PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson talking to Martin Pedersen, OceanAdventures, about his passion for diving, environmental issues and his new shop in Kolding, Denmark.
Well I guess the passion for the sea started at a very young age. Though they’re where no divers in my family, my grandfather was an old fisherman. I have spend countless of hours on a little boat in “Lillebælt”, just staring at the sea and waiting on what wonders my grandfathers net was bringing up from the depth. These hidden secrets grew on me with my age, the unexplored had too be explored. I blew first bubbles at the local evening school for young kids. This day I still remember the feeling, I guess all divers remember their first bubbles and what an experience that was, well I surely still do and wow what a feeling! That truly kick started the whole thing and my love for the sea and ocean grew only stronger by the day.
Diving is a passion, a lifestyle, a way of thinking and not only the sport that it is recognized as. I love my family, but I really love the ocean too. When I say it’s a lifestyle, a passion, I mean it all goes hand in hand, diving is for every one, when you think you have tried it all, seen it all, experienced it all, the ocean just keeps on surprising in wonderful ways. A normal dive, at you local divespot, you have done maybe 500 times before, but that one day it just blows you away with a new and unexpected experience, you totally forget time, forget all the bills you need to pay, the complaints form the boss. At that unique moment you feel at special connection, and its not at connection to WIFI or a mobile phone, it’s a connection to the ocean and at the same time you realize what at small brick you are in the big puzzle called mother nature. That is what I call ocean love and that is my fascination.
My company was founded on ideals to teach and educate the public about the unknown and unexplored seas around Denmark. Based in Kolding with the narrow strait of Lillebælt in the backyard, it became my playground and base of operation. The whole concept was the get people aware of our seas and introducing them in a eco-friendly way. What we did, was we made a lot of educational events, funded by different organizations, and then we went out to public schools, government institutions, kindergaardens, public areas, shopping streets etc and created an event called ‘Feel the Ocean’. The goal was simple, to give the ocean a voice. But what we did was even better; we influenced a whole young generation in a city. We made them taste, feel, smell, see and explore what we had with us from the sea and educated them in a new way, where there was no limits, test or exams. And of course the best of it all, I was telling people about my love for the ocean.
Yes correct I spend 4 years I Asia, working, teaching and truly getting into the dive industry. Most of the 4 years I spend on a little island in Thailand called Koh Tao. Those years helped me when I opened the dive shop I have today. After 4 years I had the insight and tools for opening a small dive shop I Kolding. After barely 2 years, I had to move to a bigger shop. During a period of five years I went from being a small PADI Divecenter to one of Denmark’s leading PADI 5-Star IDC center’s.
What is your favorite dive in Denmark?
Jonas, this is a trick question, I’m not gonna tell you my secret spot, that’s a well kept secret only few know of, but I can tell you of a dive I really love. There is a small island located in the middle of Lillebælt and this place is absolutely beautiful in all its features and gives you a pretty good idea if what a unique place Lillebælt is.
Yep correct we just moved into the new shop, which gave us a more professional look and taking diving with our clients to a whole new level. I wanted to offer something different. So after many chats with my staff, countless questionnaires from student, the course was set – we had to create a new platform for inspiration, education and guidance, all under one roof. So we created that in our new center and hopefully this will bear fruit in time.
Any favorite dives you still dream off?
Well where there is water, there are adventures to be explored. I think my personal list is as long as any other diver in the world. Let’s call it a bucket list, taking one dive at the time.
2016 is gonna be a very exiting year for both my company and me personal. Hopefully, I see in the future, me becoming a CD, so please cross a finger or two for me and to make our new dive center a great success.
Any tips for our readers who is dreaming of becoming a diving instructor and opening their own diving center?
Do it, if you have a dream and driven by passion, then do it. Be aware of all hard work, but I’m sure that as long as you remember where it all started and share your passion with others you will succeed.
Thanks for the time. You are a great role model for all divers.