On one of our recent posts we were reminded why we started WeDiveToo. This was thanks to comments by someone we shall refer to as Cathal the Can’t.
The post in question mentioned that you shouldn’t judge divers based on age, weight, or any other factors. Just judge them on their skill. Sounds fine? Nope, it initiated a rant. Le sigh!
Cathal the Can’t decided to have a rant on our post, stating that as a dive professional he doesn’t want to take, or teach, plus sized divers. He thinks they shouldn’t be diving and that if he sees a plus sized diver he wants to make it clear he doesn’t want them with him. He also used the term ‘Landwhale’, and we can only assume he was trying to win us over because whales are seriously cool!
This is gold! Why? Well we are trying to show the world that people like this exist, and due to most divers having a caring nature it is impossible for them to comprehend this type of thing. Most divers assume we are imagining it.
Only when they see someone like Cathal the Can’t demanding that plus sized divers leave the water do they realize that yeah, some people just suck.
There is always an excuse; a loose pretence at having a reason so you can justify attacking plus sized divers. In this case it was that ‘landwhales‘ shouldn’t be diving as…”You don’t run a marathon to get in shape. You don’t climb Everest to get in shape.” Also, “#1 cause of diver fatalities, cardiac arrest because the diver is out of shape.”
First this ignores the fact that diving is classed as a moderate form of exercise. Seriously, we aren’t racing down there. And you know what’s great for weight loss? Moderate exercise.
As for the number 1 cause of death being cardiac arrest, nope. Cardiac arrest means the heart stopping. The heart stopping is a symptom of death, much like rigor mortis or a sudden but permanent lack of break-dancing. I assume he meant cardiac disease, so we’ll pretend this was a typo, as it isn’t only plus sized divers that experience their heart stopping when they die.
The real main cause of death is having a pre existing condition before diving. One of the main pre existing conditions is heart disease. His assumption (if he isn’t just being a dick) is that any plus sized diver must have heart disease which simply isn’t true.
Now let’s assume that he knows more than the entire medical community, and that we can do away with all the expensive tests and equipment because ‘hazah!’ heart disease can be identified purely by him deciding you weigh too much from a casual glance…then still moderate exercise would help.
So even if he really does have the ability to judge heart disease using his x-ray vision, the cure would be moderate exercise, which is exactly what diving is.
There is always an excuse behind a prejudice, and it’s never one that is really believed. It is just an excuse to hate.
He says he is a dive professional, and we’ll assume that is true. Here’s an important lesson on dive professionals. You can become a dive professional in 3 months.
Dive masters with 15 years experience are also dive professionals. The label ‘Dive professional’ just tells you they’ve put in at least 3 months worth of effort, not that they actually know what they’re talking about.
If they’re being even more generous with the term they have given themselves it could mean they just took a job that morning marketing goggles.
It is useful to remember this when searching for people to help you become a better diver. Ignore the labels people use to identify themselves and instead look at the amount of time they have invested in scuba diving, and the amount of good they have done within the dive community.
When someone like Cathal the Can’t (nicknamed for telling people what they can’t do,) starts publicly telling plus size divers not to dive, while explaining he’s a dive professional, we know that many potential plus sized divers have been turned away by him. That’s potential divers, money that would have gone into the scuba community, future preservers of the marine world….chased away!
Every time a plus sized diver is blocked from joining the diving community, that’s one less person fighting to protect the ocean. One less champion of the coral reefs….you get my point?
Mainly, push back! Don’t pile on this particular person, that serves no purpose as we’ve got it covered. However, in many other situations we aren’t there. And if you don’t stand up to these people and be a public voice saying, “You don’t get to decide what we do!” then others don’t realize this behavior is wrong. It encourages them. Other potential plus size divers see that nobody defended them, and they give up their dream of becoming a diver before they even start. Or, they do see people fighting for them, and they are reassured this type of thing isn’t normal or accepted.
So when we aren’t there, and you see someone ripping on plus sized divers, tell them why they’re wrong.
If your doctor says you can dive, believe them over the Cathal the Can’t’s of the world. They are basing their determination on medical experience instead of blind hate, which is what matters.
These haters exist in all walks of life, they pop up like a game of Whac-a-Mole. As I said, we can’t be everywhere, but between our page-followers and group-members, we can collectively be in a heck of lot of places. We are an army! And together we can Whac-a-Mole whenever needed, and reassure potential plus sized divers that not everyone is a Cathal the Can’t, and that most people will be on their side.
So go forth and do absolutely nothing until you need to whac-a-mole, and then make a difference in someone’s life.
You don’t need to be a superhero to make that difference in someone’s life. You just need to be there when someone is crushing the dreams of others, and demonstrate that not everyone agrees that they should forget their dream. You don’t need to inspire the world, we aren’t asking that much. Just let them know that not everyone thinks they should be removed from sight. Can we all agree that is a pretty good starting point?
Colin is an inventor, author, guitar player, amateur scientist and steampunk enthusiast. During his years as a ships navigator his luck was so consistently bad that he was briefly known as 'Jonah', presumed cursed, and subsequently barred from setting foot on any boat docked in Ireland. Due to his misadventures he spent more time underwater than most divers will achieve in a lifetime. Not deliberately, but he was still down there!