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From: "Steve Schultz" <se2schul@ho*.co*>
To: joeldm@mi*.co*,
Subject: Re: Why/Why Not TDI?
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 14:17:50 -0400
I took a TDI nitrox course in 1995 that only covered the theory.
I got my card without doing any dives, or even analysing a tank.


>From: Joel Markwell <joeldm@mi*.co*>
>To: Techdiver <>
>Subject: Why/Why Not TDI?
>Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 11:38:17 -0400
>Bruce asked me why I had a negative opinion of TDI. Here are my thoughts. 
>I'd be interested to hear the experiences of others:
>My own experience with TDI was the basis of my opinion and buttressed by 
>input from others. Back in 1995 I did a course with their training 
>director. Deep Air (Extended Range), Advanced Nitrox and Trimix over a long 
>weekend. Our first dives were to 213' on air in Forty Fathom Grotto. I sat 
>on the hood of a VW and did some math. As we worked through the weekend we 
>completed all the work for the other courses and I passed the tests and the 
>water work, but expressed some misgivings about my ability with math 
>generally, so the instructor decided to delay the Trimix cert card until I 
>felt more "solid." After some prompting he subsequently emailed me a test 
>which I easily could have completed, but of course, I could have had 
>someone else do it for me or simply could have copied the answers out of a 
>That experience, along with other input about TDI and their approach 
>solidified my attitude. Early in their history (I can't confirm this 
>myself, so I present it here as a rumor) I heard from what I considered to 
>be reliable sources that they had a pretty easy vetting process for 
>instructor "crossovers." Pay the fee and BAM! you're a TDI instructor. Is 
>this true? Dunno, but I'm sure someone here can prove or disprove it.
>But even more notorious are the Deep Air "outings" sponsored by TDI like 
>the infamous "wah-wah" incident which you can find a description of here:
>Or the death on Deep Air of Rob Palmer at another TDI conclave:
>Following that incident,  some people, ostensibly TDI people, were putting 
>out online that Rob must have died "spontaneously" from some physical 
>ailment. In other words, he suited up for a deep dive in doubles, then had 
>some kind of an attack, passed out and fell in the water and dropped deep 
>before anyone could get to him. That didn't wash and it wasn't too long 
>before the real nature of the dive weekend came out.
>People change. Even agencies change. I understand that TDI  has changed the 
>deep air component of its Tech coursework . . . up to 180 fsw on air.  But 
>the "usual suspects" are still at work there, so I can't imagine that much 
>of a change. Bret Gilliam, infamous deep air diver and proud proponent of a 
>beer between dives, is still president, so how much change could there be?
>You can find Bret's "beer" article here:
>And in the same magazine elsewhere, a warning against  drinking beer (and 
>why) even in the evening before a dive day:
>That same magazine that Bret writes for has also promoted  solo diving. 
>SDI, the OW component of TDI has a course for solo training, so you do the 
>You can see why I never answered that email. After some reflection I 
>decided that I'd be better off taking a real Trimix course.

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