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Sidemount in Rec Diving
ICONdiver - 10/06/2015 10:08 AM
Category: General
Replies: 9

What are everyone’s opinions on using a side mount configuration in recreational diving? I have noticed a lot more people in my area are switching over to side mount very early on in their diving careers. I personally feel like these are the "look at me" type of people with the exception of folks who have a hard time physically with their gear. I do not see the need unless they are planning on Tec diving in the future.
tstormdiver - 10/06/2015 9:44 PM
I am a tech diver & I will do backmount 95% of the time I dive Open Circuit. I do sidemount my bailout bottles for my rebreather, but feel that sidemount is more or less just a tool. I do not have any real desire to go into places small enough to require sidemount. To some degree, I can understand someone needing double cylinders & having a bad back may need this configuration,... but not for single cylinders.

The pro’s- easier to get equipment to the water’s edge (if you don’t count the multiple trips), easy to see leaks & bubbles, easier shutdown of an offending valve or regulator & is generally more of a solo type configuration.

Cons- Gas management can be a pain, to keep the cylinders balanced, if the regulator blows (even though rare), you have just lost 1/2 of your usable air (unless you have a regulator on an additional stage bottle that can be swapped out underwater)- However this is only needed in overhead environments (Tech diving).

Sidemounting was originally developed by technical divers to get into tight places on wrecks & caves. If one has desires to do technical diving in side mounted cylinders, then going into them early-on may not be a bad thing,... the optimal thing would to be to get proper training on them. For simple, recreational diving a single cylinder is sufficient. I even dive a single cylinder for recreational dives.
Agojo - 10/07/2015 10:48 AM
I agree with tstormdiver, I have meet the person with side mount Cert and tech 40 Cert with less than 50 dives and it was all about the "COOL" factor for him. Thank you to tstormdiver for a truthful opinion (or at least one I think is truthful). A lot of tech divers think that side mount or doubles are the only way to dive.
Curtis - 10/07/2015 2:02 PM
A lot of things are done to just look cool, like CCRs, sidemounts, doubles, stages, mix, fancy dive computers, C-Card collections, etc. Seems diving is not unlike many other endeavors in that respect.

Unfortunately, many are easily convinced to buy things they don’t need, or try to repace skill with toys.

Be more concerned in are they diving a clean rig in good trim?
gebbert2038 - 10/08/2015 9:44 PM
I just started sidemounting recently after seeing my buddies switch and talk about how much easier it is to get ready for a dive. Seeing it first hand and trying there setup before I went out and bought new gear is something to consider. Yes there is that "cool factor" but not only having the easy entry but more control in the water is why I switched. What I did do was find a BCD that had the capacity to both back mount and sidemount when need be. There is no comparison between the two and will gladly sidemount every dive.
tstormdiver - 10/11/2015 5:57 PM
caves4me, I can not agree more. Personally, I prefer backmount,... but it is just what I am used to. Except for sidemounting my CCR bailouts, I have only dove sidemount a handful of times.
Curtis - 10/12/2015 12:11 AM
From caves4me: One of the things I don’t like is when instructors and dive shops push side mounting to beginners. I’d like to see more advanced students in back mount configuration then try side mounting, this way they can make their choice what’s good for them.

As you may have noticed, I would follow that idea beyond just side mounting.....anyways, will leave my comment at like the way you think on this one.

But can definitely understand one wanting to master a system before using it for its intended purpose. I originally did cave training in H-valved singles (1999), so appreciate the current bypassing of that step. Got to say if I had realized what I’d end up doing in diving, would have had dubs much sooner, but my dive intrests are not typical, (cavers are, what, [2% of certified divers?) Now, I rarely dive anything other than IMBM dubs, frequently with a stage, even though most dives not in overhead. Maybe does look like overkill in recreational settings, they only look cool if clean / free of all danglies and you’re not crashing / silting / turtleing / bumping / dragging / scraping / poorly trimmed / non-streamlined, etc. Control & function more important than Fashion.
LatitudeAdjustment - 10/28/2015 6:36 AM
For tight spots being able to take the tank off and pass it thru is an advantage but I don’t see any other reason.
As a photographer I like to get down close to the reef, side mounts would trash the reef and that’s more gas than I need anyhow. On deep dives I do sling a deco bottle and that little bottle can get in the way.
gebbert2038 - 10/28/2015 7:25 AM
This is how I see it for me will use a kayak for example has multiple purposes built for speed or stability now you take that kayak and throw an outrigger off to one side or both and you get something that is built for speed and stability. The same goes for me while side mounting.