Full Version: interview with the founder "DIR" (long)part 1
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As it has been posted here before, if you want to understand what "DIR"a all about read JJ book. Here is a interview with him so you can get a glimpse of why people dive "DIR".

Chatting with J.J.
- Jarrod Jablonski and G.U.E.
- David Strike

There would be few people of modern times whose influence on diving has been as profound as that of Jarrod Jablonski. Widely regarded as one of the world’s most capable and talented exploration divers - and playing an instrumental role in redefining the attitudes that we should all show towards the activity - the organisation that he founded, Global Underwater Explorers, is now justifiably regarded as a major force in diving.

A gifted thinker who leads by example, and one who encourages others to question and consider their beliefs about diving, his recent visit to Sydney provided the opportunity to catch up on all that’s been happening since our last meeting.

Jarrod Jablonski

Standing at the cutting edge of extreme exploration, Jarrod Jablonski, is a graduate of the University of Florida with degrees in English and Geology; the President and C.E.O. of dive equipment companies, Halcyon Manufacturing and Extreme Exposure; and the President and founder of, Global Underwater Explorers (GUE), a non-profit research, exploration and education organisation whose technical diver training programmes - from entry level through to advanced exploration - are setting new standards of proficiency.

Better known, perhaps, in his role as Training Director for the Woodville Karst Plain Project, (an on-going exploration of the limestone cave systems that lie beneath the water-table in South Florida), Jarrod has also served as the Training Director for the National Association of Cave Diving; been a Board Member for both the NACD and NSS-CDS; and Training Committee member for the National Speleological Society – Cave Diving Section.

As Project Leader and Dive Leader for numerous domestic and international research assignments, (with several thousand dives focusing on long range, deep exploration activities) he has performed many hundreds of extreme exposures utilising mixed gases, stage decompression, rebreathers, and underwater propulsion vehicles, and holds the dual records for the world’s longest and deepest cave diving penetrations, a staggering underwater distance of 19,400 feet at a depth of 300 feet, established in 1998 together with, WKPP Project Director, George Irvine.

An articulate and leading proponent of a system that is gradually revolutionising the attitude that many have towards diving, Jarrod Jablonski – or JJ as he is most often called – is credited with helping to formulate and popularise DIR (“Doing It Right”); a philosophical approach to diving that is attracting considerable attention - and one whose purpose is frequently misunderstood.

Q. In the year that's passed since we last chatted, what developments have taken place as far as G.U.E.'s Training Programmes are concerned?

The two most notable developments within GUE’s training curriculum include an organizational change and the success of our Triox program.
At the organizational level, I have assumed the role as Director of Training, with Andrew Georgitsis as Technical Training Director and David Rhea as Cave Training Director. As our recreational programs evolve we will ultimately appoint a Recreational Training Director. This move keeps me intimately involved in our training programs while allowing each director to focus upon their area of expertise. It also means that, I can assist in maintaining consistency within each program without weighing down any one individual with too many responsibilities.

Our training programs and materials are designed with great attention to the synergy between them. GUE believes that the fundamental skills employed in diving are very similar across multiple environments; once the capacity to master these skills is attained, the individual should then be able to focus upon the variations present within a particular diving environment.

Meanwhile the Triox program has proven to be exceptionally successful. For GUE this represents an opportunity to school divers in solid diving practices used by divers in general, and in particular by those recreational divers interested in deeper depths.

Q. You - as well as key G.U.E. members - have spent considerable time travelling and teaching the G.U.E. Programmes. What level of acceptance are they receiving around the world?

The response to GUE courses has been phenomenal. Our only limitation is our ability to respond to the demand for training. We refuse to accelerate instructor training merely to meet this demand; something that we view as capitulating to market forces and that only encourages the erosion of quality.

Regarding GUE training, the plan has always been to set a previously unthinkable level of quality that would show the success of such a concept and to encourage others, (through competition and the realization of its possibility) to follow a similar route. It becomes much easier to follow an idea that shows traction.

The industry has largely assumed that people would not tolerate training that was thorough and challenging. When it is shown that people appreciate value, others are more likely to follow suit; this paradigm becomes more popular as desirability is created among the diving public. I never intended GUE to train the masses directly but, by association, I am confident that we can assist in raising the bar across the entire industry.

Q. One of the criticisms frequently levelled at D.I.R. - often indirectly - is that the standards are too high! How do you respond to such comments?

We believe that our standards reflect a sensible level of performance. This expected performance is adjusted in relation to the environment and the dive undertaken. People tend to expect very little from divers; this is because the industry has, historically, sought to accelerate diver training as a way of encouraging participation. All things being equal, individuals tend to prefer diver training with a limited time obligation and lengthy training courses will deter some participants.

However, those people prepared to invest longer time in properly absorbing the training are more capable, are safer, have more fun, and are more likely to continue in the activity.

By giving preference to speedy courses the industry encourages divers to imagine that this option is in their best interest. The diver is not aware that more training time actually allows for more fun; therefore, multiple forces place additional pressure on the trend toward faster training.

Over time those things that expand the time necessary for diver training are removed. For example, many agencies now require fewer skills (such as buddy breathing and proper buoyancy). Eventually the expected bar is lowered in relation to the potential capacity of a carefully trained diver.

Instead GUE believes that diving skills, such as reasonable proficiency in buoyancy control, are not optional. The length of a training program should be based around the time it takes a diver to gain solid capacity in all fundamental diving skills; training time should not be based upon a schedule that maximizes profit or diver participation. I appreciate that this is in no way a trivial request. Nonetheless, GUE offers an option for divers that appreciate this rationale.

Q. Halcyon diving equipment has become synonymous with D.I.R. As the CEO of Halcyon, do pragmatic business considerations ever oblige you to compromise on quality and functionality of the equipment that you make?

I am not inclined to compromise quality, because that is the ethos upon which Halcyon was founded. This identity is an integral part of our success and our commitment.

It is amazing how very small changes in expenditure ripple through a product, making it more expensive to the end user. However, these changes result in a product that can be of very high quality while not being unreasonably more expensive. Our customers are willing to pay slightly more for additional quality. Forsaking our customers, or our identity as a company, has never seemed a reasonable course of action.