Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty Course
Imagine trying to take an epic photo of that Mantis Shrimp carefully poking its head out of its hole at Weller’s Rock... you frame it up perfectly but as you’re concentrating on taking the picture you start dropping towards your subject, eventually coming to rest on the sediment kicking up a cloud of silt and frightening your favourite Stomatopod subject back into its lair.
Now imagine you’re diving behind a new dive buddy in a corridor on a fantastic Wreck dive such as the Mikhail Lermontov. So much to see, lit up in front of them in their torchlight. Only they are dragging their fins along the ground behind them, kicking frantically to stay up off the bottom. The result is you get to see silt, and not a lot else.
PADI's Peak Performance Specialty Diver Course is the first step into improving your general dive skills beyond the initial Open Water Certification. There is no secret to what is developed on this course, it all involves buoyancy - adjusting your weighting to an ideal level, and also becoming familiar with the BCDs you use so you know exactly how much air is necessary to maintain neutral buoyancy.
Adjusting weighting is a very important part of diving. As an instructor I see students trying to purposefully dive overweighted because it makes their descents easier, or they have forgotten how to run one of the most simple of skills - the Buoyancy Check - from their PADI Open Water course. From memory if you have completed the Open Water, you’ll know that if you hold a normal breath with an empty BCD you should float at eye level. If you sink like a stone, you’ve got too much lead on. If you dive correctly weighted you’ll notice a remarkable improvement in air consumption. You’ve effectively reduced your body’s resistance in the water, and your hips won’t be dragged down as much as previously. There’ll be less air required on your descents, and you’ll find it much easier to become streamlined and enjoy your dive much more stress free. This is what SCUBA diving is all about - you definitely shouldn’t be battling underwater.
Divers will have learned to master the hover in their PADI Open Water Dive Course, but the PADI Peak Performance Specialty will take it another giant leap further. You'll learn to adjust your weighting and hover in different positions, such as horizontally, and even a heads down hover. With your enhanced hovering ability you’ll soon find out it works out great for keeping at a composed and steady level for taking sharp photos, or fulfilling your Safety Stops efficiently.
You’ll also get to practise various kicking styles underwater. We see a lot of students through here that try swimming too fast, with their arms, and with a fluttering of fins that is particularly inefficient. If you want to improve your air consumption and the enjoyment of the dive make sure that you are neutrally buoyant and then your kicking technique should essentially be a couple of long slow kicks, and then gliding through the water effortlessly. Without all the extra activity mentioned above, the muscles that you use for kicking don’t need as much oxygen, and you won’t need as many gasps of air to keep up with that demand.
Many students have raved about the PADI Peak Performance Specialty Diver Course as one of the most beneficial courses they have taken as it’s an overall improvement of all essential dive skills under the expertise of an Instructor that utilises these skills on an everyday basis.