Carrying heavy loads on your back during your dive begins to weigh you down seriously? Looking to sneak through narrower places on your next underwater getaway? Or are you simply looking for more comfort or new sensations? So, the Sidemount is for you. This technique, nicknamed also "English diving" or "side mounting", is not a new trend and has been steadily growing among divers of all levels. Interests, advantages and disadvantages or necessary material, Spotmydive decrypts everything and give you a full review of the side mount diving gear.
Historically, the sidemount corresponds to a particular configuration of the scuba diving equipment. Used almost exclusively by the most technical divers specialized in the exploration of caves, wrecks or canyons, this practice is becoming more and more common among all divers whatever the level. By definition, the sidemount is the lateral mounting of the diving tanks. Thus, instead of having them on the back as usual, the diver carries the tanks on the side, in line with the shoulders and under the armpits. The sidemount is an absolut necessity for advanced cave diving. Several configurations are possible in this type of lateral tank technique. It can be equipped with a single bottle, to wear on the side, but the most popular configuration is wearing blocks under each arm. The side-mount has greatly gained popularity lately. Divers seek new sensations under the water and get rid of heavy tanks on their backs, often difficult and uncomfortable to wear. Therefore, nowadays, English diving is not only for divers wishing to enter narrow places, but becomes a solution to gain more comfort and ease under water.
Diving in sidemount represents huge advantages, for the technical diving as well as for the fun divers:
To learn sidemount diving, each diver must meet the conditions set by the various federations. To try side-mounted diving, you must be at least 12 years old, hold the Open Water Diver certification or equivalent and have at least a little experience as a diver. A minimum of at least one dive in a protected environment and two dives in the Open Water is strongly recommended to start sidemount dives. However, if you want to rely on PADI, the most popular federation, you have to be 15 years old. The instructor will teach you in 3 dives the basics of the concepts such as equipment installation, buoyancy control and safety instructions. Note that if you want to use this configuration during one of your dive, make sure that the members of your group know the safety procedures.
With side-mounted configuration, it is necessary to have suitable equipment. The harness is the most important equipment when trying to dive in Sidemount. This harness is generally composed of strips of fabric assembled by passers-by which will make it possible to fix the blocks on the sides. With the growing success of this method, the brands specialized in diving accessories are beginning to position themselves on the market. However, many professional divers adept of "English diving" create their own harness. On the harness, is grafted a wing, commonly called "Wing". "Wings" are back buoys. They are between the plunger and the bottles and serve to support the weight of the latter for a better balance, all, without clutter and without hindrance in the execution of movements. Also, for diving in side-mount, it will be necessary to equip you with two bottles to which it will be necessary to join two regulators equipped with a manometer with a high pressure hose.