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Technical diving at TSD - Why, What and Who?

Why Tec Diving?

  • Have you ever felt that your dive ended too quickly?
  • Run low on air or bottom time too soon?
  • Seen something below you that was too deep?

Sure you have! Almost every diver feels some or all of these things on a regular basis.

Technical diving is a way to go deeper and longer, in the safest way possible. You will learn to use additional equipment, more complex dive planning procedures and new skills underwater.

Tec diving not for everyone - it presents more risk and it requires significantly more effort, discipline and equipment. But some people just want to visit places underwater that relatively few people can and for them it is well worth the effort. Many spectacular, untouched wrecks lie at depths well below 40 meters. Deep reefs have marine life you don’t find in the shallows. Some people enjoy the challenge and focus tec diving requires. Still others love being involved with cutting edge technologies. These reasons make tec diving rewarding.

On Malapascua Island we have plenty of opportunities for great tec dives including our wrecks and the thresher shark and hammerhead dives.

What is Technical Diving?

Tec diving is defined as diving other than conventional commercial or research diving that takes divers beyond recreational scuba diving limits. It includes one or more of the following:

  • Diving beyond 40 metres
  • Required stage decompression
  • Diving in an overhead environment beyond 40 linear metres of the surface
  • Accelerated decompression and or the use of variable gas mixtures during the dive

In technical diving the surface is effectively inaccessible in an emergency, so tec divers use extensive methodologies, technologies and training to manage the added risks. Even with these, however, tec diving admittedly has more risk, potential hazard and shorter critical error chains than does recreational scuba diving.

You will become familiar with new types of diving equipment including twin tanks, stage cylinders, BCD harnesses and backplate, and new regulator configurations. On your dives you may use enriched air (nitrox) and/or trimix (with helium) and the dives involve more complicated dive planning. It is also likely that you will use more than one gas mixture on a dive, so you will learn gas switching procedures. When doing a dive that requires decompression you have a 'ceiling' and should not come to the surface until you have completed required decompression stops.

Tec diving is not for everyone, so before you decide on it, think carefully if it will be for you. Technical diving will push your limits but can be extremely challenging and fulfilling. If you are not sure, you can try an intro to tec with the PADI DSAT Discover Tec Experience or similar. But for those who hear its challenge call, we have a selection of courses to get you started!

Who teaches Technical Diving?

TSD TEC was started by Trevor Holmes, IANTD and PADI Tec Rec Technical Instructor and owner of Thresher Shark Divers. Trevor was trained by some of the most experienced tec divers in South East Asia and technical diving is his passion.

Our head Technical Instructor is Jason Orage. Jason is a PADI Course Director and can teach courses all the way up to Trimix Instructor. Jason is the only PADI TecRec Trimix Instructor Trainer on Malapascua. This rating is held be only a handful of Course Directors worldwide and denotes an extremely high level of diving experience and knowledge.

Jason is a very safety conscious diver and very enthusiastic about the underwater environment. Over the years he has done many thousands of dives and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in various diving conditions and environments ranging from warm, crystal clear tropical waters to very limited visibility with strong currents.

He has earned a great reputation among his students, and has also won awards including the recent prestigious PADI Instructor of the Month, chosen from over 100,000 PADI Professional worldwide!

Says Jason,

"I was certified as a diver in the cold water of Stoney Cove in the UK many years ago. I still remember it as if it was yesterday.  Back then, technical diving was still a very close knit community with very few divers trying it out. But I vividly remember seeing a few people with twin tanks and loads of extra equipment. I was still new to diving but I was very impressed by the cool factor! Not a reason to start technical diving of course, but the seed was planted!

"Whilst working in Thailand I saw people push the limits of their computers and although not especially deep, they would leave the bottom with only a minute or so of no decompression time left on their computers. If they went into deco they would blindly follow their computers until it cleared and they could surface. I knew this was not the right way to do it and I wanted to know more. I remembered those guys back at Stoney Cove and I started to get more interested in technical diving.

"So I did my research and decided to participate in the PADI DSAT Tec Deep programme that allowed me to dive to 50 metres on air. The course was full of theory and from that day I understood what decompression was all about. It’s a science, one that is still not fully understood. Every deep dive is classed as experimental and algorithms are being refined all the time. I realised how enjoyable and relatively safe technical diving can be if fully planned and prepared in the correct manner. I enjoy the planning, the logistics, the gas matching etc. There is much more to a deep dive than the dive itself and this is all part of the lure.

"It wasn’t long until I wanted to know more. I moved into the darker and deeper side of diving, using the devil’s gas, helium, and venturing into the depths of Trimix! More maths, more planning, more logistics. My deepest dive to date is 119.8 metres.

"I then ventured deeper underground. Not deeper in the water but deeper underground: Cave Diving! Some people say it’s the most dangerous sport or adventure in the world. As with all technical dives if you plan your dives correctly, plan for all eventualities and have all the required equipment you can make it home safely. However even with the best rehearsed plans things can still go wrong. This is why Technical Diving isn’t for everyone. If you have the right attitude and enough time to invest it is worth it to be able to go to places that very few people have ever dived. There are some little dived deep wrecks around Malapascua, as well as new sites to be discovered, so come and help me find them!"

Chris Fanning, another very experienced instructor, is also on staff to teach TDI technical courses.

Courses are usually taught one-on-one and so your instructor will take you through your course at your own pace. You will do as many dives as are necessary to master the skills and we will be sure to work patiently with you as you gain your confidence in this exciting new sport!

Our Philosophy

Whatever agency is being taught, all of us at TSD believe in the IANTD philosophy that "individual diver responsibilities are developed through rigorous skill refinement and experience in the water. Vigorous instruction with a strong student/instructor relationship and enhancing a transfer of the diving responsibility to the student, is the essence of our teaching philosophy."

Safety is our main priority. When taught and performed correctly, technical diving is very safe. You can be sure you will get a thorough training with TSD Tec.

A favorite saying of Trevor's is

"Diving courses are paid for, certification is earned."

Everyone who passes a technical course at Thresher Shark Divers has earned it and we will work with you until you are worthy to and can be proud to call yourself a "technical diver."


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