A view from the Peanut Gallery

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Posted by JRM on March 05, 2001 at 11:30:51:

In Reply to: DIR demo posted by Max Bottomtime on March 03, 2001 at 20:13:36:

OK, I thought I might take the award for "furthest travel" to get to the demo, but my hat's off to the guy from Phoenix. However, since I was unfamiliar with that area of L.A. I miss-timed my drive and showed up two hours early. But I'm glad I did, because it gave me a chance to meet some of the guys prior to everyone else showing up, and I had first crack at the food! Actually, after reading the GUE website about health and fitness and all I was surprised to find my normal grazing fare of hot dogs, burgers, chips, and various other gut enhancing edibles. First shattered preconception: The DIR folks are all granola eating, tofu devouring freaks.

Of all the board people I met, only MHK was even relatively close to how I had perceived him (and this is not necessarily a bad thing). Everyone was at least somewhat friendly. Actually, it's difficult to walk into a group of good friends, but everyone did an excellent job of making me feel at home. The facilities were good, although very different from what we have up here.

The presentations were very good, although mostly a rehash of what I've been reading. Having read as much information as I could find on both sides, there wasn't anything that was earthshatteringly new. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is for everyone to get out and see and try this stuff. I found a *HUGE* difference between reading about it, and putting the gear on and trying it. I was rather disappointed that only two or three of us got in the pool, because without actually putting on the stuff and getting wet, I don't see how you can really comment fairly. In fact, the one thing I read that was the serious drawback to the BP harness system was the difficulty in removing it, especially underwater. So with a touch of coaching from Terry I tried it. What a breeze. Second major preconception vanquished.

But I'm getting ahead of myself with the pool stuff. The most powerfull portion of the entire presentation was Mark's showing of the cave video from that Air Force guy who died in September. JJ's presentation was good, and with a few exceptions managed to stay pretty well on target. There were a few openly hostile folks in the audience, but I thought that JJ handled himself very well. I imagine it must be difficult to be the focal point of such controversy. Although I imagine that standing in front of a couple of hostile folks pales in comparison to the arrival of Murphy 18,000 feet in. I didn't stay in the room to listen to the whole "manual deco" bit, because I don't see it to be a major issue. People dove for years without them. It's a tool folks, use it at your discretion. I really don't feel threatened by the fact that MHK doesn't use one. I do. But I prefer to temper its use with a bit of common sense (as much as I can manage, which isn't much based on my lack of real dive experience). I do agree with the DIR guys that blindly trusting your health (and life) to a line of bars on a screen is foolish. But don't expect to see me dive without one anytime soon. I think someone with my limited experience that eschews the proper use of such a safety tool is equally foolish. Someday, maybe. We'll have to see.

Now on to the pool stuff. This is where the rubber hits the road. I can't strongly recommend getting wet with this stuff enough. The advantages of the horizontal trim position were immediately evident. The first thing I tried to do was fin pivot, but I couldn't because my feet kept coming off the bottom of the pool. I now know the true definition of "hover". It was amazing to be able to sit suspended inches off the bottom of the pool and just hang there. Very cool. Also, moving around required significantly less effort. I really want to try the system in the open water, and I will be calling you guys as soon as I can free up a weekend (won't be till after easter :-( ). I wish I had known about this option prior to purchase of my BC though. I dove everything my local store had to offer, and will be trying to talk the owner into carrying BPs.

My overall impression was very positive. I came in as a neutral person looking for information. I got it. I also found a bunch of guys willing to help, teach, and give good advice. So be sure to go to a demo, and *get in the water* before you formalize your opinion of DIR. And go with an open mind, you might be surprised.

Many many thanks to JJ, Mr. Carmichael, Mark, MHK, and especially to Terry May. It was well worth the trip!


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