Posted by Chris Knight on May 09, 2002 at 18:20:51:
In Reply to: Re: I wonder how it compares to the DIR Fundamentals course. posted by Randy Medaris on May 09, 2002 at 17:31:40:
I took the class about 5 years ago and have to say it was, outside of my instructor program, the best program I've ever taken part in. You learn both how to dive and about diving.
We spent as much time at the beach and in the pool as we did in the lecture room. I can remember spending quite a few early mornings learning beach entries and how to make them safely based on wave period and beach conditions. I feel comfortable enough now that I can make an entry in almost any surf condition if I had to. I also learned that I didn't have to dive with my b^%&s and make every dive. You see, they also emphasized safety and the idea that your brain and common sense are the two most important pieces of dive equipment.
You do a lot work in the water. There is no program that emphasizes watermanship more than LA County. You're in the water every single weekend. Bail out, doff and dons, and ditch and recoveries were regular parts of the training, helping you develop familiarity with you equipment and confidence in your ability. . We also spent time in the ocean working on our dive skill including entries, dives, and kick strokes. I came out of that class a very strong and safe diver.
Teamwork was also emphasized. They broke us up into teams at the start of the program and we had a great time as a result, developing a chamraderie that is unique to this program within the dive industry. Over 9 weeks, it was really fun. Besides diving, we barbequed, commiserated, and made some good friends.
I don't really need to comment on the lecturers. No program can even approach the level of people that speak at this program. It's not just an instructor talking about someone elses material, it's the people that wrote and developed the sport.
I think that 100 hour listing may be a little conservative btw. It was more than that.
I'd also like to point out that LA County is run by volunteers from across all agency lines. The one thing they have in common is they want to help make safer and better trained divers. That $495 dollars pays for books, boats, and a few misc expenses.
I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better program anywhere. I may sound like a cheerleader but it made me want to teach people the same things I learned there.
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