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Rob Hunt

Diving isn’t for everyone, but that’s no reason not to have your partner / parent / gaoler force you into giving it a try in order to make them happy. As every instructor knows, attempts to learn to dive in this way usually begin with the hydrophobic student turning up two hours late into an eight pax, one day Open Water Referral course. Ideally on a day when the divemaster’s bedridden with some sort of ailment which began euphorically enough around lunchtime the previous day, and is now directly responsible for you finding yourself at the pool with only six wetsuits and five full tanks.

In the event that the lack of dolphins promised on the PADI tin make this first day of your underwater adventure also the last day of your underwater adventure, you’re left with three options: a) blame the instructor; b) accept that you gave it a go but it’s just not your thing; c) fake it. Option a) has the advantage of being almost as satisfying as diving itself. Unfortunately, it will result in repeats of the ordeal at different dive schools every time you go near, or plan to go near, a body of water. Option b) has the advantage of honesty but means your partner / parent / entire family will definitely leave you and tell all your friends about the spots you have on your bottom. Thus, the only sensible option is c).

Confidence is key

Obi Wan Kenobi called it the Jedi Mind Trick, but really it was just a belief in success coupled with pure belligerence. When you emerge from your dive course, even if in tears, and especially if in restraints in the back of a police vehicle, it’s imperative that you claim a) that you’ve completed the course with flying colours and b) that it was “awesome”. Hopefully you got far enough through the course to have sufficiently mastered the “OK” sign, because this is the time to brandish it.

Find reasons not to dive

Now that you’re pretending to be a fully-qualified diver, it’s imperative that you find reasons not to dive when asked. If you do find yourself in a tight spot, simply ask: “Will there be tiger sharks?”. If the answer is “no”, you can reply: “Can’t be bothered going then”. If the answer is yes, the appropriate response is “What? Again? Y-A-W-N.”

In the event that your interrogator responds with “Actually, there might be / might not be*” (*delete as applicable), just change your answer accordingly and as often as necessary. If this elicits any kind of suspicion, repeatedly shout “Rape!”.

Wear dive gear to work

It takes a special kind of person to wear dive gear to the office. Surely, your co-workers will reason, only a complete maniac would do that if they weren’t even a qualified diver. That’s a WIN for YOU.

Get online

An excellent way to pretend to be a diver is to do it on one of the many (although one in particular) online forums. Step one, find a thread, any thread. Step two, consider whether you would pretend to wear the gear / do the dive / take the course mentioned. Step three, denounce the thread as “out with the dinosaurs” or “suicidal” according to your answer to step two. Step four, reward yourself with a pie.

Learn the jargon

Once you’ve made an entry-level gaffe like referring to a cylinder as an “oxygen-tank”, the game’s up, right? Wrong. The experienced Dive Faker will be able to silence stares of incredulity and wipe the laughter from the mouths of real divers by casually mentioning that yes, you did mean oxygen cylinder, as this was the decompression gas you used for the last six metres of your recent 200m dive. Imagine the looks on their faces as you prance off into the sunset having delivered a riposte of this quality.

Generally speaking, having ripostes of this quality at your disposal requires intensive research into the mechanics of diving and the completion of several medium to advanced level dive courses.

Hang around the Dive Store

Only the keenest of qualified divers will be prepared to hang around the local dive store with seemingly as little purpose as you. Little do they know that you’re not a diver at all. Ha! You’re just there for the free tea and smell of neoprene.

In the event that your bank balance shows signs of collapse due to the gear purchases you’re constantly obliged to make, you could just open your own dive store. It’s a notoriously difficult business to make work, but given that you don’t like diving anyway, your ethos will be different to every dive outfit owner, and you might be in with a chance of making the bastards pay.

Now that you’re fully qualified at pretending to be a diver, you can safely download issue 17 of Tanked Up magazine and declare to the world “I too understand and am amused by the Rob’s World column.”*

*Inadvisable unless a) you want to immediately be caught out as a faker or b) due to an astronomically unlikely chain of events, next issue’s column is actually funny.

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