by / Friday, 28 November 2014 / Published in DAHAB, PADI, SPECIALTY

You may have noticed our pictures of some new arrivals over the world record – namely a healthy batch of XDeep Stealth 2.0 sidemount harnesses. At first, I was reluctant to come around to the idea that anything other than a traditional BCD or indeed, a twinset for diving was necessary. “If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it” tends to be my motto in life. It was only on one of the training dives, where we were practising taking Ahmed out of the quad’s and in to the sidemount system, that I even tried it. Before we tried the technique on Ahmed, we had a dress rehearsal and at one point, I ‘was’ Ahmed. There was a bit of a difference going from a set-up that was heavier than the evidence file against O.J. Simpson, to a rig which barely felt as if I had anything on. I did end the dive with a bit of a smile on my face, much to my chagrin; as I’d spent the last couple of years grimacing at the whole sidemount deal and didn’t want to like it in the first place.
A week or so later a bunch of us went out to test our weighting in the XDeep to make sure we didn’t look like complete novices when the cameras were around on the 18th. It was then I really got a chance to muck around with the unit. I’ve never particularly felt like the BCD was much of a burden, until I compared it to the XDeep unit: it was so freeing. With a 36lb lift, it has an extremely low profile which is awesome for tight-fitting spaces as well as your hydro-dynamics in the water. I was very impressed with the weight system, which is a neat series of 4 pockets that fit along your spine with the ability to hold 8kgs in total. Admittedly a few of us did modify the unit, so that instead of having to carry your tanks in the water (as normally they are affixed with bungee to the top of the valve so non-too sturdy out of the water) we clipped them to the harness – Tec stage style. This brought a few looks from the regular sidemount fans, but we later added the bungee on to the top of the tank valve so we could still manipulate the tanks to a more streamlined setting once they were getting light during the latter portion of the dive.
Check out our sidemount promotions in the next coming months; at the least it’s definitely worth giving it a go, even if you’re a bit of an old-schooler like me… I’m sure you’ll end up loving a bit on the side.