Elite Instructor Interview: Chris Azab, PADI Course Director


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.

Södertälje #DiveAgainstDebris

Dive Against Debris Sweden

More than 80 divers with a shared passion for ocean protection joined forces on Sunday 29 May in Sweden to take a stand against the onslaught of marine debris! What they found is astonishing – trolleys, bikes, bottles ….

Maren is a garbage dump, and I feel sorry for Södertälje residents and the environment,” says Lasse Lindblad, one of the event organisers from Ecodive.

The event raised a whopping £3.5K in support of Project AWARE’s conservation work and on-going battle against marine debris.

The dedication and commitment of the Project AWARE movement of divers give us hope that together, we will win the fight against marine debris” says Domino Albert, Project AWARE Communications Manager. “We thank all the sponsors, donors, event organisers and everyone involved in the success of this amazing day in support of ocean protection. Your support and generosity will go a long way towards our relentless efforts to advocate for longterm solutions to prevent marine debris“.

Project AWARE cheque presentatioPADI Regional Manager, Kjell Håkon Evensen, who attended this awareness day, was pleased to receive a cheque on behalf of the Project AWARE team in support of the non-profit organisation’s ongoing campaign Dive Against Debris and long-term commitment to finding solutions to the global marine debris crisis.

Shout out to Ecodive, Scubasweden and all involved in making this amazing day a HUGE success!

For more information about organising a Dive Against Debris for a group of divers, visit Project AWARE’s Action Zone.

My PADI – My Ocean – My Hope

Adopt a Dive Site this Earth Day

Adopt a Dive SiteOn Earth Day, April 22, Project AWARE® announces its latest initiative supporting the fight against marine debris: Adopt a Dive Site™. Harnessing the unique underwater skill set of the scuba diving community, Adopt a Dive Site urges scuba diving leaders around the globe – including dive instructors, dive centres and resorts – to engage in ongoing, local protection and monitoring of our underwater playgrounds.

Adopt A Site MaterialsSeated within Project AWARE’s flagship citizen-science program, Dive Against Debris™, Adopt a Dive Site is tailored to the global nonprofit organization’s most dedicated dive leaders: participants commit to carry-out monthly Dive Against Debris surveys, reporting types and quantities of marine debris found underwater each month from the same location. To support its community, Project AWARE will provide Adopt a Dive Site participants with a full suite of new survey tools to help implement their actions, a yearly report on the state of participants’ local dive sites and recognition tools for dive centers, resorts and leaders to share their stewardship with local customers and community.

Take your Dive Against Debris™ to the next level with Project AWARE’s new Adopt a Dive Site global campaign.  Read the full press release and Sign Up Today!

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


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


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 Freediver course in Sweden


Patrik H2O Lund

Patrik H2O Lund

H2O Lund, Sweden, is one of the first PADI fridykker Centers established throughout the world. They have already run tow free diving courses and instructor Patrik is very excited about the program.

Here are the first impressions of the course written by Patrick:

H2OLundFreediver 2

I have been fortunate enough to be able to teach the new PADI Freediver Course, the entry-level course in PADIs new Freediver-program. After completed two courses I must say it’s just great.

The student material, PADI Freediver Touch, is a truly professional product. It delivers the information in an active and fun way and students are excited to complete the knowledge development part. Freediver Touch covers all three programs, Freediver, Advanced Freediver and Master Freediver and all of my students so far have been studying the material from the other courses as well. The response to the product is fantastic.

To divide the Freediver program into three different courses makes a lot of sense  to me. This means that the entry-level course is accessible to all people interested in freediving and the performance requirements is, with practice, obtainable. The Advanced Freediver Course and Master Freediver raise the bar considerable, and I think it’s really good. This means that the program also includes those divers wanting a new challenge and are ready to take there diving to the next level.

The prerequisites to be able to teach these levels are also high. I see this as a great challenge to advance my own skills and I’m really enthusiastic to attend more courses myself and practice with my freediver friends.

Diving in Sweden is for sure an all year around activity thanks to drysuits, dry gloves and other proper equipment. However, freediving needs to be in a wetsuit and to be honest, there is “a few” months a year where teaching the Freediver-program in open water is just too cold. This is where the Basic Freediver course comes in. The Basic Freediver course covers the knowledge development and confined water part of the Freediver course making it ideal to teach during the winter. When summer is back again the divers have the possibility to complete the open water sessions earning the PADI Freediver rating.

My students all come from different backgrounds. So far I have trained staff from the dive centre, scuba divers, non-divers, young and old. This program has something for everyone. The bookings are great and I will have a busy and fun year ahead of me teaching freediving.

Patrik Jeppsson

Master Instructor 72779

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!


Aquatica Wassersport meets with PADI at Boot Show

Aquatica Wassersport is one of the first PADI Freediver Centers established across the world. Thomas Jurkschat met with PADI Territory Director Suzanne Smith and PADI Regional Manager Thomas Sobotta at the Boot Show, Dusseldorf this year.

Ines Jurkshat (not pictured) was also recognised for her role on the advisory panel for the development of the PADI Freediver program.

Congratulations to PADI’s Top Certifying Instructors in 2015

Go_Pro_CAY07_1136_TS_KingWorld_LGTop certifying PADI Instructors will soon be receiving their Elite Instructor Award. This award celebrates the achievements of PADI Instructors who issued 50, 100, 150, 200 or 300+ certifications during 2015.

The Elite Instructor Award distinguishes PADI professionals by highlighting their experience as PADI Members and gives them the means to promote their elite status to student divers, potential students, prospective employers and others. Elite Instructor Award recipients receive an acknowledgement letter and recognition certificate (both signed by PADI President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Drew Richardson), a decal to add to their instructor cards, and an e-badge they may use on emails, websites, blogs and social media pages. Elite award instructors may authorize PADI Dive Centres or Resorts with which they associate to display their Elite Instructor Award on the business’ digital site as well.

Check out the 2015 Global Elite Instructor Recipient List to see who earned an award for their 2015 certifications. Listed PADI Instructors can go to the “My Account” tab on this site to download their 2015 Elite Instructor e-badge, and should also be able to see their e-badge on their PADI Pro Chek results page.

Visit the PADI Elite Instructor information page to read about the program.