Clarifying Misconceptions/Anti-D.I.R. (5 of 5)

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on February 13, 2001 at 12:09:09:

This one hasn’t reared it’s head lately but I figured as long as I clarifying, I might as well throw it in.

For the record (at least in my own mind) I am NOT anti-DIR. In fact, not only do I endorse many of the underlying principles of D.I.R., I feel I’ve been teaching them (good training, be prepared for the dive, know your buddy, work together, etc.) for 22 years.

And again, for the record and to be clear, let’s not get into the
accept-it-all-or-accept-none-of-it debate. I personally feel no need or desire to hang a D.I.R. label on myself. But I strongly agree that are many principles upon which D.I.R. is founded that make sense. By the same token, there are some things about D.I.R. that I’m not too crazy about.

Obviously we disagree on the solo issue. I’m also not too enthused about limiting the gear options. I’m concerned about the “us vs. them” mentality that I see in some D.I.R. proponents. And I think there’s a bit too much testosterone floating around.

By the same token, I think George Irvine is absolutely right to run the WKPP team is a monolithic way, insisting that everything be standardized and everyone diving the same way. For the extreme dives that are being done, the last thing you need to worry about a couple of hundred feet down and a couple of thousand feet in, is trying to remember what kind of BC your buddy is wearing or where his octo is located. (And I CERTAINLY wouldn’t advocate solo diving in those types of conditions.)

Does D.I.R. translate 100% to recreational diving? In my opinion, not necessarily. For instance, if you’re way back in a cave and your reg starts free-flowing and your gas starts draining, this is a MAJOR problem and I can see the need for you to be able to dismantle the
reg underwater and reassemble it to stop the free-flow.

However, in the recreational environment, if the reg is free-flowing uncontrollably, you abort the dive, head for the surface, go back to the boat, fix the reg (or get another), get your tank refilled, and go again. You don’t need to be able to fix the reg underwater since, in the recreational environment, aborting the dive and surfacing is, by definition, ALWAYS an option. In the WKPP context, it’s rarely an option.

When he gave the D.I.R. Demo at our store, I told Jarrod Jablonski I thought the idea of recreational D.I.R. was being done backwards. They’re taking something that’s tailor-made for WKPP and finding rationale for it to work in the O/W environment. And don’t get me
wrong, it’ll work. May not be optimal, but it’ll work, the same way you could do a WKPP dive (forgetting George’s rules for a second) in a wrap-around BC and it could work.

My view is that if you started from ground zero, sort of like they did with WKPP, and approached this with a mindset of designing the “perfect” gear configuration for the recreational diver, you’d end up with something somewhat different than the WKPP configuration. In my mind, starting from scratch, you’d end up with D.I.R./WKPP and
D.I.R./Rec. They might be similar, but I doubt they’d be identical since the environments are different and that should change the gear needs. (And I’m actually very interested in seeing the “recreational” D.I.R. whenever it’s ready to make it’s debut.)

So, despite what some may think, I’m not anti-D.I.R. But if D.I.R. works for you in a recreational environment, more power to you. The whole point of being a good diver is finding the things that work best for YOU, and if D.I.R. is it, then I would wish you all the
success and enjoyment that it can bring.

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, Ca.

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