where we could make a direct ascent to the surface. For the second dive, we went back down through the restriction when my mask was pulled off so that I couldn’t see anything. We then employed a touch communication technique called bump and go to communicate without visibly seeing one other. When moving through the restriction, Por’s fin strap snapped off, which I assumed to be a genuine training drill. Naturally, he gave the signal to abort the dive and the team navigated safely out together. I only learned that the strap snapping was genuine when we made it to the surface. It just goes to show that the tough training I’ve been put through this week is held to such a high standard for a reason. Genuine issues do arise in caves, and when you have no direct access to the surface, you have to let your training kick in, keep a cool head and support your team mates to all get out alive. Final day tomorrow!

TDI Full Cave Diver Course Day 8 – Wow, not sure where to start with this one, it’s still not sunk in. Today was the most environmentally challenging dive of my life. The visibility in the cave was absolutely awful, it was genuinely like diving in a milky latte, but a latte laced with small nylon lines trying to kill you at every turn if you don’t observe them correctly and treat them with the utmost respect. Most of my recreational diver certifications were awarded to me. All of my technical diver certifications were earned by me. There’s a major difference there, and some may not understand the difference until they venture into technical diving.

Cave Diving Koh Tao
TDI Full Cave Diver

My Full Cave certification was completed in 8 days, but it wasn’t earned in 8 days. It was earned over hundreds and hundreds of previous dives over the years, reading articles, subscribing to journals engaging with the community and drawing from my previous training such as my initial TDI Sidemount and Advance Nitrox / Decompression procedures and Extended Range programs. Cave diving isn’t for the half hearted diver or the half arsed diver. I was incredibly fortunate to have been trained by two phenomenal cave divers, so I have to give props to Jeffrey Glenn and Por Parasu Komaradat for pushing me so hard throughout the training. Although my course has only just finished, my training has only just begun, absolutely loved it from start to finish and am really looking forward to what the future holds!

Cave Diver Training Koh Tao

If you’re interested in Overhead environment training, GoPro Asia and Bans Technical Diving offer both the TDI Full Cave Diver program and the TDI Advanced Wreck Diver Program. We are the only dive centre on Koh Tao that can offer both these programs. Please get in touch with Jeff at jeff@gopro-asia.com or info@banstec.com for more information about the courses.

Tec Xplore Day June 27th

For all of our DiveMaster Candidates and PADI Instructor candidates on this months PADI IDC, we will be running a Tec Xplore Day where you will be given the opportunity to test dive one of our expedition range Closed Circuit Rebreathers. (CCR). This was a great day out when we last ran the day with close to 30 people turning up to try the rebreathers and the sidemount units we had out.

CCR diving is the configuration of choice for alot of the cave and wreck exploration trips that are conducted around the world. The units we’ll be using for the Xplore day are just 2 of the leading units some of the worlds best explorers use. The JJCCR and the SF2. We’ve recently added the XCCR from Subgravity to our collection of rebreathers and will be using that as well for future Xplore days.

We’ll be doing a quick classroom session in the morning to be given a quick run down on how the rebreathers work, the benefits of choosing one for your diving adventures and then discussing some of the fun expeditons I’ve had on mine.

THE Rebreathers

 

The JJ-CCR and SF2 ECCR from Scuba Force will the units we’ll be using.  For those waiting for their turn on the CCR, we’ll also have out 4 sets of sidemount units available poolside to show you how sidemount diving configuration differs from single tank configuration that your all used to diving in here on Koh Tao. Brand names will be Xdeep, Razor and Hollis.

 

Siemount is becoming more and more popular as the configuration of choice for alot of divers who wish to acess areas twinsets snd rebreathers can’t squuze thru. Alot of the cave divers around the world are know prodominatly using sidemount for their exploration

 

Here’s a couple of links to the units we use here at Bans Tec and GoPro asia.

http://www.xdeep.eu/sidemount-bc-wing-stealth-tec-pr-106.html

http://www.gosidemount.com/Razor/

 

 

This will be conducted on June 27th at a cost of 300 baht a head.

An intro to technical diving and a chance to use and dive in some advanced technical diving equipment under the wathful eye of PADI and TDI IT Jeff Glenn.

Gas Management Part 1. Critical for Safe diving.

I’d like to write, in parts, about one of the most important aspects of scuba diving, one that, IMO, isn’t emphasized enough by PADI Instructors and Divemaster’s during the early development of student divers. These practices are what the super stars of diving like cave divers, CCR divers and trimix divers implement religiously into their diving to be able to explore the wonders that are beyond the limits of recreational divers. If you wish to be a real diver, then take a leaf out of these excellent divers and start practicing good gas management protocols.

The importance of strong gas management practices can not be emphasized enough in my world of recreational and technical diving. Now, whether you are an open water diver fresh out of your PADI or SDI entry level diving course or an experienced TDI or TecRec trained technical diver using a Trimix blend on a 65m wreck dive at the awesome Truk lagoon, you have too know exactly how much gas you have to get back ‘home’ safely.

Your gas management should never be taken for granted, cause the day you do that, is the day our old friend ‘Murphy’ turns up on the dive and causes you a problem which will surely compromise your gas supply and most importantly, your safety.

A prudent dive instructor should introduce smart gas management practices very early on during the entry level program of the diver. It’s then up to the diver to put those practices in play every time they are out diving. It’s great to see some of the leading dive agencies introduce some of these practices as standards into their open water courses.

Terms such as turn pressure, ascent pressure and SAC rate are introduced and the student gets to practice these elements of safe diving under the supervision of their Diving Instructor. For me, it has to be stressed to the entry level student, how important this information is too their overall enjoyment and safety when scuba diving. If you think you are out of air / or running out of air, the whole dive experience will turn very sour very quickly. Often i see nearly certified divers ascending on their buddies or dive leaders alternate air source (AAS) while making their safety stop. They’ve clearly not put those learnt practices into play or, even worse, they weren’t taught the importance of gas management and left their personnel safety to chance. Complete madness if thats the case.

In Part 2 of this blog, i will go into more detail on what i believe to be the excellent gas management practices  that can be utilized for both the PADI Recreational diver and the highly trained TDI Full cave CCR diver.

In the meantime, do yourself a favor, and watch your gas supply.

Safe diving.

#BuildingBetterDivers

 

Best Dive computer in the World. Shearwater Perdix. Powerful. Simple. Reliable.

One of the most important pieces of dive equipment I always carry with me is my Shearwater Perdix dive computer. In my humble opinion, this is by far the best dive computer on the market. I’ve had it with me on World Record dives with my JJ-CCR, deep cave penetrations in the sinkholes of Southern Thailand, deep wall dives on open circuit Trimix to 170m in Dahab and of course something I always wear when teaching and conducting either the TDI or PADI TecRec technical Diver or Instructor programs.

I’ve used many other brands of dive computer throughout my career as a Dive educator and am widely confident to say I would never use another computer again other than Shearwater. I highly recommend it as I’ve used it in some of the most extreme enviroments and it has never let me down. Not will it let you down if your just starting your dive professional route as a divemaster on your internship. If your interesting in diving rebreathers, caves, sidemount and even trimix, this is the computer for you.

My advice to you when looking at purchasing a dive computer is to ask the people who have used it where you are planning on taking it. Or even better, look at where you see yourself and your diving in a number of years and invest in a computer that will suit that. Sadly, I see so many people invest on a computer based on which brand of computer that dive school’s retail shop stocks and which one the dive school gets the greatest commission on. Be better than that guys, do your research and invest your hard earned money wisely. Listen to the divers out there using them every day, not the car salesman working in the retail shop who has no idea about diving..

Reason I choose the Shearwater Perdix as my go to dive computer for both my recreational and technical diving requirements.

  • Multiple Diving modes

– OC Recreational – Three gas nitrox computer with features for the serious recreational diving enthusiast. Includes adaptive safety stop and NDL bar graph

– OC Technical – 5 OC gases Trimix enabled by default

– CC/BO – 5 OC/5 CC gases, Trimix enabled, Constant PO2 for closed circuit

– Gauge – Depth, time, resettable stop watch function, Full dive logging

  • High Resolution. Easy to read display – 2.2″ display with vivid, enhanced color range and saturation.
  • Thin, low profile design – 30% smaller in volume than the Petrel
  • FEATURES

– User Replaceable AA Battery – Air, Nitrox, Trimix capable – Quick OC bailout from CC – 3 axis, tilt compensated, digital compass – Decompression – Dive Planning – Buhlmann GF algorithm – Optional VPM-B algorithm – Dive Logging – Upgradeable Firmware – Smart Ready Bluetooth Interface

  • Full Colour LED LCD – 260m depth rating – 330g weight

 

The beauty of this computer is in it’s sheer simplicity. When I’m doing gas switches at 100+m to a leaner diluent gas on my rebreather, I need to confirm the gas switch as quickly and efficiently as possible and the Shearwater allows me to do that with a couple of taps of it’s two button interface. I also use it when teaching recreational programs as well or just cruising the local house reefs on Sidemount for fun.

The Shearwater Perdix is not just a Technical diving computer but a very advanced but easy to use recreational computer as well. A lot cooler than a lot of the basic wrist computers a lot of the newbies are wearing around the rock.

Definitely one of the best purchases I’ve made as a PADI and TDI Dive Professional.

For more information on the Shearwater Perdix. Please get in touch. as I am the dealer for the Shearwater products on Koh Tao. I only endorse and promote products I believe in and this is certainly one of them.

 

Happy diving.

Building Better Divers.

 

Why you should consider the Technical Diving pathway.

The greatest dilemma for beginner divers who have fallen in love with the underwater world is the question of which pathway to follow next, Recreational or Technical diving.

The most common path, the rescue diver / divemaster / Instructor path, offered by all the recreational diving agencies is the main pathway for divers here on Koh Tao. The other path divers can follow would be technical, rebreather or cave diving, which is a gateway to mind blowing adventure and much more exciting dives. But there are also those weekend warriors who are more than happy to get their Master Scuba Diver rating and travel the world clocking up recreational dives on liveaboards and exotic dive destinations.

All paths are great, and part of the beauty of diving is that it’s such a wide field that there’s something for everyone to feel passionate about.

As mentioned, the majority take the recreational dive professional route. It’s more commonly available and usually works out cheaper with the person able to get their investment back by picking up Divemaster/Instructor work around the world at amazing dive locations. Technical diving is less common and it is more of a commitment to get the training for thou the reward is far greater as you get trained by more seasoned, experienced and knowledgeable Dive Instructors, plus your diving stories at the bar at night are so much cooler…

Divers reasons for getting into technical diving always vary. Some do it for the personal challenge, to go deeper, to see big wrecks or just for the basic thrill of it all. I got into tech for the challenge and the sense of adventure that came with it. As a Course Director, I had reached the pinnicle of recreational diving and needed something more. Technical diving gave me that. Since becoming a tec diver 7 years ago, I have travelled the world diving cave systems, deep wrecks, flooded mines, deep sinkholes, amazing walls to 170m, world record dives to 200m. These adventures would never of been possible if I stayed only on the recreational pathway.

For me, Tec diving isnt just about going deep, which is the misconception that many ill informed people have. I’d argue that technical diving is about understanding diving a whole lot better, acquiring more skills, and negating the limitations of time, gas and decompression that recreational diving gives you.

An excellent reason for going tech is the in-water skills that you’ll gain. With increased task loading, there is a much greater necessity for excellent buoyancy, trim and a heightened sense of self / situational and global awareness to become a technical diver. These skills aren’t just important because you’re a tech diver though; good buoyancy, good technique and good awareness are important on any dive. Just because you’re on a warm water recreational open water dive doesn’t mean that you should dive without good technique. The skills you learn in participating in any entry-level technical diving program are easily transferred into any recreational dive situation.

The knowledge learnt in a technical course also includes a comprehensive study of decompression, which is a factor in any dive that you do – and not just in deeper dives. Isn’t it prudent to better understand where the boundaries are, how better to manage your decompression, and what to do if you exceed the currently accepted no-decompression limits?

 

Technical diving also gives you access to more gas, the knowledge to understand the best gas mix to the depth you wish to dive and the peace of mind that you can stay underwater that much longer than recreational divers on that 30m shallow wreck or reef without the limitations of your gas supply. These dives, with rec limits would be better served on a twin set or sidemount using a EANx 32% or even a EANx36%. And if you had a stage or deco cylinder, imagine the time you would be able to spend, just because you took the time to understand technical diving and build yourself to be a better diver.

Understanding decompression procedures, manipulating stage and/or deco cylinders and being able to plan your dive profile and deco gases effectively using computer generated software like V-Planner and Multi-Deco, will remove any limitation on the type of dives that you might want to do.

Whether it be on Twin Sets or Sidemount configurations, or even the most advanced diving techniology, Closed Circuit Rebreathers like the two rebreathers I can teach on, The JJ-CCR and the SF2 ECCR, being able to conduct technical dives to your certification limits, will allow you to basically do any dives that you wish, be it long and shallow like cave penetration dives or deep and short like on drop offs, deep walls, or deep wrecks.

As a diver, we all wish to spend as much time as possible under the water, technical diving allows us to do this. It makes you a much better diver and a more knowledgeable one. With this skill set honed, and a better understanding of diving and your limits, it will make all your future dives whether it be recreational or technical much more comfortable and relaxing.

 

The life of PADI Professionals.

Have you ever been on the commute to work, sitting in traffic, heading to sit at a desk behind a computer and start daydreaming of that upcoming vacation?  That vacation filled with palm trees, sunny days, beaches and relaxation.  Now imagine that vacation as your daily routine.  Picture yourself surrounded by happy souls on vacation…these are your new clients.  Picture yourself soaking up the sun on a boat cruising through beautiful turquoise waters…this is your new office.  Picture yourself flying weightlessly through warm clear sea surrounded by thousands of fish and gorgeous corals…this is your new gym.  The life of PADI professionals is one of if not the best jobs in the world.

Your PADI professionals career begins with the Divemaster level.  During your Divemaster training, you will hone your diving skills along with understanding your responsibilities now that you will have divers under your care.  Some of the most important aspects of your Divemaster training are the workshops provided by your program leader.  These workshops will include a waterskills assessment to prepare you for Divemaster conducted programs including: Scuba Review (now Reactivate) / Discover Scuba Diving Leader / dive site set up and management / mapping project / dive briefing and leading / search and recovery scenario / deep dive scenario.  In addition to this, you will also learn how to properly aid PADI Instructors as a certified assistant during their courses.  This will expose and help prepare you for becoming an instructor should you decide to start your Instructor Development Course (IDC).

IDC

Once you’ve mastered the art of being a Divemaster, the next challenge is to become an Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI).  Can you remember when you first completed your Open Water course?  How did you feel about the person who taught you.  In most cases, this OWSI acts as your mentor, tour guide, and friend.  Think of how your life changed once you were introduced to the underwater world.  As an instructor, you are now the one making the introductions and changing people’s lives.  From Open Water courses to certifying Divemasters, you are now responsible for developing others’ underwater abilities.  It can be the most rewarding feeling in the world when you help others overcome their difficulties and/or build on their strengths to become the next leaders in scuba diving.

So follow the road less travelled.  Break free from the mould.  Becoming PADI professionals will open an entire new world of being passionate about your career, living where others take their vacations, and changing the lives of others…all while getting paid.  What are you waiting for?

How to Prepare for your IDC!

IDC Internship

Time for your IDC. Are you ready to become a PADI Open Water Diving Instructor (OWSI)!  Embarking on this journey will open doors to one of the best jobs in the world.   However, unlike with the Divemaster program, there are far more pre-requisites that must be achieved prior to beginning your IDC.  This is a step by step guide as you prepare for your IDC.

PADI PRE-REQUISITES

As listed in the PADI Instructor Manual, the following pre-requisites must be attained prior to beginning your IDC:

  1. PADI Divemaster, or leadership level with another diver training organization
  2. 18 years old
  3. 60 logged dives; documented experience in night diving, deep diving and underwater navigation.  *Please note that you will need 100 logged dives to enter the Instructor Examination so it is best to start your IDC with the dives already complete.
  1. If not a PADI Divemaster, successfully complete the PADI Divemaster course dive rescue assessment.
  2. Certified diver for six months.
  3. Medical clearance attesting to dive fitness signed by a physician within the previous 12 months.
  4. Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care course completion (or qualifying training) within the last 24 months

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DOCUMENTATION AND OTHER MATERIALS

By now you should also be used to dealing with paperwork when it comes to PADI courses.  Your IDC is no different.  Here are the pieces you need to gather in order to show up prepared:

  • PADI IDC Crew Pack – contents include the PADI Instructor Manual, Guide to Teaching, Open Water (OW) Prescriptive Lesson Guides, Diving Knowledge Workbook, Cue Cards for OW/Confined Water (CW)/Divemaster/Rescue/Adventures in Diving, OW and CW Lesson Planning Slates, Quizzes and Exams for OW/Rescue/DM, Digital Specialty Instructor Manual, Positive Approach to Selling DVD, Encyclopaedia of Diving, RDP table and eRDP.  Please note that the PADI Instructor Manual may also be found in digital format via the PADI Pros site.
  • Passport photos – typically you will need 2 to 4 for your new certification card as well as your Course Director’s files.
  • Certification cards or copies of your cards along with the course completion dates.  If you do not have your cards, your Course Director will be able to look you up online if you completed your training through PADI.  If you have completed your training through another diving organization, you will need to provide copies of your cards for your Course Director to submit with your instructor application post Instructor Examination.
  • Computer or tablet – While it is not mandatory to have a computer or tablet, there are several benefits to have one available.  Many of the materials are available digitally.  There may also be additional digital materials made available by your Course Director.  In addition to this, when completing the Standards exams, the digital version can be greatly beneficial.  Lastly, PADI has launched multiple digital applications which you should make yourself familiar with such as PADI ScubaEarth, e-Learning options (including IDC theory), eCards, and the PADI app itself.
  • Log book(s) with your required logged dives
  • You will also want to think through your payment options at this time as well.  While you may not be required to have a credit card available, it is best to seek which options are available to you through your IDC centre prior to beginning the course.
  • Equipment – to enter into the Instructor Examination post IDC, you will need to have a computer, compass, cutting tool, 2 x surface signalling devices (i.e. whistle and SMB), and timing device.

IDC, DM, Internships, Koh Tao, Thailand

THEORY & EXAMS

As you are likely already aware, there are a series of exams that you must pass in the IDC prior to entering the Instructor Examination (IE).  There are five theory topics – Physics, Physiology, Dive Skills and Environment, Equipment, and RDP/eRDP – and one Standards Exam.  A minimum score of 75% is required for each topic.  The Standards exam is open book.  You will easily pass these exams with practice.  Be sure to work through your Diving Knowledge Workbook as this will ensure you are adequately prepared. The topics most commonly failed in the IE are Physics and Physiology.

IN WATER SKILLS

By the time you have finished your DM, you should be able to properly conduct a skill circuit.  However, the minimum scores during your DM are much easier to attain than in the IDC.  Be sure that you have perfected these demonstrations to an instructor level.  In addition to this, assist as many courses as possible prior to heading into the IDC.  Take note of instructor positioning, problems that students often encounter and how the instructor reacts and corrects those problems.  You can also make yourself familiar with the scoring cards that Course Directors will use when evaluating both in water and in class academic presentations.  This will help you to properly understand what examiners will be looking for and to ensure you don’t lose points on simple mistakes.  In a confined water setting, with your Dive buddy, practice Rescue Exercise 7. ‘Unconscious Diver on the Surface’.  This exercise will be the one evaluated on your PADI Instructor Examination.

During your IDC you will make life long friends and contacts within the diving community.   Many of your fellow IDC candidates will learn at different levels.  Participate, be present, and workshop with your peers as much as possible.  You will learn from one another and build lasting friendships as a result.  The IDC should be an enjoyable and memorable experience so last but not least, have fun!

Why you should become a Sidemount Diver today!!

Sidemount Diving

Sidemountpic1There are many key benefits for both backmount and sidemount systems within the open circuit space however, many seasoned divers prefer one over the other. Depending on site makeup, situational requirements, and dive team goals, a diver skilled in both set ups has a clear advantage. That being said, sidemount is much less restricted to the technical realm in comparison to its twin set backmount counterpart. A diver with a beginner level of certification can jump into this increasingly popular configuration. So why do those who love sidemount favour this set up?

Here are a few key advantages:

  1. Flexibility.  As with any other diving system configuration, there are several options with sidemount. Generally speaking, most configurations provide the diver with enhanced flexibility in comparison to backmount. This is, after all, the driving force behind the development of sidemount. Generally weighing less and being easier to transport, sidemount was originally created to aid sump divers in the 1950s and 1960s. Needing a method to work their way through flooded passages but not adding to the weight carried for the journey, sump divers came up with the roots of sidemount. These systems have drastically improved since that time.
  2. Sidemountpic2Technical and Recreational Cave diving is the most prevalent and assumed benefit to sidemount configuration. From its early sump diving history to today’s more advanced cave penetration, cave divers are often faced with more remote and restrictive diving scenarios than in recreational or deep diving situations. Sidemount can be easily manoeuvred through tight restrictions along with providing the diver with the capacity of carrying multiple cylinders with a smaller overall diver physical profile. The positioning of backmount cylinders with or without decompression cylinders, may make it impossible to explore caves in the same way that a sidemount configuration may allow.
  3. In addition to technical cave and deep situations, recreational divers may too benefit from the additional gas contingency and comfort of the configuration. For newer divers, this configuration often requires early development in trim practice, gas management, and buoyancy control. Many divers who are beginning their journey into the professional space are looking for their next challenge. Sidemount is quickly becoming more and more popular across a wide span of divers.
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  4. Career. Last but not least are the career advantages of becoming a sidemount instructor. Due to the variety of divers whose interests are peaked by sidemount configuration, there are obvious instructor career advantages. From giving yourself a competitive edge by addressing a more niche but growing market to improving your own diving skills, sidemount diving can greatly enhance our teaching arsenal. Ensuring that you become familiar with the multiple sidemount kits available, will drastically reduce the time required during initial configuration and will be key to successful conducting a course. In summary, whether the diver is an experienced cave diver who encounters tight restrictions or a recreational diver looking to improve their underwater safety and gas contingency, sidemount diving can address a wide gamut of diving variables.

TDI Instructor Training Koh Tao

TDI Instructor Trainer

 

Last week I finally completed my TDI Instructor Trainer crossover in Bali. Which means I can now offer TDI Instructor  level courses at GoPro-Asia and Bans Technical Diving.

TDI (Technical Diving International) is the largest technical certification agency in the world.  It was one of the first agencies to provide training in mixed gas diving, overhead environments and closed circuit rebreathers, TDI is seen as an innovator of new diving techniques and programs which previously were not available to the general public.

TDI’s Instructor Trainer certification is the most respected diver certification World Wide. It’s a honour to achieve the rating and a privilege to represent such an outstanding dive agency. This makes GoPro-Asia and Bans Tec the only dive facility on Koh Tao that can offer Instructor Level training with both TecRec & TDI.

So with that being said, I start my first TDI Sidemount Instructor course next week with Emily Hong. But first I need to complete a TDI Deco Procedures course and a TDI Mod1 JJ-CCR program with Mike. Happy days here in the tropics. #BuildingBetterDive

TDI JJ-CCR

 

New PADI Instructors & Technical Divers.

2015 started off with a BANG with 12 new PADI Instructors completing there PADI Instructor Exams today on Koh Tao. They all passed with great scores in their presentations doing us Course Directors very proud. After a few drinks tonight we’ll begin the next portion of their PADI Instructor Development with the MSDT program starting in a few days.

 

 

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Joe from December’s IDC also completed his TDI Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Procedures and Extended Range programs with CD Jeff Glenn. Joe left to head back to the States after a 2 month period of training with us. We wish him the best and hoping to see him in Mexico for some Full cave training. I think he’s hooked on tec now…

Zac, Shannon and Berger also deserve a massive congrats on completing their technical diver training. They completed the PADI Tec 40, 45 and 50 program with PADI Tec Deep Instructor Chris.. Happy days.

 

Technical diving Koh Tao

 

PADI TecRec 40 diver

I recently completed the Tec 40 class with Jeffrey Glenn through GoPro and I have to say it was an excellent experience. Jeff’s tremendous level of experience was obvious right from the first few hours of instruction.  Taking the step from Recreational diver to Tec 40 diver is no easy task and the theory tends to be complicated but through clear explanation, examples, and good quality instruction I was able to understand it quite clearly.

 

Once we got Into the water, Jeff’s patience was tested many times as I’m not exactly an expert at maintaining trim while doing skills yet and he always gave me time to get myself ‘sorted out’ as he likes to say. Under the water there’s a safety procedure for everything and it has to be executed perfectly and it would be easy for him to say ‘good enough’ but Jeff was very adamant that they had to be demonstrated fully as per requirements or I wouldn’t be passing the course, because at the end of the day Tec diving is no walk in the park and it has potential for serious injury, and he wants to be sure I won’t be putting myself or a teammate in danger by not being prepared for an emergency. It was an amazing feeling to pass the course because now I’m confident that I have a solid foundation for a long career of safe Tec Diving. After passing the course I wanted to make a few fun dives and he set me up with one of the other instructors Chris, who was happy to review all the skills again with me for extra practice. A very standup and professional operation these guys are running and I will be returning for further training with them over the next few years as I gain experience.

Tec Trimix Instructor/Full Cave Testimonial.

Divemaster Internships

 

I’ve recently spent 2 months on Koh Tao completing a Tec Instructor and Cave diving Internship. I came to Koh Tao having completed Tec training with a range of instructors all offering different teaching styles so I wanted to find a style I was most happy to pass on to my future students. Over the 2 months I dived, assisted and learnt as much as I wanted with Craig adapting my kit until it was the simplest and easiest configuration required for Tec diving (KISS). I Completed about 60 dives in total mostly tech and cave dives. The guys at Banstec are very knowledgeable and they’re experience is second to none. I worked with Jeff, Craig and Chris during my stay.

 

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I finished my trip with my PADI TecRec Trimix instructor with Jeff, after working with the guys for nearly 2 months I knew I was ready and Jeff got his experience with deeper dives across very well, while I frantically tried to learn as much as possible! My final dive was 100m inside Song Hong cave, the logistic support and team were excellent and the dive went without problems. Koh Tao is an amazing place to complete your training with easy access to the caves on the mainland and access to 50m from the island. It’s such a beautiful place to grab a few deco beers on off gassing days too especially if your into your pub crawls! No regrets in choosing Jeff, Craig and Chris for completing my training and would recommend them to anyone in the future. Ashley Roberts, 22, UK