We will try to explain a little in this article how we plunge concretely into sidemount (SM). Unlike what one might think one does not invent one dive sidemount one morning when waking up. Although accessible to beginners from Level 1 or Open Water, the DM requires minimal training, practice and knowledge of specific safety procedures and equipment. Without respecting these conditions you will be assured not to appreciate all the advantages of this configuration ( see article : « The sidemount: for what? ? ».
It is not enough to hang with snap hooks on both sides of the body the bottles to dive sidemount. We could talk about bulk-mount in this case. To dive in SM it is necessary a suitable material, one forgets the traditional stabilizing vest or the harness tech with wing and metal plate that one would use with bottles in the back. In SM any hard parts are removed for comfort, the harness has the special feature of having an elastic system in order to correctly position the bottles against you in a fixed manner. Made up almost exclusively of straps, it will be embellished with a stabilization system whose volume is placed at the bottom of the back to compensate for the buoyancy of the lungs and favor a position well flat in the water. The ballast is positioned near the body along the spine or in a neoprene underwater vest. Bottles are often made of aluminum (S40, 7l, S80), but can also be made of steel (4l, 6l, 7.5l, 10l, 12l light). Symmetrical DIN valves will have a lug for best practice. The pressure regulators usually have a short (more practical) manometer and a direct system that run along the block, the second stages have their hoses that pass behind the neck and can be equipped with 90 ° or 120 ° elbow to improve comfort. A good configuration in sidemount is clean and pretty to see under water, we try to remove all that is useless. There is an order also to respect when you equip: the pipe of the emergency regulator is placed last if you want to be able to assist a team-mate. All these little details make the difference between modern sidemount, effective, and a semblance of mimicry. But it will be necessary to add to this a control and a good adjustment of its material. Indeed, the regulators will be alternated to balance the pressures in the blocks if one does not dive in mono bottle. Equipping requires adjustment time as well as reading its manometers, giving its emergency regulator, purging its wing, manipulating the bottles under water and managing a second-stage continuous flow. The fine position of the rings on the harness is not invented as well as the way to use the elastic of the harness or the positioning straps and carabiners on the bottles which must be in the axis of the points of attachment (lugs in But variants do exist). This is done to make them quarter turn inwards so that they stay aligned along the body and that the first stages of the regulators are under the armpits. So that they are protected from the environment with the manometers and valves of accessible faucets, it is necessary to make a loop around the neck of the taps with the elastic which will come to be locked on the spur. So there is a right bottle and a left that must be recognized. You will understand, although not hard to understand and manage (2 to 4 days are enough to have the basics) and seem so easy to implement when you see a good diver sidemount under water , This configuration can not be improvised.
We hope you have a bit of insight into the sidemount practice. If you are not already trained, do not hesitate to get closer to a recognized instructor in the divers community for a quality training. This time spent despite the cost will ensure you a certain energy saving compared to the option of learning by yourself in its corner. Beware of the pseudo-qualified, non-experienced trainers who surf the wave of the sidemount because of its popularization. We encourage you to check the feedback of previous students as it is possible to do it for example on our site.
The Click-Dive team, a dedicated diving reservation site, wishes you a wonderful dive.
Pictures of Yannig CHARLES