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.

Episode #15 - New Zealand Cave Exploration with Tom Crisp

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In this week's episode, I speak with good friend and Kiwi cave explorer Tom Crisp. Tom has built a brilliant resume based on him just getting out there and finding projects that excite him and this has lead to the discovery of new caves in New Zealand as well as collaborations with the Wet Mules cave diving team.

We cover:

  • How Tom got into sidemount diving

  • His use of sidemount for cave exploration

  • Cave diving projects in New Zealand and Canada

  • The benefits of using Sidemount CCR for cave exploration

and much more....

If you like the podcast please share, comment and leave us a five star review :)!

Episode #14 - The Thai Cave Rescue with Erik Brown

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Less than four months ago the world held its collective breath as a team of amazing divers from around the world supported by thousands accomplished the impossible, and rescued 12 boys and their coach from a flooded cave in northern Thailand.

In this episode, Erik Brown shares his experiences of his involvement in the rescue, the scene that greeted them, the organisation, long days, how the rescue plans were developed, and meeting other members of the rescue team... 

This is an brilliant story, please share the podcast with your friends.

More info at: https://www.facebook.com/speakingsidemount/

Episode #13 - Madagascar Cave Exploration with Patrick Widmann

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In this week's episode sponsored by XDEEP, I speak with Patrick Widmann on the DRSS Madagascar Cave Exploration project.

We cover:

  • How Patrick joined the DRSS

  • His cave exploration partnership with Phillip Lehman

  • How the Madagascar project came about

  • The logistics of exploring in remote locations

  • The hard work that goes unseen

  • Finding a body in the cave

  • Interesting uses for the XDEEP Stealth 2.0 Classic BCD

  • Sidemount CCR

and much more....

Featured in this episode:

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

Protec Dive Centres - http://www.protecdiving.com/

DRSS - https://www.dr-ss.com/ 

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

Episode #12 - XDEEP Stealth 2.0 Deep Dive with Patrick Widmann

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In this week's episode kindly sponsored by XDEEP, I am joined by cave explorer and designer of the XDEEP Stealth 2.0, Patrick Widmann. Together we discuss sidemount diving and do a deep dive into this very popular sidemount system.

We cover:

  • Patrick's background, his beginnings in sidemount and cave exploration

  • The explosion in sidemount diving

  • How his relationship with XDEEP began

  • The thinking behind the Stealth 2.0 design

  • Key features of the Stealth 2.0 and why they are important

  • How customer feedback has contributed to continued innovation in the Stealth 2.0 system

  • Diving the Stealth 2.0 with different cylinder types and sizes

and much more....

Featured in this episode:

Sponsor - XDEEP https://www.xdeep.eu/

Protec Dive Centres - http://www.protecdiving.com/ 

Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/speakingsidemount

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

Episode #11 Sidemount Fundamentals - Equipment

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In this week's episode, I start with a very special announcement... XDEEP will be joining us as the first sponsor of Speaking Sidemount. I have been diving the XDEEP Stealth 2.0 for the past five years and absolutely love this system. I am very appreciative of the support which will help me to continue developing Speaking Sidemount.

In this episode on: Sidemount Fundamentals - Equipment, I cover:

  • Considerations in selecting a sidemount harness

  • Setting up and fitting your harness

  • Steel or aluminium cylinders?

  • Selecting cylinders and valves

  • Cylinder hardware

  • Sidemount regulators and hose routing

and much more....

Featured in this episode:

Sponsor - XDEEP https://www.xdeep.eu/

Garry Dallas Loop Bungee Slipknot - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4J6uIOx0Cc&t=34s  

D-Luxe Bands - https://dluxedivegear.de/ 

If you like the podcast, please share with your friends.

Episode #10 - Audrey Cudel Interview

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This week I interview my good friend Audrey Cudel. Splitting her time between her base in Gozo and Yucatan Mexico, Audrey is an amazing Sidemount and Cave Instructor and an absolute "ninja" in the water. In this episode we discuss:

  • Audrey's beginnings in sidemount

  • Her experiences with a variety of sidemount harnesses

  • Adapting sidemount to different environments

  • Audrey's approach to sidemount and cave training

  • Choosing a sidemount instructor

  • The limitations of sidemount

  • Using dry gloves with sidemount

  • Audrey's underwater photography

and much more....

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

Episode #9 - Sidemount & Exploration: Jill Heinerth Interview

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This week I interview one of the world's great divers and foremost explorers, Jill Heinerth. Jill and I talk about:

  • Her beginnings in sidemount and exploration

  • Considerations in fitting a sidemount harness for women

  • Sidemount Rebreathers

  • Bell Island, Newfoundland, Canada

  • Jill's advice for aspiring explorers

  • Preparing for dives and dealing with issues underwater

  • Water conservation

and much more....

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

Featured in this podcast:

Jill Heinerth - https://www.intotheplanet.com

Ocean Quest Adventures - https://www.oceanquestadventures.com

Episode #8 - Brian Kakuk Interview: The Caves of the Bahamas

Photo credit and thanks to  Uli Kunz  - Instagram @uli_kunz

Photo credit and thanks to Uli Kunz - Instagram @uli_kunz

Excellent interview with Brian Kakuk; cave explorer, cave/sidemount instructor and conservationist. Brian is a sidemount diving pioneer and the principal of Bahamas Underground. In this episode we talk about:

  • The early days of sidemount diving

  • How to choose a sidemount harness

  • Cave diving and exploration in Abaco, Bahamas

  • The KISS Sidekick Sidemount Rebreather

  • Science and conservation of the Bahamas Caves

  • Balancing conservation with tourism

  • Sidemount training

and much more....

I you like the podcast please share with your friends and consider leaving a 5 star review on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/speakingsidemount/

Also welcome your comments below.

Thanks Steve :)

Featured in this episode:

Bahamas Underground: http://www.bahamasunderground.com/