Episode #35 Steve Lewis on Improving Sidemount Diving & Instruction

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Steve Lewis is an absolute industry veteran and a passionate sidemount, CCR and cave diver. He has been at the forefront of instructor training since the early 90s working with TDI right from its formation and more recently becoming the Director Diver Training for RAID.

 Steve is an author, a member of the Explorers Club and as we'll learn, he led the early exploration of the Bell Island Mine in Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada.

 

In this episode Steve and I discuss his background, his experiences as an instructor trainer, we talk about diving the mine and shipwrecks at Bell Island. We discuss why we love sidemount diving and then the issues we see with sidemount diving and instruction and how these issues might be solved… all this and much more in this episode of speaking sidemount.

Featured:

https://www.techdivertraining.org/

Sidemount Fundamentals eBook - https://www.sidemountpros.com/store

Episode #34 - Marissa Eckert & James Draker on Sidemount Cave Diving

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Marissa Eckert and James Draker are the owners of Hidden Worlds, Fort White Florida and extraordinary sidemount/cave divers and instructors. In this episode, they share their passion for cave diving and instructing and their love of dive travel.

We talk about their backgrounds, philosophies around teaching sidemount and cave diving, why it is important to streamline stages, deco cylinders and bailout, and about their recent dive travel to Abaco in the Bahamas, Mexico, Little Cayman and Orda Cave in Russia... plus we talk sidemount rebreathers and much more... 

Featured:

Hidden Worlds - https://www.dive-caves.com/

Sidemount Fundamentals eBook - https://www.sidemountpros.com/store

Truk 2020 - https://www.sidemountpros.com/calendar

Episode #33 Cristina Zenato - Shark Conservation & Cave Diving

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Cristina Zenato has dedicated her life to the protection and conservation of Caribbean Reef Sharks. From her home in the Bahamas, she has spent over 25 years interacting and learning about these amazing animals, to the point where she has real relationships with individual sharks demonstrated by their interactions with her in the water.

 Cristina is world renown for her work with Sharks but she is also a Sidemount and Cave Instructor and a dedicated explorer of the caves of the Bahamas.

 In this week's episode we meet and talk about Cristina's work with Sharks, we share our perspectives on why they are so misunderstood, about what we can do to educate others on sharks, about the issues with and value of shark feeding and shark tourism, and then we talk cave exploration on Grand Bahama Island, about Cristina's use of the KISS Sidewinder CCR, and what I can expect, when I head to Florida to train with Edd Sorenson later this year... All this and much more in this episode.

 Featured:

Sidemount Fundamentals eBook - https://www.sidemountpros.com/store

Cristina Zenato - https://cristinazenato.com

KISS Rebreathers - https://www.kissrebreathers.com/

Episode #32 Becky Kagan Schott on Photography & Sidemount CCR

Finally... in this episode sponsored by XDEEP, I got the chance to meet one of the world's great photographers... Becky Kagan Schott.

We had a great time discussing; how Becky got into diving and photography, about Liquid Productions and their award winning features. We discuss diving the wrecks of the Great Lakes in North America, what it takes to be a great photographer or videographer, some tips from Becky on how to improve your images and then we learn of Becky's use of OC sidemount and her recent transition to sidemount CCR.

Episode #31 Yvonne Press on Open Water Sidemount Diving

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This episode is very close to my heart!! Thanks to our sponsor XDEEP.

I had the great pleasure to catch up with Yvonne Press an awesome sidemount and tech diving instructor based in Bali, Indonesia.

We had a great time discussing; sidemount for open water dives, what it takes to be a good sidemount diver, how she teaches sidemount, CCR and sidemount CCR, and much more...

Episode #30 Tom Steiner on Teaching Sidemount Diving

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In this episode, I speak with Tom Steiner of Gozo Technical Diving. I was fortunate to get to know Tom very well during my two seasons training and working at Gozo Technical. Tom is an instructor trainer for a number of agencies and an absolute consummate instructor and diver both in sidemount and backmount diving.

In this episode, Tom and I discuss his background in diving, how he got into sidemount diving, his work supporting deep diving world record attempts, he is an absolute decompression diving expert... so I get his thoughts on decompression diving, I asked him how to establish a world class destination tech diving centre, his approach to training divers, and we discuss Truk 2020 with Pete Mesley's Lust4Rust...

Featured in this episode:

https://www.gozotechnicaldiving.com/

Truk 2020 - https://www.sidemountpros.com/calendar

Episode #29 - Cave Rescues & Recoveries with Edd Sorenson

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In this episode sponsored by XDEEP, I speak with cave diving legend, Edd Sorenson. In addition, to his exploration of the caves of the Florida Panhandle, Edd was one of the original members of the International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery team. He has been involved in several successful cave rescues and sadly a number of cave recoveries. In particular Edd is renown as having the temperament and skill set to be able to undertake cave recoveries that are at the very limits of what is possible.

In this episode we'll learn more about Edd's background in diving, what it takes to make a successful cave rescue, the skill sets that he employs to undertake recoveries that are beyond the scope or ability of other cave rescue teams and then we go into some detail regarding the recent recovery of the two divers who perished in the caves of the Dominican Republic.

A word of warning... Edd goes into detail as he describes the recovery. If you have been affected by this loss or the loss of a friend or loved one in similar circumstances, you may wish to skip this section of the podcast which is between 10:15 - 18.15

We also talk about the KISS Sidewinder Rebreather, about Edd's approach to CCR, cave and DPV training and lastly, we discuss the importance of fitness for divers... and much more!

Featured in this episode:

https://www.xdeep.eu

https://www.caveadventurers.com

https://www.kissrebreathers.com

Episode #28 - Wrecks & Caves of Sri Lanka with Dharshana Jayawardena

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In this episode sponsored by XDEEP, I catch up with Dharshana Jayawardena or DJ. DJ is a pioneering underwater explorer in Sri Lanka. In addition to being an author, he is the founder of DiveSriLanka.com and is also a field editor for Asian Diver magazine. DJ has identified the origins of several mystery wrecks; among them the World War I SS Worcestershire and a World War II Catalina patrol bomber. Recently he has ventured into cave diving and discovered Sri Lanka’s first major underwater cave system among its scenic mountains.

In this episode DJ and I talk about his background in diving and sidemount, his exploration of Sri Lanka's many shipwrecks, his recent cave exploration project in the Sri Lankan mountains and his upcoming presentation on shipwreck exploration at ADEX Singapore, and much more...

Featured in this episode:

Sponsor - XDEEP https://www.xdeep.eu/ 

https://www.divesrilanka.com/

The Canterbury Wreck - A Diver's Guide

Sidemount Pros YouTube Channel - www.youtube.com/sidemountpros

Episode #27 - Sidemount Essentials with Matteo Varenna

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In this episode, I catch up with Matteo Varenna. Matteo is a terrific sidemount diver and instructor and a great guy as well.

In this episode we go deep into:

  • his background in diving and sidemount

  • what is wrong with Sidemount Specialty Instructor training and how this can be fixed

  • why he decided to become a Sidemount Essentials instructor

  • the importance of video feedback in dive courses

  • the problems with social media and forums

  • his XDEEP presentations on set up and fixing issues

and much more...

Featured in this episode:

Sponsor - XDEEP https://www.xdeep.eu/ 

Sidemount Essentials Training - https://www.sidemounting.com/in-water-training/

Sidemount Fundamentals eBook - https://goo.gl/Davqc1

Episode #26 - Expedition Bjurälven with Micke Tilja

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In this week's episode kindly sponsored by XDEEP, I interview Micke Tilja of Expedition Bjurälven, a project now in its 12th year undertaken by a team of awesome divers and support crew who brave the height of the Swedish winter exploring the Bjurälven cave system in the Swedish mountains.

Micke and I go deep into:

  • his background in diving and sidemount

  • how Expedition Bjurälven came about

  • the equipment they use

  • the skill-sets required to dive in these conditions

  • what they have discovered so far, and

  • what they hope to achieve this year and beyond

  • Plus we talk Baltic wreck diving and about Micke's Podcast

and much more...

Featured in this episode:

XDEEP - https://www.xdeep.eu 

Expedition Bjurälven - https://www.facebook.com/ExpeditionBjuralven

 Divers Community Scandinavia - https://www.dykarna.nu 

Episode #25 - British Cave Diving & the CDG with Michael Thomas

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When it comes to the history of sidemount diving, all roads lead back to the UK and the sump divers of the Cave Diving Group or CDG. The CDG gained world-wide attention and recognition following their stellar contribution to the Thai Cave rescue.

In this week's episode kindly sponsored by XDEEP, I interview Michael Thomas. Mike is the Training Officer for the Somerset Section of the Cave Diving Group (CDG) and a TDI Sidemount and Cave Instructor.

Mike and I go deep into:

  • his background in diving

  • the CDG, their approach to cave diving, training and equipment

  • the differences between cave, mine and wreck diving

  • the KISS Sidewinder rebreather

  • Mike's recent discovery of Roman artifacts in Wookey Hole

and much more...

Featured in this episode:

XDEEP - https://www.xdeep.eu/

CDG - https://cavedivinggroup.org.uk/

Michael Thomas Diving - www.facebook.com/michaelthomasdiving/

Episode #24 - Toddy Style Sidemount with Thorsten Waelde

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In this week's episode, I interview one of the world's top divers and explorers Thorsten Waelde or "Toddy". Toddy is the owner of Protec Sardinia and the inventor of the "Toddy Style" sidemount systems and a great guy as well.

 In this episode Toddy and I go deep into:

  • his background in diving

  • about Toddy Style sidemount

  • diving in beautiful Sardinia, Italy

  • the exciting T-Reb sidemount rebreather 

and much more...

Featured in this episode:

Protec Sardinia - https://protecsardinia.com/

Sidemount Fundamentals eBook - https://goo.gl/Davqc1

Episode #23 - Australian Cave Exploration with Ryan Kaczkowski

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Every now and again a dive image captures your attention and you say "WTF"!!

One from a few months back was the expedition into Cocklebiddy Cave, Western Australia by a team of three divers, Stephen Fordyce, Liz Rogers and Ryan Kaczkowski. The pic was taken by Liz and features Ryan and Stephen towing a literal mountain of equipment into Cocklebiddy... I thought... That is seriously bad-ass... So when Brendan Moore suggested that I reach out to Ryan, I was straight on it.

Ryan lives in Mt Gambier, South Australia... cave country for that part of the world and cave exploration is his passion. Ryan is a super cool person and has some brilliant insights to share on sidemount diving, his cave exploration projects and what it takes to dive in these amazing places.

and much more....

Look out for:

If you like the podcast, please share with your friends and consider leaving us a 5-star review.

Episode #22 - Cave Exploration in British Columbia with Peter Norris

Many thanks to Rebecca Barrett who introduced me to Peter Norris... a cave explorer from British Columbia, Canada. She mentioned Peter was involved in some pretty cool projects and had discovered a unique cave system on Vancouver Island called "Wet Dreams" so with that... I just had to learn more.

Peter's a caver who became a sump and cave diver to extend his capabilities in exploring cave systems. Sidemount was an absolute necessity in this... Not only to enable him to pass restrictions but also to allow him to carry dive equipment through dry cave passages to reach the next sump.

In this episode, we discuss Peter's background in caving, his progression to cave diving and sidemount diving and we delve into his exploration projects, we each recount stories of getting trapped and how we dealt with that, we talk decompression, and to top it off we share our thoughts on AI for technical and sidemount diving.

and much more....

Look out for:

If you like the podcast, please share with your friends and consider leaving us a 5-star review.

Episode #21 - Sidemount Customisation with Andy Goring SUMP UK

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Let's face it, we all love to tinker with our sidemount equipment so in this episode, Andy Goring of SUMP UK and I discuss modifying your sidemount equipment.

We cover:

  • Andy's background in diving

  • How he conceives, develops and produces his custom parts

  • How small customisations can make a big difference in your comfort

and much more....

Featured in this episode:

SUMP UK - https://bit.ly/2sYE6lv

If you like the podcast, please share with your friends and consider leaving us a 5-star review.

Episode #20 - Multi-cylinder Sidemount

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In this our 20th episode, sponsored by XDEEP, I discuss what it takes to complete decompression courses and dives in sidemount. 

I cover:

  • Why additional training is necessary for multi-cylinder sidemount

  • Choosing your cylinders

  • Why traditional stage rigging is not recommended

  • How to rig and don sidemount deco or stage cylinder

  • Deco/stage regulator set up and stowing

  • Weighting, trim and stability with 3+ cylinders

  • How to complete a deco ascent "in the blue"

  • How to complete a NOTOX gas switch

and much more....

Episode Sponsor: XDEEP - https://www.xdeep.eu/

Featured in this episode:

If you like the podcast, please share with your friends and consider leaving us a 5-star review.

Episode #19 - Sidemount Diving Niue Island

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In this week's episode sponsored by XDEEP, I share my experiences sidemount diving at Niue Island in the South Pacific including a really cool interview with Shannon Hunter, owner of Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive.

I cover:

  • Background on Niue Island and what makes it so special

  • Considerations traveling as a sidemount diver

  • Questions to ask dive operators in remote locations

  • How get the operator "onside" and actually enjoy having you dive sidemount

  • The skills you need to have to ensure a smooth sidemount diving experience

  • Your chance to join me to dive/train sidemount in Niue Sep 2019. 

and much more....

Episode Sponsor: XDEEP - https://www.xdeep.eu/

Featured in this episode:

Speaking Sidemount Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/speakingsidemount/

If you like the podcast, please share with your friends

Episode #18 - Sidemount & Cave Exploration with Natalie Gibb

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In this week's episode sponsored by Shearwater Research, I speak with Natalie Gibb, consummate sidemount diver, cave instructor, explorer and co-owner of dive shop "Under the Jungle", Mexico.

We cover:

  • How Nat got into sidemount, cave diving, and cave instructing 

  • Her cave exploration projects in Mexico

  • Building diving skills as you conduct exploration projects

  • Nat's philosophy re sidemount and cave diving training

  • The importance of natural navigation in cave diving

  • Why cave divers should try dry caving

  • Use of AI transmitters for sidemount and technical diving

and much more....

Episode Sponsor: Shearwater Research - https://www.shearwater.com 

Featured in this episode:

If you like the podcast, please share with your friends and consider leaving us a 5-star review.

Episode #17 - Sidemount Diving Truk Lagoon

In this week's episode sponsored by XDEEP, I share my experiences sidemount diving at Truk Lagoon with Pete Mesley's Lust4Rust.

I cover:

  • History of Truk Lagoon and Operation Hailstone

  • My planning to complete sidemount trimix dives in tropical conditions

  • Using Michur's XDEEP Stealth 2.0 Dual Bladder configuration for managing trim

  • Travelling to Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia

  • Our base and the dive facilities at Blue Lagoon Resort

  • The wrecks, dive planning, decompression planning and executing our dives

  • My personal favorites of the Truk wrecks

  • Planning for a sidemount group to join the June 2020 trip 

and much more....

Featured in this episode:

Sponsor: XDEEP - https://www.xdeep.eu/

Pete Mesley's Lust4Rust - https://www.petemesley.com/lust4rust/ 

If you like the podcast, please share with your friends and consider leaving us a 5-star review.

Episode #16 - Dominican Republic Cave Exploration with Phillip Lehman

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In this week's episode sponsored by XDEEP, I speak with Phillip Lehman, acclaimed graffiti artist, musician and music producer... but more to the point... amazing cave explorer and sidemount diver :)!

We cover:

  • How Phillip got into sidemount and cave diving 

  • His cave exploration partnership with Patrick Widmann

  • The DRSS and safety issues re untrained divers being guided in the cave zone

  • DRSS exploration projects

  • The importance of practice in building sidemount skills

  • Phillip's equipment including; XDEEP Stealth 2.0, video cameras, housings, lights and editing software

  • Advice for aspiring underwater videographers

and much more....

Featured in this episode:

Sponsor: XDEEP - https://www.xdeep.eu/

DRSS - https://www.dr-ss.com/ 

If you like the podcast, please share with your friends, comment and consider leaving us a 5-star review.