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Dispelling the Tech Myth

Last weekend I was coming up out of a quick 40 minute dive when a Divemaster candidate from another shop quipped, “I thought tech divers were supposed to stay down longer!” I cringed and blew it off on the outside, but deep inside I churned.

Time does NOT make you a tech diver.

If not time, then what?

There are three things which put a diver into the tech category, and neither one is time under water or the amount of shit you hang off of you!

Depth.

First and foremost, but not highest on the list: depth. 

Anything below 130’ is considered beyond the range of the standard recreational “sport” diver. So, while my dive to 150’ already qualifies as being a “tech diver”, that’s not the biggest factor. 

Ceilings.

Be it a false ceiling or an actual overhead, diving under stuff is a “sport” recreational no-no, a cardinal sin, if you will. A tech diver has put in the time and training to understand that you can’t always go straight to the surface. Moreover, the tech diver has developed the skillset to be able to maintain their position in the water column, many times for hours because of such a ceiling. 

Gas.

Regardless of the previous two concepts, the major difference between me and you, the thing that makes me a tech diver and you a “sport” dive…? I knew going into my dive that I was going to be under water for 40 minutes; I knew I was going to 150’ for ten minutes; and I knew that I was going to ping deco during my dive. But the biggest middle finger of all is that I knew that I was going to be walking out of the water with 1300 PSI left in my back gas. I knew exactly how much gas I needed to do that dive, and I came out where and when I expected. 

Sure, I looked all badass and shit carrying around my 80cf sling bottle, but that’s just for emergencies, and maybe a bit for show.

Before you judge us…

Look, I’m sure you’ve run into your fair share of pedantic blowhards espousing the greatness of their technical diving, and I’m sorry for that. I need you to know that we aren’t all like that. Technical diving is NOT about attitude. To be quite frank, the only thing it’s really about is the epitome of safety. 

I don’t rely on my computer to manage my dive information – I use it to confirm what I already expect to be true. It’s handy, and I love it. My tEric on one arm and Perdix on the other are merely co-pilots on my underwater adventures. 

So, no, my little Divemaster to-be, tech divers do not just stay down longer. I mean, we can, and the ladies love it, but it’s really more about the planning than anything else.

When you hit puberty and want to learn how to be a real diver, we’ll be here. And yes… that was me being pedantic. And sarcastic. 😏

Doc Strand

An eight year Marine Corps veteran, Dr. Strand discovered Chinese medicine as a last resort when recovering from a military related injury. He has since dedicated his life to the practice of medicine; a doctor to all - a healer to many. In recent years he has turned to SCUBA diving as a meditation aid in his quest for ultimate peace. The desire to share that gift led to the creation of Spartan Scuba. Doc’s experiences and travels abroad impact not only his writing style, but his passion for life, scuba, and medicine.

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