Dive Tips

Scuba Dive Training worldwide with Pete Bucknell

15/ Underwater mobility

Article by Avra Cohen

Walking in a crowded street involves mobility techniques that most of us have learnt through experience.
Avoiding bumping into people and objects involves sudden stops and starts, side-steps and swivels etc.

Divers need underwater mobility skills too. We need to be able to back away from Coral, turn on the spot without kicking up silt, move our entire bodies to avoid divers, get in and out of tight spaces and through openings that might be covered in fire coral.
We need to be able to do all this and much more without effort or disorientation.

Practice new ways of using your fins, you owe it to your fellow divers to be able to move about without disturbing them or the environment they are sharing with you.


HELICOPTER TURN
Why:
The most effective way to turn in the least space.
Allows 360 degree rotation in either direction while staying exactly over the same spot, maintaining trim, orientation and position in the water column. 
The effect of the fins rotating suggest the rotors of a helicopter.    How:
Begin with knees bent as for the frog kick, head up, eyes forward, hands clasped out front. 
First try just using your dominate foot. Making the motion in one direction will turn you right, in the other, left. 

Next try using the other foot... a bit harder you may find. This is called your 'off' side. 
A turn may be executed most quickly using both feet simultaneously. This requires coordination so your fins do not collide. 
The effect is of the diver turning neatly on an axis drawn vertically through their mid-section.

REVERSE FROG KICK
Why:
Used to back out from under a ledge, a hatch or any tight space without having to turn or alter your view.
Avoids potential hazards such as entanglement, silt out, or disorientation which might result from turning in a confined space.
Important when maintaining an optimal distance for face to face communication with a teammate.  Useful in photography/videography for precise placement while keeping a shot framed.
A challenging technique in which to achieve proficiency.
Can be thought of as a "reverse" frog kick, of sorts.
How:
Uniquely, the TOPS of your fins are used to pull you backwards. (spread your knees to do this part of the stroke)
Begin in the frog kick position.
Calves are slowly dropped just a bit, as fin tips rotate outward (loading stroke).
The loading stroke must be smooth and slow to avoid imparting any forward thrust.
Drop your knees on the recoil so that your fin blades are horizontal
The calves are brought up quickly while the top of the fin is used to gather water as the ankles snap forward (power stroke).
Several strokes may be required before you start moving, more so if you are heavily encumbered.
Maintain trim, position in water column, and directional orientation.

Here’s a fun look at underwater mobility:


Article by Avra Cohen