Archive | May, 2016

Paul ‘Tosh’ Tanner’s Finathon is One Tough Challenge

31 May

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From climbing mountains to building sandcastles, Finathon is all about doing whatever inspires you to raise money for ocean protection. PADI Regional Manager, Paul ‘Tosh’ Tanner, has committed himself to doing just that.

“The challenge I have set myself hasn’t got anything to do with sharks, but I feel this may be the hardest physical thing I have ever done.”

Tosh is taking on the first ever Tough Mudder in Asia. For those who aren’t familiar with Tough Mudder, it’s a gruelling 16 – 20km obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces to test physical strength and mental grit. If that doesn’t paint enough of a picture, take a look at this video.

Not only has Tosh set out to complete the course, but he’s also set himself and ambitious fundraising target of $2,000 for Project AWARE. Every dollar raised will help Project AWARE fuel grassroots action and policy change necessary to ensure a clean, healthy ocean planet for us today and for future generations.

Tough Mudder is taking place on October 1st and 2nd and Tosh is already more than halfway to his fundraising target. If you’re able to, you can make a donation to his fundraising efforts here – or perhaps you’d like to register your own Finathon fundraiser.

A huge congratulations to Tosh for this incredible effort and we wish him the very best of luck for tackling the course.

A Day in the Life of a PADI Divemaster: Hayley Mitchelmore

25 May

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Most days, you can find Hayley Mitchelmore either on board a 51 ft Catamaran, or diving amongst the longest fringing reef in the world. How does she do this? Hayley is a PADI Divemaster with Sail Ningaloo, in Western Australia. We asked her to share a bit more with us about her love for diving and what a typical day as a PADI Divemaster is like.

PADI: Describe a typical day in your working life as a PADI Divemaster. 

Hayley: I work for Sail Ningaloo who run snorkelling and diving liveaboard trips on board, ‘Shore Thing,‘ a 51ft catamaran. My days are always full of activity and excitement. Here’s a description of a typical day on board a dedicated diving trip:

  • I get up around 6am to prepare breakfast for the guests, clean the cabins and start preparing for lunch. Following this is usually a fresh morning dive.
  • We’ll head back to the boat for morning tea – usually this will include scrumptious cookies – and we’ll then move on to another spot for a second dive before lunch.
  • Lunch is buffet style, unsually consisting of fresh salads, BBQ meat, pies or slices, and home-made bread – all of which has been discreetly prepared in between dives.
  • Following lunch we’ll have a little siesta before we’re back in the water again later in the afternoon. We normally do a sunset dive, or maybe a night dive.
  • Guests will then shower and change into comfortable clothes while i prepare a gourmet sit down meal.
  • Finally, everyone goes to bed and I will set the breakfast table, prepare a few things for the next day and then head to bed myself, ready to do it all over again the next day.

PADI: When and where did you start diving? 

Hayley: I learnt to dive when I was 16, back in Kenya, East Africa, which is where I grew up.

PADI: What made you choose to become a PADI Professional?

Hayley: When I first qualified, I never really knew at that point that I would actually work in the industry. I saw it as a challenge that I really wanted to succeed at, all the while exploring an alien world.

_MG_6782PADI: When and where did you become a PADI Divemaster? 

Hayley: I became a Divemaster right here in Coral Bay! It was the first time I came here in 2009 and it’s a great feeling to be back in the area and working again.

PADI: What highlights do you recall from your PADI Divemaster course? 

Hayley: They thing that stands out most to me were my two awesome instructors. I was lucky enough to have all their attention as I was the only one completing the course. I love that I am still friends with them today!

PADI: What dive locations are on your bucket list, and why?

Hayley: I still haven’t been to Truk Lagoon in Micronesia and everyone I know has been! So this is a trip I need to get organised. I’d also really love to dive in Antarctica because I think it would be truly exhilarating – but I’m not such a fan of the cold, so this might never happen.

PADI: What has been the most memorable dive of your life?

Hayley: I don’t really know why this sticks out, but I divied ‘The Blue Hole,’ off Gozo Island in Malta some years ago. It was cold (about 13 degrees celsius) and I didn’t see anything particulaly special or out of this world, but it is basically a tubular vertical hole that you descend through and then a small arch at the bottom you get out through to see the rest of the reef. It was really surreal.

PADI: What words of advice and encouragement would you give to divers thinking of becoming a PADI Divemaster? 

Hayley: Wow, words of advice – that’s hard! I’d have to say ‘do it.’ It truly is a great experience and you learn a lot about yourself, especially if you have a hard core team training you – but it also gave me incredible confidence in my own diving skills.

PADI Asia Pacific has career opportunities available for 2 x Regional Managers

18 May

PADI LogoWe are excited to announce career opportunities available for 2 x Regional Managers to join our PADI Asia Pacific Territory teams providing local support to PADI Members.

  • Regional Manager – Australia
  • Regional Manager – Asia / Philippines

The Regional Manager will provide local support for PADI Members enquiries for training, memberships, sales and marketing.

You must have minimum PADI IDC Staff Instructor rating with PADI Course Director preferred.

 The Regional Manager is required to live and operate within the region therefore appropriate citizenship, residency or ability to secure relevant visa or work permit is essential.

For further information please click here.

To apply please send your CV to:

Alison Vasek
Human Resources Manager
PADI Asia Pacific
Email: alison.vasek@padi.com.au

 Applications close: 27th May 2016.

PADI exhibits at TecFestNZ 2016

18 May

Tecfest NZ ran its 4th annual event over the weekend of May 6th-8th in Taupo, New Zealand. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions for the event with beautiful calm, warm and sunny conditions topside and great visibility and a balmy 17 degree water temperature.

Stunning conditions for the 4th annual TecFestNZ

Stunning conditions for the 4th annual TecFestNZ

The Beach set-up & dive site

The Beach set-up & dive site

For the first time this year PADI got involved in the annual TecFest NZ in Taupo to promote PADI TecRec programmes. A unique event in which the main objective of the event is actually go diving, rather than talk about it. 120 interested divers from all around the country attended this year’s event with many saying it was the best one yet.

Another big draw card was the high caliber of guest speakers:

Dr Simon Mitchell is a passionate diver and recognised as a leading international authority on diving and hyperbaric medicine. Simon conducted 2 presentations, the first on “Decompression Planning: how it works and current controversies” and the second on “Breathing Underwater: the respiratory challenges of deep compressed gas dives.” If you have ever had the pleasure of listening to Simon present you will know these were extremely interesting and very well attended.

Dr Simon Mitchel presenting

Pete Mesley inspired us all with his presentations on “Are Rebreathers Really the way to go in Technical Diving?” and ”So you have just done your initial Tech course – What next? Opportunities for Today’s Technical Diver” After a recent trip to the Great Lakes and photos from both there and Truk Lagoon included in his presentation Pete ignited everyone’s ‘Lust for Rust‘!

Matt Carter – marine archaeologist and  presenter from Coast NZ gave 2 great talks on the “Exploration of the final frontier: maritime archaeology, tech diving and the deep shipwreck resource” along with “Maritime archaeology in New Zealand, an untapped historical treasure.”

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Tom Crisp has a passion for cave diving like no other! His ‘The Push For More’ presentation all about his cave exploration in New Zealand was fascinating – who knew we had so many untapped cave systems to discover and explore.

Andrew from Global Dive introducing 2 divers to diving on twins

Andrew from Global Dive introducing 2 divers to diving on twins

2 excited divers headed to the water on twins for the first time.

2 excited divers headed to the water on twins for the first time.

With attendees ranging in experience from newly certified  Open Water divers right the way through to experts in their field and highly regarded technical divers and Instructors it was great to be surrounded by like-minded individuals all there for the same reason…Technical Diving.

Try dives were available in Full Face Mask, Twin Sets, Scooters and Sidemount. Divers were also out boat diving around the lake, drift diving the river and just generally having a good time!

Paul Ferguson - Snr Constable with the Police National Dive Squad talking through recent statistics and reiterating the 'safe diving practices' message

Paul Ferguson – Snr Constable with the Police National Dive Squad talking through recent statistics and reiterating the ‘safe diving practices’ message

It was fantastic to have Senior Constable Paul Ferguson give a talk about life as a Police Diver, the equipment they use and areas they dive and on a more serious note, some statistics around incidents here in NZ, whats going wrong and what dive practices (or lack of) are contributing to this high incident rate – something no matter what level diver you are we all need know.

PADI Regional Training Consultant Junya Kato and PADI TecRec Instructor Andrew Simpson presenting on Rebreather Courses and training.

PADI Regional Training Consultant Junya Kato and PADI TecRec Instructor Andrew Simpson presenting on Rebreather Courses and training.

Regional Manager Jen Clent was joined at TecFest NZ by PADI Regional Training Consultant and passionate tehcnical diver Junya Kato who took everyone through the PADI TecRec Courses available including both Open Circuit and Rebreather Courses for both diver level and Instructor level.

Thanks also to Andrew Simpson from Global Dive who assisted with explaining what all is involved in the training inlcuding how he runs the PADI Tec 40 CCR programme.

NZRIDG Update at TecFestNZ

New Zealand Recreational Dive Industry Group (NZRIDG ) Chair Richard Taylor gave industry an update on the newly formed New Representative Peak Body for the Recreational Diving Industry in New Zealand  along with an overview of the new Health & Safety regulations, Adventure Activities System and Certificate of Competence.

So, overall a fantastic weekend was had by all, many newly inspired divers with a new set of diving goals to achieve left Taupo happy after 3 great days. Divers now keen to dive a new wreck, head to a new destination or assist mapping marine archaeology sites all with the knowledge of how to get there. A big thanks to TecFest NZ organisers Chris Clarke and Brent McFadden.

If you would like any further information on PADI TecRec programmes or how you can achieve that next PADI rating please contact your PADI Regional Manager or Regional Training Consultant or visit padi.com.

PADI Asia Pacific is seeking a Quality Management Consultant

17 May

PADI LogoWe have a great career opportunity for a Quality Management Consultant to join the PADI Asia Pacific team.

The Quality Management Consultant interacts with PADI Members with regard to quality and risk management issues and assists in the development and review of quality and risk management procedures for PADI programs and materials.

A PADI Instructor with minimum four years teaching experience is a must. Tertiary qualifications preferred with experience in administration, liaison with government bodies and experience in legal/legislative area a plus.

You must have appropriate citizenship, residency or visa with the right to work in Australia.

Further information please click here.

To apply please send your CV to:

Alison Vasek
Human Resources Manager
PADI Asia Pacific
Email: alison.vasek@padi.com.au

Applications close: 27th May 2016

Interview with Marlon Quinn – Passionate Freediving Instructor and Founder of WaterMaarq Freediving

5 May

_HKR5357-web_resized for webMarlon Quinn’s freediving journey began with a chance encounter with a ray. Today, he is a passionate Freediving Instructor and founder of WaterMaarq Freediving in Victoria, Australia. We asked him about his love for freediving and where he hopes to see it in the next few years.  

What inspired you to start freediving?

My freediving journey began with an encounter with a stingray in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria about a decade ago. I was snorkelling off Brighton Beach, when I came face to face with the 1.5m-wide Eagle Ray.

We both had a moment of surprise, I was a bit frightened and so was he. As a competitive cyclist I’ve performed in some very tough and high-risk situations, and I didn’t like that I was uncomfortable. I wanted to learn how to be calmer in the water and more in tune with the environment.

The stingray eventually became the iconic logo of WaterMaarq Freediving.

What do you enjoy most about freediving?

I come from an athletic and competitive background. I’m always pushed to the limits and striving to reach my goals but when I freedive I’m in a calm, quiet place where my mind is free from worldly distractions.

The real enjoyment in freediving comes from exploring your capabilities in a different manner. The more you let go of your goals and expectations, the easier it gets and the more comfortable you’ll be. It’s a beautiful feeling. Freediving is elegant and graceful, which comes from a place of acceptance and ease.

Which freediving discipline do you prefer and why?

Learning to freedive is like assembling a toolkit, you need all the right skills to perform your best.

  • Static skills (motionless breath holding while laying on the surface) allow you to develop self-awareness and strong mental management;
  • Dynamic skills (swimming underwater laps) in the pool develop fantastic finning technique and streamlining and;
  • Constant Weight skills (freediving vertically to depth) bring adaptation to pressure change and sound equalisation technique.

For me, it’s the combination of these disciplines that makes a strong and competent freediver who can dive anywhere in any conditions.

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What are some of your favourite freediving locations and why?

My favourite freediving locations aren’t typical ones. In southern parts of Australia you’ll see diversity like nowhere else – there are freshwater sinkholes, kelp reefs, sponge gardens, rock formations, plunging walls and caves. The temperate waters here are a few degrees cooler than tropical waters, but with 80% of species in this environment not found anywhere else on earth, it’s an adventure every time.

Rich blue waters of the Tasman Peninsula region in Tasmania offer steep cliffs plunging deep into the water with strong features and big fish. Here you’ll find some of the most spectacular freediving sites in cooler waters!

The crystal clear waters of South Australia’s freshwater sinkhole environment makes divers feel like they’re suspended in outer space. We run our advanced freediving courses here (and advanced level excursions) because of the magnificent feeling of depth and the effortless freefall.

The ultimate location for me though is around the ocean-facing beaches on the Mornington Peninsula, around Blairgowrie where WaterMaarq Freediving is based.

We’re spoilt here because we have the relatively protected Port Phillip Bay on one side and the ocean on the other. We enjoy the company of Burrunan Dolphins, Weedy Seadragons and Smooth Stingrays – my personal favourite species and the largest of all Australian stingrays, growing up to 4.2m long, 2m wide and 350kg. When the conditions are right, the ocean-facing beaches offer vibrant colour, abundant growth, swim-throughs, overhangs, crevices, gullies, caves and bits and pieces of shipwrecks from the 19th century. It’s truly amazing under the surface!

What’s your favourite marine life encounter?

Every time I dive I think I have a new favourite encounter!

Most recently, my favourite has been staring eye-to-eye with a Longsnout Boarfish – a very ornate looking species endemic to Australia.

Before that is was being surrounded by hundreds of Australian Salmon circling like a bait-ball which was being herded by a dolphin or juvenile Seahorses about 1.5cm-3cm big floating by attached to blades of grass.

I’m looking forward to enjoying the annual spider crab migration that occurs just before winter as the water temperature cools. During this time, thousands of spider crabs enter the shallows to moult and mate. It’s a theatre of magnitude as the interplay between crabs, stingrays and jellyfish work to try and survive before the spider crabs return to somewhere in Port Phillip Bay and the location of which remains a secret that marine scientists are still studying.

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What’s on the horizon for you in regards to freediving?

As a freediver I’m not ambitious.

The sports arena is spotted with professional athletes who seek to transition across to coaching eventually. I seek to first become the best freediving instructor I can be.

That’s why I’ve trained with a diverse range of world champion level freedivers including Umberto Pelizzari, Stavros Kastrinakis and Ant Williams to compile the best methods of the best. If I continually work towards improving and developing as the best instructor I can be, then through PADI Freediver courses I want to produce the most competent, strong, adaptable, safe and well-rounded freedivers that anyone can be.

What’s your advice to anyone thinking of taking up freediving?

Hasten slowly! Freediving is a bit like martial arts – it’s a discipline with a library of information and skills you need to learn over time to become a master. The first step really should be to take a course with an instructor. Understanding the risks, adopting safe practices, developing knowledge of the body, breathing and relaxation techniques is all part of the foundation material.

Freediving really is a fantastic way to enjoy the marine world, a course may fast-track the feelings of comfort, longer dives and potentially going deeper. PADI Freediver courses enable a wonderful way to develop as slowly or swiftly as anyone prefers. Freediver Touch supports self-paced learning which particularly favours freediving.

Where do I see freediving progressing in the next few years?

In the last 10 years, freediving has become more popular, however breath-holding activities are banned across a wide spectrum of public pools. It reminds me of when snowboarding was a new sport and, initially, many ski resorts banned it.  Now snowboarding is one of the most popular and dynamic snow sports around.

If we encourage education, safe practices, the buddy system, professional instructors and schools, freediving will develop as a popular fun, safe and relaxing recreational activity with a huge following.

In the future I’d like to see training and education within reach for all individuals, so they can first and foremost be equipped and safe, as this provides the foundation to enjoy the underwater world in any part of the globe.

PADI Instructor Examinations in April 2016

5 May

Congratulations to all the new PADI Instructors from April 2016.

Below are some photos from the PADI Instructor Examinations held throughout Asia Pacific.

02-03 – Phu Quoc, Vietnam
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05-06 – Penang, Malaysia
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06-07 – Gili Islands, Indonesia
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09-10 – Bali, Indonesia
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09-10 – Cairns, Australia
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10-11 – Semporna, Malaysia
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13-14 – Koh Lanta, Thailand
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14-15 – Sanya, China
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16-17 – Phuket, Thailand
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16-17 – Melbourne, Australia
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19-20 – Koh Tao, Thailand
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23-24 – Goa, India
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23-24 – Shenzhen/ Ghuangzhou, China
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23-24 – Sydney, Australia
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30-1 – Auckland, New Zealand
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30-1 – Perth, Australia
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