Women’s Dive Day – Interviews with Leading Women in Diving – Suzanne Smith

padi-womens-scuba-dive-day-2015-1024x316PADI is proud to present the inaugural PADI Women’s Dive Day on 18 July 2015, a special day to get women together, in the water and involved in diving. With numerous events being hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport. PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson decided to interview leading women in the dive industry during the month leading up to the Women’s Dive Day.

The final interview in the series ‘Women’s Dive Day – Interviews with Leading Women in Diving’ is with Suzanne Smith, a true champion in the dive industry and Director of Training at PADI EMEA, PADI Instructor Examiner and Vice Chair of Project AWARE Foundation International.

Suzanne started her successful career as a scientific diver and then moved on to become an active PADI Course Director which lead to a job at PADI in 1994. In my job as PADI Regional Manager I have daily contact with Suzanne and her team at the Training Department and each time they demonstrate what an extraordinaire support they provide all PADI Members in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

It’s been a true honor to be part of this interview series. The legends I have interviewed the last weeks are all truly inspiring. I would like to thank you for taking the time in your busy schedules. You are a true inspiration for all divers and non-divers around the world. Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”. The women I interviewed the last few weeks have no doubt that they can.

I wish you a great Women’s Dive Day.

suzanne egypt 2When and how did you get involved in diving?

I started out as a scientific diver, through necessity rather than any eureka moment.  I learned to dive in 1986 in Canada, actually in a glacial run off lake near Jasper, with Ocean Sports in Edmonton. I was studying Geology at the University of Alberta at the time and needed a diving licence for my field studies in the Cayman Islands.  Before then I don’t think I had even thought about scuba diving even though I loved the water; I don’t recall there being much opportunity in England in those days, or not that came across my path.

I completed my studies and started working in the oil industry in London.  I secured contract jobs and in between contracts, I took time out to go diving.  I headed out to Australia and worked my way through my diving credentials until I could work as a Divemaster on the Great Barrier Reef.  I returned to my well paid contract work – just to save up again to head back out to Australia to do some more diving and became an instructor in 1991.  Well I loved it and was completely hooked.  From Australia, via some cash injection from more oil industry work.  I headed to Dahab, Egypt to teach more diving.  By late 1994, I had secured a job at PADI back in Bristol and am still here.

Aquanaute_1990_NIC_Current position in diving?

I am now Director of Training at PADI EMEA Ltd.  I’m also a PADI Instructor Examiner and Vice Chair of Project AWARE Foundation International.  I hope I represent one aspect of what women can achieve in the diving industry, and that it truly is a sport (and career) for anyone.

What you find the most exciting about diving?

As divers, we are so privileged to be able to interact with the underwater world first hand.  Photos and videos are wonderful and open access to everyone, but nothing beats the feel of the ocean around you, the unexpectness of what every dive brings and the pure thrill of breathing underwater. I find it both exhilarating and calming at the same time.

Tips to someone who is thinking about a career in diving?

From being a dive instructor I chose the path with a diver training organisation where I could use my skills in education, business and project management, and build a career for myself.  My advice – do what you love, work hard and be passionate about what you do, and the rest will follow.

_6191715Favourite part of working in diving?

Working with such an array of talented people, from different countries and cultures, with a shared dedication to our work. Everything we strive to do is to make the wonders of diving available to more people, to keep the dive industry vibrant and sustainable so that it supports other people’s careers and try to be advocates for underwater life.  Not many people can say that about their working day.

Any dream dive you aspire to?

I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to dive in some of the most fantastic places in the world.  As a geologist, my dream dive would be Silfra in Iceland along the spreading ridge.  Within my grasp, but just haven’t made it yet.

What would your next diving course be?

Actually, am learning to Free dive this summer – have never taken a formal course in this so it will be lovely to be a student from scratch again.

Attributes that makes someone more successful in the diving industry?

A positive attitude, willingness to try new things, ability to multi-task and lots of patience.

JHM_8495Best moment in diving?

Crikey, that’s a hard one. Diving in Sipadan, with my friends and colleagues, at dusk when the day boats have left, and before WiFi.

What is the next step in your career?

Every day I learn something new and do something different. I love what I’m doing and have the best job in the world – why would I do something else?

Thank you so much for taking the time by sharing experiences from your amazing career in diving. It’s been truly inspiring. See you in Bristol in a couple of weeks. 

Thank you and see you soon in Bristol.

 

Women’s Dive Day – Interviews with Leading Women in Diving – Suzanne Smith

padi-womens-scuba-dive-day-2015-1024x316PADI is proud to present the inaugural PADI Women’s Dive Day on 18 July 2015, a special day to get women together, in the water and involved in diving. With numerous events being hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport. PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson decided to interview leading women in the dive industry during the month leading up to the Women’s Dive Day.

The final interview in the series ‘Women’s Dive Day – Interviews with Leading Women in Diving’ is with Suzanne Smith, a true champion in the dive industry and Director of Training at PADI EMEA, PADI Instructor Examiner and Vice Chair of Project AWARE Foundation International.

Suzanne started her successful career as a scientific diver and then moved on to become an active PADI Course Director which lead to a job at PADI in 1994. In my job as PADI Regional Manager I have daily contact with Suzanne and her team at the Training Department and each time they demonstrate what an extraordinaire support they provide all PADI Members in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

It’s been a true honor to be part of this interview series. The legends I have interviewed the last weeks are all truly inspiring. I would like to thank you for taking the time in your busy schedules. You are a true inspiration for all divers and non-divers around the world. Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”. The women I interviewed the last few weeks have no doubt that they can.

I wish you a great Women’s Dive Day.

suzanne egypt 2When and how did you get involved in diving?

I started out as a scientific diver, through necessity rather than any eureka moment.  I learned to dive in 1986 in Canada, actually in a glacial run off lake near Jasper, with Ocean Sports in Edmonton. I was studying Geology at the University of Alberta at the time and needed a diving licence for my field studies in the Cayman Islands.  Before then I don’t think I had even thought about scuba diving even though I loved the water; I don’t recall there being much opportunity in England in those days, or not that came across my path.

I completed my studies and started working in the oil industry in London.  I secured contract jobs and in between contracts, I took time out to go diving.  I headed out to Australia and worked my way through my diving credentials until I could work as a Divemaster on the Great Barrier Reef.  I returned to my well paid contract work – just to save up again to head back out to Australia to do some more diving and became an instructor in 1991.  Well I loved it and was completely hooked.  From Australia, via some cash injection from more oil industry work.  I headed to Dahab, Egypt to teach more diving.  By late 1994, I had secured a job at PADI back in Bristol and am still here.

Aquanaute_1990_NIC_Current position in diving?

I am now Director of Training at PADI EMEA Ltd.  I’m also a PADI Instructor Examiner and Vice Chair of Project AWARE Foundation International.  I hope I represent one aspect of what women can achieve in the diving industry, and that it truly is a sport (and career) for anyone.

What you find the most exciting about diving?

As divers, we are so privileged to be able to interact with the underwater world first hand.  Photos and videos are wonderful and open access to everyone, but nothing beats the feel of the ocean around you, the unexpectness of what every dive brings and the pure thrill of breathing underwater. I find it both exhilarating and calming at the same time.

Tips to someone who is thinking about a career in diving?

From being a dive instructor I chose the path with a diver training organisation where I could use my skills in education, business and project management, and build a career for myself.  My advice – do what you love, work hard and be passionate about what you do, and the rest will follow.

_6191715Favourite part of working in diving?

Working with such an array of talented people, from different countries and cultures, with a shared dedication to our work. Everything we strive to do is to make the wonders of diving available to more people, to keep the dive industry vibrant and sustainable so that it supports other people’s careers and try to be advocates for underwater life.  Not many people can say that about their working day.

Any dream dive you aspire to?

I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to dive in some of the most fantastic places in the world.  As a geologist, my dream dive would be Silfra in Iceland along the spreading ridge.  Within my grasp, but just haven’t made it yet.

What would your next diving course be?

Actually, am learning to Free dive this summer – have never taken a formal course in this so it will be lovely to be a student from scratch again.

Attributes that makes someone more successful in the diving industry?

A positive attitude, willingness to try new things, ability to multi-task and lots of patience.

JHM_8495Best moment in diving?

Crikey, that’s a hard one. Diving in Sipadan, with my friends and colleagues, at dusk when the day boats have left, and before WiFi.

What is the next step in your career?

Every day I learn something new and do something different. I love what I’m doing and have the best job in the world – why would I do something else?

Thank you so much for taking the time by sharing experiences from your amazing career in diving. It’s been truly inspiring. See you in Bristol in a couple of weeks. 

Thank you and see you soon in Bristol.

 

Nemo’s Garden

558920_10151537954770660_262920499_nAccording to many scientist our food supply might be one of the largest challenges in the future. Our planet consist of 70% water. What if you could utilize some of that space to grow plants in a responsible, small-footprint way underwater? Designed responsibly this could perhaps be an alternative solution to our destructive agriculture taken place on land.

 

 

The project started three years ago when Sergio Gamberini, owner of OceanReef Group, had an idea to utilize the properties of large bodies of water with constant temperature, united with the natural evaporation of a surface of liquid in contact with an air space – to try creating an underwater greenhouse.

935417_490073787726877_2012357682_nI was lucky to be part of a team working on the configuration of the OceanReef T-Diver Integrated Diving Mask, a technical full face mask with communication systems. During that time i meet with the designers of Nemo’s Garden, who was working in the same facilities, south of Genoa, Italy. I had a chance to dive the area where the biosphere’s are installed and was able to see the growth of the plants inside the sphere.

 Is this the future of a more responsible agriculture?

 

Women’s Dive Day – Interviews with Leading Women in Diving – Regina Rinkenburger

padi-womens-scuba-dive-day-2015-1024x316PADI is proud to present the inaugural PADI Women’s Dive Day on 18 July 2015, a special day to get women together, in the water and involved in diving. With numerous events being hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport. PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson decided to interview leading women in the dive industry during the month leading up to the Women’s Dive Day. Just a few days prior to the Women’s Dive Day we publish an interview with diving legend Regina Rinkenburger, PADI Course Director and Operational Manager Dive-Point Red Sea.

11749990_10204526006375692_1858107407_oWhen and how did you start diving?

I did my first dive in 2007 in the Red Sea with a PADI DSD. After this experience I decided to do my Open Water Diver at home in Germany in the Lake of Constance. I came back to Egypt and my life changed completely as diving became an important part of my life.

Current position in diving?

I am a PADI Course Director and Operation Manager in Dive Point Red Sea, Hurghada, Egypt

What you find the most exciting about diving?

I enjoy every single dive… with students or just for fun. I like to be one with the amazing underwater world and I am happy that I have the possibility to do this every day.

11741833_10204525972734851_65913200_nFavorite part of working in diving?

Hard to say, there are so many. I enjoy a lot to bring people first time underwater and show them the marine life and share my passion with them. I get rewarded when I see how happy they came back from their first dive. But I also like a lot to teach IDC Candidates to teach diving which is on a different level. In both I try to give all my passion to my student, doesn’t matter which level. I like so much to bring the underwater environmental too he people and give them the possibility to see for what they have to take care of.

11749443_10204525972694850_1504890818_nAny dream dive you aspire to?

I am still looking forward to do cave diving in Mexico. And one of the positive things I took from my CDTC in 2013 was the great opportunity of the worldwide connection with new friends … also in Mexico…

What would the next course in diving be?

As I have reached the highest level in PADI I will concentrate on the Rebreather Diving with different Rebreathers.

Attributes that makes you more successful in diving?

11748193_10204526069177262_1977129025_oI think one attribute is for sure that I am very patiently with all people underwater … that I always remember that all of us start diving somehow somewhere some when. I never stop learning also from other people and try always new things. For me success means that you always go forward and don’t stop to keep your eyes open. Best moment in diving? There was a lot in my diving life, but I still remember my first breath underwater which definitely change my life. To feel the different world and be part of the underworld.

11739501_10204526069297265_658266065_nWhat is the next step in your career?

My next step will be the Rebreather Courses and following to become an Instructor for it to give than also the silence of diving to the divers

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions to divers and non-divers out there interested in a career in diving. 

Anytime. For me working in the diving industry has given me so much. If i can mentor someone to reach same happiness as me then its all been worth it. Please contact me on facebook or our website and i will be happy to share more of my experiences working in the most amazing industry on this planet!

Women’s Dive Day – Interviews with Leading Women in Diving – Nicole Detry

thPADI is proud to present the inaugural PADI Women’s Dive Day on 18 July 2015, a special day to get women together, in the water and involved in diving. With numerous events being hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport. PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson decided to interview leading women in the dive industry during the month leading up to the Women’s Dive Day. PADI Examiner Nicole Detry sharing from her successful career in diving.

When and how did you start diving?

I started in 1977, in Belgium, with the Belgian CMAS federation. At that time there were not so many women diving, it was a bit military system and I though from the beginning that diving could be teach another way, more fun and enjoyable

IE HRG DEC 2013Current position in diving?

PADI Instructor Examiner

What you find the most exciting about diving?

  • First the aquatic environment. I just love being in the water. I can hang around for hours (when water is warm …) even if nothing is happening, enjoying neutral buoyancy, no noise, or the opposite challenging conditions, strong current, rough sea, excitement of big animals as shark, manta ray or dolphins, etc.
  • Second is people. With diving you meet so many different kinds of people, from different countries, different back ground, different mentalities, young, old, etc. – but all passionate with diving and the aquatic world.

Tips to someone who is thinking about a career in diving?

Love it – try different things – keep learning – keep it fun

IE Mechelen_GP_ND_06.15Favourite part of working in diving?

Teaching and sharing with others the passion you have for diving.

Any dream dive you aspire to?

Diving Galapagos together with a backpacking trip in Equator

What would your next diving course be?

I just completed the Rebreather courses – and loved it to be back to learning and practicing again as a “student”

Attributes that makes someone more successful in the diving industry?

Enthusiasm and the love to share experiences

Reabreather_ND_2014Best moment in diving?

In the 90’s, Ras Mohamed – Shark Reef – after fitting against the current around shark reef with a big group of Italian divers from Bergamo, arriving at the drop of, and hovering in the blue with hundreds of snappers, jackfish’s and barracudas, than a grey shark coming from the deep toward us. So much excitement – everyone so happy and kissing each other under water. The celebration kept going on the whole way back on the boat toward Naama Bay.

What is the next step in your career?

I love what I do and want to keep going as Examiner.

Thank you so much for the time. Looking forward to see you in Egypt in August. 

Thank you and see you soon,

Women’s Dive Day – Interviews with Leading Women in Diving – Annelie Lövgren

PADI is proud to present the inaugural PADI Women’s Dive Day on 18 July 2015, a special day to get women together, in the water and involved in diving. With numerous events being hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport. PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson decided to interview leading women in the dive industry during the month leading up to the Women’s Dive Day. PADI Course Director and PADI Examiner Annelie Lövgren is sharing her experiences working in the dive industry.

ANNELIEWhen and how did you start diving?

I started diving during the fall in 1991 in Sweden, I remember it as very cold, well, diving in Sweden with a wetsuit that was common back then certainly was cold and the snowy weather didn’t help while on land. Guess something still was intriguing enough for me to continue. A couple of months later I went diving in the Caribbean Islands and then it all changed, a colourful and rich marine life, the lifestyle of the dives pro’s, the atmosphere around the diving, since then diving is a hugh part of my life. I set the goal of working as a pro in Thailand where I did my divemastercourse in 1997 and since then I have been working with diving fulltime during most of years until 2011. Now I still work with diving but parttime and will continue with that as long as it is fun (forever that is).

1235308_10153158715170167_1617656554_nCurrent position in diving?

I work as freelance Course Director in Sweden and as PADI Instructor Examiner in the other Nordic countries.

What you find the most exciting about diving?

For my own fun diving I love finding all those strange creatures, I can spend hours watching their behaviors and taking pictures.

Tips to someone who is thinking about a career in diving?

Think of it with a little professional attitude from the start, like you would with other things in life, think it through, what is your goal (working in sunny location all year, special interests like becoming tech instructor etc), where are you today and where do you want to be in 5 years. Set your milestones on the way to reach your goal, don’t give yourself limitations based on you can and know today, you will develop during your journey. And as any diver, adjust the plan if needed. I don’t have to tell you remember to have fun and dive a lot, that part is inescapable.

ANNELIE 2Favourite part of working in diving?

It always the moment when your students achieve something they didn’t think they could and that moment is every course you teach, from a Discover Scuba Dive to Instructor.

Any dream dive you aspire to?

There are still so many things I want to see and experience but a dive with big schools of hammerheads in the Galapagos are high my list now, oh, and sealions, I would love that, and the gorgeous dragon seahorses in Australia, that would be a true dreamdive for me and, no I can go on and on forever here I think J

What would the next course in diving be?

That will be sidemount, hopefully later this year. That’s one of the great things with diving, there is always something more to learn.

969848_599265543445497_1952987528_nAttributes that makes you more successful in diving?

The things that are the software in this business, your attitude and willingness to learn and do other things besides the diving, like handling social media for example. A really good thing is also your language skills, the more languages you know the easier it will be for you and get the job you dream of.

Best moment in diving?

That would be any moment on a vacation diving with friends since way back, when you know each other so well that signs feels no longer needed, these are just the happiest moments in life, charing the same passion of diving and marine life with your friends is a fantastic thing.

 11745659_10154126527023298_2253942505179005986_nWhat is the next step in your career?

That I don’t know yet, but I do know I will continue to learn and develop.

Thank you so much for sharing ideas from your successful career in diving. I am looking forward to see you next time i visit Sweden.

Happy to share. See you in Sweden.

 

Women’s Dive Day – Interviews with Leading Women in Diving – Anna Schmitt

5481_nPADI is proud to present the inaugural PADI Women’s Dive Day on 18 July 2015, a special day to get women together, in the water and involved in diving. With numerous events being hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport. PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson decided to interview leading women in the dive industry during the month leading up to the Women’s Dive Day. Next is Anna Schmitt, PADI Course Director and co-owner of Panorama Divers Hurghada.

When and how did you start diving?

I never considered diving in Russia due to quite short summers and cold water. The Red Sea was the total opposite of it! In 2009 I just came on holiday to the Red Sea and walking around Hurghada my friend convinced me to try diving.  We found a diving centre, which ultimately changed my life. From the first moment breathing under the water I knew that this would be a life changing experience, a new me was born. When I started the OWD course I knew that I would go further and 6 months later I became a Divemaster, taking the first step in my professional career.

01606_nCurrent position in diving?

I am a PADI Course Director and Training Manager at Panorama Divers Hurghada.

What you find the most exciting about diving?

Diving for me is the easiest way to experience another world without leaving our planet. Any time when I have the opportunity to take divers into the blue I am so excited.  To be able to share the endless space of the ocean is so exhilarating.

7276_nTips to someone who is thinking about a career in diving?

I believe the most important attributes for building a career in diving are:

  • Attitude – you can’t be a mentor and a role model without it. An experienced instructor with a bad attitude is far worse than an inexperienced new instructor with the right attitude.
  • Open mindedness – learn, always learn everywhere and from everybody: other instructors and from your students.
  • Environmental awareness – we should never forget that we are only guests in the underwater world, it doesn’t matter where we are, in the lake or in the ocean, respect is a priority.

Favourite part of working in diving?

Favourite part of working in diving for me is developing the awareness and attitude of students regardless of their levels.  When you see the result of it in real diving situations, when students or DM, Instructor candidates are taking the right decisions on their own – it is really rewarding.

01606_nAny dream dive you aspire to?

I would love to find time and go to Indonesia to concentrate on macrophotography for which I have a real passion. On the flip side I still haven’t had the privilege of diving with whales. This would be a dream dive for me.

What would the next course in diving be?

If you asked me this question few months ago, I would tell you that it is a CDTC. I became a PADI Course Director this June in Punta Cana, which is the biggest achievement for me in the last years. It was really exiting experience. Now, having reached this level the next goal is to continue the technical side of my diving career.

75684_nAttributes that makes you more successful in diving?

The list of attributes is always growing: patience, communication skills, energy, enthusiasm, attention to detail etc. I’m always working on my diving and teaching skills and approach techniques. It ‘s a never ending process. I am extremely demanding of myself, I set my personal expectations very high. Success is not an option it is my daily goal.

Best moment in diving?

So many of them! Something that you don’t expect here and now – that is a best moment. One of the most memorable moments was inside a big school of fish with my Poseidon Rebreather, I really felt at one with the ocean.

45500_nWhat is the next step in your career?

To begin with to become PADI CCR Instructor Trainer. CDTC is behind now, so the next step for me is to bring Panorama Divers to CDC level. Our team goal is to develop the east European market and have a stronger presence in the Polish, Czech, Russian and French IDC & Pro segment.

Thank you so much for your time. I am looking forward to see you in Hurghada in August.

Happy to inspire anyone who seeks a career in diving – each day i am happy to go to ‘work’ so I am very lucky. Please contact me and i can explain more about the steps needed to make a successful career in diving. See you in August.

Women’s Dive Day – Interviews with Leading Women in Diving (Alessandra Sicilia)

padi-womens-scuba-dive-day-2015-1024x316PADI is proud to present the inaugural PADI Women’s Dive Day on 18 July 2015, a special day to get women together, in the water and involved in diving. With numerous events being hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport.

PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson decided to interview five leading women in the dive industry during the month leading up to the Women’s Dive Day.First up is Alessandra Sicilia, Manager TGI Diving, with three PADI Divecenters in Egypt and a total of 12 around the world.


Let’s start…

io e lolloThank you very much for taking the time to share your experiences in the diving industry. When and how did you get involved in diving?

I always felt attracted by the diving world, but because of an earlier surgery, I was told I would never be able to equalize. However in 2001 thanks to the passion of a PADI Instructor and a second opinion from a MD who was specialized in diving I was good to go. I had no problems to equalize and I was feeling more free than with my feet on the ground. I never stopped since that day. PAD Open Water Diver led to Advanced Open Water Diver and within 5 months I was a PADI DIvemaster. Diving became my life, part of my soul. That first confined dive was truly life changing for me.

Current position in diving?

I am the Area, Technical and Training Manager for TGI Diving Red Sea. My professional diving level is PADI Master Instructor.

Tips to someone who is thinking about a career in diving?

Well knowing how to dive is not enough to be successful. You need to have many other trades like a good understanding of logistics, accounting, customer care, updated and a great understanding of the importance of protecting our environment and its ecosystem.

Favourite part of working in diving?

io e la mia IDMFrom my point of view is to see colleagues and students grow under my management. To be able to be in charge of a company that touches the heart of so many people. To see previous Open Water Divers grow and become employed in the same shop as a diving instructor where they learned how to dive – its priceless.

Any dream dive you aspire to?

A lot actually! From the South-African Sardine Run, to the Malaysian Borneo, but my biggest dream is to bump into humpback whale passing by during a dive…

What would the next course in diving be?

For several years I have been dreaming about becoming a PADI Course Director, but due to work commitments and daily management I did not have a chance yet, but 2016 is my year! To be able to change someone’s life by teaching them to become a diving instructor and give the person a career in the most amazing industry on the planet is my next goal.

Attributes that makes you more successful in diving?

miaIn addition of being blonde, Italian and pretty cool you mean? I had to be very committed to my career to be successful. Keep yourself updated, take new courses and be pretty firm. Attitude is the most important part of an instructors attributes however. You need to remember how it was the first time you went SCUBA and to show empathy and patience during each course. Make sure that each course you teach is the best one you ever taught and build a rapport with your student during the training.

What is the next step in your career?

PADI CDTC, Course Director Training Course, during 2016 and to establish Pro courses in both our shop in Marsa Alam and in El Gouna. I am dreaming of making TGI into a PADI CDC Center. This is an ambitious goal but with the team I work with all around the Red Sea area I certain we will reach there in the near future.

Best moment in diving?

mia 2My best moments in diving is when I go diving with my husband Lollo. Lollo and I work together and we share the love for diving. Each chance we get we go for a dive together. How many people can say that when they go with their family on a holiday they do exactly the same thing during their holidays as when they work. I consider myself so lucky to choose this path. Choose to work with something you love and you never work another day in your life.

Thank you Alessandra for taking the time by answering a few questions. You are an inspiration for divers all around the world. I am looking forward to see you in August for the DSD Pool Party that we organized between PADI EMEA and TGI EL Gouna.

Thank you Jonas and see you in August.

Never. Give. Up.

During the 4-6th of June former Navy Seal Officer and PADI Assistant Instructor Walaa Wael Abbas broke the Guinness World Record for the longest dive in the history. Captain Abbas spend a total of 51 hours and 24 minutes at a maximum depth of 10 meters. The event was held in PADI 5-Star Sharm El Naga Resort & Dive Center’s amazing facilities just 40 km south of Hurghada. PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson decided to interview Walaa Wael Abbas and ask a few questions.

11347513_869798949759284_1789546013_oCongratulations Captain Walaa Wael Abbas to an amazing achievement. Over 51 hours underwater. My longest dive was 11 hours, you beat me with almost two days.

Thank you very much.  

Where did you get the idea of taking the Guinness Record for the longest ever dive?

During Ahmed Gabr record deep dive I showed a few people that it’s possible to eat and drink underwater and from there the idea came up.

11429014_869798926425953_39495644_nHow did you prepare yourself for the over two day long dive?

I trained physically each day to build up my strength, but more importantly was to train mentally. To learn to relax. I did some meditation training that helped during the preparation and during the dive itself.

What kind of equipment were you using?

I used an Ursuit Drysuit and Fourth Element undergarment plus a heating system.

Was there at any time you thought about giving up during the dive?

Yes many times. I had to try to relax and meditate. I focused on keeping my body warm. My support was there during the complete dive. Without them it would have been impossible, My support crew gave me bags with hot water and a ‘hug’ when necessary.  11292783_869798939759285_1259045214_n

What stopped you from giving up?

I looked at my support crew and I could never disappoint them by giving up. They did so much for me. I also looked at the Egyptian flag and was thinking of my country and the Egyptian people. I would never give up.  

11428589_869798953092617_1891928379_nWho was your support before, during and after the dive?

I had lots of great support. Many came from Top One Diving. Some of those were Davide Bastiani(IDC Staff ), Andrea Covelli (IDC Staff), Marcello Gatani (IDC Staff), Cristina Benvenuti (MSDT), Federica Ippoliti (OWSI), Fabrizio Giovagnoli (OWSI), Laura Cenci (OWSI), Vito Covelli (AI), Marco Nicotera (DM). I also had lots of support from DAN Europe and Dr. Massimo Pieri. Also big thanks to PADI 5-Star Sharm El Naga Resort & Dive Center where the event took place.

11427206_10206870728637908_1778742606413378204_nAny tips to anyone who wants to try to beat your record?

Prepare well and bring some extra socks  

What is your next project?

I plan to beat the record for the longest dive. I plan to dive 35 km on the 6th of August when the new Suez Canal is opening up.

Congratulations once again to you and your support team from all of us at PADI EMEA. Inspiring achievement. See you on the 6th of August.  

Thank you. Great talking to you and hope to see you in Suez.    

Deptherapy in Egypt with Roots Luxury Camp and PADI

PADI is committed to making scuba diving accessible to people with disabilities who can meet the standards required for each level of training.  We have been a long time supporter of Deptherapy and Deptherapy that seeks to rehabilitate UK and US Armed Service personnel who have suffered life changing mental and or physical challenges. Over the next 10 days we will be running a BLOG about four seriously injured British troops who we are supporting as they start their scuba diving adventure.  The intention is they will complete both OW and AOW programmes.

 

Luke at Headley Court standing with a prosthetic leg for the first time.They are being hosted at Roots Luxury Camp in Egypt the home of 5* PADI IDC Centre Pharaoh Dive Club.  Owners Steve and Clare Rattle are providing all the facilities free to the troops and have hosted a previous programme.  The week organised by Deptherapy’s Trustee John Spencer-Ades of the Scuba Place will get off to a great start as Monarch Airlines have arranged express check-in, extra legroom seats on the plane and a high level of support.

 

At the same time Richard Cullen, the Head of Operations for e

 will be running a Deptherapy Education Professionals’ Course at Roots for a number of PADI professionals to teach them how to teach PADI courses adaptively.

 

Dean Upson a PADI MSDT and Deptherapy Instructor is himself a former member of the Royal Engineers and suffers from a complex form of chronic PTSD.  Dean says “The opportunity these guys are being given is unbelievable, scuba diving has changed my life but especially Deptherapy.  Before I met with Richard Cullen I couldn’t stand being anywhere near amputees, my PTSD kicked in.  Gently Richard and the team introduced me to amputees on the programme, it was so hard.  But I was allowed time out and help was always at hand.  Gradually I found I could work with the guys and then socialise with them. It is amazing, the demons are still there but I am starting to control them.”

 

Richard Cullen says “Deptherapy is family, we work with the guys pre-programme, throughout there PADI courses and then post programme, a real bond exists between those on the programme and the staff team that helps the guys develop in a world outside the armed services”

 

Chris Middleton, a bi-lateral amputee (both legs) is now a trustee of the charity, Chris who has progressed to PADI AOW and Deep Diver, was blown up 9 days before his 21st birthday. Chris is clear of the benefits of the programme – “Richard Cullen and Deptherapy made me the man I am today.”

 

Meeting PADI standards can he a huge challenge for those with severe physical injuries for instance Chris and another bi-lateral amputee took 1.5 hours to master the CESA – you try it with no legs and just using one arm for propulsion!  Richard highlights the fact that time can be the essence not just with amputees but with those with mental challenges such as Autism, it can take someone who is autistic much longer to master a skill to the standard required – but once learned never forgotten.

 

Deptherapy pays for people coming on their programme to undergo ‘fit to dive’ medicals with a HSE authorised medical examiner of divers (AMED).  This is important both in terms of the injury but also the medications some of those wishing to come on the programme take.  Dean says “medication can be the determining factor in fitness to dive and some medications or combination of medications can be contra indicativeto  or have a depth limiting condition.”  All three programme members will go through a detailed assessment by the Deptherapy team who have the final say regarding ‘dive, no dive.’

 

The three former soldiers on this programme were passed fully fit to dive; they are Scott who lost one of this legs below the knee when the vehicle he was travelling in hit an IED; Warren, who was shot through the knee (Warren is already a PADI diver but the team want him to go through the whole programme again) and Luke who was in bomb disposal and who lost his leg when an IED exploded.

 

Deptherapy are working with Cumbria University in regards to the benefits of scuba diving for those suffering with PTSD  Research in the USA has already shown a reduction of 85% in reported symptoms amongst veterans who undertook a scuba diving programme. 

 

Roots has fully disabled accessible rooms for the guys to use. A real example of PADI working with its dive centres and instructors to improve the lives of those with disabilities

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Dr Richard Cullen OSt.J; MA; Chartered FCIPD; CMgr FCMI

Founder and Operations and Media Deptherapy Education

UK Deptherapy Education Representative

Deptherapy Education Instructor Trainer

PADI IDCS 260748

EFR Instructor Trainer