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Doubles Diving - Which course did you take?

Discussion in 'DIR Diving' started by Samantha CoolBeans, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. Samantha CoolBeans

    Samantha CoolBeans New Member

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    A bit of background on me:
    I'm pretty inexperienced as a recreational diver to be honest, I've only done 80 dives all within the last two years. I'm a conscientious kind of person, I enjoy challenges but I'm pretty averse to unnecessary risks.

    Within my 80 dives i've done the usual drysuit/nitrox specs and also EFR, Stress and Rescue courses.
    I'd like to think I'm a safe diver always diving within my limits, never pushing my boundaries unless i feel comfortable.

    I've always used a standard BCD+Single15L setup but knew about the benefits of diving a wing over a BCD so to improve my trim i decided to buy a BP+Wing setup.
    Now this setup is for doubles, so fully committed i purchased manifolded twin12's and an extra set of regs and first stages, then configured it all for a shallow test dive with a trusted and experienced buddy.

    Before this dive i read everything i could about valve shutdown sequences and practiced until i was comfortable locating and operating everything. (Besides i wasn't worried, my test dive was a shallow 5m inland freshwater quarry and i had planned everything in detail with my buddy in case of any issues).

    The afternoon of the test dive went great, I hate to state the obvious but it really did feel much more stable compared to my standard setup. I did a couple of valve drills while my buddy watched and i felt so comfortable with the new setup.

    So now I'm convinced that diving doubles is definitely something i want to continue with I'm wondering what training i should go for?

    There seem to be a few options... GUE Fundies, SSI XR Foundations, BSAC Twinset, PADI Twinset to name 4 i found.

    All my training so far is with SSI so I'm familiar with their teaching style. My LDS is SSI and they are pushing me towards XRFoundations.

    For the foreseeable future i know i don't want to go down the route of diving TriMix diving, Overhead or anything really deep. I suspect that at least 2 of these courses go beyond my needs (and therefore cost much more).

    If only there were some kind of course comparison guide, I might have more of a clue which way to turn.
    At the moment though spending £450 on a course is a lot of money to spend for me I'm just not sure i'll be getting the best value for what i personally need.

    Help :)

    Thanks Samantha
     
  2. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    I took the GUE Fundies class when I had done about 80ish dives. I really enjoyed it and got a huge amount out of it even though I got a provisional pass -- my main issue was buoyancy.

    Most people who take that class really appreciate it and tend to say very positive things. I personally liked the very focussed nature of the course although others may find this strict approach too much.

    Taking that GUE class doesn't mean that you have to continue with GUE though. I definitely sets you up for other technical classes such as TDI Helitrox.
     
  3. Andy Stevenson

    Andy Stevenson Administrator

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    +1 for fundies.

    Sent from my SM-T280 using Tapatalk
     
  4. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    Any foundation course that costs nearly a monkey and isn't Fundies is massively overpriced.

    I'd want to know who the instructor is going to be and what diving he actually does, over and above teaching. As I understand it, GUE instructors are required to dive at least one level above the level they teach at and have to complete a certain number of dives at that higher level to remain current.
     
    #4 Doomanic, Jul 25, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  5. Dale Martin

    Dale Martin Member

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    I've booked TDI Intro to Tec with Tim Gort of RectoTec. I chose him because of the wealth of information he chooses to share in his blog and the passion he exhibits for diving, not because of his affiliation with any particular agency.
    I may do Fundies at some point in the future but not until I've had some practice diving twins as, if I do it, I want to give myself a fighting chance of getting a tec pass in order to allow me to progress to further GUE courses if I so choose.
     
  6. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Good choice of instructor. Very experienced and works with many agencies.
     
  7. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    The shop just wants to sell you a course, that's why they are suggesting SSI.

    What are you hoping to get out of the course?

    TDI intro to tech could be a good start. I myself did Fundies but I know that I like that way of diving, TDI is possibly a bit more flexible but with that comes variability rather than standardisation.
     
  8. Samantha CoolBeans

    Samantha CoolBeans New Member

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    Helpful replies, thank you all.

    What do I want to get out of a course?

    The main thing, the most urgent thing, would be to become completely clued up about the kit I intend to continue diving with.
    Anything else would be a bonus (but possibly pointless depending on what was being taught).

    I love learning new things but there's no point in being instructed how which preferred deco schedule is best from 90m on Heliox if I never intend to actually do this kind of diving right?

    Likewise, I already know how to deploy SMB's, how to clip on/off spare masks as I've been doing this since Dive#5.
    My buoyancy is fine, I've not touched the bottom since my OW course and I'm comfortable in backfinning etc...

    I'm struggling to find an excuse to spend more money on a GUE/SSI XR course unless something amazing 'around the corner' depends on it.

    Part of me (a small part) believes that instruction on doubles is not required in my case, I've read/watched so much about shutdowns I probably know what to do if required, but that's the problem... how do I know that I know what to do without proper tuition? I could just as easily be idly diving a deathtrap! :(

    Anyone know how much a GUE fundamentals course costs?

    Thanks Samantha
     
  9. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    Fundies is typically something like £400-£500 instructor fee. You'll pay for site entry, gas, registration on top of that.

    Shutdowns is the one big difference between diving single cylinder and a twinset. This is need to know info IMO. Lots of other stuff like what hoses go where and things like that are more open to discussion and personal preference.

    If you have shutdowns squared away and your kit is set up right then you may not need a course.

    GUE also so a doubles primer that may help to save some cost and be all you need.
     
  10. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    It's largely a decision about what comes next in your diving career.

    As one goes deeper the dangers and requirements increase proportional to the depth. Your core skills need to be there in order to deal with the tasks at hand, for example holding stops, dealing with issues, following plans, and adapting to your circumstances, etc.

    I can only talk about my own experiences, but I'm very pleased that I took the Fundies class as it showed me what was required for my future path. The TDI Helitrox course was much easier with my Fundies skills, my Normoxic Trimix course relying on my Fundies and Helitrox skills -- particularly for problem solving.

    An often heard statement is to choose your instructor not the course. I'm extremely pleased with my chosen instructor whom I'll be using for my future courses as I progress deeper and into CCR.

    I definitely don't regret doing Fundies as it set the standards for all my future diving, covering the kit configuration and the twinset protocols: donate, shutdowns, etc.
     
  11. Dale Martin

    Dale Martin Member

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    I chose TDI Intro to Tec in order to ensure I'm comfortable with gear setup, shutdown drills and to get some general pointers on my diving before any bad habits I may have get too ingrained. It's slightly more than a doubles primer as it introduces the philosophy of Tec diving along with the general principles but it doesn't take you any deeper and doesn't cover decompression diving. I've only read the course material so far and it's already had a positive impact on my diving.
    I'm pretty comfortable in the water and thought I had good trim and buoyancy control until I recently buddied someone who made it look absolutely effortless so that's what I'm now aspiring to.
    I'd probably get away with strapping on the twinset I bought 2 months ago and using it for all my diving but I choose not to because my next week away diving in the UK is with people I haven't dived with before and on unfamiliar sites so I want to be absolutely certain that I'm familiar with the gear and can do shutdowns in order to be self sufficient should the need arise.
     
  12. Nick Ward

    Nick Ward Active Member

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    another +1 for intro to tec - try and book a course with Mark Powell.. one of the best instructors in the business...
     
  13. clique

    clique Active Member

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    It sounds like what you're actually asking is what is the value of these courses? I've not done either the GUE Fundamentals or the TDI Intro to Tech so could well be talking rubbish! Fundies would cover an introduction to their approach to diving but other than that as I'm aware neither of them will cover decompression or anything completely new to you from a diving point of view. What they will do is give you time with an instructor who knows their stuff and will be able to impart the information they feel is necessary to have you diving your new twinset safely and to a high standard. Any instructor worth their salt will have you coming away from this having learned something even if you came to the course with an already solid skillset.

    I don't think it's really fair to directly compare Fundamentals to Intro to Tech, Fundies is a 4 day course (right?) and Intro to Tech is a 2 day course. So with twice the amount of time with the instructor you're able spend more time ironing out any issues.

    Although for balance, I never received formal training on a twinset until I did a TDI Advanced Nitrox and Helitrox course with Mark Powell, I'd muddled through with an experienced buddy and what I'd read on the internet and felt safe enough and I'm sure I'm not the only one!
     
  14. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    Are you sure you don't actually just want a pony... :whistling:

    In short, you don't need any training. These courses never existed in the past. People managed.

    Training is valuable to you if you want to get into the water without the trial and error and kit fettling. A course should impart on you the knowledge and experience of the many that have gone before you so that you don't need to do all that. Great if you just want to get on with diving.

    Intro to tech, Doubles Primer, BSAC Twinset, plus the other agency varients should all teach you the same thing. How a manifold works, how to shutdown and how to donate gas. From there you can go away and practice. Bouyancy and other diving skills should also be improved... but this will happen by spending time with any instructor or experienced diver.

    Basically, if you want to do one find an instructor worth giving up your time for. The shop down the road that teaches OW courses 51 weeks a year may not be best in that regard. The local club may not have a huge amount of experience themselves.

    Lets leave out the further tech courses as you said you weren't interested. Fundies is a totally different beast. It's much more expensive and involved. If you want that you probably know about it.

    For what it's worth I spent 2 days with Mark Powell shortly after buying mine. It cut straight to the chase and the following weekend I was back diving just as confidently as I had been in a single.
     
  15. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    I lived in a different world, one before twinset courses where you went twins because you needed more
    gas for a specific dive or to extend bottom time. The idea that a course would "sort-out" singles diving
    would be alien, the logic was sort out issues on a singles first, then go twins.

    That meant you stayed way longer diving the hell out of singles, I didn't even consider myself to be a
    real diver until i'd hit the 200 mark :)

    Twins? Well that was about after 700 dives and the switch was soooo easy and a course not needed
    cause my diving by that time was nailed :)

    Nowadays the progression rates are frighteningly fast with divers who sure can do a plank-like shutdown,
    but who have little of the ocean equivalent to being street-smart. I just wish that more that consider twin
    courses do it for the right reasons and not as a crutch to sort out _________ (insert issue here).
     
  16. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Anyone can jump in and go diving -- seen loads of examples of people who look like they've no idea.

    However, the point of training courses is that you get the opportunity to see what good looks like. It's a quick way of getting better.

    Of course the reason for a twinset, aside from twice the gas, is the redundancy. Makes so much sense to understand how it works and how to use it which is much easier to learn on a course than some old geezer in a club. And especially if you're going to move deeper into tech diving with decompression obligations or even cave diving.
     
  17. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    I can say with 100% certainty that the same Instructor that is running some of the mentioned twinset courses would be as adept at
    training someone on a singles rig. Training is good, but it's entirely unnecessary for that training to be on a twinset. A diver with
    "issues" can as equally be sorted using whatever existing rig they have. The notion that a twinset is a fix for all is pure BS and is
    more to do with industry hype in selling courses and kit.
     
    Dave Whitlow likes this.
  18. Dale Martin

    Dale Martin Member

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    I'm moving on to a twinset as I have specific goals, not because I'm trying to fix something. The fact that it's with another instructor gives me the opportunity to have a fresh critique of the skills that I've been working on and ensures that any bad habits get nipped in the bud before they become ingrained, learning new skills is a bonus.
    I recently had the misfortune to witness a boat load of twinset divers descend on a silty site and turn the vis to zero within moments whilst my group, who'd already been down there for around 30 minutes, had made very little impact. They also appeared to have a total inability to adjust their buoyancy and speed or to deviate from a straight line, meaning that they swam straight into people and pushed them out of the way. They could certainly do with having the training wheels put back on but I suspect that they've been diving for years and consider themselves to be real divers already. I don't ever want to be one of those divers and I choose to go on courses in order to improve and receive feedback so that I never am.
    I suspect that my approach to diving is partially driven by my experiences in my professional life. The people who I came into contact with who were qualified by experience progressed significantly slower and were rarely anywhere near as good as those who had been certified and who regularly undertook continuous professional development in order to refresh and learn new skills. It worked for me professionally and I've never felt uncomfortable or out of my depth whilst diving so it seems to be working for me there too.
    I'm looking forward to my twinset course ;)
     
    Tel likes this.
  19. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Yep all the best reasons :)

    Nowt wrong with going twins, but IMO it's when you just know that you need twins and not what is becoming more common
    of peer pressure saying this is the way to go.

    I've often been told that I should get X, but when asked the simple question why? the answer tends to be because of what they
    want to do not what I want to do.

    I'm a strong believer in sticking with what you know until competent and by then any change can
    then be an objective one :)
     
    Dale Martin likes this.
  20. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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