The Tech on Tour team (Tony Andrews, Regional Manager for PADI Asia Pacific and Tech Diving Guru, Ben Reymenants from Blue Label Diving) arrived at Scubafish, literally laden down with Tech Gear and Goodies, ready to get kitted up for Ko Lanta’s first ever, Tech on Tour Event, to be hosted at Lanta’s premier 5-star resort Pimalai Resort & Spa.
In the Krabi/Ko Lanta area of Thailand, with long coastlines that face the southern Andaman Sea, there are a wealth of superb Tech diving spots, including deep fresh water caves and wreck dives. For PADI, this is the first tour of its kind in Thailand and aims to reach out to all their TecRec divers who would like to extend their limits and for whom ‘one tank is not enough’, and are keen to experience a deeper, darker adventure.
After a short introduction and presentation, Ben demonstrated the various equipment involved with some of the most taught and most popular Tech courses – Sidemounts, Rebreathers and Twin Sets. Aspiring Techies were then invited to participate in Tech ‘Try Dives’ in the pool, to learn, practice and master various skills associated with these courses, before being tested on how well they’d taken the newly acquired skills on board.
The Sidemount option was a clear winner amongst everyone who took part, with an impromptu, almost ballet-like, underwater show emerging as the ease of use and fun element became apparent to all who were able to try them out.
The feedback from the groups was that the Sidemounts were extremely comfortable, fun and easy to use, enabling flexible and fluid movements in the water. Buoyancy with this unit was also very easy to control and master. The majority of our aspiring Techies are now eagerly anticipating the launch of the new PADI Sidemount course.
The Twin Sets seemed to be the most difficult to become accustomed to, being at times a bit uncomfortable and bulky, and making buoyancy relatively difficult to control. However, it was generally agreed that given a bit more time, practice and patience, these units could also be mastered.
The Rebreather was very popular, with buoyancy being a little difficult to master at first, but generally the unit was found to enable good fluid motion in the water with the clear added benefit of enabling longer and almost silent dives.
In confined shallow water, it is understandably more difficult to grasp a truly reflective overall feel of each of these units, compared to the greater depths of the open water, and more extensive training and development opportunities. However, for the majority, the chance to try these units on a rotation, with one on one (or sometimes even two on one) personal instruction, was an extremely well appreciated opportunity, and has now firmly opened the doorway to the Tec side of diving.
In collaboration with Pimalai, we hope to host a further ‘Go Tech’ Event towards the end of April, with more ‘Discover Tech’ try dives in the pool, and further presentations and demonstrations on the most updated information on the latest PADI TecRec Sidemount and Rebreather courses.
PADI and Ben look forward to meeting and greeting as many avid Tech enthusiasts as possible, and also those that are looking to cross over to ‘the dark side’. Even if you’ve only ever thought about Tech fleetingly, come and check out some of the events and presentations and you just might surprise yourself!
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