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Speaking Sidemount

Podcast Speaking Sidemount
Podcast Speaking Sidemount

Speaking Sidemount


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  • E083 Demis Farrugia - "Unlock Your Full Potential"
    Great to bring Episode #83 to you with the support of XDEEP and the patrons of Speaking Sidemount. Huge thanks to both for their support that makes this podcast possible. Demis Farrugia and I first started chatting online around 5 years ago. I could tell immediately he was committed to training, diving and ultimately becoming an instructor and was prepared to put in the hard yards to become as good as he possibly could. It has been awesome to watch his progress and to see him become now a highly proficient sidemount diver and also a gifted and committed instructor. Also given that Demis is from Malta which has a very special place in my heart and my own dive career… I thought it would be awesome to get Demis on the show and chat about all things sidemount including his journey and thoughts on what it takes to be a good sidemount diver and then learn more about the amazing wreck diving in Malta. We also discuss DPV Diving and the KISS Sidewinder. Enjoy :) Steve
  • E082 Jake Bulman - Aspiring to Excellence
    Great to bring you Episode #82 with the support of XDEEP and the patrons of Speaking Sidemount. Massive thanks to both for their support that makes all of this possible. I am still coming down from my nearly 3 weeks in Mexico last November. I went primarily to train with Patrick Widmann, co-owner of ProTec Dive Centers and the Training Director for KISS Rebreathers along with the many… many other things this amazing guy does. I went to do the KISS Sidewinder 60m course often called the MOD 2 and also to do the CCR Full Cave Diver course. I had good reasons for wanting to do both courses to continue my own development as a diver. You'll know from the many conversations that I've had on the Sidewinder on Speaking Sidemount that I chose this tool both as my Cave rebreather and also as a rebreather I could use to dive shipwrecks and deeper open water dives. It is in my opinion the best tool for both Cave and wreck penetration diving primarily due to its tight profile and robustness. Open water is a bit of a push but as I dive more from boats, I'm developing my techniques for entries and exits and figuring out how to manage the width of the Sidewinder on boat decks. I chose Patrick as my instructor for obvious reasons, but I'll share them anyway. I did my Air Diluent Sidewinder course with Edd Sorenson. As you've heard me say, it was absolutely brilliant. I learned so much and Edd is a phenomenal diver, instructor and really good to hang with… his stories are epic, to say the least!! But I've always wanted to have the broadest possible experience base, including learning from a range of really good instructors. It was a no-brainer in that sense to go to Patrick and see what he had been working on for KISS Training and gain from his experience and skillset… which to be honest, is immense. From being near motionless in 2m of water doing no fins skills to his tight and on-point skill processes for cave drills, to his CCR weighting which makes it way easier to hold shallow stops on a rebreather, to the ratio deco strategies we used to recalculate our deco on the fly… it was all amazing!! In trying to explain the experience to people I say… it was like taking tennis lessons with Roger Federer!! Now at Protec, Kim and Patrick have been for many years developing the next generation of world-class instructors. I've had Skanda Coffield on the show twice and in this episode, I am really pleased to introduce to you, Jake Bulman. Jake has been a Protec for five years and has literally become Patrick's understudy, teaching Cave Diving, KISS Sidewinder courses, Cave CCR and soon the Sidewinder 60m course. He is renowned as a consummate instructor and an absolute master of no-fins training. Given we met, albeit briefly in November, I took the opportunity to get Jake on the show to talk about his diving, how he teaches and in particular some of the details around my Cave CCR and Sidewinder Mod 2 that was let's say surprising to me and fundamental to the way Protec teaches these courses. Enjoy, cheers!! Steve
  • E081 Chris Godlewski - Sidemount Society
    Hey great to bring you Episode #81 Chris Godlewski - "Sidemount Society", with the support of our brilliant sponsor XDEEP and the patrons of Speaking Sidemount. Huge thanks to both for their support. Looking back over the 80 episodes I've produced for Speaking Sidemount, there is a massive slant towards cave diving and exploration. I guess it goes without saying that this is as it should be, with Cave Diving and the exploits of cave explorers being the pinnacle of the application of the sidemount configuration in diving. In the early days of sidemount, it was indeed cave divers who were looking for a method of managing their equipment that made it easier for them to get to remote dive sites or through dry cave passages and even more importantly opened up the possibilities of passing restrictions and extending the explored limits of caves. But in the past 10 years, this has changed. Yes, cave divers are still learning sidemount however there is a large and growing segment learning sidemount on their way to cave diving or to gain the many benefits and flexibility that sidemount offers for open water, wreck diving, and mine diving. So I am really pleased to be able to bring you an episode where we go back to our roots and talk about sidemount as a configuration for many environments and also get into some of the detail as to how to set up your sidemount system and then put it in the water. Chris Godlewski is a Polish sidemount instructor who has been a resident of the UK for many years. He came to my attention through a glowing review by one of his students and then the work he has been doing with his wife Chloe where under the banner of "Sidemount Society" they have been travelling the world diving sidemount. Most recently they have been in the Philippines and if you haven't seen their social media, do yourself a favour and check it out. Not only are the imagery and videography top shelf but they are demonstrating a very high standard of diving and acting as awesome role models for sidemount in general. In this episode, Chris shares how he got into diving and sidemount. We learn about some of his early struggles with the configuration and how they overcame them to get better. I ask Chris about his and Chloe's amazing decision to leave their work lives behind to travel the world and dive!! We talk about Sidemount Society what it is and what they hope to achieve. Chris and I go back and forth a bit on what it takes to be good in sidemount. We talk about the hows and whys of sidemount equipment set up and then we discuss putting it in the water. Everything from donning and doffing to entries and exits, to how to achieve trim and stability along with tips on executing skills including the dreaded "long-hose stow". I find out more about Chris and Chloe's plans for their travel and also their hopes for setting up a sidemount-specific dive operation in the future. Enjoy :)
  • E080 Stephen Fordyce - Seconds from Death
    Hey, great to bring you Episode #80 Stephen Fordyce - "Seconds from Death" with the support of our sponsor XDEEP and the patrons of Speaking Sidemount. Huge thanks to both for their support, which makes this podcast possible.   The title refers to Australian Tech Diver of the Year, Stephen Fordyce reliving his harrowing, near-death experience where he had a laryngospasm at over 50m while on a push cave exploration dive in Tasmania Australia. To say this was harrowing is an understatement but Stephen's story of survival and subsequently what he has learned about the incident is as compelling as it is terrifying.   In addition to recalling the near-death experience, Stephen relates some on his diving background, we talk about how he combines his engineering business with diving, we discuss what it takes to be a cave explorer and then, he shares on his exploration efforts in Tasmania Australia.   Image Credit & Thanks to Liz Rogers & Stewart Donn.   OzTek Presentations -   #stephenfordyce #CDAA #OzTek #Stevedavis #Sidemountpros #cavediving #Caveexploration
  • E079 Rannvá Jørmundsson - Becoming an Explorer
    Hi, here's episode #79 Rannvá Jørmundsson - "Becoming an Explorer" brought to you by our brilliant sponsor XDEEP and the patrons of Speaking Sidemount. Huge thanks to both for their support that makes everything you are about to listen to possible. One of the enduring themes of Speaking Sidemount is to shine a light on the applications of sidemount diving. I am a strong believer and practitioner in diving sidemount in nearly any application or environment but there's no doubt that if you dive overheads, and in particular caves, sooner or later you are going to find a space that is too small for backmount diving. Or you will need to lug gear far enough or over terrain where you'll want to break it down into smaller parts. This, of course, is where sidemount really shines and is the reason this podcast features many, many great cave divers. I'd also add, that cave diving demands the highest levels of sidemount skills… buoyancy control, trim, and balance - what I call relaxed static stability... meaning the ability to be still in a confined space, and effective propulsion techniques including frog kick and the back kick. No other type of diving is as demanding in these aspects. I draw a strong distinction between cave diving and cave exploration. Exploration requires and builds upon a strong foundation of cave diving skills and experience. But it requires much more. Aspects such as… searching for prospective caves, dealing with landowners, camping in remote locations, and complex access skills like single rope technique. Then there's the diving… preparation and planning, working in teams, reading a cave, line laying for survey, surveying the cave itself, passing unknown restrictions, and self-reliance or solo diving. Add to that the mindset and discipline required and it is quite a leap from your average cave dive. I've often thought about how you get started and what it takes to become an explorer. There is no doubt that leaning on the experience of other explorers is the best way to go. By way of example, you may remember my discussion with Tamara May back in episode 60 released a couple of years ago now where Tamara talked about Project Xunaan in Tulum Mexico where Robbie Schmittner, one of the world's leading cave explorers had pulled together a team of six female divers to continue his exploration in that area. Along the way, he would teach and mentor them on what, for most of them, was their first genuine exploration project. While COVID delayed this project, it also gave the team the opportunity to build on the initial plan including working with sponsors to support their efforts and filming the project. The result was a super interesting view into becoming an explorer and in this episode, I catch up with another of the Xunnan Ha team members…. Rannva Joermundsson. I had the pleasure of meeting Rannva at this year's OzTek conference in Melbourne Australia where Rannva along with her exploration partner Maria Bollerup gave two compelling presentations… the first on project Xunnan Ha and the second on their next project Expedition Buteng in Sulawesi Indonesia. In this episode, I ask Rannva to share how she got into diving and progressed to cave diving. We talk about how she combines her passion for diving with her career working for two of my absolute favourite dive brands, Fourth Element and Shearwater. And then Rannva tells us about the amazing project Xunnan Ha. We talk about the planning, how they worked on the project, and what she has taken away from the experience. Building on this we lean into her next project Expedition Buteng where Rannva is working with Robin Cuesta my new dive buddy and guest on Episode 71 "Caves of Sulawesi". Rannva discusses her partnership with Maria Bollerup on this project, the impressive team they have assembled, and the goals for the project including exploration, scientific, and community benefits. We close by talking about some of the project preparation including KISS Sidewinder training in Mexico… enjoy :)!! Steve

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