would like to introduce you to .. Joseph Seda

Michael C. Scaife, Sidemount Training – January 2024

Hello Steve, I thought it might be of value to you and future clients if I provide feedback on a week that I just spent with Joe Seda down in Florida. I should preface the feedback by saying that I had signed up to the sidemounting course some months ago after having watched several of your u-tube videos. I really like the detail provided, the rationale for why something should be done in the suggested manner, as well as the thoughtful critiques of “myths” around what you need to do in an emergency – no need to immediately dump weights even on a single back mount as long as you are neutrally buoyant at the end of dive weight check, how to manage a BCD or dry suit failure etc. This approach had never been taught to me by any open water instructor, and it was very reassuring to know what you really should and should not do. (I cannot wait to follow your white board series of tutorials).

To set the scene: I am an SSI master diver (100 + dives)  and have the sidemount specialty. However I felt that I needed a more detailed review and practice of all of the sidemount procedures as well as to obtain instruction on the necessary finning techniques that you describe in your on-line video course. After chatting with Joe who wanted to be clear on exactly what I wanted to achieve, we arranged a time for my instruction.

What impressed me so much about Joe?

I had bought an XDeep Stealth Tec 2 that needed fitting and to be candid, I have no experience on setting up or fitting this type of equipment. Joe got to it straight away and within an hour everything was ready to go. During the course he constantly checked and refined the set up and we ended up changing out some hoses for more flexible ones and to a length that best suited me, changing tank glides, etc. That being said, once he had taught me how to measure up my cylinders for the bolt snap D-ring alignment, regulator fitting, hose stowage etc, he left me to get on with it – i.e. get on and learn by experience.

He is a very clear and patient teacher; I tend to be very self-critical and there were times when I thought I had made a complete mess of the required techniques. Joe showed me videos and photos of myself and how I had performed, achieving a nice balance of praising what I did well and pointing out what needed additional practice or work. This was a very motivational approach.

He had endless patience with my inability to grasp some of the fin techniques – he demonstrated  the finning many times in the water, sent me videos of himself doing the finning in a pool as well to take me to a pool to practice. He would follow me and repeatedly correct my foot position in the water. I often felt that I must be an inept and therefore irritating student but he made it very clear that this was not the case, and always returned with comments as to what I had managed to achieve which was very reassuring. He was very perceptive, sensing when I was “overthinking”, and would tell me to swim around and chill when he felt I needed a break.

He is also a very knowledgeable and thoughtful instructor who brought much of advanced technical diving theory into the discussion (which is what I am interested in). At the end of this one week, I came away very motivated and eager to practice and continue my training with sidemount using your training program and instructors. I have arranged to meet up with him again in a few months once I receive my dry suit, for more training to be able to progress on to the cavern and cave programs.

I would highly recommend Joe to any individual, at whatever level, who is looking for first-class, competent and courteous individual training. Good luck with the continued growth of your sidemount courses and business. Kind regards, Michael C. Scaife

He learned to
scuba dive
certified as
tec trimix diver
became a
diving instructor
became a
sidemount cave diver
certified as
sidemount instructor
became a
cave instructor

Sidemount diving to me is simultaneously art and dance; a play of balance; discipline of the senses; all whilst suspended in one of God’s most beautiful and generous canvases. A simple dive can be the most awe-inspiring experience for an individual, affording the user a ‘peace’ easily lost in today’s busy world. The experience for many, is often described as a passion, spiritual or romantic; an intimate connection to the world beneath.  In a world full of distractions, diving reminds me that I’m very much alive.

My initial interest in Sidemount diving came from frequent visits to the local springs, where I witnessed the platform for the first time. Curious, I sought out Sidemount instruction, eventually pushing through to full cave training.  By then, I was already an OWSI.  My initial experience with Sidemount left a gap in my confidence, which transferred directly to my caving. I was confused as to why so many divers appeared to move effortlessly and gracefully in online videos such as Steve’s. They seemed unburdened by their equipment and looked quite comfortable. It was then I realized I was missing something.

ENTER STEVE MARTIN. After purchasing and viewing the first online video series he created, I had more questions answered than I knew to ask. For the first time, I felt confident enough to say, I was not adequate in my current state of Sidemount.  I was lucky enough to book in-water training, repeating my cave courses in Mexico with him.  My Sidemounting was instantly and forever changed upon completion of those courses, and I knew immediately, that I wanted to teach his method and style to divers seeking the knowledge.

Now an avid cave and technical diver, I frequently haunt the caves near my home in North Florida for fun diving, as well as the caves of Mexico a few times a year.  It’s not uncommon to find me diving the open water Sidemount training sites in my area as well, where newer divers congregate, and the lure of a Sidemount Experience dive draws inquiries from many of them.

“Sidemount diving is no longer just a tool, it’s advances have opened another door to divers of all disciplines”

In April of 2017, I was privileged to become one of Steve Martin’s Sidemount Essentials instructors.

This gesture on his part remains among those accolades that I treasure most in my diving career and in life.  Steve’s guidance and tutelage, along with lessons learned from my own personal journey that led me to him, are the driving force behind both my teaching style and my own personal diving.

The “Martin” methods help me to deliver exactly what a student needs to reach their Sidemount diving goals, and I enjoy every student’s transformation into a competent and confident Sidemount diver.

His training system is second to none. I love that I am encouraged by him to use my own instructor style in conjunction with the system to deliver these results.

My Sidemount Essentials courses are run in a “retreat” style versus traditional ones.

My Sidemount Essentials courses are run in a “retreat” style versus traditional ones.  Students are immersed from day one (pun intended), into a tailored course meeting the needs specific to their abilities, where a new relationship is fostered between the student and their diving.

More than a mere check-off of boxes, the student’s skill set becomes an extension of the diver, much in the way a fin blade is an extension of the diver’s leg.

It is accomplished by allowing sufficient in-water training time, often twelve-plus hours submerged during an Essentials course.   Video feedback using GoPro or similar filming aids are also key in diver development, and are used extensively throughout the program; another hallmark of Steve’s courses.

Sidemount diving is no longer just a tool; its advances have opened another door to divers of all disciplines.  Whether    looking for recreational, technical, or overhead Sidemount training, workshops to improve upon existing Sidemount skills, or just an opportunity to dive “like those other guys do”, Sidemount Essentials is right for you. Looking forward to training with you!

Joseph Seda

Looking for training in Florida ?

Our freelance instructor Joseph Seda is now offering endorsed training courses out of Gainesville

Joe completed his side mount essentials instructor course with Steve Martin after an intensive 2 weeks of training in April 2017

For group training over a long weekends, Joe might be able to travel to a dive site near you, note additional travel expenses may apply

Please contact Joe directly for available course dates

All instructors follow strict training guidelines

All students must enroll and complete relevant online training prior to taking any in-water courses regardless of instructor

Training currently offered in Florida is side mount experience conducted over 1 day or side mount essentials taking 3 to 4 days

Workshops also available for all levels of certified side mount divers who are looking to improve their skills or learn something new like decompression cylinder handling