What do some of the divers I have trained say?
The training was a real eyeopener for me about safety procedures, dive planning and getting my gear properly fitted and adjusted to my needs.
I met Vas as a co-instructor during my Sidemount Essentials and Advanced Nitrox courses in Gozo with Steve Martin.
Vas is a highly professional instructor with a lots of patience. He tries to find a way to get to you and shows you how to improve your performance in your own way. He is not trying to discourage you or wants to show off or show that he is better or can do it. He definitely is, but the point is, he brings you to a higher level of yourself too and he enjoys it in doing so. He is Proud (you got that one) if you are getting there, getting better and improving.
This was very important for me, because when I started my interest in sidemount or technical diving (because diving is my passion and I love it and want to improve and learn a lot) I had instructors, where I had the feeling that they wanted me out or tried to "break me" or tried to show me that this kind of diving "is out of my league" and I would "not belong".
I am looking for some further training in the future and recommend Vas 100%. If you want to learn new skills or improve your ability, on a high safety level mixed with lots of fun, Vas is definitely the guy to dive with!
Last year I went to Gozo with my friend Tom. We are both instructors in Belgium at the same diving school Bubble&Dive and organizers within the same diving club Bubbledivers.
In Gozo, we followed four follow-up courses over two weeks. Tom Steiner, Audrey Cudel and Vas Proud were our instructors; all masters in diving! Their different approach was an enrichment, an added value. Since we are no longer beginners, we could focus on details. We did not have to say this twice.
Vas was able to communicate the theory clearly. Sufficient time was given for questions and answers. Land drills preceded the outside diving. Without compromising fun, Vas did not escape any detail. The debriefings were meticulous and enlightening. Meanwhile, we are a few months further. Tom and I still talk very often about our trip to Gozo.
We have learned a lot. Vas managed to adapt well to our specific wishes. Fun and perfection went together nicely. Our certification photo says enough. We will be back soon. we are already planning.
Training with Vas together with Steve Martin differs from all other dive training I have had this far due to the video that's being taken of you performing the skills. These skills are then debriefed after the dive where you can see what you are doing wrong, which means the next dive you make more progress on that skill than when it would have been the standard oral debriefing.
During the whole training, not only during the class room sessions, Vas sneakily probes your knowledge and skills which means that you also learn a lot outside the classroom setting such as during a seemingly casual conversation while driving to a dive site. Beyond expectation he even accepted to film and guide another student and me after a week of training[, which resulted in a really nice video.
If you are looking for a training where you make giant strides and you are willing to put in the effort, I would definitely recommend Vas and Steve.
Sidemount or Cavern? Try Vas!
Vas Proud is not the typical instructor you can meet at any dive base. He has a true passion for diving and his training is far more intense than the usual direct instruction.
He points out every possible improvement of your skills - always to the level you want or you can handle. There is nothing that escapes his attention. If you don´t capture it, his GoPro does. And guess what: he carries a spare one.
With Vas you get perfect demos, very detailed briefings and debriefings of every skill and even a ride home after a 12 hour day. Steve Martin recommended Vas Proud as a sidemount instructor and lucky me he happened to be our cavern instructor later on.
We got a lot more input than we expected and I would love to come back for a Intro to Cave course next year.
Thanks for the amazing time in Gozo (and also the Video on YouTube), this was the best training I have had so far!
This was my very first technical class and obviously the training cannot be compared with usual recreational courses. That's what I hoped for and also got from you! What impressed me most was that you were extremely patient and always calm, no matter how many times you had to explain or demonstrate a particular skill or procedure. Upfront I actually expected more "drill"-like instruction, but this did not seem to be necessary. I actually hoped to come out of the class more proficient (especially concerning line work) but in hindsight a 4 days cavern class (just after finishing a sidemount class) seems to be the bare minimum duration for this course. In the end I was a little surprised that I passed. I don't blame this on you but the limited time-frame. I guess one or two additional training days wouldn't have hurt and I am going to take them on my next course. Yes, I would definitely take further training with you.
Vas is an excellent Instructor
We got a lot of useful tips from him. Especially I liked the debriefing. We were going through videos of us during diving. Vas was very precise pointing to mistakes we made and to what we can improve. After one week of training our diving dramatically improved.
Besides handling the dive training Vas appeared to be a perfect problem solver, and we had a bit of problems: broken car, leak in a long hose, a box with my equipment taken by another team. Every issue we faced Vas helped to solve staying calm and in a good humor.
Now we are looking forward for our next dive trip to go fun diving with Vas.