"He who stops being better stops being good." (Oliver Cromwell)
I think of myself as a competent diver. I have, what I think, as good skill sets. As an instructor, I have always strive to keep my skill set sharp and to challenge myself. I have found the best way to do this is to
dive with people of the same or greater skill set. Without this, skill can dull and you can become complacent in the way you do things. Not unsafe, just complacent. While evaluating my skill set a few months back, I felt that they were not on the level they should be and once were. I blame no one but myself, I have not been pushing myself to improve and in some cases, I slid backwards.
I decided that I had to find something and someone who would challenge me and give me the tools to improve. I looked into the Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) Fundamentals class and by way of some of my best dive buddies/former students, I was directed to Ed Gabe (BetterDiving.com). Ed has the reputation of being an even-tempered, conscientious and excellent instructor. Since we had no history, only mutual friends and experience (a story in itself) I contacted Ed and sat a class up for myself and two other instructors. Because of a family emergency, it came down to being only two of us.
The classroom work was a good review and I did learn different ways to do tank calculations and surface air consumption rates. Over all it was a great review and Ed, ever striving to do better, was a wealth of knowledge. There was also a swim test, not an evaluation but a test. Not hard but for a weak swimmer it would prove a challenge. We then worked on some fining techniques on the surface of the pool. The next two days was open water and evaluation. I will not go into detail of all the skill, I will say that some are more challenging them others. One tool that GUE uses video, they require the instructors to video the
students so that they can see themselves in the water doing the skill. This way, the students can see their mistakes and what they can do to make it better. I found this to be a great tool. It is not shown any place but in class and the instructors delete all film when they leave. Ed pushed us to do better and was honest in his evaluation. There was not a “That is good enough”. It was that was good or here is your mistake
and here is how you to correct it. Because I am my own worst critic, I was very frustrated after the first day. Sunday was better but I will continue to practice and improve my skill. I am looking forward to diving with Ed and his team in the future, hopefully, I will measure up.