Any PADI/TecRec certification: PADI Master Instructor, PADI TecRec Instructor Trainer and Tec sidemount Instructor trainer up to full Trimix level
Usual Country of residence: Malta/Gozo and freelancing in winter
What is your background and current involvement in diving?
My first dive was in Barbados in 1979, since this day my only aim was to become an Instructor one day. I have been working in several places around the world, training the military, Astronauts (ESA), and slowly making my way as an Instructor Trainer all over the years. In 1993 I opened my first Technical Dive centre “Fantaseatec” and then “Dahab Divers Technical”, both where located in Dahab, Egypt. After a long time in Egypt I decided to take a complete change in location and moved to Malta/Gozo in 2012 where I am running and owning the dive centre “GozoTechnicalDiving”, that has been completely renewed and designed for the Technical diver.
How did you get into tec diving?
I started Technical Diving in 1995 in Switzerland, diving with Rebreathers and working for the company Draeger and Scubashop in Villeneuve, after that did my user levels and Instructor levels up to Instructor trainer.
Do have any specialised areas of interest?
I am interested in all aspects of technical diving, Open circuit (twin-set), Sidemount and Rebreathers, cave diving is also a part that I really love. I believe in order to be a good technical Instructor you need to know all about it and be able to teach it perfectly. All skills at some point can be useful in any type of Technical dive.
What do think the greatest challenges are in this kind of diving?
Technical Diving is not only going deep, the challenges that you will encounter is that you need to manage different mixes, have an irreproachable attitude, be excellent in trim, be precise, able to manage stress in overhead environments, wrecks, be part of a team and be patient. Divers seem to rush in the courses, if you want to become a good technical diver and minimize the risk, it will take time to reach this level, but the challenge is well worth it.
What are the most important attributes of a tec diver for the type of diving you do?
“Attitude” is the first attribute, if you are not serious; don’t show up for a course because you will put other people in danger and yourself. The will to learn more and accept different opinions and techniques, be open minded and not a “Kamikaze”, be able to dive in “Team formation” and keep your gear in perfect condition at any time.
What are the most likely mistakes a tec diver can make in your kind of diving?
The most likely is doing a wrong “gas switch”; this kills most technical divers on O.C.
Not following plan and depth, when the time is over, then it’s OVER. When the depth is reached then STOP.
Dive at your comfort “zone”, nobody that is serious will ever tell you “ Oh you are only Tec40 or Tec45.
In cave diving stick to the rule of thirds or even less, have 3 lights with you, use a continuous guideline and limit your air dives at 30 meters max, if you go deeper then use “Trimix”
In rebreather diving, never become too over-confident in your machine! They do go wrong and will go wrong!
How do you prepare for a demanding technical dive?
For a demanding technical dive you need first of all lots of training, a good planning and have support divers that know what they are doing.
Take time in analysing your gases and marking them properly, double check them, visualize the dive and simulate it once “on land” before doing it with the all team.
What were your best or worst tec diving experiences?
My best Tec dive was for sure a very deep dive, it’s very challenging psychologically and very demanding in gas planning and dive planning, listening to your body how it reacts to decompression and finally after being on the surface for a couple of hours knowing that you are not bent.
My worst tec diving experience was as a safety diver for a world record attempt. At 70 meters depth receiving a sign that one diver is at the bottom and will not surface is something that I wish nobody experience. Knowing that a close friend of yours is lying at the bottom and you can’t do anything is terrible, but you still need to manage the rest of the team’s safety and after 2 and a half hours decompression I came out and could let my feelings go…
Then started the search and recovery that took 45 days…
What influences your selection of dive gear?
Simplicity and quality, definitely it will cost money but deep down you need to have good gear that works!
What kind of person do you want diving in the same team as you?
Responsible persons, passionate divers with attitude and experience.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting into tec diving?
First he should ask himself “why he wants to do become a Tec diver?”
Then start from the basics, trim and basic Technical skills, once this done and once this mastered start with the other courses. Between courses gain more experience by training and diving in Technical configuration. There is no “Zero” to “Hero” in this discipline…training and experience is the “Key”.
Accept to learn new things and techniques every time you go diving.