A Message from Drew Richardson, PADI President and CEO

29 May

There’s been an exciting change of PADI® ownership to a consortium of conservation-minded family investors. This conglomerate of family wealth investors, based in North America, are run similar to foundations and endowments, who invest long-term in cause-oriented premium brands with dominant market share positions that show steady and consistent growth.

As PADI President and CEO, I’m committed to leading the organisation into its next 50 years, as is the entire PADI executive team. Together, we will continue to grow the PADI brand and through our stewardship efforts ensure PADI is not only the best in the world, but also best for the world.

This is a positive transition for the organisation as the family wealth investors will hold and nurture PADI for many years. This group is closely aligned with PADI’s mission and supports PADI’s efforts to remain stewards for this amazing brand we all love. The new ownership group includes philanthropists drawn to PADI’s commitment to ocean conservation and preservation. And, most importantly, they respect the organisation’s dedication to PADI Member support.

Focus remains on the following global priorities:

  • best-in-class support to ensure PADI Member prosperity and growth
  • new diver acquisition initiatives to attract millions of consumers to the sport and train them to be comfortable and confident divers
  • long-term diver engagement and retention through encouraging divers to explore and seek adventure in the underwater world
  • a deeper purpose vision to inspire all divers to ultimately pay it forward through ocean conservation, marine animal protection, community support, and the healing powers of scuba.

This transition marks the next evolution of the PADI organisation and is a positive move for PADI Members and the entire dive industry. As my personal friends, I can confidently say that PADI Founders, John Cronin and Ralph Erickson, would be extremely proud of this next step for the PADI organisation and heartened to see that it has transformed into a global force for good for scuba diving and the ocean planet.

I thank you for taking the time to read this message. To all PADI Members, I want to reinforce my personal appreciation of your role and contributions to dive training excellence and aquatic conservation advocacy. You are the heart of the organisation and the entire PADI staff remain focused on delivering the best service and support to help you succeed. Together, we are – and will continue to be – the way the world learns to dive.  Be best. Be PADI.

Best personal regards,

Drew Richardson

President & CEO

PADI Worldwide

PADI Brings Diving to the World for Its Members

6 May

The PADI® team is always hard at work spreading the word of diving to encourage more consumers to discover the dive lifestyle through PADI Dive Centers and Resorts. Dedicated public relations and marketing specialists are in constant contact with the media, promoting the life-changing opportunities and adventures diving offers, as well as showcasing just how easy it is to get started. The result? PADI reached more than two billion consumers globally through media outreach and advertising placements during 2016; this exposure has an equivalent media value – the dollar amount the exposure would cost if purchased – exceeding US $7 million.

“PADI is continuously reaching out to both divers and nondivers, representing diving in the most beneficial way to encourage more people to immerse themselves in this amazing sport,” says Kristin Valette, PADI Worldwide Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer.

The PADI media team is already at it again in 2017, promoting diving opportunities around the globe to grow the dive industry, while sharing the transformational experiences diving offers and creating more environmental advocates to help protect our oceans. Today, prominent media look to PADI as the leading authority in diving, yielding feature article placements in media outlets such as: The New York Times, TravelChannel.com, USAToday.com, cntraveler.com, HuffingtonPost.com, and MensFitness.com. Most recently, PADI secured this coverage on Forbes.com (29,704,584 visitors per month) touting 10 must see dive destinations in 2017.

In addition to ongoing media outreach, the PADI team connects with divers via PADI’s online network, fostering the global dive community united by a shared passion for adventure and love for the oceans. PADI’s social media fan base continues to gain in popularity, currently with more than 1.6 million Facebook fans, 87,000 Twitter followers, 22,500 YouTube subscribers and 470,000 ScubaEarthlings. “Social media buzz is important because word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective techniques for influencing people’s behavior,” says Valette. “PADI Divers tend to become PADI ambassadors, and through their experiences others are encouraged to dive in and explore. Their stories represent the heart of diving and we want to help amplify their messages to the world.”

As the PADI team charges forward into 2017, the focus is not only on attracting new divers to the sport, but also in inspiring divers of every level to become advocates for the ocean and its inhabitants, the global scuba community and, ultimately, the future of the planet. It is with this fundamental vision and commitment to not only be best in the world, but also best for the world that PADI remains the leading authority in diver education.

The Way the World Learns to Dive®

PADI’s World-Class Business Support and Service Results in Record Membership Numbers

6 May

When dive businesses consider joining the PADI® family, they discover a variety of benefits including the ability to increase course profit, leverage best-in-class business support, and access unparalleled customer service. Combined with the power of the PADI brand bolstered by 50 years of dive training excellence, plus a dedication to aquatic conservation and advocacy, and it’s easy to see why so many dive centers and resorts choose PADI for long-term business success. In fact, more dive centers and resorts joined PADI in 2016 than any other year, with retail and resort membership now exceeding 6400 members globally.

PADI Dive Centers and Resorts use the PADI System of diver education to offer quality educational programs and dive experiences. What results is that when customers visit PADI’s Dive Shop Locator, the stores they see are authorized PADI facilities and not just pins on a map.

Jim Copeland of Copeland’s, Inc., a PADI Dive Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, switched his store to PADI from another training agency. “I was pleased with PADI’s high training standards; I haven’t trained so hard since I first started my dive shop in 1958!” he says about PADI’s onboarding process. “It was a very difficult decision to cross over to PADI, but I don’t regret it. Everyone at PADI has been awesome, especially our PADI Regional Training Consultant, Kristina Leadbeater – she is absolutely priceless.”

PADI’s exemplary customer service is a member benefit that receives continuous accolades. Ian Sutherland of 3 Fathoms Scuba, Ltd., a PADI Dive Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, echoes Copeland’s praise for the PADI team. “I’ve never had a single complaint with PADI’s customer service in the two years since I joined,” he says. Having joined PADI after leaving another training agency, Sutherland is particularly appreciative of the organization’s responsiveness to his needs and the close communication maintained with him. “Debbie Parker, my Certifications Coordinator, is absolutely exemplary in the way she deals with members!” he adds.

“PADI has always considered outstanding customer service paramount,” says Drew Richardson, PADI Worldwide President and Chief Executive Officer. “In a time where other businesses appear to be cutting back on customer service, PADI Regional Headquarters are expanding to deliver prescriptive business support tailored to meet members’ needs. For example, PADI’s Regional Business Support Teams include a Territory Director, who is focused on the needs of a specific geographical area, plus a dedicated Regional Manager and Regional Training Consultant. Together, this team delivers proven diver acquisition and retention tools customized for each market to provide prescriptive business support to PADI Dive Centers and Resorts.” Each PADI Regional Business Support Team also includes a Marketing Consultant and Customer Relations staff member. Together, the teams strive to deliver turnkey business solutions and concierge-level support to PADI Members.

Profitability is always on every dive business owner’s mind, which is why PADI dedicates extensive resources to developing business education programs. Many of these programs are free to PADI Members, including a wide offering of Business of Diving webinars, both live and recorded at the PADI Pros’ Site. For more in-depth business training, members turn to PADI Business Academy. “I’ve attended four PADI Business Academy programs,” says Matt Bolton, General Manager of Crystal Dive Resort in Koh Tao, Thailand. “The PADI team does an absolutely fantastic job – organized, informative, and fun, combined with lots of member-focused, one-on-one consultations.”

So, what does unparalleled training standards, superior customer service and in-depth business support result in? According to Copeland, it’s higher profits. “We definitely make more money with PADI!” he says.

The Way the World Learns to Dive®

PADI Instructor Examinations for April, 2017

6 May

Congratulations to the many new PADI Instructors who completed their PADI Instructor Examinations in April, 2017.

1 – 3 | Moalboal, Philippines

3 – 5 | Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

4 – 6 | Bohol, Philippines

5 – 7 | Whitianga, New Zealand

6 – 8 | Goa, India

6 – 8 | Koh Lanta, Thailand

7 – 9 | Cebu, Philippines

7 – 9 | Malapascua, Philippines

8 – 10 | Bali, Indonesia

12 – 14 | Mabul, Malaysia

12 – 14 | Miri, Malaysia

15 – 17 | Semporna, Malaysia

19 – 21 | Perhentian Island, Malaysia

22 – 24 | Phuket, Thailand

22 – 24 | Shenzhen, China

22 – 24 | Tioman Island, Malaysia

23 – 25 | El Nido, Philippines

25 – 27 | Koh Tao, Thailand

25 – 27 | Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

26 – 28 | Dunedin, New Zealand

26 – 28 | Gold Coast, Australia

28 – 30 | Jeju Island, South Korea

IE Photo.jpg

PADI Freediver kickstarted in Fiji

1 May

“Fiji is one of those holy grail freediving locations where you have perfect conditions for depth training and stunning aquatic ecosystems to play around. I was surprised at the health of the coral and the marine life in general. The local Fijians were so welcoming and accommodating, just as they’re reputed to be. It’s become a place I’ll always return to”.  

– Adam Stern, PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer and PADI AmbassaDiver

Freediving in the Blue

PADI AmbassaDiver Adam Stern visited Fiji for the first time in early April to train PADI Freedivers and kick start training in the area. 13 PADI Instructors from around Fiji came together to complete some training with the 4 x Australian record holder.

The Instructors completed their PADI Freediver and Advanced Freediver courses, gaining additional training and tips to meet the prerequisites to apply for their PADI Freediver Instructor rating.

PADI Freediver Instructors

Adam was joined by 2 other Instructors who assisted on this programme. Bryan Bailey and Mitch Bennett.

Here is what PADI Advanced Freedving Instructor Bryan Bailey from one of New Zealand’s Freediver Centres, Blenheim Dive Centre, had to say about the training:

“Bula! I would like to congratulate and thank Jen Clent and PADI for organizing Fiji’s first PADI Freedive Instructor program which took place on the beautiful Coral Coast of Viti levu, Fijis main island. I enjoyed immensely instructing alongside Adam Stern and freediving with the Fijian instructor candidates in the warm crystal clear waters with sharks, dolphins and turtles. The freediving ability of the Fijian candidates was already very high having grown up swimming and diving in such perfect conditions. With the extra skills they have been passed on they will make excellent freediving instructors. Bula Vinaka”

Freediving in the reef

Mike Agnew had this to say about the course:

“It really started way back with the movie The Big Blue. For decades, there was a niggling thought in the back of the mind that I really was meant to be a dolphin. Then came PADI, promoting their Freediver courses, and I was hooked. 

Our Regional Manager Jen Clent organized a Freediver Instructor programme for Fiji. The course itself was brilliant. No other word for it. Adam was the ultimate professional, reminding us again and again to keep within our comfort level and enjoy ourselves. Our skills improved remarkably over the 5 days. He was an instructor to emulate, performing amazing feats with some of us students that had difficulties in some areas.

His two assistants for the course, Bryan Bailey from Blenheim Dive Centre and Mitch Bennett continued Adam’s calm philosophy of staying within your comfort zone and enjoying yourself, and were both fish-like compared to most of us clumsy, brick like swimmers.

So now my descent line is marked, my safety lanyard is made, and I can’t wait to get my hands on my first students!

Vinaka Adam, Bryan and Mitch!”

Divers on the Line

Jodie Bly –  “The course was exhilarating, scary but within my comfort zone, challenging and rewarding, practical and physical, seriousness with fun, competitive camaraderie. Adam and his team were awesome being both encouraging and patient, with lots of sound advice and suggestions.  It was not as hard as I thought it would be and being able to hold my breath for 3 minutes and 10 seconds was amazing, I never thought that would be possible for me.  Loved every second of it”.

Divers on the line and above

Ashwin Pal – “The first time I heard there would be a PADI Freediver course to be held in Fiji I was very excited and could not wait to start the course. I have always done freediving and spearfishing but have always wondered what I can do to extend my breath hold times and depth. The first day of my PADI Freediver course I learnt the different techniques of breathing to extend breath hold times. I would say I was an average student but with Adam, Mitch and Bryan’s help I could easily reach my goals. The entire PADI Freediver programme was very interesting and loads of fun. Now I can teach PADI Freediver courses, gain teaching experience and can’t wait to move on the next level of PADI Advanced Freediver. A big vinaka vakalevu (thank you) to Adam, Mitch and Bryan for taking the time coming to Fiji to help us Fijians becoming a PADI Freediver Instructors”.

Bryan ascending

Lani & Josh – “We loved the PADI Freediver programme. Adam is wonderful, very knowledgeable and extremely infectious. I found the training very challenging but in a good way. As a scuba diver I have always thought I was connected to my body but the freediver course taught me to develop this much much further. The techniques Adam taught us really helped build on our experience, understand why our bodies react in certain ways and how to communicate this to our future students.

Scuba diving for me is amazing, but less challenging as time goes on, I feel as though this course and certification has really opened up a whole new world, one that is just really taking off, I am so excited to be a part of it. It’s a new reason to get in the water, to view the underwater world from a new perspective, an exciting new way to challenge myself and a rewarding sport to teach”.

Lani

Karen Koens – “Super human Adam Stern, was strongly supported by Bryan and Mitch, who are both outstanding humans and Instructors themselves. The generosity from them to ensure PADI Freediver was brought to Fiji, and to give the locals a once in a lifetime opportunity was enthusiastically received by those of us fortunate to attend the course. Since then, my company Subsurface Fiji has become a PADI Freediver Centre. We are looking forward to help Fiji develop as a recognised and respected Freediving destination”.

Stefan Janjic – “Before starting the course I only had experience in “aggressive snorkelling” as Adam phrased it throughout our training sessions. I had managed to reach a maximum depth on a breath-hold dive of roughly 15 meters. With two days in a pool, and my second day in open water I went from being able to reach 15 meters as a difficult max to comfortably descending 26.5 meters, with only the reef as the limiting factor. I was even able to make a rescue from 15 meters, my former maximum in a calm and comfortable manner. The essential knowledge and skills I learned to train my mind and body to go deeper, coupled with how to deal with any potential risks in the sport gave me the confidence I needed to teach freediving. I am incredibly excited to start teaching this new water sport, and add to the list of ocean activities that we can offer at Kai Wai Ocean Sports”.

With such enthusiasm and passion for Fiji and it’s beautiful underwater paradise I can’t wait to see this destination develop and be added to every freedivers bucket-list!

After the training concluded Adam and Bryan spent a few days exploring the islands. Adam created a short video of his adventures on one breath which you can watch here.

For information on PADI Freediver, how to get involved or become a PADI Freediver Instructor, visit PADI.com.

All photos credited to Adam Stern.

PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer Course

13 Apr

PADI is pleased to announce its PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer Course, scheduled from 29 May 2017 – 2 June 2017 in Cebu, Philippines.

The course will help current PADI Master Freediver Instructors transition to PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer, which involves broadening instructional and mentoring skills, plus expanding communication abilities.

To find out more about this exciting opportunity download the PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer Course Fact Sheet. This will give you an idea of the requirements and procedures involved and will help answer any logistical questions you may have.

For more information please contact your PADI Regional Manager or Regional Training Consultant.

PADI Instructor Examinations for March, 2017

10 Apr

Congratulations to the many new PADI Instructors who completed their PADI Instructor Examinations in March, 2017!

1 – 3 | Gili Islands, Indonesia

2 – 3 | Bangkok, Thailand

4 – 6 | Bali, Indonesia

7 – 9 | Havelock Island, Andamans India

10 – 12 | Kenting, Taiwan

12 – 14 | Koh Chang, Thailand

15 – 17 | Koh Lanta, Thailand

15 – 17 | Pattaya, Thailand

17 – 19 | Dumaguete, Philippines

18 – 20 | Phuket, Thailand

18 – 20 | Sydney, Australia

20 – 22 | Cebu, Philippines

21 – 23 | Koh Tao, Thailand

25 – 27 | Phu Quoc, Vietnam

31 – 2 April | Nha Trang, Vietnam