Posted by JRM on January 16, 2001 at 17:13:37:
OK, since there's been so much discussion about streamlining, and what you can sacrifice because it isn't needed, I've decided to begin formalizing Ultimate-DIR Diving(tm). In this completely holistic system, all tanks, regulators, computers, BCDs, etc. are removed. Divers are exceptionally streamlined, wearing nothing beyond mask, fins, snorkel, exposure protection, a weightbelt/harness system, and optional equipment including a knife, and a diving watch/depth gauge. Mission specific equipment often includes an abalone iron, speargun, or camera, which is not directly attached to the diver but to a float line and float system.
Just about every failure point is removed. All gear is diver servicable, even underwater. A computer is not required, because the Ultimate DIR Diver(tm) will use his body physiology to indicate when he should ascend. In addition, no great learning curve is present, such as learning to calculate NDLs on the fly, because all mammals have a built in physiological dive clock based on blood CO2 levels. When CO2 levels reach the computed "B" value, the body instinctively notifies the diver it is time to ascend. However, "B" values vary from diver to diver, thus it is a theory, and we can successfully dodge all attempts by others to pin us down! Oh, and "B" value computation is an advanced topic, beyond most on this list, so we'll just ignore it for now.
Be advised that this is a completely holistic system, and any attempt to modify any part is not only non-optimal, it's silly. Many of you may want to add an air tank to extend bottom time. This is useless equipment, as many of us can dive just fine without one, and multiple short dives eventually add up to our mission defined bottom time. Besides, if one adds a tank, a regulator will no doubt be required. As will some form of mounting system, often involving bouyancy compensation, which adds many orders of magnitude to the complexity of the system, not to mention hundreds of possible failure points. A computer is obviously not required, as anyone who considers a computer more accurate at measuring the "B" value than their own physiological system (in English, if you need a computer to tell you when you need to breathe you're an Ultimate-Stroke(tm)), and at some point will probably drown when your "B" value computer floods.
Ultimate-DIR equipment is significantly less expensive than non-Ultimate-DIR, mostly because you don't have to buy a bunch of SCUBA crap. Of course, the most important piece of equipment that an Ultimate-DIR diver must have is long-fins. They must be foot-pocket fins of at least 30 inches. These are optimal for the Ultimate-DIR kick frequency, and all other shorter fins are sub-optimal, and therefore not Ultimate-DIR. Open heel fins are definitely non-Ultimate-DIR, as most kick energy is directed through the heel, and open heel fins waste this precious energy. In addition to being more efficient, the heel strap is a possible failure point and as such *must* be removed.
More important than the gear is the attitude. Ultimate-DIR requires the utmost loyalty. Rule 1, never dive with Ultimate-Strokes, at least not in public. While there have been rumors that many Ultimate-DIR divers are closet tank users, these are vehemntly and violently denied in all public forums.
Many of you may be questioning the relevance to West-Coast diving. However, I can assure you, that Ultimate-DIR works exceptionally well for our diving. We do a great deal of diving here on the west coast. If you don't do exactly the same sort of diving we do, then you must be an Ultimate-Stroke, and therefore don't matter. Ours is by far a superior and much simpler, safer system. If you can't see that outright, you are a moron, and not worth wasting time with intellegent discussion. However, as an Ultimate-Stroke you will be degraded in all possible public forums by persons who "have no official association with" Ultimate-DIR, yet espouse all of our rhetoric. This will allow us to take the moral high ground, and disavow any knowledge of personal slander (in public) while using you as the butt of personal jokes while we are enjoying our Ultimate-DIR Beer. Only Ultimate-DIR divers are allowed into the Ultimate-DIR Beer sessions; a waiver is granted for any non-Ultimate-DIR diver who is willing to buy rounds, provided he leaves promptly upon completion of the round, and remains silent during its consumption.
Many people have challenged our requirement to forsake the SCUBA system. They obviously don't understand the physics of drag. Nothing adds more drag than a huge bottle strapped to your back. By eliminating it, and the various other equipment required to support it, we are much more streamlined. In addition, the noise and bubbles that are a by-product of the SCUBA system tend to affect underwater wildlife. When attempting to film, or hunt, many species, the addition of SCUBA greatly degrades the ability to accomplish the mission.
One must be in peak phsyical condition to properly function as an Ultimate-DIR diver. Vital Lung capacity, CO2 threshold, and O2 usage must be at their maximum in order to prolong bottom time and increase the safety margin. Not only are current smokers out, anyone who has smoked in their lifetime is out. In fact, let's include anyone who's even thought about smoking, as that is a dangerous attitude to take underwater.
These rules may seem a bit stringent, but they are for your own protection. By using our holistic Ultimate-DIR system, we are able to enjoy the freedom of the water. These rules exclude a great majority of the dive community from ever becoming Ultimate-DIR. This is acceptable, as the room in the Ultimate-DIR Beerhall is limited, and if too many of us are promoting our egos and dashing Ultimate-Strokes simultaneously the noise level can surpass current OSHA regulations. This could result in governmental regulation of our sport, and a radical reduction in both diving, beer consumption, and bragging. If we don't police ourselves, either Big Brother or the evil Dive Industry will do it for us.
Speaking of the Dive Industry evil empire, one of the reasons for the founding of Ultimate-DIR is to combat the abhorent "feature-creep" present in so much of the modern dive gear, primarily the addition of compressed air tanks, and their associated equipment. Ancient divers did not have nor use such equipment. Many societies around the world have very successfully divers without such equipment. It is merely the greedy money-grubbing on the part of the Dive Industry that causes them to push this whole SCUBA nonsense on the general public.
I really enjoy the list, and there is a good flow of information on it. I am not DIR, and am in no way associated with the movement. Currently I consider myself a freediver who occasionally uses SCUBA. As such, I have been enjoying many of the recent arguments from the standpoint of someone who enjoys real "freedom" in the water. Someday I want to do some more extreme SCUBA diving, and I'll probably adopt the DIR principles as they will stand in a few years (depending on the direction they go), assuming that smart-@$$es are still admitted. But please, can we not take ourselves so seriously? This is supposed to be fun, hence the term "Sport" diving.
--hope to see some of you in Monterey this weekend. I'll be the short guy with the really long fins :-)
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