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Effective or Affected

You're standing high on a cliff, and you spot a young lady on the beach below.  She's walking along the surf, smooth, rhythmic, spontaneous in motion.  You can't help but watch the grace and beauty as she dances about the surf line precisely, efficiently, and naturally, chasing the waves.  Even with a tank on her back and fins in hand ready to enter the water, she is graceful, she is in tune, she is a sensuous diver.

Following her is a man who stands out, but in a very different way.  He exaggerates and accentuates his every movement. (almost grotesquely), as if to say, "I am the greatest of all time".  "I am diver, hear me roar".  "I float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee...."  (The problem is that you float and you sting....)  The fact is that he is not the greatest, he's a copycat of an old image that needs to fade away.  Good divers, experienced divers,  see this guy as "an un-preconceived formula of an inefficient, out-of-sync, accident waiting to happen." "A cowboy" "A buddy-less moron....."

The sex of the aforementioned divers has nothing to do with the problem.  What you see as you look down on the situation is an effective diver versus an affected diver.

"Effective" diving is a functional interaction between the diver, the equipment, and the water.  Movements are performed with efficiency.  They are task oriented but fluid.  The sensuous diver - at any ability level or sex - is in tune with his or her environment.  Sensuous divers are peaceful divers.  What is sensuous about their diving is the smoothness and the ability they radiate as they move through the water.  The sea, and all of it's creatures, understands this type of diver and rewards him or her accordingly.  A graceful eagle ray, dancing dolphins, and loving harbor seals are just a few of the ocean's rewards.

"Affected" diving on the other hand, can be recognized by its superfluous movement.  Affected divers attempt to bring spectacularity to their diving through unrelated movements and gestures.  This type of diver is as pleasant and inviting to be around as an apple worm!.  They are often impressionable, and thus try to emulate a diving macho style.  The insensitive, unseeing diver will catch only the most obvious movements of his diving idol and then try to exaggerate them in order to be even better.  Although, if that diving idol they aspire to be would ever witness their spectacle, the idol would think of the diver only as a "spineless perverted form of pond scum".

Thus, we have the "I am the greatest diver" syndrome.  I have seen many novice divers try to copy a style of their diving elders.  But, unfortunately the novice sees no more that the pronounced angulation and perhaps a blazing boat entry technique.  What they do not see or understand is that the hero has chosen his way of life and diving skills as his trademark.  The trademark may have developed in a much earlier era.  The affected diver, in  attempting to concentrate on imitating only the eccentricities of the great diver, fails in the gamble with the dynamics that has allowed the hero to become the hero in the first place.  The affected diver moves through the water with a poorly developed sense of interaction between his body, his equipment, and the water.  As a result, the sea, and all of it's creatures, understand this type of diver and rewards him accordingly.  "Hows come thar an'it never no fish ta shoot?"  Or even worse....  "I remember the time when we was divin' off the coast in a hun-ert and se-em-dy five feet." "I damn near runt myself out of air... I had ta swim like a sum-bitch...."  Needless to say, these type of divers usually are unable to advance to higher levels of diving ability.  They still think that a "master diver" is much better than a dive master.  And that a master diver is far more advanced than an instructor.  Go figure....

Imagine for a moment, yourself diving through a narrow canyon watching the walls as you glide down the path.  Fire coral, sponges, plants, and growth on both sides of the valley.  A turtle gracefully and without effort, glides just 4 feet away from you.  Do you want to attack it like a bull moose or enjoy it with the lightness of a feather and the skill of a balanced performer?  How you accept this challenge will show if you are a sensuous, skilled diver and if you have the unity of motion and mind like the creatures of the sea - or if you're an idiot that likes to wreck everything for everyone around you.

Diving is no longer limited to a few sturdy muscular males that can run five miles with a tank on their back.  Now, more and more women, oldsters, and youngsters are drawn to the sport.  They are not interested in a stringer of fish; killed not for food, but solely to impress.  They are more interested in the beauty, in the recreational value, and the adventure of the underwater world.  They are awed by the spectacle.  Shell collecting, underwater photography, or simply exploring a new dive site has their own appeal.  What is spectacular about these ideas is that divers have come to favor the beauty, the smoothness, the motion, and the weightlessness of the underwater environment.  Efficiency is brought about by a mixing of aggressiveness, ability, and above all,  control.

Until next time....


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