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Aida Rules - I'm confused?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Aug 9, 2002
I've just been on the Aida site and have been looking at the equipment rules and I have a question I'm hoping someone can answer. It seems there are three different sets of rules for different types of comps: Team comps, individual comps & individual meets. The rules vary quite significantly concerning the equipment that is allowed to be used. As someone who can not equalise hands free why do the rules vary so much around the use of noseclips etc?
We could argue about the reasoning, but competitors at a competition must all use "off the rack" masks that have air in them. The theory I have heard is that it increases safety by limiting the depths that competitors dive to. Tell that to Marten and Herbert. Competitions should encourage depths, not restrict them.
I don't like the restriction because I believe that the limitation goes against the basic competitive ethic: to strive and achieve. AIDA's rebuttal might be that anyone who really wants to go deep can do it in a record attempt with no restrictions.
In theory it keeps costs down for gasses and deep divers necessary, but I don't think it makes that much difference in a comp.

Erik Y.
The mask rule does not limit the depth (as Herbert did 94m w/mask just as easily as 95m w/o). All it does is increase the chance of blowing your eardrums (like happened to Herbert in Cyprus). With a nose clip you can concentrate on your ears. With the mask, you must focus on both equalizing the mask and your ears, and sometimes one of the two lags behind, resulting in either exploded blood vessels in the eyes, or busted eardrums and 5% lost hearing forever.

The old reason was also to make sure the athlete could 'see' where he was going (as opposed to diving with no mask), to make sure he wouldn't LOSE THE LINE.

However, now that LANYARDS are MANDATORY, the diver AIN'T GOING NOWHERE, so it seems fair to let him dive without a mask.

The next vote on this rule is early January. We'll see what happens.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
As for the rules varying between one type of event to another (team, individual), I believe AIDA's original intention was to not to have variations on many accounts, but it's difficult to maintain three or four different documents at the same time. Last I've heard is that for 2004, AIDA is working on putting all documents (records, individual competitions, team competitions, etc.) into one book for simplicity and better understanding. But of course that too is a lot of paper work.

Chris Engelbrecht, Copenhagen
Thanks guys for the responses. As someone who can't equalise hands free with a normal mask it seems that the current rules are unfairly biased towards those that can! EF, as there is an AIDA vote on this topic in January is there anything we can do to help the 'right ' decision being made? :)

The problem I have with the reasons given in this thread are:

1. Limit the depth - well that's not the case as Eric said
2. Off the shelf equip - well that doesn't make sense as you can use whatever you like for static
3. See where you are going - lanyards and the fact that many divers dive with their eyes closed seems to negate this

Under the intent of the current rules why can't I do the following . Use an off the shelf mask and a nose clip and use a tube to my mouth to equalise the mask. Surely that would meet even the intent of the current rules? Bit too much gear for my liking but at least it would give me hands free equalising while using (only slightly modified) off the shelf equipment?
Nose clips are not allowed, and you can't modify the mask.

It seems that almost everyone wants freedom of equipment, but each year the vote is in favor of the non-modified mask and no nose clips.

The reason, I think, is that the AIDA vote is done by the representative of each AIDA affiliate country. Many of the AIDA affiliate countries are very small, remote countries, and few of the AIDA countries actually 'query' their diving members on what their country should vote. I have spoken with many divers who say that they wish for freedom of equipment, but their AIDA representative 'voted' without their consent, without much knowledge of the real situation.

So, to change the rules you would need to contact the AIDA representative from each of the 30 countries and try to explain that the old reasons don't exist anymore.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
I second to that. Look up your national representative on www.aida-international.org and agitate your case towards him/her (in a mature fashion, obviously, to help your case). It has to work on some level.

I too favour freedom of equipment, also because I think it would benefit the development of manufacturers and businesses and that can only benefit the game. I follow the somewhat sentimental argument for keeping restrictions, but all in all, I think the removal of restrictions is inevitable.

Chris Engelbrecht, Copenhagen
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