Sidemount diver in trim

SIDEMOUNT DIVING

Flexibility, Comfort & Freedom

THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT DIVE

Sidemount Diving is not new, but all the benefits might be new to you

What started as a tool for cave & sump diving has grown into a mainstream configuration style that is suitable for a wide range of divers from recreational open water to technical divers making decompression or overhead dives.

Sidemount diving is not just about where you might place your cylinders, it is an overall diving style.  It embraces the ideas of making entries and exits easier, keeping the diver streamlined and optimising your efficiency in the water.

Becoming a proficient sidemount diver requires learning new equipment, techniques and skills.  The physics of the sidemount configuration demand a level of detail and understanding that is beyond more traditional configurations.  Every detail of the equipment setup is crucial - right down to a cord or bungee length, boltsnap size, d-ring position, cylinder band height or angle.

Looking to hear a bit more about sidemount diving?  Take a listen to the Speaking Sidemount podcast series.

Every level of sidemount diving is taught and training options are shown below.

Sidemount diver making a trim check

SIDEMOUNT DIVER

3 to 4 days

Sidemount divers enjoy the freedom, comfort and flexibility of diving with independent cylinders.  Sidemount diving is not just about where you place your tanks - it requires a detailed approach to your equipment, new skills and diving philosophy.

Sidemount training includes Land Workshops for,

  • Equipment review & selection

  • System configuration & optimisation

  • Cylinder choices and hardware setup

  • Regulator options & configuration

Theory Sessions cover,

  • Gas management

  • Diver SAC calculations

  • Dive planning

Water Sessions cover all essential skills,

  • Buoyancy, trim and propulsion techniques

  • Effective wing operation

  • SPG use, regulator switching & gas management

  • Long hose usage, management & stowing

  • Cylinder donning & doffing

  • Failure handling

  • A variety of entry and exit techniques

A sidemount diver should look different to other divers - but in a good way.  The configuration required for sidemount diving is more involved compared to backmount and requires specific tailoring to each diver.  Not all training will adequately address this, so it is essential you take training that will address every area of effective sidemount diving.  Certifications can be issued through PADI or SDI.

Sidemount Divers building a control line

SIDEMOUNT ESSENTIALS

4 to 5 days

Sidemount Essentials is a training program that does much more than teach you how to sidemount dive, it makes you into a well rounded and capable diver.


It is the signature training program from sidemounting.com and developed by Steve Martin over a 15 year period of training divers.

I am one of only six Instructors authorised to teach Sidemount Essentials - see my profile page here.

During the program you will develop and be tested on the skills every diver should aim to have,

  • Diving in a team, how to deal with diver emergencies

  • Develop the correct reflex responses to surprise equipment failures

  • Essentials skills like advanced navigation techniques and SMB deployment

  • Develop advanced buoyancy, trim & propulsion (finning) techniques

  • Learn dive planning and discussing the what if’s and pre-dive problem solving

  • Learn how to adapt to varying conditions, like current, surge, being lost

  • Adapting to different dive sites and boat diving techniques

An optional training day is available to include a stage handling workshop that covers the equipment setup and theory of using stage cylinders in a sidemount configuration.  The water session then covers skills for donning & doffing, gas switching and hose management.

This is an intensive course with longer training days, but has a big payout by making you a better diver.

Technical sidemount diver donating gas

TECHNICAL SIDEMOUNT

3 to 4 days

Making technical dives in sidemount configuration brings the benefits of two cylinder sidemount diving such as streamlining and cylinder access to the technical diver requiring multiple cylinders for carrying increased gas volumes and a variety of gas mixtures.

Technical sidemount training is suitable for existing technical divers who want to transition their technical skills to a sidemount configuration or for sidemount divers looking to take technical level training in sidemount configuration.

Technical sidemount (or Tec Sidemount) is not a replacement for technical diver training.  It does not teach decompression diving or advanced Oxygen management - it teaches the skills required to execute technical dives in a sidemount configuration.

Tec Sidemount training can be taken in conjunction with technical level training to allow you to make technical dives in sidemount configuration.  Technical diving training options can be seen here.

Land Workshops cover,

  • How to configure stage cylinders

  • How to don and doff each cylinder

  • Making safe gas switches

  • Handle emergencies such as gas loss

  • Stage cylinder sharing

  • Decompression gas sharing

Theory Sessions cover,

  • Dive planning

  • Gas management

  • SAC rate measurement

  • Developing dive "run times"

Water Sessions cover technical level skills such as,

  • Effective stage handling while static and on the fly

  • Gas switching from bottom mixes to each additional gas

  • Run time execution

  • Ascent training

  • SAC measurements

  • Gas emergencies

  • Technical rescue techniques

Divers can be certified with TDI or PADI TecRec

Changing webbing on a Razor sidemount harness

SIDEMOUNT WORKSHOPS

days as needed

Not all sidemount training will adequately cover everything and you might need to address some gaps in your sidemount setup and diving.

Ask yourself,​

  1. Do you have the feeling that you aren't getting the most from sidemount diving?

  2. Do you feel unbalanced in the water?

  3. Do you feel uncomfortable in your equipment?

  4. Is entering or exiting the water simply too demanding? 

Did you answer 'Yes' to any of these questions?  If you did, then we can work together to make sidemount diving work better for YOU. 


By focusing on your specific requirements we can spend the time needed to solve any problem you might have and not have to worry about completing a prescribed training course.


Typical areas to look at might be,

  • Harness adjustment & optimisation for comfort and anatomical efficiency

  • Cylinder setup, donning, doffing & trimming

  • Shore or boat entries & exits

  • Regulator and long hose management

  • Correct weighting and placement

Are you ready for your sidemount training?

Do you have any questions or looking for something you don't see?

 
 
 
 
 

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