Welcome to the dive table. I'm Jay Gardner and with me, I'm super excited to announce is our second co-host of this new season coming all the way from the land of the Danes, Denmark, Mr. Ben Boss. Ben, how are you doing today?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (00:21.590)
Very well my friend, very well. Excited to be on the dive table.
What time is it for you?
It is now 5 :30am
530 p.m. Okay. Okay. So yeah, we're in a little it's not as bad as you know…
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (00:33.690)
Yeah, yeah. No, PM, PM, sorry, yes. Yeah.
Okay, good. Yeah, so you're awake and alive. You're not in early early morning or late late night, which is good. And producer Daniel is here as well, which must mean we are recording another episode of the show. So, Ben, I have been really looking forward to our episodes together because just a background here Ben is one, an incredible human being. We spent a lot of time in my truck together all over Florida and eating well I think for two weeks straight you and I ate almost every meal together. So Ben is incredible for human being and he's an incredible diver and he's an incredible instructor. So Ben has taught me a ton and when we were thinking about co-host for this episode I could not wait to ask Ben to come on.
The other thinking you might know Ben from is that Ben is also the co-host of the UTD Scuba Diving podcast. So if you've heard his voice before or you know of his name, he's also somewhat, I think you're somewhat YouTube famous as well in the sense that you have like a ton of videos out there of you diving. So why don't you give an introduction of yourself rather than me blabber on here.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (01:53.950)
Well, sure. Thanks for all the praise, Jay. Thank you. Thank you very much. Yes, to keep it short because I've been diving for quite a bit. And if I had to start from the beginning and finish where we are now, I'll be sitting here for a couple of days. But I'll keep it short. Like you said, I'm from Holland originally. I'm born and raised in Amsterdam. Got a job,basically, but everything else in between from high-fi equipment to refrigerators to copy machines to shoes. So eventually I picked up diving as a more full-time hobby. I was always intrigued because my uncle was a diver when I was a kid, like 10, 12 years old, and every time we visit my uncle we would haveor he had, which for the younger listeners is like a big cassette tape you put in a big machine and it plays a video and it's not downloadable. And it was crappy video quality, right? It's VHS. It's like the grainiest you've ever seen. Plus, it was filmed in the North Sea, which has on a good day, three feet of visibility, five feet of visibility. exceptional day we'd have what five meters which is Ten feet maybe more 15 feet something like that But it was so exciting to me because it was Rex and you know fish that all of a sudden came by huge Crabs walking. I was it was the most amazing thing for me. It was my life Real life Jacques Cousteau Person right because I'm from that age. I'm 45 So I grew up also watching Jacques Cousteau on
15 feet, yeah.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (03:54.110)
television. And so having an uncle that has these videos by himself was just to me, which is fantastic. Eventually, he took me with one of his friends who was a scuba instructor into a pool to do a dive. And I remember it to today. And it's a couple of days ago. I was 12 years old and I can still remember the red beams of that pool and how heavy the tank was on my back trying to crawl into
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (04:24.110)
that moment of swimming, sort of neutrally buoyant, or I imagine I was neutrally buoyant because I could see the bottom and it wasn't on the bottom. Then I looked up, I see the surface and it wasn't on the surface. That just like kicked something in me. So every time I had the chance, I took a little dive with the instructor. Eventually, I got older and got into diving as a
You know, basically haven't left it since. And when I was from about 18 years old, I started diving for like bought my own equipment and had a car and all that sort of stuff. And then it kind of took off. Joined a local club and became an instructor with that local club. And then I joined, or I went on a holiday with a girlfriend I had back then. And I met a guy who owned a dive shop in Cyprus. And he said, do you wanna,
for a season and I'm like okay how much does it pay and he's like well you get 100 euros per week and you get lodging you know and uh and that's it and I'm like Jesus Christ a hundred euros a week
I thought to myself, you must be joking. Do you know how much I make? Two weeks prior to the holiday, I bought a motorcycle cache. I'm like, dude, are you fucking joking? There's no way. But then when I came back, I started like, it's planted a seed in my mind. And I was like, okay, but wait a minute, I'm young. I'm like in my early, early 20s. Do I really wanna be doing this for the rest of my life? And nah, you know what? Fuck it, let's play. Let's do it.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (06:10.170)
And then I told my girlfriend, let's give this a shot and we sold everything we had. It was expensive, so we had a little bit of a buffer. And then we just went there. And the idea was for three months for the summer season there. And after three weeks, I'm like, damn, this is a nice lifestyle. It was so relaxing. You get that 100 euros a week and that just goes into your drawer and you get to learn
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (06:40.370)
skills that you never knew you needed. Like, hey, how do you invite your divers over for dinner? And then the restaurant owner gets to know you. And lo and behold, the next time you come in there, you ate for free. You know what I mean? So you got all these little tricks. By the end of the day, that 100 euros, man, I always had money left at the end of the week. So yeah, as you might have guessed, my girlfriend and I, we split up, I
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (07:10.190)
You know, kept traveling from destination to destination until I ended up in Malta, where I met my current wife. So we started dating there and traveled a bit. She was a travel guide for a Danish travel company. And we traveled a bit together and then she wanted to go back home. Like, okay, I cannot be a dive bomb for the rest of my life. So I'll join you,
so I'm sure I can get my diving kicks in and I'll just find a regular job again. That lasted for about maybe a year and a half because then people started getting wind of that I was an instructor at a local job I found and that was like developing more than I had anticipated. I was starting to look for a little place that could function as a school or classroom. Then I found something
that actually could function as a dive shop. And I figured, let's try. Let's try being Beach Bum again. And we opened the dive center in 2008 and became quite successful, quite fast, and actually closed the dive center in 2018 because that's when I joined full-time with UTD where Jeff and I revived a whole bunch of stuff.
UTD up as an education company again from the equipment company so that we could focus 100% on the education. We did the website, we did the online burling, all that sort of stuff. Then Corona hit, kind of gave us a bit of a blow to the nose, but we survived and we're actually on a stronger upward trajectory than we have ever been. Personally, I think for me, diving
is a fantastic sport. I really enjoy the stuff that puts me in the thinking seat. So I have to think about what I do. So deeper dives, cave, mine dives, all that deeper exploration. If the weather wasn't so bad here in Denmark, I would have been on a 70-meter, what's that, 250-feet
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (09:40.670)
filming for the local television because it's a wreck that sank here in northern Europe 20 years ago next month. So they want to do a little documentary on that wreck. It's actually northern Europe's biggest shipwreck. So they wanted to film underwater. It would be fun to film for them underwater. And that's the kind of stuff I enjoy, making a little history, exploring stuff. I mean, we went to China a while back.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (10:10.872)
exploring previously unexplored caves. Fantastic. That sort of stuff really floats my boat, so to speak.
Yeah, well, thanks for sharing all that. I mean, you you you have a wide range of knowledge for sure, and experience and it comes from being in those situations, right going to the China expedition, right. And there's some crazy stories you told me of other things you've done. And, and it's just amazing to have you on the show. So welcome. And I think for this
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (10:43.450)
question that really you as Ben Boss with all the experience that you've had has have had a front row seat in developing the training to address the question, which is, Hey, if I'm a diver, how do I know my skills are advancing? And I think this is a really important question that a lot of people are asking, especially as dive seasons kind of picking back up right now and you get back in the water and you realize, Oh, well, the thing I could do.
season I can't do anymore or those sorts of things. And it's an important question, not only, you know, where we are in terms of our, our skill set. But it's also an important question when it comes to your personal safety, in a lot of ways, and ultimately, the safety of the team that you're diving with. So I'm really looking forward to this discussion and can't wait to kind of deep dive into this with you. And kind of get into the question about how do I know my skills are advancing as a
to jump into the episode here.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (11:50.530)
Yeah, for sure. I think first of all, it's a fantastic question. I've said it once I read it, it's like, yeah, why on earth haven't we covered this on our own podcast? So kudos to you. It's a fantastic question.
Okay, so segment one here, the setup, really, what we want to talk about is, is what does advancement of skills actually look like? So instead of talking about how do I know I'm advancing, what does it look like for skills to advance? So what types of skills do we need to advance as a diver? I mean, why is that important in the first place? And are there levels? Like is it you know, once you learn something, you you've got it and you've got it for life? Or do you start as
a rookie and you grow into being proficient and then eventually you're, you're a master at putting your fins on, you know, or whatever it would be. So I think this is a good way to kind of get into the setup of, of how to measure or know I'm advancing is what skills do we need to focus on? And are there levels and those sorts of things in the first place that matter to how we grow as a diver? So I don't know what are your thoughts there?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (13:04.190)
Yeah, very well put. And I think that's a very key point you bring up there because certain things are for life, right? Like putting on your fins or putting on your equipment. I mean, it takes a long time of inactivity to lose that skill. I mean, when you're completely new, you kind of not know where they go anywhere. You know, I've had people actually on a granted on a tri dive in Thailand.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (13:34.250)
standing in the water with a complete scuba set on their back, just about to put their face underwater for the first time, holding the regulator in their hand, asking me, where does this go? And I'm like, okay, what? I mean, I've always said there's no such thing as a stupid question, and I'm adamant about that, but that one kind of borderlined it because you must have an idea what
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (14:04.150)
That's beside the point. So I think certain skill. I actually made a joke. I said the two bits go in your nose and then you can breathe through that. And she actually tried it. And then I said, no, no, no, stop, stop. We'll explain. But so yeah, certain skills you keep putting on the suit and the tricks and the knacks on how to get a wetsuit to fit properly over your back so you can zip it up comfortably or a dry suit and that sort of stuff.
Did you say up your arse? Did you just pause it up? Okay, good.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (14:34.430)
equalization skills, very, very, as you can see, that become autonomous when you dive, let's say only after 15, 20, 30 dives, certain things become a habit and become ingrained in you. And that takes a long time for it to erode. However, other skills, more fine-tuned skills, buoyancy skills, fitting techniques, mental games like calculations, staying on track of your gas
stuff. That's definitely a perishable skill. If the listeners have listened to our UTD podcast, any episode probably, Jeff and I often digress into endurance training because there's many links in how we as a human perceive training. Diving is more looked upon as a mental training
together and learn how to push what button at what stage in the dive and how to set your computer, then happy days. You learn all the theory that you're not supposed to swim up fast and all that, but what gets looked over time and time again is the fact that scuba diving is a very motory based heavy skill on you as a diver. It takes a lot of skill to actually be in control underwater. I mean, you see this very often, people swimming around
tropical waters, having learned to dive somewhere. And they pick up their camera and they're swimming towards something they want to take a picture of. By the time they fish the camera out in front of them, they're even closer and now they're maybe too close. And by the time they find the button, they're like, oh, forget it, I'll pass it on the next time. It's almost like sitting in a restaurant with running sushi. Do you have that in the States?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (16:34.510)
And then you see that piece coming, but you cannot stop the train because you have to pick it. And they must feel like diving is like that, that they have no control in reality. And it's kind of accepted. Oh, well, that's how it is. But darn it, it's not supposed to be like that. So to come back to what you asked, is it even needed?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (17:04.150)
aware of skills that are advancing. I would say so, yes. If you want to get the most fun and most enjoyment out of diving, definitely your skills need to advance. And now we're not talking about valve drills and gas switches and back kicks and stuff. No, we're talking about compass navigation. We're talking about breathing skills. We're talking about staying
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (17:34.450)
You know, like riding a bicycle. Before you can train to join a grand Fondo or, you know, ride your bike up the mountains there where you're going to live in San Diego. You got to learn how to ride a bike. You got to know how the gears work. Because if you can't figure out how the gears work, you cannot go up a mountain. It won't work.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (18:04.230)
advance. And I think when you're a new diver, you're on a very steep slope, very, very, very strong, steep learning curve, because a lot of new things, and a lot of things that are quickly becoming yours, like what you can control, putting your equipment together becomes faster and faster, finding tricks to equalize, putting your fins on and serve all that sort of basic stuff that you never knew you needed.
becomes a thing you can know. So when you ask me what skills do you need to advance as a diver, I always say go to the basics. And it's basically for every single level we teach. I mean, you probably remember it from the instructor course when we talked about how do I best prepare, go to the basics. Make sure that you can solidly plant yourself in the water
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (19:04.270)
be because that opens up your mind to take in input. That opens up your ability to be more aware and that's end of the day what we need. I mean if you're looking at traffic, traffic accidents happen because people are unaware. It's like oh sorry I didn't see you, boom accident. Of course because if everyone is always aware and sees everything there will be no accidents you know and
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (19:34.150)
unless a wheel falls off a car or something like that.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (19:40.690)
So are there levels? Well, I think we touched on that. Levels of mastery, yes, I think there are levels, but more in the fact that what kind of skill is in what kind of box? Like your basic skills, and then you got your specific dive skills. Let's say basic skills are for every dive, right? Basic cycling handle, bicycle handling
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (20:11.170)
regardless if it's a road bike, triathlon bike or a mountain bike. But the skill levels in diving have more to do, I think, with what kind of diving you want to go and specialize in. Is it free-breather diving? Is it cave diving? Is it technical diving? Is it underwater photography? Those skills require more specific training and therefore a whole new level of skill building.
Yeah, I think you point out something really important here too, is, is the idea again, we do this for enjoyment. And so sometimes I think that there's this idea of like, I need to put in work to enjoy my hobby, you know, that there's, I work to make money. I don't need to work for my hobby. My hobby is how I get out of, you know, the hard work part of it. But I think what, what is really important, at least what I've observed is, is this idea of comfortability.
with the sushi tray going by and you miss it. You know, when you don't have the skills to just even stop or hold a position, right? Where you wanna be, what I see on people's faces that are in the water, that are experienced at is is a frustration and discomfort, right? I'm uncomfortable because I can't be where I wanna be and do what I wanna do and see what I wanna see. And so, you know, like you said, you have,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (21:34.650)
when you're able to have these core skills as a foundation, you're then able to not only remove some of that frustration, some of that uncomfortability that you have under the water, but then it starts to open up the capacity for not just like adding another skill or another thing on top of it, but just to see the environment. Like you really want to experience that reef
When you have these skills somewhat dialed in, then you really have the capacity, the mental capacity, to take in the reef, right? To take in the fish life or marine life or those things. And that's where the enjoyment gets tied to, to the skill level in my mind is that, you know, hey, I'm enjoying this way more because I don't have these other feelings of frustration or discomfort because I'm in control. And that's the thing that I've seen like, that a lot of, you know,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (22:26.970)
that maybe haven't spent the time or haven't thought of it in this way in terms of the skills have an immediate the work I should say the work that you put in on on the skill level have a direct correlation to the level of enjoyment you'll have under the water you know and that's that's kind of the thing I think that gets missed sometimes is like people would look at me like I was crazy because I'm getting in the pool working on you know a specific skill whatever that would be right
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (22:59.955)
kick for example. That was my Achilles heel right. Like learning all this stuff like it was really for everyone there's something that comes up right for some people you know it's the breathing techniques for some people it's you know whatever but there's one that always sticks out for me with my back kick. So I'd get in the pool and I'd work my back kick for an hour and people thought I was crazy. Aren't you don't you want to be diving and seeing the fun fish and blah blah blah. I'm like well this is going to allow me to
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (23:31.092)
I don't have to pay for a boat or pay for anything. So, um, I think that that's, that's an important connection point for people to make is that, uh, skill advancement, however you accomplish that. I think we're going to get into that a little bit later in the episode, but however you approach skill advancement has a direct correlation to your enjoyment. And then I'd go as far as even to say that, you know, diving in a lot of ways can be expensive.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (23:42.750)
I don't want to say we did a whole episode on dive travel that covered, you know, uh, we call it dirt bag diving. You're just in a, in a van, you know, like, uh, pulling up to a site all the way to like the luxury living board. So it can be expensive. So if you're spending that much money to get out on the boat, you want to maximize your enjoyment of that time and not be under the water going, Oh, this is so uncomfortable. And then I see everyone come up from the dive and under the water, you see just like, you know, if you were to give voice to their face.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (24:18.570)
Hmm. Hehehe. Yeah. Uh-uh.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (24:37.792)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (24:41.250)
face, it would be this sucks. This is uncomfortable. And then you get up from the dive. Everyone says, great dive. Yeah, yeah, it was awesome. You know, really, you didn't look like you're having so much fun under the water. Like, so I think you get a lot out of it.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (24:44.051)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (24:52.050)
Yeah. And that's so important that you mention that, right? Because for the industry to stay healthy, and this is a talk on a whole other level, but I think it bears weight to mention it.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (25:10.130)
If you accept that as a diver, that the suck is how it is, you know, I mean, it's supposed to be a pain in the ass to carry around that heavy weight belt. And it's supposed to be a pain in the ass to get cramps in your feet because you have never learned how to swim properly. If that is the norm, it will become the norm.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (25:39.750)
time, it becomes the new norm. And then you're on a very fragile point because if the dive community around you that you surround yourself with, if it is usually based around the club or a dive shop or a center or some kind of community, and they live off your back, they live off giving you a good experience. And if every time, like you say, come out the water, how was the dive? Great. Perfect. They think I did my job. Great.
have done your job fantastically. You run a clean boat. The boats we've been on in Florida, right? Fantastic. Fun people to be around with, perfect briefing, the safety was top notch, everything was super duper. Underwater, the people had, some of them struggled, right? I mean, some people came up on the wrong boat and they came up alone. Remember, we had a tag along on one of your dives. All of a sudden I had a buddy and I didn't have a buddy before.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (26:40.570)
And you know, if you don't, as a dive professional, see that, like you say, and acknowledge that face expression that says this sucks, even though they're saying verbally, I had a great time, show them something different. It is your bloody obligation to show them that is another way.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (27:09.850)
dive center at a rip boat. And we had a customer, he had a stage bottle. He just took in a tech class and he wanted to practice with his stage bottle on this simple dive. We're going to do a simple, you know, 50 foot dive, nothing crazy. So the first thing that comes into my mind, why does he need to practice with a stage bottle after the tech class that he passed? I mean, then that should kind of be the other way around.
Anyway, that's beside the point. He was having such a stressful time because the boat was rocking a little bit and getting his fins on. Then he forgot to put his mask on. It was on the other end of the boat after he had put his fins on. It's kind of like these stressors. And you see this in people that they're not in a happy place before they get in the water, right? Then the guy rolls off backwards and he says to me, give me my stage bottle. And I'm an asshole sometimes.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (28:09.770)
you're not going to get your stage bottle. Either if you want it, come out and get it yourself or just go diving without it. You're not going to get it from me today. Just go have fun. Forget the stage bottle. It's not here. It's in the port. And he's like, he's looking at me. I can, I can tell by his face expression was saying you are an asshole. That was his expression. Uh, but anyway, he went down and he came back up and then he actually said to me, is it, you know what, thanks for being a jackass and not giving me my stage
Thanks for watching!
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (28:39.770)
I finally started relaxing. And if I had the stage bottle, I just knew it was going to be a train wreck. And this is, this is what to your point, right? That's like, they're accepting that it's hard and they're not willing to accept that what you're doing in a pool is also hard, but that's hard in a good way. It's deliberate hard. You know, it's going to be hard, right? I just did a run session today and a swim afterwards. I knew it was going to be hard, but Hey,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (29:09.750)
If I want certain times in a race I'm about to have, I need to put in the work there. I don't need to put the work in the race. And we translate this sometimes also to diving. And I say this very often to my students, like, hey, we train hard to dive easy because that's what we want. We don't want to train on a fun dive. When a trainer training dive, have fun on a fun dive. That's how it's supposed to be.
Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think this is, it's really important. I mean, embrace, you embrace the suck of, of building up to a level that then you have proficiency or, you know, you, you're comfortable with to then go and use that level. It's kind of, I know, you know, at UTD, there's a lot of talk of, you know, the plateau learning approach. And, you know, when, when you're up in that, you know, you steep incline, like you're talking about, yeah, embrace the suck because you're,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (29:43.034)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (29:56.371)
in that situation. But then once you have got some level of comfortability with that skill or with that thing that's going to increase your enjoyment, then you go and and enjoy the the plateau, right, you go and use that skill, and you use that and it becomes part of your arsenal. And then, you know, as you advance, like you said, type of diving, depending on what you want to do, then you hit that another incline, right, and, and another plateau, and so on and so forth. And so I think,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (30:21.571)
Excuse me, I think that that's certainly one, if you're a diver out there and, and you felt that uncomfortability and you felt like, man, you know, yeah, I come up from the water and I say, Oh, that was a lot of fun. But under the water, all I can do is think like, am I going to survive this or, or, you know, this was a shit show, you know, then, you know, there's a there's a personal responsibility that you can take and there's there are pathways, right, though, I think we'll talk
a little bit later in the show. But I really like your point about the dive professionals, which is, you know, we're both parents, we're both girl dads, you and I, Ben. And, you know, I had an incident, my daughter's never gonna forgive me for saying this on a podcast that got published, but so be it. We had an incident where, you know, it's kind of like this exact same thing, where I walked out, you know, one morning, and my daughter, my eight-year-old,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (31:16.292)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (31:22.410)
now had hair sticking up in the back of her head. And clearly it was a nice straight line cut that she had cut her hair, right? And you go, oh my gosh. And of course you're trying to balance like, she's gotta be self-conscious. Why did she do this? Of course you don't want a kid cutting their own hair. I don't know why she did it. And it was a big chunk. And then you say to her, hey, so what happened to your hair there? It looks like it got cut.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (31:46.150)
And the answer is, I don't know. What do you mean? What do you mean I have hair sticking out somewhere? And of course, throughout the course of 10 minutes, you see a big chunk of hair over here and one that's been thrown under the couch and you know that. And the story comes out, of course, she cut her hair, right? That's what happened because she had a snarl and she didn't know how to deal with it. So she cut it instead of, you know, going through me brushing it out or whatever, right? And it's kind of the same thing that you're talking about
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (32:07.916)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (32:17.171)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (32:25.450)
dive professional that when the diver comes up and says, you know, how's the dive? Oh, great dive. It was a great dive, you know, but there's a pile of hair laying on the ground and a cut, you know, straight line of on the head. Like, it's clear that's not the truth. And so there is a responsibility as well for our dive professionals out there. I think to address that now it's not you know you're out on the boat and you're your dive master and you can't fix it in that moment.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (32:46.871)
but it's also important to be able to say that was uncomfortable or a, it looks like you were struggling, how did it really go for you? Not just, oh, you had a good time? Good, I'm gonna get my tip, high five or whatever. Hey, I noticed this and I'm wondering how you felt about it. I think that that honesty and the great dive phrase is always kind of the coverup. It's kind of like the underwater okay. Okay really means go away,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (33:10.133)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (33:14.872)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (33:19.535)
right? Like it doesn't mean I'm okay. It's the same thing when we come to the surface and say, great dive. Oftentimes that that that isn't doesn't mean what the words are saying, right? And I think that's an important piece to lay out there.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (33:35.676)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (33:46.950)
No, true. It is important to notice these things. And this might be a whole topic for another podcast, like how to as a dive professional spot an uncomfortable diver, because it's hard. I mean, it takes some experience to see if people are comfortable or uncomfortable, either prior or after the dive for sure.
Good. Well, yes, let's, let's maybe tackle that. And then next couple of ups, we have three together. So it's going to be, we have, we have nothing but time. Kind of. Exactly. Exactly. Well, okay. So, so we, we know skills are important. I think that we can kind of draw the conclusion. Not only does it make you safer, right? But it also has a direct correlation to your enjoyment of the dive and we can, you know,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (34:12.790)
Yeah, we have three, yeah.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (34:17.430)
We have more than enough time to bore all of you.
basic skills, right? Trim, buoyancy, breathing, you know, basic propulsion or finning techniques, these sorts of things are things that directly tie into that importance of a skill. So let's maybe move to the next piece, which is to say, all right, so I'm convinced that skills are important beyond my open water, you know, where does the regulator go in my nose? You know, like class.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (35:04.331)
I'm convinced they're important, but how do I know or how do I measure that I'm advancing? What are the markers that I look to to tell me that I'm advancing? Because usually the only way I know I'm advancing at something is someone else tells me. And so what are some of those markers I can look to? What do you, Ben, and I as an instructor look to to know that somebody's advancing? And I think it's important to also talk about in the segment a little bit of the mental
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (35:15.672)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (35:23.072)
Is there, you know, it's not all motory skills. Is there a mental piece to advancement in your skills? So I don't know, what are your thoughts here?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (35:46.070)
Yeah, for sure. I think, um, there's a lot of things, uh, that you as a diver can do to measure your own advancement and one big, big, big thing is be honest, be honest to yourself, do not let yourself be lulled into that false sense of security that everything is fine. And this is the way it's supposed to be. If it doesn't feel right.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (36:16.130)
you, it's not supposed to be like that. Even though your buddy says, well, it's just always what we do. You know, if you go on a dive and a shore dive and every bloody time you pop out to the surface because your buddy is gone or you can't navigate together, can't communicate together. That's just how we dive. That's just our normal. You know, if that doesn't feel or sit right with you, do something about it. Cause you're probably right. You know?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (36:46.130)
So how can you yourself measure if your skills are advancing? A, are you noticing more things underwater on the same dives is a very key thing. It's like if you're a very new diver and all of a sudden you do the same dive on the same dive location and you start seeing more and more small things, tiny little crustaceans on the bottom.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (37:16.330)
You know, whatever you see, you become more aware. That's a good telltale sign of your, like, your mental capacity opening up for more input because all the other stuff becomes more and more behind the scenes like we talked about in the beginning. It becomes more autonomous to adjust your buoyancy and your breathing and your equalizing and your fitting techniques and all that sort of stuff. So that's a good thing. Another thing is your team says you. Yeah.
Yeah, wait, wait, I want to pause you there. I'll pause you there for a second because this is a really interesting and important one. Um, and, and as you said that, I was thinking back to like, you know, the times that you're in a heavy training environment, it almost doesn't matter what water you're in. Right. And like you, like we were, for example, we can tell the story. We were, you were running my tech one.
And we had a, was it hurricane or whatever it was that came through that, that took us out of the, out of the ocean. And so we went to this little hole. So shout out to Jules underwater seas lodge. I think it is. Yeah. Did I get it right? Yeah. So we found this place and it works, right? It worked. And I remember, you know, we're in a high, you know, level of, of training in terms of the, the intensity of that training as we're going,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (38:24.817)
Yeah, underwater lodge, yeah.
advancing and so on and so forth. And I remember, you know, for the most part, there was just no input. It didn't matter if we were in five feet of water or a hundred feet of water. It really wouldn't have been different. Didn't matter what was on the surface, but there was a manatee that came through. And I remember there was this break in my mind where the manatee came through, which is such a rare thing that swam by us, that it was like, oh my gosh, I'm in a really cool environment. I didn't even realize where I was. You know what I mean?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (38:54.550)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (38:58.894)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (39:11.271)
of like, all I was focused on was the team and the team skills and us accomplishing the goal that we're trying to do and the training and the things that you're working on with us. I didn't even realize that we were in a cool environment and then there goes a manatee that breaks that. And so I love this measurement because I don't know if that's a common way to think about it. But if you think to yourself, you know, hey, when I was my first open water class, all I was aware of was like, you know, not nothing. You know?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (39:26.300)
you know, where my dive master was so I can, you know, follow him. You know, that's it. Exactly. That's it. So I think that's a good one. It's like, you know, I don't know, we should play with that sometime, but like, I don't, you know, that's a good, how do you identify a non-stressed diver as well? Or the enjoyment is like, Oh, what did you see? And you know, obviously a freaking manatee swimming by you should be something like if you should be really worried about me. If we come up from that dive and you go, wow, it was not cool. The manatee went by and I go like, what?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (39:44.610)
Exactly, the fins and the ass of the Divemaster, you know? That's it, fins ass.
What happened? You know, like, yeah, exactly. Maybe it's the size, like, oh, the manatee, everyone should get that. If you don't see that, you're super stressed. But down to the crab coming through the wood, maybe that's like, you know, you're super comfortable because you saw the small nuance. But it's true. There's so much nuance. And so I love that. I love that idea that like, as you're more aware of the environment, it actually is a
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (40:13.590)
a 400 pound creature swam by you didn't notice?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (40:24.350)
in your skill set and that that has advanced. That's a really cool thing that I haven't heard before. So I wanted to pause you because I didn't want to kick off of that point because it was kind of profound in my mind. And I wanted to make sure, yeah, it was really good.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (40:52.970)
Forget it, yeah. But it's true, right? And the other thing is, how can you tell if you're advancing? Like you said, if other people are acknowledging your skill level, if you come out of the water, it's like, hey, damn, wow, you're really collected. And every time I look at you, you're looking at me, you know? And you get this and then you know, okay, you're starting to get aware. If you're a person that likes to take a camera with you underwater, so pictures or video,
The steadier your video becomes, the better you're advancing in your skill level because the more control you have over your GoPro or whatever camera you're using, para lens or whatever it might be. Pictures are also, if you're getting more pictures of the fish looking at you, then you're chasing the tail of a fish, they becomes more aware. It could become better as a photographer to frame your shot. That's one thing.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (41:54.132)
for you to be able to frame that shot like you want it to. So that's also a good metric of checking how your skill level goes.
Yeah, so I mean, I think that's good. I think there's the other one to think about too, for markers for me, that I know I'm advancing. You know, I remember I learned to play guitar in college and I remember I thought guitar was like this magical instrument. I had no idea how people could all be on the same page playing music together like this, you know, it was just a mystery. And I remember I got my first guitar,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (42:30.292)
I didn't have a guitar yet and I went to college and I started to learn because some of my Dorn mates played guitar and I remember staying, you know behind from class skipped classes. Yes, mom I skipped classes in college and I'd go steal my buddy's guitar and I just sit there and try it because it was like I Could play a song that I just heard on the radio then you know, not a not on Spotify didn't exist then so actually Napster existed then so it was early days Napster
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (43:05.813)
I downloaded on Napstriker, I could listen, I could play on the guitar. And there was this, you know, as you would learn, because that's a heavy motory activity as well in terms of guitar, I fell in love with it. And I remember I couldn't do certain things. So I just skipped that part of the song, you know what I mean? And then pick it back up, right? When I could play that particular chord or I could play that run or whatever it was. And then you start to see as time goes on, you know, oh, I can play that part of the song now, right?
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (43:24.651)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
That's a pretty blatant one. But I remember one time there was, you know, when there was a song that I was playing, all of a sudden something I'd been working on for a long time that I just would have to kind of skip just happened. It wasn't like I was thinking about it or hard or anything. It just all of a sudden it happened, right? And I think there's a correlation there to diving in the sense that as you start to work those skills, there's a moment where there isn't an effort, a mental effort, or even necessarily a physical effort.
all of a sudden it just the back kick happened right or the you know the retrieval of the SMB from the pocket happened right rather than You know, I'm struggling and I have to get this thing out I have to go through the the process of it every single time in my head and all I screwed up that You know that part and I dropped the reel and there it goes to the bottom you know all these sorts of things all of a sudden the SMB is in your hand and You're ready to inflate it, you know
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (44:10.621)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (44:28.576)
to mark like, hey, this was an advancement, is when all of a sudden you surprise yourself that, oh, it just happened, that's that next plateau, like, oh, okay, it all finally clicked, and it's not an immediate thing. So I think that's a good marker as well to think about is you do have those surprise aha moments, something that you've been working really hard on, and all of a sudden it takes no mental or physical effort for that, like, it takes no mental
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (44:46.716)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (44:57.950)
offer me to engage a back kick. It just happens because I need to back kick. Right. Exactly.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (45:09.870)
Yeah, it's a natural thing. It's become part of your skill set. Yeah. And I think it touched on a very good point there because sometimes you've, we're so fortunate, right, that the students we have as UTD instructors, especially if they come from another path within the industry, and they now want to take one of our essentials classes, which are basically only skill-building
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (45:39.770)
classes. So how do you build your toolbox of things that keep you in control and give you a better situational awareness? That's basically what it's all been about.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (45:52.970)
the flip side of that coin is that these are super eager students that really want to train. They really embrace the suck. Like, this is, yeah, let's go beat us up. And I always tried when we finished those classes, say, okay, now hold back. Now go and do three dives,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (46:22.750)
normal dives and then one training dive and pick one thing that you want to train. Because what you sometimes hear is that, oh yeah, but always we finish a dive and then we practice a little bit here and then we practice a little bit there. And before you know it, every single dive becomes a training dive. Now there's only so many things you can pile on top of a person before it becomes too much. Again, if we take a correlation to endurance training.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (46:52.930)
faster at 70.3 Ironmans. I cannot just do a 70.3 half Ironman every single day and expect to get better. I will break down right if I mean, it's just not going to happen. So I need to break it down into certain pieces and then focus on a certain aspect and then enjoy that process and then eventually it'll come. And with diving is the same thing. I will guarantee
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (47:22.750)
99% of the divers. Let's take a back kick as an example.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (47:28.450)
Practice and practice and practice the back kick. And then on a dive where they're not thinking about it, boom, it's all of a sudden, geez, hey, I'm moving. Ah, okay, now it's clicking, right? Because your body learns behind the scenes in the same way that your body adapts to inputs. So if we're physically training up for something, if you're going to the gym and lifting weights, you are not getting stronger in the instant
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (47:58.550)
dumbbells and crunching, lifting weights. You're actually getting weaker at that point. But what happens afterwards is like your body responds, it's like, hey, damn, you're going to lift heavy weights. Okay, you've destroyed my muscle tissue. I'll better repair and make them stronger. So next time you get this crazy idea to lift weights, I'm ready for it. And that happens on your downtime. That happens on the recovery. Talk to any professional athlete. Is the recovery
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (48:28.890)
is even more important than the actual training session. If you don't recover, you never grow from what you've learned. And with diving, it's the same thing. In the beginning of the podcast, you ask something about, hey, is there a mental portion to this? And for sure, definitely. Because it's such an alien environment.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (48:50.590)
Everything is on high alert in your body, like from all the way from a mammalian diving reflex point of view to the fact that you're just in a very hostile environment. I mean, we're not supposed to be there. We're heavily dependent on that equipment to keep us alive. So that plays a mind game for some people more than others. And so for sure, there is a mental aspect to this training.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (49:20.570)
brain can build new pathways and new neural links. And that takes a little bit of time. That's how memory works, right? I mean, how can you remember new stuff when you learn stuff, especially brain needs to some time to process it. Same thing with diving.
Yeah. Yeah. And to use it, right. Exactly. Right. I mean, it's, it's the, it's exactly that it's, you know, I love the analogy to the muscles, right? A lot of people realize when you, when you lift something heavy, it's actually tearing the muscles, right? Very, very microscopically in some ways. Um, and then the, the growth in the muscle becomes exactly that the repair, which, which you have to fuel. I mean, and like you talk about athletes, you know, if you just, you know,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (49:39.050)
Thanks for watching!
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (49:50.114)
up for your lift, but then you don't actually fuel up for the recovery of that, right with the right proteins and things, then then the muscle is not being rebuilt in the most efficient way. Or sometimes it can actually have a big damage. All you do is lift heavy weights every single day, and don't have the right recovery routine and fuel for that. Then you're going to hurt yourself, right? That's common knowledge for the most part.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (50:11.035)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (50:31.631)
That's how people get injured. Exactly. And the same thing goes for the mental police and diving. If all you do is train hard and it sucks and there's no point to whatever you're training, as you see this time and time again, when you get people preparing for a tech class or an essentials of tech class and they start practicing the curriculum of the course before they're coming onto the course. It's like, what are you doing? You know, we're going to teach you how to train this stuff.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (50:59.910)
That's the whole idea of these courses. And this is why most of our UTD classes are pass fail classes because they should be. Scuba diving courses should be that because that's what you're paying for in the end of the day. Anyway, so if you're going in and you get these people that go and have a false sense of security that they can do a valve drill perfectly because every time they've been swimming around with their buddy that has no clue about what they're about to do.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (51:29.810)
beside each other and one guy is just haphazardly turning on knobs behind his back, he becomes like, oh man, I'm the super master. I'm the Bruce Lee of valve drills. You bring it on, buddy. They come to the course and you put a line on the sand and you say, you stay on that side of the line, I stay on this side of the line, do your valve drill and he flies everywhere. You get this
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (51:59.870)
you, towards you, and then they have to make this swim around the line and come back, start over again. And they come out the water and the face is as red as a tomato. They're steaming, they're looking on eBay what they can sell their equipment for because they're so frustrated. They've trained this stuff. It always works. It always works. Yeah, when you're swimming around, it works, but you have to do it when you're steady. So if you were to practice the basics, staying still,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (52:29.930)
at a plant or whatever, you would have had a great time. Sometimes it's tricky to stop yourself and train whenever it's needed, but then also enjoy the plateau. Like you said, take that win, take that win, whatever you've learned and roll with it. Then let's see what happens. Be disciplined, put a plan in. This is, I think, why the coaching program works so well. I mean, you've got some
Yeah. All right.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (53:00.070)
students and why you can spread it out and just give them one job, one little tiny little and become super proficient at that little point and then move to the next one for sure.
Yeah, and I think that kind of is the wrap up in some ways of this episode is that, what is the best way to plan for that skill advancement? And I think what you're saying in some ways is, the popular phrase is always don't try and boil the ocean, but I think that there are spurts certainly, at least my advice would be, there are things, identify, for example, I have a student right now who's in our coaching program.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (53:22.213)
And we started with, with basics of, of buoyancy, just breathing, right. And can we do some, some up and down, um, on a line and, and breathe it. And you notice, yeah, he's actually doing a really good job of being able to control his buoyancy, but he's exactly doing the whole, what you call it, a spiraling diver thing, right? So as soon as he's trying to look at the line and you see him just kind of drifting this way, drifting out and kick this way and come all the way around.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (53:46.450)
figure eight back to the spot and you know you see it on so in the review of that you go okay great the breathing we can see it we can be a little more aggressive if we want to breathe out a little harder or breathe in a little bit faster you know when we're trying to move levels and hold things but what do you think the the issue is with this exercise what's going on here why do we keep disappearing off the frame and coming back all of a sudden oh well you know I'm trying to own my position and it's really hard to do that we go
Okay, well, there it is. There's the spot to put the attention on right now. We don't need to focus on the breathing. We need to focus on the positioning kicks. And so it wasn't me saying that, it was him saying, here's what I'm struggling with based on what I see on the video and I was talking about it. You're great. Okay, well, what are the things that we should do? We should have in place in order for you to hold that position straight on that line. My back kick. Yep, that's where we're gonna start focusing. And so we've spent the last month
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (55:08.814)
Let's practice this dial it in and you see the progression in the video of him going from this figure eight diver You know around the line To a little bit less figure eight to hey in this whole video You didn't turn around once and swim forward you actually yeah, it wasn't perfect We lost a little buoyancy when you were doing the back kick, but okay and so I think that Find if you're if you're wanting to advance my advice number one would bethat you need that maybe in the foundation is missing that you need in order to unlock the next piece. Because there's no way in heck that we're gonna be successful with shooting an SMB if we can't hold the position on a line in just a breathing drill. So find that thing that you need to work on, have you identified an area, and then put the focus and attention on that thing
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (56:00.994)
it's now part of that foundation and then layer the next thing on top of it. So I think that that's the advice that I have is if I, if I ask, if you ask me, what's your weakness, what are you working on right now? Right. I would tell you there was a moment in my training where I couldn't reach my left, uh, valve fast enough in a roll off. And that's the thing that I have been working on is making sure that I can always just constantly.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (56:41.150)
sure that's comfortable because I want to make sure that in an emergency there is there's no hesitation for my left hand or my right hand to get to that valve right and so that's the thing I'm working on right now right all constant I'm in the water if I'm with students I'm just I'm not turning them on and off I'm just reaching back and touching them like can I touch it right can I get it um and and that's kind of again building up it's a it's a small thing but it's going to build up
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (56:59.790)
That's it. Yeah.
have to think about I need to reach for I need to twist my arm the right way and make sure I'm not arching my back the wrong way and all those sorts of things. And so if I come to you and say,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (57:21.770)
Exactly. If you can touch it, you can touch it, you can turn it. That's it. You don't need to do a valve drill by turning the valves. You need to do a valve drill by staying in position and being able to reach them. That's it. That's all you need. Yeah. Exactly.
Exactly. If I touch it, turn it.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's a good thing to think about is if someone approached you right now, I'm not asking you this, Ben. I'm just saying out there in the scuba verse. If someone approaches you right now and says, what are you working on in your diving? Do you have an answer? And if you don't, that's something that you need to work on. If you do, then yeah, you even need to develop the plan for how you're going to address that. And, you know,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (57:41.975)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (57:49.791)
always have something that you're focused on and it doesn't have to be, you know, like Ben said, every dive is a training dive, that's not true. But what are you focused on? What are you thinking about? Where's that next thing that's gonna unlock the next level of enjoyment of diving for you or the next level of safety? If you don't have an immediate answer when I said that a minute ago, then that's the area to start with, right? Is to say, this is what I really wanna focus on.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (58:27.302)
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (58:29.450)
Yeah, exactly. And that's, I think that's also before we go, I think I really want to get across is that so many divers become, become so misguided by their own routines that they think they have a ton of experience just because they've done the same dives or the same sort of dives so many times that they become super proficient at that dive. So they become super routine.
way the same thing as experienced. Because experience is something you get from something that happened differently than what it normally would. So a small failure, a small mishap, you know, whatever that gives that builds experience. So routine happens from doing the same thing over and over again, without anything going awry. Everything goes exactly
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (59:29.490)
routine. You drive to work the same route every day until that morning where you have a meeting out in town in another location, but the first half of the journey is the same direction. Chances are you're going to go and miss the turn because on routine you're just going to go straight for the office or wherever. So in diving, you do the same dive over and over again.
again, you get routine and it becomes super dangerous because all of a sudden you become unaware of the things that you don't know. And it's usually in divers with a medium to higher level of years in the sport and dives behind them. Because think about it, whenever you hear of something tragic that happened in the news,
yada yada yada. It's never a new and unexperienced diver was in trouble. It's hardly ever you hear this because they're so aware about the fact that there's so many things that they know they don't know. Whereas you got this instructor or this super experienced diver that has a lot of a routine
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (01:00:59.490)
know. But he doesn't know, he doesn't know. Or she doesn't know, it doesn't know. And I think this is important. So get yourself out of your comfort zone every so often. Challenge yourself not to take a next course, but just to keep yourself in check of what is real. A reality check is healthy, even if you have no wish to progress, because all of a sudden something can pop along and you've lost a certain skills like, okay, wow, geez, an airship.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (01:01:30.010)
becomes a bit more tricky than you think. Or passing a bottle here in certain circles. Hey, you know what? I'll dive my rebreather. I've been diving my rebreather for the last five years. Do a bailout, you know, every so often. If you know you're going to need another gas in your bailout cylinder, don't just stand there and empty it out. Use that gas you have on the previous dive and dowith your team. Stay on top of it. Get yourself out of your comfort zone every so often. Do not become too complacent. That's what I'm saying.
Yeah. Well said. I couldn't, couldn't say that better. So there you go. Uh, we should wrap this one up then. Um, well, man, Ben, this has been fun for our first one together. And I love this topic. Like how do I know my skillset is advancing as a diver? And like, I feel like this could have been like a whole eight episode thing. Like there's so much. Yeah. Um, but, uh, obviously we, we would just, we wouldn't be bored,
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (01:02:30.250)
Two hours long. Yeah, exactly. Same. Same here.
board stiff, so we will stop it here. Come back to it later. But yeah, we want to hear your thoughts out there in the skewiverse. How do you approach your skill development? You know, what are the ways that you've been trying to measure or have been successful in measuring your own advancement? And what are some ways that you would approach, you know, a plan for your development or a plan for how you want your skills to develop? So we would love to hear from you. You can obviously
or benben at utd scuba diving.com and share your thoughts. We would love to hear your ideas and experience and I'm sure we will respond to those because we definitely want to hear you. So thanks for joining us today and I'll hand it over to Ben to kind of wrap this one up.
Ben Bos Utd Scuba Diving (01:03:29.330)
Yeah, thank you for inviting me, Jay. It was a pleasure. It was fun talking about this topic. You know, I'm passionate about this part of teaching because this is one of the things, I think, that sets us as an organization apart and we really focus on this personal skill level. So I hope you all enjoyed this episode and you want to be part of this episode in this growing community. You can join us by making sure you subscribe to this podcast and do it
you listen to podcasts it's on all the platforms so make sure that you get notified on new episodes when they drop and yeah without further ado I think I have to pick up my wife at the train station in about five minutes so I think that's me
Yeah, you better hustle buddy. You better hustle. All right. Thanks for joining us today and we look forward to having you back on the next episode of the dive table.