PADI Sidemount Diver Course Review
Scuba diving is constantly evolving. Having your tanks on your back is no longer a requirement for exploring the underwater world. Over the past few years, more and more divers have started sidemount diving. Sidemount diving gives you flexibility and streamlining options that many cave and wreck divers need. Furthermore those long walks with heavy cylinders on your back are a thing of the past. Just enter the water, clip them on and go. Sound interesting?My name is Alex Varnals, I have been diving since 1996 and wanted to let you all here a Sidemount Review by one of my students. I was one of the first PADI Sidemount Instructors & Tec Sidemount Instructors in the UK when PADI launched the programs. As an instructor it is always nice to hear positive feedback from students who have completed training with you. It is even better when that feedback is from a friend and fellow instructor. Many of you will know Christopher Hartley who completed his PADI Sidemount Specialty Diver Course with me. He has put some of his thoughts on paper, here is what he had to say about his course:
Christopher Hartley - Sidemount Review
I’ve been meaning to send this for a while. Sidemounting is something I have wanted to try for a while especially after seeing it firsthand in the pool one night. As an instructor at who worked with Alex it may have seemed like common sense to do it with him, but you have to take everything into account. Quality of training, facilities, availability, materials etc all have to be considered but knowing the quality of the teaching and the special try dive, the choice was made.
The first session consisted of a try dive in the dive pool at John Charles after an orientation and brief at the dive shop. It only took the sight of bungee and shiny Ali 80’s to get me salivating and more hooked. Needless to say that when I first descended, the light shone and backmounted diving drifted away.
I’m not against backmounted diving as it provides many options and for new divers it’s more ideal. However, when it comes to pleasure dives, I’ll be using sidemount!!!
It was clear by the time I got to the bottom of the pool I would be doing the specialty and this was booked straight after. The specialty was fantastic with Alex providing great instruction, knowledge and experience.
It has been a while since I’ve been the ‘student’ and the whole experience was fantastic. I would highly recommend you try sidemount diving. If it’s for you then there is no better place to go than Scuba Leeds.
Safe diving & I hope to see you in the water soon.
Christopher Hartley PADI IDC Staff Instructor
Want to know more?
There are a number of the Scuba Leeds team that use sidemounts regularly. Any of them are more than happy to show you why they love it. In the Meet The Dive Team with Mark Cato, he explains why he loves teaching Sidemount. Contact the dive centre for more information about trying sidemount on the Discover Sidemount Experience and the PADI Sidemount Diver Course.