Technical Diving From The Bottom Up by Kevin Gurr

Kevin Gurr is famous for many things: being one of the first to bring technical training to the UK, diving the Britannic, and making the crewcut the most popular technical-diving haircut.
He has not been noted for his writing. Perhaps Im being unfair, but I found most of his previous articles would cure insomnia.
So when I picked up his Technical Diving from the Bottom Up, I made sure to have a double espresso close to hand.
To my amazement, I found the book lively, informative and interesting. How could this be The world of technical diving is, by its nature, horrendously opinionated, and full of geeks and anoraks who delight in obscure scientific theories and shiny gadgets. Yet Gurr has managed to present a balanced view of the issues and options facing technical divers.
Inevitably the section on equipment is the largest, but rather than trying to dictate any specific configurations, Gurr outlines some key principles and looks at the pros and cons of different systems.
The rest of the book covers just about every imaginable area of technical diving, including physiology, decompression theory, diving disorders, skills and drills, rebreathers and gas-blending. Perhaps the only difficulty with covering so many subjects is that some areas dont get explored in depth. This is made up for by a good bibliography with lots of further reading for the enthusiastic.
Technical Diving from the Bottom Up is an excellent book for anyone learning about this kind of diving or teaching it. Most serious divers will find something of interest. The print quality and design is basic and could be improved, but the numerous personal experiences and anecdotes add a humanity and warmth to what could otherwise be a dry subject.
Anyone familiar with the bitter rivalries and quick-to-condemn attitudes of the technical diving community will recognise this book as both an achievement and an act of courage.
Mark Brill

Technical Diving From The Bottom Up by Kevin Gurr (Phoenix Oceaneering 01202 624396). Softback, 250pp, £35