The Extended Range Foundations program first made its first appearance in the plethora of XR programs around 6 years ago but it only really found its feet and was given a backbone with solid instructional content when it went digital about two years ago. The Extended Range Foundations program is designed to provide divers with a confined water workshop environment to improve their skills to a high level using any total diving system that they are certified to dive with. The program focuses on the true mastery of buoyancy, trim, finning techniques, stability and communication which make up the foundations of becoming an accomplished XR diver. The ultimate aim is to create true personal perfection of in-water control. An ambition that all XR divers have.
The Extended Range Foundations program has such a wide variety of applications that it will attract a large range of students. Anyone with an open water diver certification and 24 logged dives can register for the Extended Range Foundations program. Some divers will seek out this training as a vehicle to gaining the highest level of buoyancy control, trim and control in an equipment configuration to which they are already certified in. These type of divers are very self-motivated and sometimes very self-critical and strive to achieve the ultimate in terms of mastery and prowess.
Others, may use this program to learn how to dive in a twinset configuration in order to increase their gas volumes while making recreational dives or perhaps even to use it is a trial to see if they actually like diving in a twinset and maybe then go on to register for the Extended Range program. Being used in that way it is almost like an “intro to tec” which also is a good option for those who are uncertain if XR diving is the path they wish to take.
The Extended Range Foundations program provides a very concentrated time focusing on the finer details of diving which are not always manageable to be covered with such intensity during any other training program. As it is a confined water program the student can focus 100% on the skills rather than having to also manage open water environmental elements, the end result is that skill development and progression is very efficient and effective.
If a pool is being used for training, the in-water times can be extended substantially as water temperatures and gas consumptions are no longer limitations. Some students may find themselves training in pools which have large mirrors within them so the student can see directly their body position which gives an immediate visual source of feedback. If a mirrored pool is not available the instructor may choose to use a video camera which again provides immediate visual feedback.
Buoyancy, trim and finning problems are a common challenge that instructors must help their students overcome. By teaching the Extended Range Foundations program, you will develop your ability to identify and correct problems that your students encounter. You will be able to use this training to provide high-level XR training in all of your teaching efforts.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I teach the Extended Range Foundations program to a diver wearing a CCR?
The answer here is yes, as long as the diver is a certified CCR diver and you are a CCR instructor. Buoyancy control when diving on a CCR is completely different to diving open-circuit (OC). An OC instructor simply does not have the knowledge base to be able to provide the critical information on how to improve buoyancy techniques in a configuration that they have no training for themselves.
I am an SSI instructor on the JJ CCR, can I teach the Extended Range Foundations program to a diver wearing a SF2 CCR?
The answer here is yes, as long as the student is a certified SF2 diver. Even though you may not be an instructor on the specific unit your student would like to use during the program, the Extended Range Foundations program is not teaching any new unit specific skills. The program is teaching general skills that can be applied to all CCR units. Buoyancy control and breathing loop management is the same technique for all CCR units.
Can I teach the Extended Range Foundations program to a student who wants to dive with sidemount configuration?
The answer here is yes, as long as the student is a certified sidemount diver (recreational or XR) and you are a sidemount instructor (recreational or XR). The big misconception about sidemount diving is that cylinders are simply strapped to the side of the body and off you go. This is simply untrue. To have true mastery over the control and trim of sidemount cylinders requires very precise and critical information about cylinder balancing, configuration, rigging and adjustment. All of this knowledge is learned as a sidemount instructor. An instructor with no sidemount qualifications cannot provide the necessary information to enable the student to gain mastery over their in-water control.
Can a student make the Extended Range Foundations program in different equipment configurations?
Absolutely yes. Just because the diver has been certified in the Extended Range Foundations program in a twinset (for example) this does not mean that they cannot repeat the program at a later date in perhaps a CCR or with sidemount configuration. The student does not need to be registered again for the program but can be issued an “equipment upgrade”. All program required paperwork will need to be printed and completed, all performance requirements will need to be met, as outlined in the program standards, and then the new configuration certification can be issued.