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Thread: Evolution Training in the Northeast

  1. #1
    RBW Member Jeffrey C Gershen will become famous soon enough Jeffrey C Gershen will become famous soon enough Jeffrey C Gershen will become famous soon enough Jeffrey C Gershen will become famous soon enough Jeffrey C Gershen's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Pound Ridge, NY, USA

    Evolution Training in the Northeast

    Quite a long time ago I joined Rebreather World. It was my goal to learn about rebreathers and make a reasoned choice as to the right unit for my diving needs. Over a year later, I succeeded in certifying on the Evolution after seven days of both strenuous, humbling, and edifying training.

    I am not a rookie; I have been diving for 30 years, and have been doing trimix wreck diving for at least 7. My OC skills have been honed and I have come through some "interesting" experiences and am still here too talk about them and use them to keep me from getting too arrogant. Needless to say, I brought all those skills to my CCR training and suffered mightily as a result. I won't bore you with a long dissertation about bouyancy control problems, etc., about which the posts are replete with anecdotes. Rather I want to talk about something far more important: the quality of the training I received and the quality of the service provided by the manufacturer of the Evolution.

    Learning to "fly" a ccr is not difficult, unlearning all of your oc habits is, and it takes a special kind of instructor to guide an old timer like me through the confidence destroying experience. It takes an instructor who has not only mastered his craft but who has the gift of empathy and who knows when to instruct and when to support. It also takes an instructor who can read the student and push when called for and ease off when necessary. And finally, it takes an instructor who is generous in imparting the tricks the instructor has learned and is patient with the bumbling of the newbie.

    When I decided to take my training with Carrie and Richie Kohler, they both were at the end of their own teaching apprenticeships so there was a primary instructor and they were the assistants. Now they have "earned their stripes," and are teaching on their own, and the world of rebreather training is a better place for it. I am a Master Scuba Diver Trainer and A Tec Deep Instructor and was a school teacher in another life. So what I am about to say is done so with a significant amount of experience behind it.

    I have never been trained by better. While my primary instructor may have been the direct imparter of skills and the final arbiter of whether I had passed the course or not, it was their understanding, encouragement, insight, and instructional skills that made my training a success. Anyone thinking of training on an Evolution will find no more expert team than they are and on top of that a pant load of fun to be around. When all the doubt creeps in, they will make it happen for you!

    Finally, as to the service of Silent Diving Systems, I know that everyone has their horror stories but here is one with a very happy ending. The first day of training was theory and pool and my rebreather could not pass neg. or pos. tests. After checking everything, my primary instructor discovered a pin hole in the diver's right, oxygen side, counter lung bladder, directly under the zipper. We patched it with duct tape and it held for the remaining pool session, which ended about 4PM. "Magically" a brand new counter lung bladder arrived at the hotel as early as Fed Ex could deliver it the next morning. That to me speaks volumes about the manufacturer's dedication to service as well as designing and producing a great product. We all know that every ccr has its idiosyncracies and what is great for one diver may be less than satisfactory for another, but a high standard of service should be the norm for all. So far my experience with the Evolution makes me certain that I made the right choice.

    By the way, I am not getting paid to say any of this.:)

  2. #2
    USSMEG USSMEG has a spectacular aura about USSMEG has a spectacular aura about USSMEG has a spectacular aura about USSMEG has a spectacular aura about USSMEG has a spectacular aura about USSMEG has a spectacular aura about USSMEG's Avatar
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    Mar 2005

    Re: Evolution Training in the Northeast

    No plug for the Primary Instructor?
    Just a name might be good for others who may not be able to get with Kohler's?


  3. #3
    RBW Member john56 is an unknown quantity at this point john56's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    West Orange, New Jersey

    Re: Evolution Training in the Northeast

    I took my Evolution training with Jeff, and agree with his comments wholeheartedly. Unlearning almost 20 years of OC habits and practices has been difficult; watching your instructors glide along with perfect trim and buoyancy while you struggle to not go shooting off to the surface I found extremely humbling.
    Tom Huff from Northeast Scuba in Massachusetts was our primary instructor. I thought that he, as well as Richie and Carrie, did an excellent job of showing us how to deal with different situations that might come up, including multiple problems occurring at once (something that never happened to me diving OC… ). Having more than one instructor on the dives was fantastic; it increased my comfort level dramatically knowing that one of them was always looking over my shoulder. Of course, it made it easy for them to sneak up and shut off my O2, which seemed to happen about 10 times per dive…
    It was easy to see that Richie and Carrie love their Evolutions, and I think that adds to their zeal in instructing, as I could tell they wanted us to enjoy diving our units as much as they do. Tom, Richie and Carrie also all had small, but very useful tips to impart regarding the units that aren’t in a training manual, but which make life easier as far as configuration of the unit, breaking it down for cleaning, and even in hanging it up to dry.
    I was also concerned that I had not taken a formal class in 15 years, so I studied like mad, asked annoying questions of rebreather divers on dive trips prior to the class, and spent way too many of my workdays reading RBW posts. I learned a great deal reading the posts, which made much more sense after getting my hands on my unit and being able to tear it down and put it back together.
    Since I got certified, I have been very lucky in that I have been able to do several dives with Richie and/or Carrie on wrecks off the NJ coast. They have uncomplainingly answered my numerous e-mails and calls whenever I have a question about gear configuration or technique, and they have sacrificed their own dive plans to work with me in the ocean racking up time on the unit in the real world.
    My Evolution has been problem-free thus far; I did have a bad download cable, but as soon as I alerted Silent Diving, they shot me out a new one via Fedex.
    Many thanks to Tom, Richie and Carrie for the excellent instruction I received, and to all of you on RBW for sharing your knowledge so that newbies like me can profit from your experiences. I am looking forward to continuing to learn as I move forward with my diving on my new rebreather!
    John Yurga

  4. #4
    RBW Member lgibsonmd is an unknown quantity at this point lgibsonmd's Avatar
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    Feb 2008

    Re: Evolution Training in the Northeast

    Hi guys,

    thanks for your posts. I am new to rebreather world and this is my first post. I am a new owner of an evolution + that is sitting in my living room. I am going to be trained by Richie and Carrie in May. I am even more excited about my choice of training after reading your posts. Thanks so much for taking the time to share them.


  5. #5
    RBW Member brewmaster is an unknown quantity at this point brewmaster's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    sea girt nj

    Re: Evolution Training in the Northeast

    i trained with dan crowell. great instructor.

  6. #6
    RBW Member Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge is a splendid one to behold Serge's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    rEvo II


    Re: Evolution Training in the Northeast

    Anyone here train with King Neptune? Just curious about the training approach, standards differences, etc.

    Seriously, I'm in the same boat as Larry. Although I would appreciate reading more about the "long dissertation about bouyancy (sp) control problems." But, in rare circumstances, I guess it's OK to blow a little sunshine up your instructor (assistant's) shady spot.

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