YoungCAVintageDiver
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First Name: Cody

Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:51 pm

Hello Everyone!
I am a young (28 year old) enthusiast from Los Angeles, CA and new to the hobby of vintage scuba and scuba as a whole. Probably like most, I got drawn in watching Sea Hunt and Thunderball.
Thanks to the help of Bryan of VDH and Robert of The Scuba Museum, I acquired a rebuilt Voit Navy regulator with new hoses and a Healthways Gold Label that was barely used. My local scuba shop even set me up with a 1960's Healthways 72 tank and is getting it hydro'd for me.
My question is are there any instructors or enthusiasts in the southern California area that can instruct me in scuba and help me get certified? Of course all the local dive shops only specialize in new techniques and new gear...I'd like to learn the old way with the gear I've already accumulated.
My goals are to get certified so I can do beach diving with a buddy off of Laguna Beach, CA in the shallows (20-30 feet), nothing crazy.
Thank you for your time and help!

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ScubaLawyer
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First Name: Mark
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Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:32 pm

YoungCAVintageDiver wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:51 pm
My question is are there any instructors or enthusiasts in the southern California area that can instruct me in scuba and help me get certified? Of course all the local dive shops only specialize in new techniques and new gear...I'd like to learn the old way with the gear I've already accumulated.


IMHO, not gonna happen. Get certified using modern gear and techniques, get lots of experience with that, then look at transitioning into vintage gear and techniques. My 2psi.
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

YoungCAVintageDiver
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Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:06 pm
First Name: Cody

Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:20 pm

Good Afternoon Mark! :D
I had a feeling that might be the case, but no matter. Beach Cities Scuba looks like the best option for me, their classes are reasonable and they offer the option of doing the open water dives at Shaw's Cove (one of the dive sites I'd like to try my gear out at when the time comes). I'll shoot you an email a little later on!

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rhwestfall
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Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:31 pm

Maybe you folks do stuff differently on the left coast.... On this side, it would not be possible... As said above, get certified under current programs, get comfortable diving, and then explore your passion if it is still burning. This stuff just isn't taught anymore (with minor exceptions like Ron up in Washington? - I'm not even sure he can do an O/W, I think it is a "Specialty").
Bob

No Longer Awaiting my Kraken.....

h2operations
Lung Diver
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First Name: Paul
Location: Coronado CA

Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:50 pm

They are offering you IMHO sound advice. Get the basics then some experience then seek out knowledge. On the other hand you are not too old to join the Navy. LOL

My 1/2 Penny's worth

YoungCAVintageDiver
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Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:06 pm
First Name: Cody

Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:56 pm

Thank you all for your sound advice, I was a little beyond my depth (pun intended :lol: ) when it comes to vintage gear training. I actually will be taking my course with the local scuba shop (Ocean Safari in San Gabriel, CA) come spring. The managers of the shop have been very helpful and even set me up with a vintage 1960's 72 tank and got it hydro'd and inspected for a reasonable fee. They even threw in a Voit J valve and extra US Divers J valve for free and topped it to 100 psi to test my Voit Navy out. Would be a shame not to give them the business after they have done so much to help me out, they didn't even scoff at me wanting to use vintage gear (they thought it was cool!).

h2operations
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First Name: Paul
Location: Coronado CA

Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:35 pm

Cody,
You may want to play the lottery. It is uncommon to get that kind of responseon Vintage gear from an LDS. Thank you for sharing sounds like a place to put on the friendly list.

YoungCAVintageDiver
Diver
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:06 pm
First Name: Cody

Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:12 pm

I think I'm going to go buy a ticket tonight! :D Absolutely, I was not expecting that kind of response from them, I was surprised they even kept the old stuff around. Checking out there local ratings, they are the highest rated dive shop in my area (the San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County). I'm certainly going to keep them on my friendly list. I don't know if that courtesy will extend to the local dive boat operators they use, but my main plan is to do beach dives and shore dives from Catalina (Casino Point). For boats I'll need to wait to invest in a Kraken or Phoenix conversion for my Navy or a DA Aquamaster

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Herman
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Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:00 am

Welcome to the board, please ask any questions you have, there is a ton of experienced DH divers happy to help.

Since you are not yet certified, this is what I would suggest.
First, get your OW cert from a good instructor and learn modern diving. After you get our cert, do some modern diving....which you could do with older single hose gear. SP MK-2, 5 and 10s are fairly inexpensive and solid regs. Or find a USD/AL Conself or Titan. They are basically RAMs in single hose form. If you are diving DH, sooner or later you will want to service them yourself, starting with a Conshelf or Titan is a good way to get familiar with the USD/Voit line of regs. If you are going to be buying a BC, keep DH diving in mind. Modern BC's don't play well with DH regs (any DH reg including the AK, a little research will reveal why ) but a BC designed for DH use (Bryan's back plate and wing are a perfect choice ) work perfectly fine with a modern reg. If you run across a older kit with say a Conshelf and a good BC for a good price, nothing wrong with starting with that but if buying new, you might as well get something that will work well in both worlds.

Next find a great buoyancy instructor and take one or 2 buoyancy classes ,different classes with different agencies is not a bad idea, hopefully one of them will be a great instructor. Great (not just passable ) buoyancy is critical to DH diving since almost none of the DH regs have LP ports so you won't have a BC to depend on. Once you get comfortable modern diving, I suggest you start practicing your buoyancy skills with full modern gear but with a vintage mindset. What I mean by that is this, kit up normally but try to dive without using the LP inflator- hooked up and ready to go but just don't touch it. Strip all the air out of your BC and do the entire dive with PROPER weighting (which is sadly never really taught) and breath control (again, never taught) . Most modern divers don't believe it can be done, I actually had an instructor tell me it was not possible to dive without a BC....I so love buzzing his OW classes with a DH reg and NO BC. If things don't go well during you vintage simulation, you can always revert to modern diving and sort things out. Once you feel very comfortable diving this way, you can move on to a DH reg. This is another reason to use a VDH BC, you can simply remove the bladder, dive it old school and still keep familiar feel.
Between now and then, take the opportunity to learn as much as you can. read old post here, read old diving books, study the service manuals of any and all regs. There are a few good videos of DH diving on youtube (and some BAD ones ) . The Seahunt remembered videos in Silver Springs are a great example, most of the guys and gals you will see in those videos are members of this board. ....Oh, and no there is not nearly as many knife and speargun fights in real vintage diving.....but there are times. :)
Herman

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:51 am

Aspire to vintage scuba and you will find treasure :)

Image
Photo of me taken by Gene Page, March 2019
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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simonbeans
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First Name: Allan
Location: Rochester NY

Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:25 pm

I am in full compliance with what is said so far. Get open water certified with modern gear and then do the vintage thing. Some of us old guys and gals started when vintage was modern. And as a result we were taught to achieve bouyancy via proper weighting and depth control.
This image of a friend was taken at Sea Hunt II, in 2011. She had never dove a double hose nor without a BC. In fact she is rebreather trained and is adept with all the modern gear. So when she wanted to dive vintage, we set her up with the proper gear for Sea Hunt and weighted her based on depth, suit, and body characteristics. And she was amazed how easy it was to have perfect bouyancy using only breath control. But the key was, I think, her previous experience diving and her understanding how using your lungs can affect her bouyancy.
Image
Check out my website: www.vintagescubastuff.com

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Ron
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Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:21 pm

Hi,

I agree with what everyone else already said. If you have an open water card and good buoyancy, I'll teach you a vintage class if you ever want one.

We do all the things. Pool work, underwater swim, ditch and don, treading water with a weight, diving only using a J valve and SAC rate, diving with a double hose, diving without a BC, etc.

I travel a lot for work so I could always work something out potentially. I don't teach classes in California.

We only use actual vintage gear. Steel 72s, J valves, weight belts, old style masks, old style fins, depth gauges, double hoses (or vintage single hose if you like), etc. I have enough gear for 5 divers.

You must have your own exposure protection. We only dive wet.

Get about 50 or so dives under your belt, be in reasonable shape, know how to swim 500 yards, and let me know if you want a challenge. It's not an easy class. If your open water class is like a 5K this is more like a half marathon.

It's sort of military-esque and you get a cool certificate and to tell your buddies that someone from the service harrassed you in a pair of very small shorts. We do PT and drink beer. We tell lies. Sometimes shit explodes.
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

swimjim
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Location: Belgium WI

Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:01 pm

Ron wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:21 pm
Hi,

I agree with what everyone else already said. If you have an open water card and good buoyancy, I'll teach you a vintage class if you ever want one.

We do all the things. Pool work, underwater swim, ditch and don, treading water with a weight, diving only using a J valve and SAC rate, diving with a double hose, diving without a BC, etc.

I travel a lot for work so I could always work something out potentially. I don't teach classes in California.

We only use actual vintage gear. Steel 72s, J valves, weight belts, old style masks, old style fins, depth gauges, double hoses (or vintage single hose if you like), etc. I have enough gear for 5 divers.

You must have your own exposure protection. We only dive wet.

Get about 50 or so dives under your belt, be in reasonable shape, know how to swim 500 yards, and let me know if you want a challenge. It's not an easy class. If your open water class is like a 5K this is more like a half marathon.

It's sort of military-esque and you get a cool certificate and to tell your buddies that someone from the service harrassed you in a pair of very small shorts. We do PT and drink beer. We tell lies. Sometimes shit explodes.
Way cool! If I was even close to 28, I'd be all over that! Especially the drinking beer and s**t exploding part!

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Ron
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Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:48 pm

SwimJim if you ever wanted the class I'd get up to the Great Lakes, do the class with you, and then we could eat steaks and drink.

For you I'd even bring the special occasion booze.
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The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

h2operations
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Location: Coronado CA

Re: Newbie Vintage Diver Training

Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:04 pm

Ron,
Are the small shorts a requirement ????

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