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DIR and Freediving

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Tech (style) diving and Freediving - Do you do both?

  • DIR-trained, and freedive

    Votes: 7 25.0%
  • Tech/Cave trained, and freedive

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Hogarthian diver (non-DIR), and freedive

    Votes: 6 21.4%
  • None of the above, but I both scuba dive and freedive

    Votes: 9 32.1%
  • Freedive only, I'm just here for the scuba info

    Votes: 3 10.7%
  • Scuba only - I'm just here for the freediving info

    Votes: 3 10.7%

  • Total voters


Underwater Tourist
Jun 5, 2003
I'm just curious - given that this venue is devoted primarily to freediving - yet I see a reasonable mount of activity in the Scuba and Techical Diving areas.

So, how many of you are DIR-trained, tech trained (include Cave and Tech) or neither but dive Hog-rigged, yet still freedive? Would you consider yourselves freedivers who scuba dive as well, or scuba divers who freedive on the side?
I voted DIR trained and freedive - and to start off discussion, I try to split my time equally between both pursuits, but have to admit it's far easier to find a scuba buddy (even if not DIR trained) than a freedive buddy. I really try to behave myself and avoid solo freediving ("Hi, I'm FreeFloat, and it has been 2 months since my last solo freedive.....") so that puts me in teh water more often on compressed air than not.

Sorry if the poll is a little long - I wanted to make sure pretty much anyone who reads this could find something that applies to them.
Hey freefloat,

I have scubadove since 12yo, but for the last couple of years have been quite devoted to freediving & now spearfishing. Much more so than scuba. I do like some of the DIR stuff for scuba. Not the radical dogma, but the simplicity & elimination of non-essential gear thinking I like. I dive a modified DIR rig (I use long hose for primary, necklace secondary, backplate, d-ring placement, no hose protectors etc.) for scuba because it is the closest thing to freediving simplicity.

I add some of my own twists like a single 80 cu ft HP PST tanks & recently closed heel fins with neoprene socks. With a very small tank, well fitted wing and the power of closed heel fins the drag on this rig is so minimal. I absolutely fly through the water. It is so much smoother under the water than anything I have used before. I only have done nitrox certs, but eventually will do more tech stuff & be forced to strap on some doubles. For now though this hybrid diving works for me. I hope I won't stir up any DIR hardcores by saying this.

There is no question though, when left with a choice when I am heading to the lake - I reach for the gearbag with the freedive gear and speargun on top. So I guess that makes me a freediver who scuba dives as well.
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Reactions: FreeFloat
Originally posted by feign
I dive a modified DIR rig (I use long hose for primary, necklace secondary, backplate, d-ring placement, no hose protectors etc.) for scuba because it is the closest thing to freediving simplicity.

That sounds like the essence of Hogarthian rigging - take only what you truly need, and keep it to a very minimalist configuration.

It would seem to me (part of the reason for this poll) that most freedivers couldn't put up with the typical dangly-laden mess of gear that most recreational scuba divers insist on taking with them.... Opinions anyone?
I think you are right about that. Also, (my limited perspective) I have noticed that it seems like the only dedicated scuba guys that really show any interest or appreciation in the freediving ways are the DIR ones. Maybe this is because they relate to the minimalist view or possibly just that they are the type in love with the water enough to look past the bubbles.
I've noticed that there's more than just the minimalist thing - yes I think disdain for excessive amounts of gear is part of it, but I figure freediving is about 80% psychological (actually I figure ALL diving is, but I digress) and about 20% knowing your own body intimately. That's where DIR, with its emphasis on physical health and conditioning, draws yet another parallel to freediving.

I can't think of any freedivers who smoke or abuse their bodies (other than during training) can you?
Here's me.....


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DIR and Hogarthian are the same. Same principals. Very good read on The Deco Stop from Lamar English and Bill Gavin regarding some of these issues.
BTW, I am a DIR/Hogarthian trimix diver, before there was a GUE. I started diving a back plate-wing (at-pac) in 1978 and when I started tech diving switched over to a SS back plate for consistency between my double rig and rec rig. Only alteration I have made is with respect to the single tank adapter. I find that the 11” spread for the bands is fine for doubles but not the most comfortable for singles. I drilled an additional hole in my back plate 8” from the bottom hole and cut a diverite adapter into two, I like the tank lower on my back.
DIR and Hogarthian are not the same, if you read all the blurb. Hogarthian is the setup, whereas DIR is the setup, the fitness, the health etc. etc. DIR also has some different methodologies, all of which have been worked out through years of extreme cave and wreck dives.

I dive a hogarthian rig, I also frog kick most of the time, but I smoke sometimes, don't do much fitness work, and love having far too many beers :D , so I would not say I am 'properly' DIR. However, what I find refreshing is the way they have got a system that works no matter what dive you do, from cave to wreck to rec.
Thats why I always use a SS backplate and wing (Unless I have open Water students. When I do an advanced open water, I wear my full rig, and when they ask about it I try to explain to them why I use it, and they all think it makes perfect sense, a few have even bought BP and wings because they like the very clean minimalist look, as opposed to the christmas tree look of most instructors.

As to freediving, which this thread is about, I would like to do it, but I am 1 hr from the coast, and when I get there I want to do a 'proper' dive. I have tried it once or twice (6m MAX!! but it was the bottom of the pond:t ) and the feeling was very nice, scarily quiet though.

I am not 'officially' tech trained through one of the agencies :naughty (I have SSI and PADI Eanx), rather, I dive with some very experienced divers, one of who is a trimix inspiration instructor. Although the yellow box of death (Buddy Desperation) is something I don't ever want to die on, I mean use. Although next year I will be doing GUE fundies and tech 1 :D (have to give up the fags first).
Having 'hung out' with both tech divers and freedivers for years, I believe that there is a hybrid diving method which hasn't been exploited. The dive style is seen in underwater finswimming competitions; namely, using pony bottle, held with both hands in front of the body (in a streamline position), with a single regulator; otherwise you are freediving with a monofin (i.e. no BC or anything). You can cover ground super fast (extreme speed of > 2m/s), so even though you only have a 10-minute air supply, you would have the freedom of a freedive, with a bottom area coverage of a scuba diver. With simplicity. Ascending at a controlled rate with a safety stop would take some skill and proper weighting (and breath-control, of course).

The short dive time would allow very thin wetsuits to be used, or even no wetsuit (a 10-minute dive can be done in 45F/8C with no wetsuit, with practice). This would minimize buoyancy shifts and maximize freedom of movement.

Even in the case of a regulator or air supply failure, a free ascent would be a joke, with no gear and a monofin; if the depth were not extreme, DCS wouldn't be much of an issue.
Interesting. I like it. Could be a good way to check out possible marks from a sonar, rather than have to put on all your kit, just hop over and have a look.

Only thing with a monofin, do they kick up the bottom much, I imagine they would be throwing silt etc. all over the place.
I didn't know what a "Hogarthian diver" was, so I just clicked "None of the above, but I both scuba dive and freedive"

But reading the comments, I may fit more to the Hogarthian diver than just a scuba diver.
To me, less is more.

I scuba dive with: Submarine 5mm FD suit, Scubapro Master Pro (with the continious air jacked), a 15L tank (I like to change to a 10L these days) MK14+R190 and Scubapro EDI dive computer, Cressi HF2000 closed heal longfins in socks and no weightbelt or other weights :D

This year I made only two Scuba dives, by far the lowest number in 11 years because of my lack of funds and car. I made numerous freedives though.

And for sure freediving has changed my scubadiving. To me I'm much more diving on feelings, go with the flow of the sea, know how deep I am while not looking at meters etc. Even less breathing, and more constand breathing than before, therefor seeing more fish, if I have a silent buddy. BTV is also cool to do.
In all Scuba diving has become much more Free.


apart from that one's pretty immovable using a mono. Plus, Scuba for me mainly isn't about rushing through an underwater landscape but hanging around, looking at stuff etc. .

I'm (sort of - Fundamentals) DIR-trained and started Freediving about one and a half years ago. I think its both unique and very special - I love both and wouldn't want to stop doing either of it. Unfortunately I can't practise both equally often since it simply is a matter of time. So last summer I mainly did freediving stuff with very very little time on SCUBA (non-DIR habit, actually :( ). Now that it gets colder my freediving buddies tend to refuse getting in the water :waterwork so it's time to get the drysuit and the tanks out and call my SCUBA buddies more often...

How often are you Scuba+Freediving guys in the water, approx. ?

Sean, you need to read the article I suggested. The “years of extreme dives…” you speak of were conducted by the developers of the Hogarthian system (Main, Gavin, English, Exley…). DIR is simply a way to market Hogarthian without giving credit to the developer. Also, if you followed the arguments on the different forums during the early 90’s you will realized that the term DIR was used to define Hogarthian vs. the systems than being used by a large fraction of the “tech” divers, personal preference.
Although please understand, I am not saying one is better or worse or different, this is just for historical reference. I received my trimix cert before there was a GUE (but was in the development) and my mix instructor (and now my friend and dive buddy since) was one of the original GUE instructors and a WKPP diver. The funny thing is, what was considered “DIR” in 1997 (by the founding members) has changed over the years and has been a progression (as much as they would hate to admit it), I know because I dove with most of these people in the ocean during DIR’s formation. The whole “zen” stuff came later, it was just obvious than that you did not want to get into the water and do a 260’ wreck dive with a buddy that was out of shape, overweight and a smoker, that is why we (I) gravitated to those teaching a “better” way. My first day of mix class my instructor held up the IANTD book (which I was later certified through) and stated its garbage and we proceed to go though it for examples on how not to do it. My only advice to you, QUIT SMOKING, that is way more important than the way you rig your tank!
I know, I really should give up. I only tend to smoke when I am out for a drink, therefore I do all my sins in one hit, beer, cigarettes, kebabs etc. I never smoke or drink the night before I go out on the boat, and if I have a big dive on, I abstain for 2-3 days before, also taking on lots of fluids.

RE the early 90's thing, bit before my time, I am only 23, but have a couple hundred dives (only a few on trimix though), most in toughish English conditions.

I hear what you say about dodgy dive buddies, I have had occasions where I did it solo because the guy on the boat was a complete numpty, and I didn't want to deal with his problems underwater. Good job really, even though he had 50+dives, turns out he sucked his air like a horse. 20 mins on a 20m deep wreck!!
The pony bottle and the monofin...what kind of depths are you guys thinking of?
I'm a DIR and Freediver also. When on the west coast of canada I found it easier to find freedive buddies so did a lot of that. Now, it seems easier to find DIR buddies so hopefully I'll be able to split my time more evenly.
I think the main difference between "DIR" and "Hogarthian" is that, as already stated, DIR is the entire "holistic" system. The fitness, the dive planning, the gear, the emphasis on constant reinforcement of basic skills, the dive style (finkicks etc) and most especially the whole concept of "team" diving, which is so sorely lacking in typical recreational diving - whereas "Hogarthian" diving is just the gear, and perhaps some of the team aspects. Hog diving is also, to my understanding, more 'forgiving' of individual variations in gear, dive style, etc than true DIR is (thus earning DIR's strictest adherents the labels "zealots", "Kool-Aid drinkers" and less savory terms as well)

Myself - I'm DIR-trained (Fundamentals) and while I can appreciate and agree with 99% of the DIR philosophy, I tend to describe myself as "DIR-like" or "DIR-ish" as there are a few things I do that are decidedly non-DIR. Fresh from Fundies I was as brainwashed as any newly painted "DIR" diver into thinking that "DIR is it" and that there was no other style of diving that was as safe or "correct" - but in talking and diving with other far far more experienced divers who are not DIR I have come to the conclusion that while DIR is a huge leap in the right direction, it may simply not be the be-all and end-all of good diving. In other words there are other "ways" of diving that can be just as safe. Yes they share some aspects of DIR, but they deviate as well in some minor ways.

One of the ways in that I am not very DIR is that I can, will and have solo dived, both on scuba and free.... sometimes more "same-ocean buddy" and on occasion much more blatant than that. As far as I'm concerned it's all about mitigating risk, and what a diver's individual comfort level and acceptable risk levels are.
Hi All,
I tek dive and freedive but I can't say my style for one follows over to the other. W/ freediving KISS is a neccesity, or you'll just wear yourself out. I spearfish while freediving and try to make everything streamlined,quite and as minimal as possible.
Tek diving on the otherhand, I'm going down there to do something. A lot of my tek diving is for work doing any number of things. There are times I bail off the boat w/ an additional 80cft tank(in addition to my two deco bottles), two or three additional lift bags bungeed in, measureing tapes, a pry bar and hammer. I'm sorry but trying to say that all your bottles on one side or non- bungeed wings will make you more streamlined and safer is bull. W/ tek gear you're about the most unhydrodynamic thing in the water.
I do not prescribe to the DIR philosphy. I've dove on projects with several DIR/GUE members and yes they have a system that works(for them). But to say that's the only right way is pompus and arrogant. I believe you should use the method that works best for your situation and mission. I'm sorry but one size doesn't fit all.
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