My First Time – Andy Torbet
All of us remember our very first dive experience, whether it was in a pool in the topics in a pair of speedos or in the North Sea in a borrowed suit 3 sizes too big. We caught up with some of our industry friends and team divers to discover more about their first dive experiences, their first kit, and why they value the kit they dive now!
What did you first learn to dive in?
So bearing in mind this was Aberdeen, off the North Sea, about 6 degrees all year round, and all second hand kit – I had a second had pair of wetsuit bottoms that didn’t fit me properly, a wetsuit jacket that was actually a women’s jacket so it bulged in all the wrong places and flushed terribly, but I would do every single dive with blue fingernails and blue lips.
I had an old rubber orange FENSA ABLJ, and one reg – because back then your were taught that if your one reg failed, you would crack a bottle to fill your ABLJ a little bit and then breathe off your jacket.
And I had an old mask, an old set of fins and then obviously a knife which was effectively a sword strapped to my leg – and since I was 12, it took up most of the length of my leg – that sort of thing was very important in those days!
How was your first drysuit experience?
I didn’t get a drysuit until I was in the army, as there weren’t many diving drysuits in Scotland back then. We were supplied old vulcanised rubber drysuits, one size fits no-one, huge suits with choking neck seals. Then we were upgraded and given membrane drysuits which were actually alright – in fact I’ve still got mine…. Maybe I was meant to have given it back….
What’s your favourite piece of dive kit now?
I’ve said this for years – the fourth element hood. It fits my head perfectly, it feels like a bespoke made-to-measure hood. And I’ve dived the 5mm when others have got 12mm hoods on in the artic at -2 and I’ve been perfectly happy.
If there’s one thing that you wished fourth element made, that we don’t already make, what is it?
Rebreathers. Oh and also regs, torches, filming lights, masks… but mostly a rebreather – assuming you’d give me a free one, that is!