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SDI Recreational Foundation Development

SDI Recreational Foundation Development

Breathing, buoyancy, propulsion, and trim are the foundations of great scuba diving. They are what separate great divers from everyone else. Unfortunately, they’re also often overlooked in fast-track or entry-level courses with large numbers of students.

SDI Recreational Foundation Development fixes that.

The goal of the SDI Recreational Foundation Development class is to take your skills in each of these areas to the next level. Whether it’s lowering your rate of air consumption or moving more effortlessly through the water, you’ll emerge from this class a better, safer, more confident diver. 

What You'll Learn (or Improve Upon): 

  • Methods to lower your air consumption 

  • Gas management and gas matching using SAC/RMV calculations

  • Proper breathing for neutral buoyancy 

  • When to use what types of propulsion 

  • Combining propulsion and trim for streamlined movement 

  • H-Turns

  • Back Finning 

  • Emergency techniques for air sharing

  • Emergency techniques for managing free-flows (regulator, BCD, drysuit)  

  • Demonstration of skills without changes in buoyancy 

  • Use of a reel and SMB as an ascent line 

  • Proper gear selection for dive planning

  • Stress identification and mitigation in buddies/teams 

  • Streamlining your equipment configuration 

  • Accessing and securing accessories 

  • Techniques for thorough dive briefings and debriefings 

Required equipment (see notes about what you must own):

  • Primary cylinder(s), cylinder volume appropriate for planned dive and student gas consumption

    • Note: Independent and isolated back-mounted doubles are allowed to be used.

  • Dive computer

  • Regulator(s)

  • Primary and alternate 2nd stage required on all primary cylinders

  • Submersible pressure gauges or transmitters are required on all primary cylinders

  • Buoyancy compensator device(s) (BCD) adequate for equipment configuration

  • Primary Mask

  • Exposure suit adequate for the open water environment

  • Primary Light - must own/not available for rent 

  • Line cutting device - must own/not available for rent 

  • Ascent reel with surface marker buoy - must own/not available for rent 

  • Slates / wet-notes - must own/not available for rent 

  • Pony Bottle - optional but recommended (if the student is taking SDI Recreational Foundations to earn an instructor’s letter of recommendation for Master Scuba Diver, the pony bottle is required).

To ensure that every student receives focus and attention, the class is limited to 2 students. Throughout the dives, the instructor will shoot GoPro footage and analyze it with the students and recommend specific changes to both body position and gear to drive improvements. 

This is a skills-focused class rather than activities-focused. A total of five (5) open water dives are conducted in SDI Recreational Foundation Development with depth not exceeding 40 feet. As a result, it is suitable for any certified scuba diver (at any level) who wants to improve the aforementioned skills.

Although satisfactory completion of this class does lead to certification, the primary purpose of the class is training–not a certification card. During the first academic lecture, the instructor will provide the performance standards (which are both objective and measurable) that students must meet IF they want to earn the certification card at the end of class. NOTE: Satisfactory completion (i.e., certification) is required for those students seeking to use SDI Recreational Foundation Development to earn an instructor’s letter of recommendation for Master Scuba Diver. 

This course does not have an e-Learning component. Tanks and weights are included in the course fee; all other equipment must be owned or rented (see notes above).

In-Shop Academic Lectures (Tuesdays, 7-9pm):

  • April 2 

  • April 9

  • April 16 

  • April 23 (footage analysis for Day 1) 

Dive Weekends:

  • April 20 and April 27

Total Class Capacity: 2 students 

Instructor: Adam Figueira 


Skill Level: Intermediate
Skill Details: You must be a certified Open Water diver to enroll in this class. However, it open to certified divers of ALL levels who wish to improve upon these foundational skills.
Instructor: See Course Description

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Included Materials



This class cannot be purchased online. Please contact the store for more information.