It took a bit of doing, but it’s official: Spartan SCUBA can use the shore area in front of the Sunrise Resort on Hood Canal for their confined water training!
Now, this is obviously reliant on certain conditions such as visibility and current, but the fact remains – our new diver training program is coming off without a hitch.
What's the plan?
Thanks for asking, Bob. Let me tell you what we’re doing, and why.
No longer setting false expectations
There is nothing worse than seeing the defeated look in a student’s face (well, eyes really 👀) when the skill once mastered in the pool becomes an arduous train wreck with chunky 5mm gloves in the way. I mean, he worked so hard to get that mask on and back off… and now he has a hood to contend with? BAH!
Taking students to the comfortably temperate environment of the pool is, well frankly, BS. No hood. No gloves. No doubled up wetsuit which prevents all but the most basic of movements? Sure, they get to focus on their skills alone, never once worrying that they’re unable to move their fingers and toes, or that they’re actually a little chilly wrapped in SCUBA bubble wrap. But what good is that when the training doesn’t meet the expectations of the testing environment?
I decided that I don’t want to set that false expectation. We tell people all the time, “if you can dive here, you can dive anywhere.” And while that’s true, it’s only half right.
The reality is that the proof is in the training. If you can not just do the skills, but master them using “Mikey Mouse” hands, covered in form-fitting plastic wrap, and cold enough to make certain body parts cut glass, then everything else comes easy!
Mastery is nothing more than mastery of the basics.
We’ve revamped our training to meet the needs and expectations of the Pacific Northwest diver.
When we dive the water is green, not blue. It’s anywhere between 48 to 60 degrees, depending on the depth. Visibility is ten feet, not infinity. And you have so much exposure equipment that your dexterity as well as your ability to see are severely diminished. 🙈
We do everything over a long weekend. Day one is spent mastering every skill in a full wetsuit, hood, boots, and beefy gloves. There is no time where our students feel like this ish is easy as being in the pool.
We spend ALL DAY in the water, letting the student do each and every skill to their heart’s content. Never once setting a false expectation of what diving in the PNW will be like. And once that skill has been mastered, it’s done. The rest, as they say, is easy!
Train hard, dive easy.
The next two days are like always, and what people expect with SDI open water diver training. We do a minimum of four dives in total, with a maximum of three in any given day. And from just the one diver experience, here’s what I have learned:
Not one time have I had a diver who didn’t struggle with the basics in the open water environment. EVER. Training people in a pool is great if you live in Florida where the pool is a bit like what your OW experience will be. But we’re a different breed up here in Oregon.
I just took a student from guppy to shark in a weekend, and I firmly believe it was because the training grounds mimicked precisely the testing site! Yes, the first two confined water were difficult, and it took a lot of giving accolades to stay invested in the process, but by the time we got to actually diving I realized that I just had a hand in making quite possibly one of the best divers ever. Like legit, ever. And I’ve made some good ones!
If anything this was harder on me than it was for my student. There’s more to contend with in the open ocean, of course. But what Spartan SCUBA is trying to do is prepare you 100% for the world we live in. Sure, there are those that will never be PNW divers, and that’s okay! We have a Train to Travel program that’s been designed just for them. But if you want to explore and blow bubbles where you live, then our new training program is the one you want.
No false hopes. No pretending that the water always feels great. Just epic level training that, once you’re done, you will truly be able to dive anywhere on this planet. And not just because you trained in Oregon…
Thoughts? Comments? Let me know and I’ll be happy to engage.
Peace out, bubble blowers.