Doing It Right
By David Strike
A term that's being heard increasingly often
in recreational and technical diving. 'Doing It Right' ('DIR), is a snappy
phrase that' s surrounded by debate and controversy - and one that's frequently
Coined by leading members of the Florida-based,
Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) - one of the world's most experienced
and succesful cave diving teams - 'Doing It Right' is more than just a
proven system or equipment configuration. It's a holistic approach to
diving that puts equal emphasis on fitness, experience, attitude, teamwork
training and safety.
Refining the minimalist approach to equipment as practiced in the 'Hogarthian'
system (named after noted cave-diving explorer, Bill Hoghart Main), the
DIR system of gear configuration is centered on a standardised system
that lends itself to any diving application, from single cylinder, open-water
diving through to extreme exploration diving in an overhead environment.
Based on the concept that diving equipment should be streamlined and uncluttered
- and that, from a safety viewpoint, diving buddies or members of a team
should be as familiar with each other's equipment as they are with their
own - the core elements of the DIR system consists of a rigid backplate
(stainless steel or aluminium) with webbing harnass, a back-mounted, or
wings-style, buoyancy device; an alternate regulator attached to a short
hose; and a primary regulator attached to a long (1.5 to 2m) hose. Beginning
with this simple platform, the DIR philosophy extends into every aspect
of advanced and extended range diving.
Maintaining strong opinions about the use of appropriate equipment; its
proper functioning; the correct way of routing the hoses; and the accompanying
mind-set that recognises the dual benefits of training and experience
advocates of the DIR system continue to attract criticism for their unyielding
Frequently regarded as taking an unnecessary austere approach to diving
- particularly by those who favour personal preference when it comes to
their equipment and how it should be rigged - the sound underlying principles
behind the DIR system are often pushed into the background by fierce debates
that emphasise personality differences rather than the obvious practical
benefits of a universal system or equipment configuration.