I would love to hear your thoughts in regards to DIR diving philosophy... parallel and differences from vintage scuba diving. Their idea in terms of hardware focus on ‘avoiding points of failure’... which to me is a distillate from cave diving, as well as their approach to gear redundancy: spare masks, smb and their reservation to the use of dive computers.
Okay, i'm really game for this one. I have thought about the DIR philosophy for diving, and find that there are some real contradictions between that and vintage diving. For one, they introduce many, many more single failure points by their gear selection. Vintage divers, diving a Mistral single stage regulator on a single tank with a J-valve have many fewer points of failure than do DIR divers. Every time you introduce redundancy, you also introduce more failure points, and a greater likelihood of one of them failing. The Mistral regulator has only 6 moving parts (diaphragm, two levers, pin, seat and spring). The likelihood of any one of them failing is extremely remote, to the point that Cousteau used a triple tank system with only the Mistral regulator on 300+ foot dives on the Brittanic.
But, their take on the long hose is actually a pretty good idea. I have incorporated this long hose on two different regulator combinations, and sometimes use it. I also have one regulator that I hope sometime to dive with DIR folks, just to get their reaction. It is an original Calypso, with the original Calypso second stage on a long hose. It has a splitter on the first stage, with a LP hose for my BCD, and an octopus, which is a second generation Calypso second stage, with neck strap, for my backup octopus. This regulator came from the early 1960s, and so is now some 60 years old. But the DIR folks could not fault it at all, as it incorporates their way of diving. I used it on several dives, including one where I ultimately helped out a crashed jet boat (another story entirely).
For those vintage divers who don't know, DIR stands for "Doing It Right," and comes to us from the cave diving community. They have a specification on gear, that requires that the main regulator be on a very long hose, and that the octopus be on a shorter hose. If someone has a immediate emergency out-of-air situation, (s)he is trained to come to the buddy diver, and simply grab the second stage out of the mouth of the buddy diver, or (if more polite) to ask for that second stage. Because it's on a long hose, it can easily be shared, and the buddy can then simply put the octopus second stage into his or her mouth, purge it and start breathing again. The primary second stage typically goes under the divers right arm, around him or her, over the divers back, and hangs down on the right side when not in use, or into his/her mouth when in use. Because of the look, the receiving diver can pull it up over the giving diver's head, and have the full 6-8 feet of hose to work with. It actually is a pretty good system.
But I decided to test the system with my modified original Calypso regulator. Here's the regulator:
IMG_1824 by John Ratliff, on Flickr Note the "T" on the LP outlet, with the primary original Calypso second stage going down, and the octopus (second generation Calypso) coming around the right side.
I'm going to have to figure out a better method than the neck strap, as I found out the neck strap had deteriorated and broke. I'll probably simply clip the octopus to my vest or another place to keep it close to my mouth.
Anyway, I'd be curious about what a DIR diver would think of this configuration. If they asked about the original Calypso, I'd tell them that Hannes Keller took it to just over 1,000 feet on an open water dive in the 1960s.
Thanks for expanding on this topic, John. I love your Calypso configuration. I had the same thought when I looked at the first stage and the slightly angled port. Very convenient. I’m planning to put together a DIR long hose (primary donate) configuration using a more modern/lightweight Conshelf SE2 so it’s travel-friendly and see how it goes. That being said, I love my Conshelf XIV second stages... practically indestructible. We’ll see.
For my single hose set (Conshelf 1st, SP109 primary, Conshelf 1085 alternate), I use a variation of the DIR "long hose" configuration. My primary is on a 40 inch hose that runs under my right arm and has a 90 degree elbow at the reg (this gives a very natural routing with no pull on the reg) and my alternate is on a 20 inch hose and bungee necklace hanging under my chin. I have done practice donation with it, and the 40 inch hose is a bit better than the "standard" 30 to 36 inch, in terms of comfortable space from the receiving diver. Regardless of hose length, I find primary donate to be easier all the way around. I've seen lots of alternates popped out of holders, dangling, etc... But with primary donate I always know precisely where both second stages are. But in the end, it's about what works for the individual.
A while back Charlie gave me some hoses that are for USD BCD's, the bayonet type. I was thinking how good they'd be for making them into octo hoses for my HW-gear: I'd need to cut the special end off and replace it with a regular male end. How funny would it be to have a DIR Scuba Star or original Scubair,
DIR is difficult with a double hose regulator, even those modified to have the LP hose outlets. On my last dive last year, I elected to allow the longer hose (not DIR length though) to dangle. Usually I could keep it between my legs, but sometimes it came out. In this video you can see it getting caught on the old SUV wreck at High Rocks on the Clackamas River.
My Para-Sea BCD had a special pocket for my octopus. It was always there, and accessible from a special four-point Velcroed pocket cover.
As you can see, having the octopus dangling with a double hose regulator causes problems. I have an attachment that allows me to attach it to a shoulder strap, and other regulators have a neck strap, but the neck strap is difficult for others to use. The shoulder strap attachment simply plugs into the mouthpiece and can be dislodged easily.
Hi H, I’m a little late to this one but maybe I can offer a different perspective. I took my first GUE class back in 2003, so I’ve been “”DIR” for quite a while now.
DIR is much more than just the equipment configuration. It’s good buoyancy, good fin technique, good trim, solid buddy/team skills, high safety focus and maintaining a decent level of physical fitness. To me, the equipment config is the least important, but it’s the one that most unfamiliar divers focus on, because it’s the one they can see.
I’d rather dive with someone who has good in-water skills, a mindset for safety and fitness while wearing a stab jacket and diving a short hose, than someone who’s an underwater train wreck wearing a DIR configuration.
So, can you dive a double hose and still be DIR? Not in purist circles, but overall I think so. DIR incorporates a configuration for a rebreather and it’s essentially the same thing. That’s how I set up my double hose, Openwater rig and it works very well. I’ll see if I can scrounge up some pictures here in a bit.
Ok, here’s a photo of my Argonaut Kraken set up. if you look at the blue arrow you’ll see that the long-hose routes behind my right shoulder and then tucks under my light canister which is out of view. Once under the canister it then runs up across my chest (red arrow) and then behind my neck. After it passes my neck, it runs over my right shoulder and the 2nd stage clips to my right shoulder harness D-ring (yellow arrow) with a stainless steel bolt snap. Between the bolt snap and the 2nd stage is a magnetic breakaway.
If there’s a failure of the double hose 2nd stage, I reach down, break the magnetic connection and breathe the long hose 2nd stage. If a buddy has an out of air emergency, in one smooth motion I take the long-hose 2nd stage in my right hand and break the magnetic connection, remove the double hose from my mouth and lift the “loop” over my head with my left hand. I then duck my head down and pass the long hose 2nd stage off with my right hand while reinserting the double hose mouth piece back in my mouth with the left hand. I then clear the exhaust hose and we’re back in business. It might sound complex but the whole procedure takes about two seconds.
I got a DIR-F (fundamentals) cert in the early 2000's when it was the rage on Scubaboard. My perspective is pretty much like Aquala1's. For what the techniques were developed for I believe it's a great technique. It was developed for very technical diving, cave, extreme depths and wreck penetration. The problem that came with it was to yoyos that drank way too much of the DIR coolaid and became what we referred to as DIR-F"ed". They became religious fanatics that refused to dive with anyone not fully decked out in "proper" DIR gear, often times walking up to strangers and telling them they were "strokes" (I forget exactly what that meant but basically a dangerous person) and were going to die if they didn't repent and get the proper gear. My biggest issue with DIR folks is what I consider an unrealistic conformity on gear. There is a standard and to be DIR, you had to have all the same gear, all the time and everyone had to be identical. The logic is in a stressful situation knowing exactly how your buddies gear is laid out is critical and I completely understand this in a lights out cave situation. The problem I have with it is they feel the gear has to be the same on all dives. I understand the long hose and a bunch of redundant gear deep in a cave but come on, is it necessary in 30 ft over a tropical reef with 5 buddies close by? I don't think so.
Now, on the other side of the coin, the diving skills that they teach and require you to pass before getting a DIR cert ( many do not pass the first attempt) are great. A DIR trained diver (who laid off the coolaid) is a pleasure to dive with. Dead on bouyancy, great trim, perfect weighting and proper finning that does not silt up the place. Buddy techniques are spot on, you can pretty much depend on them to be where they should be. The training is hard but the skills I were taught have helped me a lot when I started vintage diving, spot on weighting, bouyancy and propper finning are the same reguardless of the type of diving.