Is Freediver Right for You?

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By now you’ve likely heard about the PADI Freediver™ program; there’s a bunch of information out there (especially in the first quarter 2016 The Undersea Journal® and, of course, on PADI.com). Some PADI Pros have taken to it like ducks to water, while others may be a bit hesitant about leaping in and still have questions.

For those in the latter camp, here are a couple of big reasons to consider, if not leaping, then at least sticking a toe into freediving waters.

First, it’s fun. You almost certainly already enjoy casual freediving and the freedom of diving without scuba. While you probably have above-average freediving skills, you may not be interested in intense competition or breaking records. Perfect. Taking the PADI Freediver course is an obvious first step and a great way to fine tune your skills while taking a good look at the program and its support materials from a professional’s perspective.

You can do just that, and a whole lot more, on 19 November at DEMA Show 2016. There’ll be a half-day special event covering the PADI Basic Freediver course with role-model knowledge development and confined water sessions. The course also includes PADI Freediver Touch™ and certification as a PADI Basic Freediver; you can complete the two open water sessions later to become a PADI Freediver. PADI staff will also answer any remaining questions you may have at the event. Sign up by 3 November so you have time to read through and study the learning materials. No special freediving equipment required – just regular fins, mask and snorkel.

Not able to make it to DEMA? You can do something similar at a PADI Freediver Center near you.

After the course you’ll be equipped to decide whether or not to upgrade your skills to the PADI Advanced Freediver or Master Freediver levels, and later become a PADI Freediver Instructor.

Which brings up the second big reason to get serious about freediving: It’s one of the fastest-growing dive-industry segments and PADI Freediver courses provide you with new business opportunities and a pipeline to younger customers. If you have any doubts about this, take a moment to read some of the articles in this year’s issues of The Undersea Journal, in which PADI Members already in the freediving business share some of their unique insights.

There’s probably no need by now to mention any of the myriad other freediving benefits – such as personal fitness, the ease of just grabbing your gear and going or the fact that you can sneak right up on the shiest of aquatic animals. (But we went ahead and mentioned them anyway!) It’s time to hold your breath.

Introducing the New PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Program

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The revised PADI Advanced Open Water Diver program launches this September, and while the changes are significant, the essence of the course remains untouched. Think of it as a shiny new car, but one that’s the same model as your old familiar vehicle. Three goals drove the revision.

First, PADI updated the content. Dive equipment and techniques have changed since the release of the last version of the course and content is updated to reflect this. Now, for example, there are references to electronic compasses in navigation and no references to film in digital underwater imaging. Also, the first dive
 of all standardized PADI Specialty Diver courses, Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris™, and Shark Conservation Specialty courses and the PADI Rebreather Diver course credit as Adventure Dives. This means more dive opportunities no matter what or where you’re teaching.

Second, PADI modernized the instructional products. The instructional tools are now as state-of-the-art as the devices student divers access them from. While a paper manual will still be available, the revised program introduces a new, mobile-friendly PADI Advanced Open Water Diver digital product. All new images and video make these instructional products pop.

AOWDebris_Catalina_0416_033Third, PADI accelerated development of the thinking skills divers acquire through experience to build confident and conservative divers. There’s a new Thinking Like a Diver section that focuses on principles such as gas management, situational awareness and buddy communication. This encourages divers to think about what they’re doing before, during and after every Adventure Dive in the same way more experienced divers do. Consequently, they better understand how to improve their dives and manage risks.

There’s a lot that didn’t change, too. Philosophically, the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course still gives new (and experienced) PADI Open Water Divers the world over continued training and skill development under professional guidance. It’s still focused on introducing specialty diving. The Deep and Underwater Navigation Adventure Dives, plus three other Adventure Dives, are still required for Advanced Open Water Diver certification, and any three Adventure Dives qualify a diver for Adventure Diver.

The revised PADI Advanced Open Water Diver improves on an already great program, is easy and familiar to teach, and offers even more of the exploration, excitement and experiences that divers look for. Take a look at the third quarter 2016 The Undersea Journal, which has several relevant and detailed articles, and make a point of implementing the new program as soon as the materials are available.

PADI EMEA Vacancy: Regional Training Consultant (German Speaking)

emea-staff-may2016We have an opening for a Regional Training Consultant to join PADI EMEA Ltd.

The role will involve educating PADI Members about features and benefits of PADI Products and programs and working closely with the Regional Manager to generate sales of PADI products and services and meet sales targets. Successful applicants will also serve as a direct contact to the public and our membership for training and product support, including assisting members interpretation and understanding of PADI standards, PADI training programmes, philosophy and associated products.

The Regional Training consultant would also play a key part in representing PADI and the impression members will have of the organisation. The role will involve some travel each year to represent PADI in dive shows within the territory and assisting with in-field work as required.

We are looking for a PADI IDC Staff Instructor or higher (Course Director preferred), who can speak fluent German and English as essential and Dutch would also be highly desirable. The right candidate will also need to have good sales experience and be a highly motivated and organised individual with excellent communications skills, phone manner, presentation skills and customer service skills.

If you would like to apply please send an up to date CV and letter to Rachel Landregan or Rene Bos: [email protected]  [email protected]

PADI 50th Anniversary Contest with Prizes from Aqua Lung, GoPro, Suunto and Vivid-Pix

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2016 marks PADI’s 50th Anniversary, and to help us celebrate this landmark event we’re calling on PADI Professionals and divers to share their favourite diving moments from the last 50 years.

Enter a photo, video or story today and you could win one of these incredible prizes: an Aqua Lung CORE Regulator, a GoPro HERO4 package, a Suunto D4i Novo Dive Computer, Vivid-Pix photo editing software or a PADI eLearning Gift Pass/Gift Bag.

The contest is open now and will close for entries on 10th July 2016 (23:59 UTC). Winners will be announced on 25th July 2016. Please visit the contest page for full terms and conditions.

Why not share…

  • An incredible marine life encounter
  • A memorable experience with your scuba students
  • How and why you became a PADI Pro

Make sure you get your customers and student divers involved, too! They can share their top underwater memories or simply tell us what being a PADI diver means to them.

Top tip: Why not offer some themed events (like local marine life spotting or photography days) to help your students experience and capture some incredible moments under the surface. Make it easy for everyone to enter the contest by setting up a computer and connection for them to make use of e the post-dive briefings.

Click here to enter via the Contest Page
or
Tag your entries on Twitter or Instagram using #PADI50Years

3 Categories to Enter:

gopro#1 – Share a Photo

A photo says a thousand words. Submit a photo which showcases your favourite diving moment to win a GoPro HERO4 package, PADI eLearning or Vivid-Pix photo editing software.

core-reg#2 – Share a Video

Manage to get your favourite diving moment on film? Let us watch it too! Submit your video to win an Aqua Lung CORE Regulator, PADI eLearning or Vivid-Pix photo editing software.

#3 – Write About it

Didn’t have a camera with you? That’s OK. Write about your favourite diving moment in 150 words or less and win a Suunto D4i Novo Dive Computer, PADI eLearning or Vivid-Pix photo editing software.

 

Enter Now!

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Take The 2016 Elite Instructor myPADI Challenge!

EIC-BlogHeader1200x500Were you a PADI Elite Instructor in 2015? If so, get ready for a little friendly competition!

Take the 2016 Elite Instructor myPADI Challenge from 1st July to 31st October 2016 and be in with a chance to win 2017 PADI Membership Renewal plus recognition in Undersea Journal, on PADI Social Media sites, the PADI Pros’ Site and (where possible) in local diving media. You’ll also win a personalised PADI Jacket and get featured coverage in the myPADI campaign.

What’s more, the individual Elite Instructor with the overall highest conversion rate during the Elite Instructor myPADI Challenge will also win a Suunto D6i dive computer.

How does it work?

To ensure a level playing field, you’ll be competing against others in your 2015 Elite Instructor category (50, 100, 150, 200 and 300 certifications), and the 2015 Elite Instructors showing the largest percentage growth in certifications (compared to the same time frame last year) will win. It’s as simple as that!

How do I apply?

You don’t need to take any action to enter or apply because PADI will track your growth for you! You’ll even be able to keep track of your progress via the PADI Pros’ Site throughout the campaign.

Click here for the Full Contest Rules

Now, get certifying and good luck!

Elite Instructor Interview: Chris Azab, PADI Course Director

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Chris Azab, a highly experienced PADI Course Director and Tec Deep/Trimix Instructor, has been diving “a long time” and was awarded the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2015 earlier this year, an award which recognises the achievements of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world.

With an impressive 11,000+ dives in her logbook, Chris conducts Instructor Development Courses in the Netherlands and Egypt, teaching in her mother tongue of Dutch as well as English, German and Arabic.

PADI Regional Manager Teo Brambilla caught up with her to learn more about her achievements as a PADI Pro, and what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to her.


chris-azab-studentsWhat inspired you to become a PADI Professional?

Ever since I started diving in 1998, I’ve loved the underwater world and its beautiful creatures. I wanted to show them to other people, so in 2001 I became a PADI Pro.

How do you think you’ve changed – personally and professionally – as you’ve moved up the ranks to become a PADI Elite Instructor?

Personally, I’ve changed my whole life! I was working for a banking and insurance company, and chose a different lifestyle. Since 2004 I have been working full time in the diving industry, making people happy. I’m always proud of what I’m doing; working as a professional teacher, thinking positively all of the time – that’s how I reached the PADI Elite Instructor status.

chris-azab-studentWhich PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most, and why?

I love to teach new PADI Instructor candidates, that’s why I became a PADI Course Director – I see so many positive changes in people. Another favourite is the Tec Sidemount course, it’s great to do dives with more tanks on the side before moving on to further Tec courses.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?

Becoming a Silver PADI Course Director and PADI Tec Trimix Instructor. One day I hope to achieve Gold status, and then Platinum. Teaching people is my passion!

chris-azab3What does diving give you that nothing else does?

During diving, it’s the silence… and then after each dive I love the smile on each diver’s face. And that’s the same for teaching, as well – seeing that smile.

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now?

When I started my PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, the Night Adventure Dive was mandatory, but I really didn’t want to do it. I reached two meters and quit the dive, but I still wanted to become an Advanced Open Water Diver… My PADI Instructor took me to Marseille, France, and let me try it again. I succeeded – not with pleasure, but I did it. The next night dive I booked was during a holiday in Egypt, and from that moment forgot my fears and I’ve found night diving great ever since.

chris-azab2Do you believe you change others’ lives through teaching scuba diving?

Absolutely. Students change from shy to confident, and I’ve had students suffering from depression turn into positive and active people. Some become PADI Instructors, quitting their jobs and travelling around the world. Some even started their own PADI Dive Center. I’ve given students the power to overcome any fear, I’ve given disabled students freedom, and helped people become positive. That’s why I want to do this job as long as I can – it’s amazing to change lives.

How does it feel to be recognised as one of PADI’s Elite Instructors in 2015?

It’s a result of hard work… being a real PADI Professional with quality teaching. I’m proud of it!

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?

Follow your heart and your dream. You are your only limit.

And finally, what does “my PADI” mean to you?

“My PADI” is my way of living. It’s a lifestyle, supported and promoted by PADI and I’m proud to be a part of it. I want to follow this lifestyle as long as I can. It’s not always easy, but I’d still choose this life. It’s an adventure as well, so let’s go for it. I remember the words from my PADI Open Water Diver course a long time ago and they still count; meet people, go places and do things. So, for now, I’m on my way to Malta…


Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

Find out more about Chris Azab via her website.

5 Tips for Pros: How to Maintain Your Scuba Gear Properly

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As a PADI Professional, your scuba gear is exposed to heavy use – much more than the average recreational diver. Three or five dives a day teaching students or guiding certified divers will quickly leave their mark, and you’ll notice your diving equipment ageing much quicker than usual.

Of course, you can help to counteract this wear and tear with proper maintenance of your dive equipment, allowing you to get the best results from your gear despite the high strain.

Above all you shouldn’t forget that you always have a role model function as a PADI Pro, and your scuba gear in particular should always be exemplary: clean, well maintained and fully functional. This way you show your students and other divers that you’re a conscientious diving professional, and demonstrate the importance of well-maintained diving gear.

Here are 5 tips on properly caring for your scuba equipment:

#1 – Rinse your diving equipment thoroughly after every dive

It doesn’t matter if you’re diving in fresh or salt water; clean your scuba gear with clean water after every dive. This will help to remove dirt and other contaminants like micro-organisms or stinging particles from coral or jellyfish. It also helps to prevent the unwanted formation of salt crystal build-up after open water dives in the ocean.

#2 – Dry your diving equipment after every dive

neoprene-careSure, it can difficult as a PADI Pro to do this if you use your diving equipment multiple times during the day. But in between your dives, try to dry out your gear as well as you can. When dive gear is kept damp (especially when stored), bacteria or fungi can quickly develop and spread, which not only damages your diving equipment but can also trigger infections and irritations to your skin.

To dry your scuba gear hang it up outside, ideally in a dry and breezy place but not directly in blazing sunshine. Sunlight can cause faster ageing of materials and can make neoprene and rubber parts brittle.

scuba-equipment#3 – Check any moving parts regularly for dirt and defects

At least once a day, you should make sure that all moving parts on your diving equipment (such as buckles on your BCD, inflator buttons, regulator purge buttons etc.) are clean and working properly. That way you’ll be reassured that there are no dirt, sand or salt crystals stuck in your diving gear that might cause a malfunction during a dive.

#4 – Deep-clean and maintain your diving equipment on a regular basis

In addition to rinsing your kit with clean fresh water after each dive, you should also wash your gear thoroughly at least once a week with a special cleaner designed for dive equipment. This applies not only for neoprene suits, but also for your BCD.

scuba-gear#5 – Store your diving equipment properly

Between dives – and especially if you’re taking some time away from teaching – you should ensure that your gear is stored properly to avoid damage and deformation of the material. Make sure it’s completely dry before packing it away (see #2), don’t stand your fins on the blade-end (as they’ll bend out of shape), and ensure the glass in your diving mask is protected from being scratched.

In addition to these 5 tips, you should always be very careful when carrying and using your diving equipment. Strong impact can easily damage your gear, especially the small components in your BCD and regulator.

PADI’s Equipment Specialist Touch is a great tool to help refresh your memory on maintenance techniques, even as a PADI Professional. It’s also a valuable teaching aid to use with your students to help them learn the importance of caring for their scuba equipment.


christian_huboThis article was written by guest blogger, Christian Hubo. A PADI diving instructor, Christian has enjoyed over 4,000 dives whilst travelling around the world. Above the surface, he’s hiked thousands of kilometers across the natural world. Christian is a freelance web and media designer, underwater photographer, social media and marketing consultant and freelance author. His magazine articles and blog, Feel4Nature, inspires people to follow an independent, individual and eco-conscious lifestyle.

PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa Applauds its 2015 Frequent Trainers

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PADI Course Directors, the highest level of PADI Professional, are much sought after individuals within the diving industry.

Becoming a PADI Course Director is one of the toughest challenges an experienced PADI Professional will face throughout their career.  Many rigorous prerequisites must be met before the aspiring PADI Pro may submit an application to be selected for the Course Director Training Course (CDTC).  While many PADI Pros aspire to taking part in the CDTC and becoming instructor trainers, only the very best are selected.  The CDTC itself is intense, teaching prospective Course Directors everything from how to conduct an Instructor Development Course to how to market and grow their business.  Each candidate is subject to continuous evaluation in the classroom and in the water, and it is not until the final evaluation on the final day that the individual knows whether they have made the grade.

This elite group of PADI professionals is responsible for creating the highest calibre of instructors around the world: PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors.  Course Directors also train PADI Instructors in their continuing professional development to become PADI Speciality Instructors, IDC Staff Instructors, and EFR Instructors.  The responsibility on Course Directors to keep standards high cannot be underestimated and PADI is proud to have the best instructor trainers in the diving industry.

To that end, each year PADI applauds and rewards its most productive Course Directors in the form of the Frequent Trainer Program (FTP).  Dependent on PADI Professional training productivity during the preceding year, PADI awards Course Directors who meet minimum FTP requirements with either Silver, Gold or Platinum status for the current year.

PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa proudly announces its list of 2015 Frequent Trainers.  This select group of Course Directors, from all over the EMEA territory, have been busy creating future PADI Instructors – who will in turn create new PADI divers in 2016.

Join us in congratulating the 2015 Frequent Trainers, and find out more about the CDTC here.

PADI 50th Anniversary Promotions

PADI_50_lightbackgroundThe PADI 50th Anniversary campaign celebrates PADI as yesterday’s trailblazer, today’s leader and tomorrow’s future in the dive industry. This global campaign draws on industry icons and legends to share PADI’s story throughout the evolution of the dive industry over the past 50 years, clearly reinforcing PADI’s position as the authority in recreational diver training now.

The PADI organization will celebrate its golden anniversary throughout 2016 with the following plans currently in place:

  • Additional video testimonials featuring dive industry luminaries – past and present – will be produced and shared via PADI channels.
  • The PADI logo received a special, 50th anniversary treatment and will mark PADI communications throughout 2016.
  • Hosting contests and giveaways focused on the 50th Anniversary across PADI social networks and in certification card mailings.
  • Limited-edition 50th Anniversary certification cards will be issued to all divers earning certifications throughout 2016. Several styles will also be available as replacement cards.
  • PADI’s 25 millionth diver certification, expected to be issued during 2016, will be celebrated via an extensive media push.

All PADI Members are invited to join the celebration. The PADI 50th Anniversary logo and related marketing collateral is available on the PADI Pros’ Site.

What is a PADI AmbassaDiver?

AmbassaDiver_Hor_Logo_RedBlk - CopyLast week we launched our search for our PADI AmbassaDiver! We are looking for Pro divers and divers who really make a difference and have a story to tell. But what does it all mean?

As a PADI AmbassaDiver, you will be representing what PADI stands for. A passion for the ocean, safe diving and a constant desire for new adventures. You will be introduced as an AmbassaDiver on the official PADI blog where we will highlight your projects and your story. We will keep up with your adventures and the way you influence the diving community all year. You will also receive exclusive PADI AmbassaDiver merchandise.

You will be a part of all the new product releases, engage with the PADI news, and be invited to talk at events such as PADI member updates or PADI Go pro night. You will be a brand advocate of PADI through social platforms, events and relevant engagements and will be expected to use said social platforms to bring brand awareness as AmbassaDivers are passionate about diving, exploration and adventure, and sharing their love of the sport and the ocean planet is one of their greatest joys.

PADI AmbassaDivers are leaders in the dive industry or local communities and will be elected based on their abilities to influence, engage and inspire others to start and keep diving.

Through passion and dedication, PADI Brand Ambassadors are changing the world of diving or changing the world through diving.

Application Procedures:

Applicants for the PADI AmbassaDiver program should be certified by PADI and able to show a strong social media following and/or significant contributions to scuba diving or related areas.

Download the application here and send an email to [email protected] telling us why we should choose you!

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