Thomas Baum, PADI Course Director and owner of PADI 5 Star IDC Center Fuldas Tauchertreff, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2015 earlier this year – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world.
We spoke to Thomas to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to him, as well as learning about his achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.
What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?
I always wanted to give something special to others in form of training and courses – and to have my ‘office’ out in the natural world.
How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor?
The PADI system is the best in the market. If you use it correctly, you do not work for a system like most people – the system works for you. Therefore you have a more successful and enjoyable ‘working’ life.
Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why?
I still love conducting the IDC the most. This program has the most detail and facts, and I enjoy introducing others to the PADI system. To see that they all of a sudden can teach theory and skills that was, for most, not possible before. This development is always fascinating.
What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?
I believe my greatest achievement within diving was to become a PADI Course Director. Also, to be part of the development of some PADI courses (i.e. Digital Underwater Photographer, business programmes, the new Freediver course) as well as building up a nationwide network of PADI Instructors and Dive Centers.
What does diving give you that nothing else does?
The freedom, the peace, and the weightlessness underwater.
Do you ever feel like you have reached the limit of your diving career?
No, I always evaluate the market very thoroughly, looking for new potential and using it. There are many unused opportunities, so there is always enough to do!
Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving?
Of course – once someone learns to dive and enjoys it, their whole life turns positive. You become an ‘astronaut’ when you are weightless underwater, and you can enjoy the beauty of the underwater world without any stress. While diving – versus other sports – you don’t have to compete; you don’t have to “beat” someone to achieve results. People have enough pressure in their daily life, other sports and even in their private life. Diving is different and you don’t have any stress. That’s why so many people do this wonderful sport.
Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?
Most people want to enjoy nature in their leisure time, have no pressure and do sports with a lot of fun – diving supplies all of this. With the Discover Scuba Diving program we have a fantastic opportunity to get people into diving.
As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognized as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2015?
It is a good and nice feeling, and it reinforces you to do even more every day, and that you are sure you are doing the right thing.
What does “my PADI” mean to you?
“My PADI” is for me, to ‘stand behind’ the system and the association, and to support the most innovative and most successful system in the Industry.
What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?
“Carpe Diem“ – use every day to plan how you can get people into diving. Without written down goals you only get a part of the results that you could do. You should know your strengths and promote the courses you like best. Then everything will move forward!
Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.