The other day, The Scuba News had a chance to chat briefly with author Simon Pridmore about his best-selling book Scuba Confidential – An Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Better Diver.
What was the thinking behind Scuba Confidential?
My main purpose in writing Scuba Confidential was to give all divers access to the sort of knowledge that top industry professionals acquire from years of experience and that extreme technical divers learn through intensive training. My thinking was that these insights would enable them to improve their skills and awareness and enable them to enjoy the sport more safely and with greater confidence.
Many divers do a couple of quick courses early on in their diving lives and then no more. Even quite experienced divers have large gaps in their knowledge. They may be aware of deficiencies in their technique but they are at a loss as to how to overcome them. They don’t want to become dive professionals, nor do they want to invest in the considerable time and expense that technical diver training requires. All they can do is pose questions to their peers via online scuba chat rooms? This is not ideal. They need an alternative and Scuba Confidential aims to fulfill this need.
How does Scuba Confidential differ from other diving books?
Scuba Confidential is bang up to date and tells it as it is. There is no commercial or agency agenda. I am not trying to sell anything – except books. It reinforces essential truths about scuba diving but also challenges common assumptions that may be erroneous or outdated. It explains complex issues clearly and offers an informed, balanced view on some of scuba diving’s most contentious and least understood issues like going solo, deep diving and rebreathers. It also looks closely at how diving accidents happen and offers straightforward, common sense advice on how to make sure you don’t become one of the statistics. Scuba Confidential discusses everything in a balanced, intelligent way. Its aim is to advise, educate and provoke thought, presenting ideas in a readable and entertaining way with plenty of straight talk, while not preaching or adopting too didactic an approach. Scuba Confidential is wide-ranging. It gives readers valuable insights on a whole spectrum of topics from wreck diving to equipment purchases to choosing the right instructor, when not to copy what the pros do, the etiquette of scuba diving and where to find the best diving in the world.
Is it a book that new divers would appreciate?
Scuba Confidential does not take divers all the way back to the start. My companion volume Scuba Fundamental – Start Diving the Right Way does that and is written specifically for not-yet-divers and very new divers.With Scuba Confidential, I assume that readers have a diver certification card and more than a couple of dives logged, although, in some chapters, I do go back almost to square one and revisit the basics. I do this when I think either that relevant key issues are not covered adequately in early diver training or that insufficient emphasis is placed on their importance. The concept of managing stress and the form and function of cylinders and valves are good examples.
Is Scuba Confidential a training manual?
No, that was never the idea. Scuba Confidential is not a substitute for getting expert tuition and spending time in the water. There is an entire section on diver training but the idea behind the chapters in this section is to enable readers to decide if a certain type of diving is something they think they would be interested in or thrilled by. For instance, the Cave Diving and Ice Diving chapters do not teach readers how to dive in caves or under ice, but they do allow readers to share the experience vicariously and feel the magic.
What is the main message of Scuba Confidential?
Learning to dive is easy; becoming a good diver is hard. It requires dedication. As they go through Scuba Confidential, I hope that readers will decide that they want to make changes to long-established diving procedures and habits or try out new techniques. This is another of the main reasons why I wrote the book: to encourage divers to reflect on how they do things, to question whether they have fulfilled their potential and to work on becoming better divers. Even apparently minor things can make a world of difference to a diver’s comfort and confidence in the water. But I recommend that any changes be made gradually. The focus should be on evolution, rather than a wholesale revolution. A step-by-step process is much easier to manage.
Scuba Confidential is available via Amazon and other online bookstores in paperback and e-Book editions and via Amazon, Audible and iTunes as an audiobook.