More than 300 curious divers turned out to the event at the YMCA Family Aquatic Center in Orlando for the chance to see, talk about and try out the latest in tec diving and rebreather technology from a dozen innovative brands.
Technical diving has always seemed a bit out of reach for me — too complicated, too difficult, too risky. But my mind has been seriously changed thanks to PADI’s recent Tec Xplor Days, a series of three events offering divers the chance to sample the latest in tec diving gear and rebreather technology in a safe, controlled — and free — environment.
Held in Seacaucus, New Jersey, in March, Rancho Santa Margarita, California, in June and most recently in Orlando, Florida, on Nov. 6, Tec Xplor Days presented divers with “test diving” opportunities not available at any single location, anywhere. Seminars by PADI pros, including Chief Operating Officer Dr. Drew Richardson and Karl Shreeves, PADI Technical Diving Division Director of Decompression Diving, informed guests about the latest Tec Rec training. And the camaraderie flowed like an ocean current.
In a single day, I was able to try the new tec lines from Scuba Pro and IST Dolphin Tech, experience sidemount diving with rigs by Hollis, and learn what it’s like to breathe without bubbles on rebreathers by Poseidon, rEvo, Silent Diving and Titan Dive Gear. Other brands represented at the events include Apeks, Suunto, Dive Rite, DUI, Fourth Element, Halcyon, KISS Rebreathers, Liquidvision, O’Three, Shearwater Research, TUSA and VR Technology. The nearly eight hours I spend in the pool was a mind-expanding experience. And now I’m chomping at the bit to dig into PADI’s new Tec Rec courses. Check padi.com for info on where and when the 2012 Tec Xplore Days will be held. And here’s a photo gallery from the Orlando event to whet your appetite.