PADI 50th Anniversary Contest Winners

2016 marks PADI’s 50th anniversary. We’ve loved our time in the diving community and are proud to continue to serve PADI Members and divers as best we can. So to celebrate this milestone, we held a contest asking PADI Pros and divers alike to submit photos, videos, and stories to share what you love most about diving. We were delighted to receive nearly 6,000 entries from all over the world and loved seeing the ocean through so many of your eyes.

After weeks of going through all the entries, we were finally able to make the difficult decision of picking our top three winners in each category. We’ll start with our first place winners:

First Place Photo: The Pit by Tom St. George
This photo of the famous Mexican cenote is absolutely breathtaking. We love the silhouette of the diver against the unique backdrop of this freshwater pool. Tom wins a GoPro HERO4 package!

Photo Winner -Tom St George

First Place Video: Perhentian Islands by Alex Cheok
This video showcases the Perhentian Islands so well that it convinced a few of us to add this to our future dive vacation bucket list. And we can’t get enough of that clown fish! Congratulations to Alex who wins an Aqua Lung CORE regulator.

First Place Story: By Leda Monsma
Leda’s determination and courage shown in becoming a PADI diver inspired us and brought smiles to our faces. We’re proud to be associated with such strong divers, and are excited to share this story with our community, which wins Leda a Suunto D4i Novo dive computer.

Leda-Monsma-Story

Congratulations to our first place winners! Our second and third place finalists also had great submissions:

Photo Finalists

Second Place Photo: Photographing a Shark by Brian Burnett
Sharks are always a crowd favorite – and this one wins Brian an awesome PADI swag bag.

Photographing-a-Shark

Third Place Photo: Two Humpback Whales by Sergio Nogueira Jr
We can’t help but smile whenever we look at this photo – everyone loves whales! Sergio wins Vivid-Pix photo editing software.

photo-third-place

Video Finalists

Second Place Video: Turks and Caicos by K Ian Wells
We can’t get enough of these videos that showcase the area so well. Turks and Caicos is an amazing place, and Ian’s video captures it perfectly. Ian takes away a fantastic PADI swag bag.

Third Place Video: Lembongan by Kai Barlow.
Winning him a copy of Vivid-Pix photo editing software, Kai took this video to show off the spot where he did his Divemaster program. Sign us up!

Story Finalists

Second Place Story: by Amy Kendall

We can all relate to the feeling of being connected to other divers, regardless of the languages we speak. Amy wins some top PADI swag!

AmyKendall-story

Third Place Story: by Danielle Downe
This story of reconnecting with her mother through diving is so touching. We’re glad Danielle has found a way to be close to a lost loved one and wins Vivid-Pix photo editing software.

DanielleDowne-story-300x274 dive-logs

 

 

 

 

 

 

With thanks to our contest sponsors, Aqua Lung, GoPro, Suunto and Vivid-Pix:

sponsor-logos


Congratulations to all of our winners, and remember you can continue to celebrate PADI’s 50th Anniversary by ordering your very own Limited Edition 50th Anniversary replacement certification card from here.

ReActivate Divers to Benefit from the Healing Power of Scuba

ReActivate_header_Tropical_600x250

Divers know they love the water, especially being under it. Dive professionals know too – they know the rewards of introducing others to scuba, and witness firsthand the powerful transformative effects of diving and water. Dive pros also know there’s real substance underpinning the tremendous healing power of scuba; many have experienced it firsthand and there are regular, powerful stories featured in The Undersea Journal and at padi.com.

A couple of those stories bear repeating. There’s the remarkable tale of Cody Unser and nine wheelchair-bound divers told in the documentary Sea of Change. “What we saw in the water strongly suggests there is some scuba-facilitated restoration of neurological and psychological function in paraplegics,” said investigator Adam Kaplin M.D., Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins. His co-investigator, Daniel Becker, M.D., of Kennedy Krieger, agreed: “We saw dramatic changes in a matter of days. This is just a pilot study, but to see such a restoration of neurological function and significant improvement in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) over such a short time was unprecedented.”

USJ4Q11_Unser

Then there’s Wallace J. Nichols’ fascinating book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. This work assembles data from electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other scientific inquiry techniques to lay a solid scientific foundation that helps explain what happens when your “mind is on water.” Nichols explains that when you’re in water, cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) levels go down, your breathing and heart rate go down and you relax. It’s a fascinating, relevant exploration and belongs in every dive professional’s library.

Sometimes in a busy world full of digital distractions and disparate demands, it takes a little push or an extra benefit to remind people of the benefits, and the importance, of getting up and going diving. The healing power of scuba could be just that extra benefit. Next time you’re reaching out to ReActivate your divers, consider letting them know about some of these amazing stories; it’s up to you to make sure they know everything they’re missing by not diving.

Implementing the Updated PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course

Catalina_0416_316

There’s a lot to like about the revised and updated PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course: the obvious and necessary content updates, the new Thinking Like a Diver section, the cool new PADI Advanced Open Water Diver materials and, from an immediate implementation perspective, the fact that the new course is at once new and exciting yet still essentially familiar. Perhaps the neatest benefit and the greatest opportunity is the streamlined relationship between the Adventure Dives and PADI Specialties.

Now’s the perfect time to review the specialties you (and your staff) teach and seriously consider expanding what you offer. Evaluate the specialty dive opportunities in your area, and those you are particularly passionate about, which you couldn’t link to the previous Advanced Open Water Diver course. This is the perfect opportunity to create your own special course that reflects your unique area and benefits, and which excites divers.

Now, the first dives of all standardized PADI or AWARE Specialty Diver courses may be offered as Adventure Dives. You can offer these “new” Adventure Dives – for example, an Ice Dive or a Dive Against Debris™ Adventure Dive – if you’re certified as an instructor in the specialty, and the student diver meets the specialty prerequisites. (Also, while the PADI Rebreather Diver course is not a PADI Specialty Diver course, the first, task-intensive, confined water dive counts as an Adventure Dive.) There’s a complete list of the revised Adventure Dives and the standardized PADI Specialty Diver courses, and a lot more information, in the 3Q2016 The Undersea Journal.

AOWDebris_Catalina_0416_033A few obsolete Adventure Dives are gone, but you can offer more than ever before. A great example is the Digital Underwater Imaging Adventure Dive, which replaces both the Underwater Photography and Underwater Videography Adventure Dives. This new dive focuses on modern cameras that shoot both stills and video, and develops basic skills and knowledge in both – though you and your student divers may favor one or the other. The dive still credits as the first dive in the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course, even though it differs from the specialty (which will be revised in the future).

The opportunities are nearly endless: Depending upon your location and market, you can get divers started in sidemount, ice, cavern, full face mask, delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB), diver propulsion vehicle (DPV), enriched air or any other standardized specialty using existing specialty materials.

Tie in the new Adventure Dives by having the PADI Specialty Instructor ratings for the new opportunities, and grab this unique moment to make your new Advanced Open Water Diver course truly special.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

On my travels over the past year or so to many different types, sizes and locations of dive centres I have come across many different types of plans in these dives centres. Although there are many dive centres that have plans and strategies in place there are very many that do not. Of this group of dive centres I think that the types of planning I see can be broadly grouped into two main categories. The first and most common one I see is the “Make it up as we go” strategy. The second type is the dive centre that has a year plan proudly displayed in the office but mid way through the year hasn’t implemented any of the well thought out plans they had put together for the year.

7822429830_809acd3fe2_o

Having a plan within your business becomes critical to staying ahead of the competition and significant to the future success of your business. Failure to acknowledge the power of planning can be the end to any growth within a business and if you don’t know where your business is going, it’s going nowhere.

Regardless of what method of planning you decide to carry out, there are a few basic questions you should be trying to answer in your planning processes. These questions should include some of the following:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How are we going to get there?
  • Who will do what and by when?
  • How are we measuring our success?

This is a pretty simple way to describe planning but if you are focusing on some form of these questions, you can put together a road map for your dive business. The planning process does not have to be complicated. In fact, if your planning process is complicated then you run the risk that nobody  will understand it or people will interpret it in a different way to what you had envisioned.

There are two types of plans to implement. The first is your strategic plan. This is developing a strategy for the dive business. The second part is the planning. What steps need to be taken to execute the Dive businesses strategy.

PADI Instructor 1

Some of the benefits of Strategic Planning include the following:

  • Provides a method for decision making within a business.
  • Allow staff to ask and answer important questions within a business.
  • Should reveal future opportunities and concerns.
  • Sets objectives and goals for the business and staff.
  • Provides a measuring stick for performance.
  • Develops team and team work that is focused on the business’s future

Having a Business Strategy gives your dive business the ability to better anticipate and prepare for change. You’ll lose valuable momentum being reactive rather than proactive. Customer expectations, competition, and economic changes are all variables that can rock the dive boat and send you to the sea floor if you don’t have strategies in place.  

The lack of a strategic plan can also send your employees morale down to the sea floor too. Besides the obvious need for your employees to receive a salary they need a reason to come to work everyday. Without a focused plan, morale falls and employee interaction becomes vague and lifeless. A good plan lets your employees know who is doing what, why they’re doing it, and how they individually contribute to the success of your dive business.

Having a plan allows you to set benchmarks and assists you in assessing your performance. A  plan requires you to measure and document performance. Doing so will allow you to benchmark where you’ve been, allowing you to adjust your trajectory of where you are going. Documenting data is a wise business decision to keep your organization moving forward. Do you know how many certifications, launches, charter customers you had in the same period last year and what are you aiming for in the months to come?

Failing to plan is indeed planning to fail.

Project AWARE: #Divers4SharksNRays

Project AWARE® is committed to engaging the dive community in science-based, respectful and well-informed policy actions. Join us in delivering our message to CITES* Member Parties: Vote YES for sharks and rays.

#Divers4SharksNRays - Sierra Madre

How can you get involved in #Divers4SharksNRays?

  • Download our #Divers4SharksNRays sign
  • Take a photo underwater, on the boat, or in your dive shop with the sign and your dive buddy or group of divers
  • Share your photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Use our campaign hashtag #Divers4SharksNRays and the following social media post:

#Divers4SharksNRays in {insert location} urge @CITES countries to vote YES for sharks and rays #CoP17 @projectaware + photo

or

We’re supporting @projectaware’s #Divers4SharksNRays @CITES #CoP17 Campaign from {insert location} + photo

*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Thomas Baum, PADI Course Director

thomas-baumThomas 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.

thomas-baum

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.

thomas-baum

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!

thomas-baum


Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Giuliana Prosdocimo, PADI OWSI

imagemanta

Meet Giuliana Prosdocimo, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (354973). Giuliana works for PADI 5 Star IDC Center Bluetribe Moofushi Maldives. Not only is Giuliana one of our 2015 PADI Elite instructors, but she’s well on her way to smashing her amazing 2015 certification record in 2016.

Watch the video below to hear what it means to her to be a PADI Diver, Professional and Elite Instructor.


Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

My PADI. My Ocean. My Hope.

myPADI_Jumbotron_1570x765_v1-1024x499

Each year, you help bring one million people closer to the underwater world by issuing PADI certifications that present countless opportunities for fun and adventure.

But a certification card is much more than an all-access pass to Earth’s final frontier. To many, it’s also a badge of courage that has helped transform their lives in deep, meaningful ways. These authentic, inspirational stories of transformation shared at “My PADITM, My Ocean, My Hope” can inspire millions more around the world to start, keep or teach diving.

My PADI is how Leo Morales found salvation through diving when he lost his leg to cancer. My Ocean is how Andre Miller connected and inspired his community to protect their greatest natural resource through dive education. My Hope is Emily Krak’s dream that others will learn to respect and protect the ocean for future generations.

My PADI collects stories of the human experience where diving is the foundation for connection. It’s a conversation starter about a deeper purpose and shows that diving enables us to realize our best selves. When this happens, we are the happiest. When we are happiest, we are most able to find purpose and to help others find theirs.

Do your divers, friends and community members have stories such as these? Encourage them to share what My PADI, My Ocean, My Hope means to them and how diving transformed their lives. Watch the stories. Be inspired. Spark conversation.

PADI eLearning Performance Improvements

This June, PADI partnered with Akamai, a global leader in content and media distribution, to turbo charge the PADI eLearning® experience with cutting-edge server technology. People the world over have become increasingly accustomed to fast, high-quality, online experiences, and it’s vital that the dive industry continues to stand out in this ultra-competitive landscape.

padi-elearning

Akamai works with companies (including Apple, Verizon, Sony, Disney and Yahoo) who distribute massive amounts of content globally. Their vast network comprises 216,000 servers housed in data centers spread throughout 120 countries around the world. Somewhere in the region of eighty-five percent of the world’s Internet users are within a single network hop of an Akamai server.

They will host PADI eLearning courses in a local data center, which means that divers in London, Sydney or Hong Kong won’t have to wait for a US-based server, they’ll pull content locally. This dramatically speeds up eLearning course performance. Some users could potentially see a several hundred percent improvement in speed. The most notable improvement will be video load time.

This technology is deployed in the background and is now fully propagated around the world; you will experience the improvement immediately on login to any eLearning course.

More improvements are in store later this year when PADI will upgrade the Learning Management System (LMS) that powers eLearning. This will enable features such as mobile-first responsive design, which fully supports mobile devices, phones and tablets, including iOS devices which are currently only supported by the Touch product line. This upgrade supports larger video resolutions so that divers using eLearning products on a desktop or laptop computer can size video all the way up to full screen in most cases.  In addition, reduced file sizes will make PADI digital products load faster on mobile networks, and later in 2017, courses will run even when devices are not connected to the internet.

PADI eLearning courses will migrate to the new platform from late 2016 throughout 2017. Keep an eye out for details closer to the launch and make sure to let your divers (and potential divers) know about the state of the art learning experiences that await them.

Is Freediver Right for You?

FD_648x202_hdr

By now you’ve likely heard about the PADI Freediver™ program; there’s a bunch of information out there (especially in the first quarter 2016 The Undersea Journal® and, of course, on PADI.com). Some PADI Pros have taken to it like ducks to water, while others may be a bit hesitant about leaping in and still have questions.

For those in the latter camp, here are a couple of big reasons to consider, if not leaping, then at least sticking a toe into freediving waters.

First, it’s fun. You almost certainly already enjoy casual freediving and the freedom of diving without scuba. While you probably have above-average freediving skills, you may not be interested in intense competition or breaking records. Perfect. Taking the PADI Freediver course is an obvious first step and a great way to fine tune your skills while taking a good look at the program and its support materials from a professional’s perspective.

You can do just that, and a whole lot more, on 19 November at DEMA Show 2016. There’ll be a half-day special event covering the PADI Basic Freediver course with role-model knowledge development and confined water sessions. The course also includes PADI Freediver Touch™ and certification as a PADI Basic Freediver; you can complete the two open water sessions later to become a PADI Freediver. PADI staff will also answer any remaining questions you may have at the event. Sign up by 3 November so you have time to read through and study the learning materials. No special freediving equipment required – just regular fins, mask and snorkel.

Not able to make it to DEMA? You can do something similar at a PADI Freediver Center near you.

After the course you’ll be equipped to decide whether or not to upgrade your skills to the PADI Advanced Freediver or Master Freediver levels, and later become a PADI Freediver Instructor.

Which brings up the second big reason to get serious about freediving: It’s one of the fastest-growing dive-industry segments and PADI Freediver courses provide you with new business opportunities and a pipeline to younger customers. If you have any doubts about this, take a moment to read some of the articles in this year’s issues of The Undersea Journal, in which PADI Members already in the freediving business share some of their unique insights.

There’s probably no need by now to mention any of the myriad other freediving benefits – such as personal fitness, the ease of just grabbing your gear and going or the fact that you can sneak right up on the shiest of aquatic animals. (But we went ahead and mentioned them anyway!) It’s time to hold your breath.