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“My Sidemount Experience” by PADI Regional Manager, Neil Richards

8 Nov

Written by PADI Regional Manager for East Thailand, Neil Richards.

When was the last time you did something for the first time? Stepping outside of your comfort zone, and trying new things, is the best way to grow.

Most of my friends in the diving industry (and myself included) started out as young travellers looking for new experiences and adventures. Maybe you did the same.

Do you remember when you made that decision to pack your ruck sack and go? With your new bag on your back stuffed with first aid kits, shoes for all occasions and a bar of soap, off you set not really knowing what to expect.

The excitement you felt getting on an overnight train in a completely different country. The new tastes, sounds and smells, experiencing a complete ‘culture shock’. You arrive at the jetty after a long journey to take your first look at the island you will be calling home for the next few months. It was such a change from your normal, comfortable life. However, after some time, the excitement of being in new territory subsided and life started to get comfortable again, some of the excitement was not there anymore. You still loved your new life, but something was missing.

I had a similar feeling when I started diving. Trying something completely new and out of my comfort zone was exciting and challenging. It was so awesome I decided that going home was no longer an option and I went on to become a PADI Instructor. 13 years later, after thousands of dives and a myriad of experience, I started to feel the itch to try something new. I wanted to get back that excitement that I had when I first started diving – I needed a new challenge. So I decided to take the PADI Sidemount course.

I have always had a desire to become a technical diver. This yearning came after some awe inspiring dives in the cenote caves in Mexico. They were some of the most amazing and adventurous dives I have ever experienced. I noticed two other divers had two of their tanks beside them instead of on their backs. They continued into the cave system and were soon out of sight. I became really curious and wanted to follow them but with a single cylinder on my back, and no specialised training, of course this was not an option. I later learned that this configuration is known as “Sidemount”.

The last few years for me have been very busy so only recently did I manage to get the time and opportunity to take my PADI Sidemount Specialty course. Even with all my years of experience, I felt completely out of my comfort zone and I was having a diving culture shock. It felt like the first time I went travelling again. Everything was new and unfamiliar. I had to start thinking about buoyancy again. I was unaccustomed to the trim and equipment configuration. Equipment set up was completely different. As for the in water skills, I almost felt like a complete beginner. Taking cylinders off and pushing them ahead of me whilst I tried to stay streamlined and neutrally buoyant must have looked almost comical, however after a bit of practice it became much easier. It was one of the most challenging and exciting courses I have taken.

The PADI Sidemount Specialty is not just for divers wanting to explore the more technical side of diving. It has become increasingly popular with recreational divers, some of whom find the configuration of having cylinders on the sides instead of on the back, more comfortable and easier to access.

Sidemount has now opened up a whole new avenue into diving I didn’t know existed. Be it technical or recreational, or whether experienced or new to diving, the PADI Sidemount Specialty is definitely for those who love a new adventure.

New PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty

7 Nov

PADI® Professionals have a long and successful history of adapting training to meet individual needs. This includes accepting people with physical and mental challenges into courses and creatively finding techniques that allow them to master skills and meet course performance requirements.

The new PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course is designed to build on that foundation by broadening awareness and further exploring adaptive techniques. This specialty course is unique in that it’s designed for PADI Divemasters or Master Freedivers and higher.

The course consists of one knowledge development session that introduces the concept of holistic teaching and explores equipment and logistical considerations. It also includes a workshop that helps you look at dive centre accessibility from the perspective of people with various disabilities.

There are two confined water workshops that focus on transfers, entries, exits, assists and communication, along with demonstrating, adapting and practicing skills based on a student diver’s abilities and limitations. The two open water workshops focus on evaluating accessibility, organizing and pacing dives, and adapting skills to the open water environment.

When training people with physical and mental challenges, you learn to focus on what they can do rather than on what they can’t. You don’t have to take this specialty to work with divers with disabilities, but the knowledge and skills you gain can help you adapt course content to accommodate virtually any student diver. This specialty course will expand your ability to be student-centered and prescriptive in approach when adapting scuba or freediving techniques.

Adaptive Techniques Specialty Course Goals

To help PADI Pros:

  • Become more aware and mindful of individual considerations when introducing people with disabilities to diving or freediving.
  • Learn new adaptive techniques to use while supervising and training divers/freedivers with disabilities in PADI courses and programs.
  • Properly counsel and direct student divers, based on their abilities, toward PADI certification, PADI experience programs or toward a disabilities-dedicated diving organization.
  • Explore additional ways to motivate and encourage student divers with mental and/or physical challenges.

PADI Adaptive Support Diver

The subset course, PADI Adaptive Support Diver, is for divers who want to learn how to best support dive buddies who have a physical or mental disability. The course consists of the same knowledge development session as the full specialty, but only requires completion of one confined water workshop and one open water workshop. The prerequisites are PADI Open Water Diver or PADI Freediver™ (or higher), EFR®Primary and Secondary Care course completion within 24 months and to be at least 15 years old. Completion of the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy is recommended beforehand to give the diver firsthand awareness of proper trim.

Because the PADI Adaptive Support Diver course is a standardized specialty, divers can credit an Adventure Dive toward Advanced Open Water Diver certification, and can also credit the specialty toward PADI Master Scuba Diver™.

Becoming an Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor

To be authorized to teach the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course and subcourse, PADI Instructors and PADI Freediver Instructors have the usual two application paths:

  1. Complete a PADI Specialty Instructor Training Course with a PADI Course Director, or PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer who is authorized as a PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor Trainer.
  2. Apply directly to your PADI Regional Headquarters with proof of additional experience and training.

The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor Guide is used to support the course. Although the guide primarily addresses scuba diving, PADI Freediver Instructors who are Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructors will find the guide inclusive of freedivers, with reminder notes about cross-referencing the PADI Freediver Program Instructor Guide.

The course launched at the 2017 DEMA Show in Orlando, Florida, USA, and is currently only available in English. For more information, contact your PADI Regional Training Consultant or go to the PADI Pros’ Site under Training Essentials for further resources about training divers with disabilities.

PADI at DEMA Show 2017

10 Oct

 


It’s that time of year again for the annual Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) Show. DEMA is the largest trade-only event in the world for companies doing business in the scuba diving, ocean water sports and adventure/dive travel industries attracting hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of dive and travel industry professionals from around the world.

The DEMA Show offers a space to conduct business and network, plus you can participate in the most extensive education curriculum in the industry. Please see PADI Programs and Miniseminars offered below.


Course Director Update 2017


Tuesday, 31 October 2017
7:30 am – 12:00 pm
Room: Grand  A, B, C


IDC Staff Instructor Update 2017


Friday, 3 November 2017
7:30 am – 12:00 pm
Room: Orange County Convention Center* S330 A, B, C, D

Early-bird registration fee: $310 US (before 25 October)
Registration fee $325 US (after 25 October)

This year’s Course Director Update and IDC Staff Instructor Update centers on the highly anticipated revision of the Instructor Development Course (IDC). Get a sneak peek at some of the IDC components in development including the “Think Like an Instructor” concept and the enhanced knowledge development, confined water and open water evaluation criteria. The update will feature breakout sessions to cultivate interaction and engagement with colleagues and PADI® staff.
Renewed, Teaching status Course Directors and renewed, Teaching status IDC Staff Instructors qualify to attend the half-day program. Topics include:

  • What’s New: IDC Revision – a preview of this PADI flagship program
  • Evaluation Training Workshop and the New Evaluation Criteria
  • Risk Management in Instructor Development

At the Course Director Update, don’t miss the PADI Frequent Trainer Program award ceremony recognising PADI Platinum Course Directors.

To register, complete and submit a Course Director Update Registration Form or IDC Staff Update Registration Form.


PADI Social


Tuesday, 31 October 2017
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Room: Grand A, B, C

Kick off the DEMA Show week with the PADI Social in the Rosen Centre Hotel Ballroom. Mingle and network with scuba industry colleagues, PADI staff and your friends as together we celebrate the year’s successes and look forward to an exciting year ahead.


New PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Programs Orientation


Wednesday, 1 November 2017
8:00 am – 12:00pm

Early-bird registration fee: $199 US (before 25 October)
Registration fee $225.00 US (after 25 October)

This half-day program introduces the new PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Program to PADI Instructors and PADI Course Directors. If you want to learn techniques and effective approaches for teaching and supervising divers of varying abilities and physical challenges, this program is for you. Many of the concepts discussed apply to all diver training, but this focused practice will also raise your awareness and strengthen your student-centered teaching ability. Completion of this orientation results in certification as a PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Program Instructor (or Instructor Trainer if you’re a PADI Course Director), once additional experience (documentation of training/working with divers with disabilities) is verified. The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Program qualifies you to teach two courses: PADI Adaptive Teaching Techniques Specialty course to dive leaders, and the PADI Adaptive Support Diver Specialty course to divers.

To register, complete and submit an Adaptive Techniques Registration Form.


Emergency First Response® Instructor Trainer


Thursday, 2 November 2017
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Room:
Salon 7/8

Registration fee: $625 US

This half-day program is open to Emergency First Response Instructors who have completed the preparatory online component and conducted at least five Emergency First Response courses or issued at least 25 Emergency First Response course completion cards. This program includes access to online presentations, an Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer Manual (digital version), Emergency First Response Instructor Course Lesson Guides, Emergency First Response Instructor Course exam booklet and the Instructor Trainer application fee. Please bring a current or updated Emergency First Response Instructor Manual.

To register, complete and submit an EFR Instructor Trainer Registration Form.


PADI Business Academy: Mastering Online Advertising


Saturday, 4 November 2017
8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Room:
Salon 5/6

Registration fee: $100 US for Individual Members and $75 US for Retail and Resort Association Members

The seminar is a step-by-step interactive guide to implementing the latest online ad trends. Learn how to tackle and master the most important online advertising trends during this hands-on workshop. Stay ahead of the curve by learning how to use online advertising to acquire new divers and keep your existing ones coming back.
What will you learn to implement?

  • Facebook ads, including custom and look-alike audiences
  • Instagram ads
  • Google AdWords
  • Google display ads
  • Google call-only ads

Note: CDTC applicants can earn three seminar credits by attending this workshop.

To register, complete and submit a PADI Business Academy Registration Form. 


EVE – Register for all EVE Seminars


EVE SPLASH

Wednesday, 1 November 2017 – 8:00 am – 10:00 am – Salon 5/6

Learn how EVE SPLASH can take care of the marketing and communications to help you grow your business. Attend this seminar and walk away with easy-to-implement processes to help you place ads, attract new students, take bookings, manage leads, certify divers, automate follow-up communications and automatically distribute your campaigns using the powerful EVE Agent. This is the perfect starting point for any store owner or manager new to any aspect of EVE DIVING SERVICES.

EVE Marketing

Wednesday, 1 November 2017 – 10:00am – 12:00 pm – Salon 5/6

Discover new campaigns and new designs customised for your store and your customer. Get set up with more than130 ready-to-go, high-end, customisable templates as well as a delivery platform for you to target the right customer at the right time with the right message. Come learn how these sites integrate with your marketing, schedules and your sales goals.

EVE Instructor App Integration

Thursday, 2 November – 8:00-10:00am – Salon 5/6

Empower your instructors to drive your business with the new EVE Instructor App for iOS/Android/Web. Learn how the EVE Instructor App can directly connect to EVE in your store, which helps provide your instructors with a range of applications and tools necessary to successfully manage your business and promote your services.

New EVE Online Store

Thursday, 2 November – 10:00am-12:00pm – Salon 5/6

Come learn how to use the online store for e-commerce, online courses and event bookings. Learn about the EVE online store hybrid operations such as “Scuba and Swim” and “Fish and Dive,” which are easily managed with this completely new product architecture.

EVE Marketing Agent

Friday, 3 November – 8:00-10:00am – Salon 5/6

Keep in touch with your customers using the right message at the right time with EVE Marketing Agent. Attend this seminar to learn how to use EVE Marketing Agent to increase bookings, continuing education, dive trip sales and servicing.

EVE Synergy

Friday, 3 November – 10:00am-12:00pm – Salon 5/6

Discover the complete system in which EVE Cloud hosting brings every feature and application of all of these products and services together in one place. There is a place for you and your customers, wherever they may be. Discover why EVE Synergy is the best award-winning system for the very best price.


Basic Freediver Course


Saturday, 4 November  2017 – 8:00am – 12:00pm

Orlando YMCA Pool

Registration fee: $199 US

Have you tried the PADI Freediver™ program yet? You can learn more about it, give freediving a try and get started on the PADI Basic Freediver course rating in just a few hours while at 2017 DEMA Show. This half-day event covers the knowledge development and confined water portions of the PADI Freediver course, and successful completion result in certification as a PADI Basic Freediver. At a later date you can complete the two remaining open water sessions to become certified as a PADI Freediver.

Program registration incudes the PADI Freediver Touch™, confined water session and certification as a PADI Basic Freediver. Please register no later than Monday, 16 October, to receive the Touch code to complete independent study in time for the confined water session on Saturday, 4 November. You don’t need special freediving equipment to participate – just bring your regular fins, mask and snorkel. It’s a great, fun way to learn by doing. Find out why so many PADI Pros are jumping into PADI Freediving.

To register, complete and submit a Basic Freediver Registration Form,


Miniseminars at the 2017 DEMA Show

Besides learning about new PADI programs and initiatives, by attending PADI Miniseminars, you can earn seminar credit toward regaining Teaching status or higher PADI Instructor ratings. Attendance validation is required for credit and forms will be available at the seminars.


Mastering PADI’s Paperless Registration Process (required for credit)

Learn about changes to the PADI Online Processing Center and how digital forms and My PADI ClubTM will integrate seamlessly into the student diver registration process. Also gain insight into the new padi.com and get a sneak peek at new download options for the Open Water Diver Certification Pack.

Wed, 1 Nov
3 pm – 4 pm
S220A/B
Thu, 2 Nov
1 pm – 2 pm
S220A/B
Fri, 3 Nov
3 pm – 4 pm
S220C

Risk Management 2017: Protect Your Divers and Yourself (required for credit)

Are you prepared in your ongoing efforts to avoid dive accidents? Determine how prepared you are through an analysis of real dive incidents and learn how conservative decisions provide better protection. You’ll also learn how to better manage risk in diver education programs and throughout your dive business.

Wed, 1 Nov
10 am – 11 am
S220A/B
Thu, 2 Nov
11 am – 12 pm
S220A/B
Fri 3 Nov
11 am – 12 pm
S220A/B

CDTC Q&A: What It Takes to Become a PADI Course Director

PADI Course Director is the ultimate PADI Professional rating. Attend this miniseminar to learn how you can reach this goal and about the prerequisites, application procedures and acceptance protocols for the Course Director Training Course.

Wed, 1 Nov
2 pm – 3 pm
S220C
Thu, 2 Nov
2 pm – 3 pm
S220A/B

PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Program

Learn about PADI’s newest specialty course designed to enhance your teaching and supervision techniques to meet the needs of all student divers. Emphasis is on techniques for working with divers with disabilities, but can apply to teaching all student divers as a way to personalize their diving experience in the PADI Open Water Diver course and beyond. Learn how making small changes to your courses will make a big impact on each diver’s scuba journey.

Wed, 1 Nov
1 pm – 2 pm
S220A/B
Fri, 3 Nov
4 pm – 5 pm
S220C

How to Align your Business with PADI’s Four Pillars of Change

At last year’s PADI Social, Drew Richardson announced PADI’s Four Pillars of Change program supporting Healing and Wellness, People and Community, Marine Animal Protection, and Ocean Health. Learn how each of the pillars can appeal to new markets and diversify course offerings while helping to save our ocean planet.

Thu, 2 Nov
4 pm – 5 pm
S220A/B
Fri, 3 Nov
3 pm – 4 pm
S220A/B

Take a Deep Breath and Dive Into Freediving

PADI FreediverTM is gaining momentum and you can only benefit by adding freediving to your course offerings. Find out how you can become a PADI Freediver Center, Instructor or Instructor Trainer and reach a new market segment.

Wed, 1 Nov
4 pm – 5 pm
S220C
Fri, 3 Nov
2 pm – 3 pm
S220A/B

Membership Benefits You’re Not Taking Advantage Of

Are you taking advantage of all the perks that come along with your PADI Membership? Do you know what the Pros’ Site has to offer or that there are programs that reinvest in your marketing efforts? Come find out if you are making the most of your membership and what benefits you may be missing out on.

Wed, 1 Nov
11 am – 12 pm
S220C
Thu, 2 Nov
1 pm – 2 pm
S220C

Managing Your Online Presence

With social media and online review sites, it’s easy for consumers to post comments whether they are positive or negative. Learn how to embrace and even leverage reviews on Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp and My PADI Club to grow your business.

Thu, 2 Nov
10 am – 11 am
S220C
Fri, 3 Nov
11 am – 12 pm
S220C

Tips to Increase Diver Conversions

What is your conversion rate from Discover Scuba® Diving to Open Water Diver? Open Water to Advanced Open Water Diver? Learn how to increase your diver conversion rates and how to strategically link courses to increase continuing education certifications.

Wed, 1 Nov
1 pm – 2 pm
S220C
Fri, 3 Nov
4 pm – 5 pm
S220A/B

Leveraging My PADI Club to Engage and Grow Your Business

What is My PADI Club? How do you sell it? What’s in it for you? Come learn all about My PADI Club and discover how you can use it to attract new divers and keep current divers engaged.

Wed, 1 Nov
10 am – 11 am
S220C
Thu, 2 Nov
3 pm – 4 pm
S220A/B

New Trends in Social Media to Reach New Divers

You use social media in your current business, but are you using all the tools to reach new divers? Learn how you can use virtual reality, 360 videos, Facebook Live video feed, Facebook eCommerce and Instagram to increase exposure and drive traffic to your business.

Thu, 2 Nov
10 am – 11 am
S220A/B
Fri, 3 Nov
1 pm – 2 pm
S220A/B

Successful Conversion Tactics for Resorts

Discover new and different ways to increase conversions in resort markets by making small changes to your current efforts.

Wed, 1 Nov
3 pm – 4 pm
S220C
Fri, 3 Nov
2 pm – 3 pm
S220C

Top 10 Customer Service Complaints

When does customer service conflict with PADI Quality Management? We’ll discuss the top complaints that may or may not be Quality Assurance issues but can still create headaches for you. These include failing to provide agreed-to services, failure to disclose details and conditions of a divemaster internship program, and poor maintenance of rental equipment, to name a few.

Wed, 1 Nov
4 pm – 5 pm
S220A/B
Thu, 2 Nov
3 pm – 4 pm
S220C

Engaging with Chinese Consumers

With more than one in 10 international tourists worldwide from China, it’s no wonder more businesses want to know more about engaging with Chinese consumers. This year alone there were more than 120 million outward-bound journeys from China, of which around half were for leisure. If you wish to cater to the Chinese market, you need to tailor language, products and services. Join us and explore digital marketing strategies for your website and social media channels, as well as ideas and strategies for your business to supercharge your dive operation in the Chinese market now and beyond.

Wed, 1 Nov
11 am – 12 pm
S220A/B
Fri, 3 Nov
10 am – 11 am
S220C

Shark and Ray Tourism: Building a Better Future for Sharks and Rays

One in four shark and ray species faces extinction driven by overfishing. Yet shark- and ray-related tourism is on the rise. Diving and snorkeling can offer powerful and sustainable economic alternatives. Join Project AWARE® for this interactive workshop and discover how you can put best practice at the heart of your business. We’ll share lessons from the field and work together to help create specific guidelines appropriate to your local community. If you want to use tourism to help conserve sharks and rays in your location then this workshop is for you!

Thu, 2 Nov
11 am – 12 pm
S220C
Fri, 3 Nov
1 pm – 2 pm
S220C

PADI Swim School: How to Grow Your Scuba Business

Learn how adding swim lessons to your business not only provides additional income and job opportunity, but also brings new swimmers, divers, families of divers and the community into your business. Whether you have a pool, rent a pool, want a pool or have an ocean available, PADI Swim School is for you!

Thu, 2 Nov
2 pm – 3 pm
S220C
Fri, 3 Nov
10 am – 11 am
S220A/B

EVE Diving Services Will Grow Your Business

Come see how the EVE Complete System can help you overcome the barriers of cost, time and training. This miniseminar will show you all the benefits of EVE including: EVE Splash, integrated website and marketing tools, the new EVE Instructor app, EVE online training and much more.

Wed, 1 Nov
2 pm – 3 pm
S220A/B
Thu, 2 Nov
4 pm – 5 pm
S220C

Tec Seminars located in the PADI Booth Tec Resource Centre

The Devil is in the Details: What Incident Data Tell Us

Excluding those with medical causes, most fatal dive accidents have violations of accepted practices that cause and/or contribute. Building on last year’s popular “The Mathematics of Diver Risk” presentation, this miniseminar dives into the who/what/whens of poor decisions cascading into catastrophic consequences, possible causes and what we can do about them.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Rebreathers But Were Afraid to Ask

Interested in diving a rebreather but don’t know where to start? Attend this informational seminar to learn the difference between eCCRs and mCCRs, back mount and over-the-shoulder counterlungs, radial and axial scrubbers and more.

Reserve your hotel room today!


A limited number of hotel rooms are still available at the Rosen Centre Hotel at the special rate of $189 US per night (plus tax and resort fee). The price includes complimentary parking, internet and access to the hotel’s fitness centre. Staying at the hotel puts you at the centre of the action – the PADI Social, PADI Course Director Update, Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer course and other PADI programs take place there. Email christine.grange@padi.com to receive the special room rate today.

 

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.

Don’t Self Diagnose: Seek proper diving medical advice

13 Mar

 

Written by DAN Asia-Pacific

“It was during the extended surface interval that my symptoms commenced with chest pain that felt like muscle strain. Upon lying down I felt nauseous, the chest pain intensified, and then severe itching of my chest and stomach began. Red welts appeared and spread over my torso.

I spoke to the Divemaster and suggested I should breathe O₂ but the Divemaster said the rash was an allergic reaction and I didn’t need it.

Over the coming hours the rash became dark red and very painful, so I sought advice from the Captain, who was also a Divemaster. Again I suggested breathing O₂, but he was also positive there was no need given it was more likely to be an allergic reaction.”

As it happens, this incident on a liveaboard in Malaysia is not an unusual scenario. Finally a call was made to DAN AP, and it was confirmed that the diver had a skin bend with some additional neurological symptoms that had gone unnoticed. She was advised to breathe O₂ until the boat returned to port the following day. Fortunately, the diver’s symptoms improved greatly with oxygen first aid and only one recompression treatment was required. The situation could have been much worse: It is inappropriate and unwise for dive professionals to withhold oxygen.

Comment by DAN Asia-Pacific’s John Lippmann

It is important for dive professionals not to try to diagnose whether a diver in their care has suffered a significant diving injury. Unless medically-qualified and trained or adequately orientated in diving medicine, most dive professionals simply don’t have the expertise and experience to diagnose a medical problem.

There are a variety of first aid-related courses available through diver training agencies as well as general first aid training organisations, and DAN. Although these are valuable for all divers and essential for dive professionals, they are focussed on the provision of first-line care, which is by definition first aid.

That is why, unless the problem is very minor and it is blatantly obvious what the issue is, it is important to contact a diving medical specialist for advice for any medical problems that have developed during or after scuba diving.

You might wonder why advice from a diving doctor is usually preferred. The diving environment exposes a diver to a variety of physical and physiological changes as a result of increased pressure, the effects of immersion, breathing compressed gas, and certain other factors. Most medical training includes little or no education on diving medicine and, as a result, many doctors have little idea of the impact of these changes, especially in divers with certain pre-existing medical conditions (e.g. epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease, among others).

By calling the DAN Diving Emergency Hotline (available 24/7, 365 days a year) you will speak to a diving medical specialist who will give advice on the appropriate first aid and appropriate follow-up assessment and treatment. The injured diver or caller doesn’t need to be a DAN member to get advice – it is available to anyone for free. The difference with a DAN Member, is that DAN will become involved in the management of the situation, and costs will be covered within the limits of their Membership and optional Dive Injury (Treatment) coverage.

It is certainly wise for dive professionals to use this service to help achieve the best outcome for divers in their care. It also transfers the decision-making from the dive professional to the doctor, removing the opportunity for the dive professional to make a bad decision and reducing potential liability. 

Calls to the hotline are toll-free within Australia by dialling 1800-088200. The hotline can be reached from outside Australia by dialling +61-8-8212 9242.

In the event of a diving accident or illness, seek proper medical advice.

www.danap.org

Congratulations, 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award Recipients

5 Mar

Elite Instructor 2016

Top certifying PADI Instructors will be receiving their Elite Instructor Award for issuing 50, 100, 150, 200 or more than 300 certifications in 2016. 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 2016 Global Elite Instructor Recipient List to see who earned an award for their 2016 certifications. Listed PADI Instructors can go to the “My Account” tab on this site to download their 2016 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 2017 program.

PADI Webinar: Negligence, Standards and the Dive Instructor

14 Feb

PADI LogoPlease join PADI Asia Pacific for our Webinar – ‘Negligence, Standards and the Dive Instructor,’ on Thursday 16th February, 2016 6PM – 7PM AEDT 

During this live presentation you will get to see the how the concepts of negligence effect our work as professional divers plus you can test your knowledge with a series of fun and interactive poll questions. We will discuss the principles of criminal and civil negligence, and how these principles apply to the PADI quality management system

How to join the webinar

  1. Click the link you were emailed to join the webinar at 6PM AEDT on Thursday 16th Feb.AND
  2. Choose one of the following audio options
    If you wish to use your computers audio you will automatically be connected using your computer’s microphone and speakers (VoIP) when the webinar begins.A headset is recommended.
    OR
    If you prefer to use your phone, please select ‘Use Telephone’ after joining the webinar and call in using the numbers below.
    Australia: +61 3 8644 7030
    Access Code: 765-401-521
    Audio PIN: Shown after joining the webinar
    Calling from another country? 

If you have any questions, please e-mail Michelle Brunton at michelle.brunton@padi.com.au