Re: DIR question-Misconceptions

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Posted by Kendall Raine on November 13, 2000 at 08:57:32:

In Reply to: DIR question posted by Frank on November 12, 2000 at 07:44:41:


You ask some really good questions which I think were only partially addressed by the responding posts. In fact, what I read points out a series of misconceptions about DIR. Here's a different perspective:

Yes, the gear configuration behind DIR evolved out of the cave community. BTW, there are lots of different gear configurations amongst cavers as any afternoon at Ginnie Springs will tell you. You have to look beyond the gear configuration first to really get why DIR works best when introduced in the first OW class:

DIR is a philosophy, not just a gear configuration. The philosophy aims to make a diver as efficient and safe as possible. Efficiency means being streamlined with each piece of equipment designed for maximum function and minimum drag. Efficiency means being in good physical shape and using optimal technique-body position, finning, breathing, minimal silting, optimal buoyancy, etc. Efficiency means having the right tools for the job and no more. More gear than necessary to deal with the mission and contingencies is not DIR. Donating from the mouth, use of the long hose, back mounted wings, back plates, reels, etc. are outgrowths of choosing equipment which mets the objectives of maximum function, optimal profile in the water and minimal drag. Equipment follows philosophy. Equipment without philosophy is dive industry marketing crap. Safety means having instruction which is thoughtful and based upon making the diver the best he/she can be. Instruction which emphasizes and encourages continuous training on one's own rather than the PADI model which awards merit badges for "mastering" skills-how long will it be before PADI introduces a mask clearing or underwater urination specialty course?!

By introducing this philosophy in the OW class, students realize that the philosophy comes first. Gear selection then makes more sense. Moreover, students are less likely to accept poorly designed and extraneous gear. While this may push manufacturers to design better gear or get out, I don't see that as a bad thing. Furthermore, if students learn good finning techniques, proper body positioning and weighting early on, they don't have to unlearn bad habits later. It blows my mind how many "experienced" divers can be "stalked" underwater by the sand and sediment they stir up. The use of a back plate and wings actually makes it easier to swim properly than a jacket style BC, not the other way around. Besides, the wings and back plate costs no more than a traditional jacket BC and is much more versatile. As for donating from the mouth, what's the big deal?! Anyone who can learn to buddy breathe can learn to hand off the primary and insert the secondary-it's actually easier. As for using a long hose, there is nothing that says you need to use a long hose in OW. There are advantages to the long hose in OW, but the real utility of the long hose in the overhead environment.

As for the dedication, you're right that not everyone will have the commitment to really advance in the sport. So what? Even if someone aspires to no more that a few warm water dives a year, won't those dives be more enjoyable if the diver learned to dive properly in the first place, knows how to weight themselves correctly, uses equipment which helps them swim efficiently rather than making them work harder, knows why certain pieces of equipment makes sense and most most of the rest is junk?

Finally, as far as impacting the economics of the business, who's working for whom? Shouldn't the divers be the ones telling the manufacturers what equipment makes sense and not the other way around? There's as much useless dive equipment on the market as misinformation on the internet! Why should we worry about the fortunes of equipment manufacturers who make useless stuff or dive shops who employ lousy instructors? We should really worry about supporting people who provide the best quality equipment and services. You know, there's a reason instructors make so little money-quality control. PADI certifies practically anyone as DM's and instructors. That's become the standard. It's pathetic, but that's another thread.

I hope this covers your points. I really believe DIR needs to shed its techie image. It's much easier to advance in diving if you don't have to unlearn poor technique and misinformation to start with.

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