The Guru was around for the “first” tec revolution. Gurus shouldn’t reveal their age (although this one seems to be repeatedly dating itself) – it can be embarrassing – but it was back in 2000, when PADI released the original TecRec programs under the Diving Science and Technology (DSAT) banner.
Sure, technical diving had been around for years and cave diving had been in place for decades prior to TecRec, but the introduction of PADI TecRec was truly revolutionary. In my mind, it helped bring technical diving out of the mythical realm of salvage divers, deep oil rig workers and treasure hunters. Well, that’s who I thought technical divers were. Hey, gurus can be occasionally ignorant, too.
As technical diving became less and less of a fringe sport, PADI TecRec helped bring it to greater maturity by developing an integrated, instructionally valid, seamless course flow to take people through the proper steps of learning how to become technical divers.
I’m sure you find the history of all this fascinating, but regardless of any debate around when this “first” tec revolution occurred (I can hear keyboards firing off demeaning missives as I type), as divers, we’re living in interesting times. That’s because it is clear we’re in the midst of the second tec revolution. Only this time, tec is going rec.
Technical diving used to be on the unsanctioned, “fringe” of the scuba diving world and has become mainstream. Now, recreational divers not only have the opportunity to develop technical diving knowledge and skills through the same instructionally valid system, those technical diving technologies are bleeding over into the recreational diving worlds and blurring the lines.
Here are a couple of the ways that the latest gear and training innovations are making tec accessible to recreational divers:
Type R (Recreational) Rebreathers
These lightweight, easy-transportable units use sophisticated electronics to simplify their use and reuse some or all of the gas you exhale. That means no bubbles (or very few bubbles) along with the chance for longer no decompression limits, reduced gas consumption and unmatched wildlife encounters. Currently, you can take the PADI Rebreather Diver course to learn how to use a Type R rebreather to a maximum depth of 18 metres/60 feet within no decompression limits. The PADI Advanced Rebreather Diver course, expands on the basic knowledge you have already acquired and provides training to a maximum of 30 metres/98 feet (40 metres/130 feet if you have a PADI Deep Diver certification), including carrying a bailout cylinder.
Soon, you’ll be able to take a PADI Tec Sidemount course to take advantage of this equipment configuration. It’s a good transition course for recreational divers looking to go tec. But, it’s also great for recreational divers looking for different ways to streamline their equipment and for individuals with a physical limitation (like my extremely sore lower back, for example). Next year, you’ll be able to take advantage of this technology in its recreational form with the PADI Sidemount Diver course.
If you doubt this blending of tec and rec is taking hold or is even happening at all, you only need look as far as a gigantic conference going on in Orlando, Florida, USA next year called Rebreather Forum 3. It brings together specialists, experts, experienced technical divers, manufacturers and supporting companies representing a variety of communities to discuss and showcase rebreather technology and its application in sport diving.
I’m sure that you think all of this is very nice, well and good. So are you ready to see it for yourself but just don’t know where to get started. Although it hasn’t been around as long as tec diving, the internet is a great place to start. Specifically, the Dive Shop Locator at padi.com. Do a quick search at the PADI Dive Shop Locator and look for PADI Dive Centers and Resorts with the TecRec Center designation next to their name. That means they are ready and willing to teach you tec diving techniques. Now, it’s up to you. Do you want to take up technical-technical diving or recreational-technical diving?
And, if you still don’t want to take advantage of all that great technology, don’t worry, you can still tell your grandchildren that back in YOUR day, you were there when the second tec revolution went down. At least that’s what I’ll be telling mine.
Can’t get enough of the Guru? Read past installments here:
- The Guru’s Holiday Gift Guide
- 16 Reasons to Go PRO
- Going Tribal
- ePath to Pro
- Self Improvement Month
- The Citizen of the Month
- Expand your consciousness…dive anywhere…
- Dive Guru – Everything You Wanted to Know…
- Dive Guru – Line Up the Ducks and Take Off
- The Dive Guru’s Scuba Wish List
- How to make Kryptonite Your Biggest Worry
- Ask the Dive Guru – Air Travel Tips for Divers
- Dive Guru – DFD Interview Series – Being a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver
- Dive Guru – What Does It Mean to Be a Rescue Diver?
- Dive Guru – What You Don’t Know About Going Pro
- Dive Guru – Undorkification
- Dive Guru – Who’s a Diver?