No Limit Diving

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Cast your mind back to that moment when you decided that you wanted to become a PADI Pro. It may have been what got you started diving or it may have been during one of your courses when you had that Eureka moment and decided that teaching divers to dive was for you. No matter when you started you immediately had that thirst for knowledge and wanted to learn  more.

Generally most people start their professional path with the rescue course. Besides learning many important rescue skills you would have also learnt many new Physiological terms that you may not have previous encountered. Things like Arterial Gas embolisms, Sub Cutaneous Emphysemas and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. Your quest for knowledge was unending and you sought out seasoned instructors to feed you with the knowledge you craved.

Then you started your Divemaster course. Again there was so much to learn, both in the classroom and underwater. Theory became even more daunting, physics was a nightmare and would you ever master decompression theory and the Recreational Dive Planner? But you studied hard, practised your diving skills repeatedly and that day finally dawned when you could stand proud as one of the elite, a PADI Divemaster.

Onwards and upwards, next came your \instructor development course. Seven to ten days of early mornings and late nights, cramming in as much knowledge as possible. From knowledge development presentations, Dive Theory, General Standards and procedures you worked late into the night to get it all perfected for the Instructor Exam.

Once again you stood proud, this time as a PADI Instructor. Ready to start teaching people how to dive. And so you did. And you are a good instructor, training divers the way they should be taught. But what have you done to further your knowledge since becoming an instructor?

Its important that as a PADI Instructor that you should continue with your own personal development. The more knowledgeable you are, the better an instructor you will be. Its easy to stay up to date.

Make sure you register for the quarterly training bulletins. Ensure that you download the latest instructor manual as part of your yearly renewal benefit. Read the PADI blogs that appear monthly. Further develop your training. Sign up for speciality courses with a PADI Course director thereby ensuring that you gain from their knowledge. Read diving magazines and publications. Do equipment servicing courses with equipment manufacturers.Make the effort to develop yourself and your students will ultimately be the ones to benefit the most.

Do not stop learning. Do not limit yourself. No limit diving.

Posted in Uncategorized

Big Business for Prodivers Maldives

Divers who signed up to join the Noon Atoll full-day trip with Kuredu Prodivers hoped to see some ‘big-stuff action’ with the locally renowned shark spot, Orimas Thila, high on their agenda. They got rather more than they bargained for…Blue Whale

On their way back, whilst on their dhoni, crossing the channel between the Noon and Lhaviyani Atolls, something big was spotted in the water – or rather something massive!

Blue Whale

In fact, they witnessed the largest creature ever to have lived on Earth – a Blue Whale! Great excitement ensued and estimates of size range from ‘huge’, 12 metres and 18 metres. Blue whales can grow to over 33 metres in length and have a heart weighing as much as a car. Their huge mouth can fit 100 people inside but, fear not, we are not on their menu; Blue Whales are filter feeders and eat krill – shrimp-like invertebrates.

Blue Whales have been around on Earth for about 54 million years and were once prolific, but in the first half of the 20th century they were almost hunted to extinction. There are now an estimated total of 10.000 – 25,000 individuals left on the planet and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List rates them as ‘endangered’. While whaling is no longer a threat, increased shipping leading to more collisions, oil spills and climate change all threaten the existence of the majestic Blue Whales. Blue Whale

 The ocean is full of surprises and, as well as the usual exciting encounters of sharks and manta rays, as you can see, every now and then something a little more unusual and unexpected turns up.

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New Year News – A short heads up on 2017

Hi all,

With this being a monthly blog aimed at the North of the UK I wanted to share some useful information that will hopefully bring you all a few bits of success in 2017

Freediving

I have mentioned the PADI Freediver programme before and what benefits it will bring to your Centre http://wp.me/s4SSW1-9766. It brings me great joy to announce that we now have Steve Millard on board as a PADI Freediving Instructor trainer. Steve has a long history with Freediving so I was very happy when he spoke with me about choosing PADI to help grow the Sport within the UK. Steve is happy to be your go-to person to either bring you (or the team) up to speed as freediving instructors and beyond. Or if you see the business sense to add it to your centre but don’t feel you can do it justice then he could be your instructor for hire to start building your Squad.

If you have not tried it yourself the PADI Freediver manual is 3 courses in one (Freediver, advanced Freediver and master Freediver). I will be going on the road with Rich Somerset, Steve and some of the major brands to run the Business of freediving workshops. Please let me know if you are in the UK North and would like to find out more.

Here is the latest video on the PADI YouTube channel

Live Events 2017

I will be on tour with some of the big guns looking at workshops, training and forums across the North of the UK. Locations we are looking at are

  • Newcastle – Forum, freediving and equipment in.
  • Leeds – Business Academy
  • Capernwary – Dive day, drysuit and Forum.
  • Blue lagoon, Dive day, speciality Schermafbeelding 2017-01-13 om 14.44.50workshop and Forum.
  • 8 Acre – freediving.
  • Stoney, Forum – freediving and equipment.
  • The Delph- Forum, drysuit and equipment.
  •  Gildenburgh – Dive day, drysuit and Forum.
  • Orkney – Forum.
  • Edinburgh equipment, Dive day and Forum.
  • Glasgow, equipment, Dive day and Forum.

This is not a definitive list as there are a couple of big events in the pipeline but, as I write this blog these are what I have planned for the first 6 months. I will be looking to do a good number of private forums still this year also.

Events will be shared on Eventbrite, Facebook and direct emails.

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There is a planned Business Academy in Leeds on 3rd of July. If you have never been on one then you are missing out. We cover a whole load of Business training in an environment that you can focus on the Job in Hand. Let me know if you would like some details but it is worth coming along from a Networking point alone as there will be like minded Peers who are driven to make a success of their business.

Pricing Work Shops.

One of the most commonly raised points on a meeting is over prices. Only you know your costs but what I can help with is to make sure you are getting a profit from really crunching the numbers and suggesting solutions. Do you know which items are given you the best returns? This workshop something that can be done remotely and is a real commitment in time for both yourself and me so this will be on the first come first severed basis. But if you would like to work on it yourself then I am more than happy to send you the files to work on. As with all things that are finance you have, to be honest with the report you are running and anything shared with me will be kept in confidence.

PADI Sales incentive 2017

Emily and Su-Li have been working hard with Emma and Myself to really look at a sustained campaign for 2017. Please call them in the office for the details but it would be worth your while to get up to speed on the offers and factor them into your pricing. PADI staffThere is only one goal that we have as your PADI team and that is to help you do as well as possible. We are all believers in growing the UK market and have invested heavily in marketing the UK to new divers.

London outdoor and adventure show 2017

I will not be at the show myself this year as I will be expecting to be a dad part 2 over that weekend. A shame not to see you all but… I hope you understand. The rest of the team will be there so please come and see them. But again the main focus of the PADI stand will be to reach out to new and old divers alike to drive them into PADI dive Centres to help bring them to the underwater world that we all hold so dear.

I am looking forward to seeing you over the coming 12 months but please email/call/facebook/Whatsapp/etc etc if you need any help.

One last video to leave you with as a hopeful touch of inspiration.

PADI Business Academy Lite 2017 Schedule & Pricing

PBA Lite 2017 Blog HeaderSupercharge Your Dive Operation in 2017 & Beyond

Want to streamline your multi-channel marketing strategies this year and improve the overall effectiveness of your initiatives?  Learn how by attending one of the PADI Business Academy Lite one day Seminars.

1 day PADI Business Academy Lite – €99 – £88 – CHF107

2017 Presentation Topics

The PADI Business Academy Lite focuses on the integration of both a strong digital marketing strategy as well as business, sales, customer service and training opportunities.

PBA Lite attendees will benefit from presentations on:

• Website enhancement
• Sales techniques
• Social Media
• Customer Service improvements

And as a Business Academy Graduate attendees will be entitled to an exclusive Sales Promotion, helping to drive their digital business forward.

To register, simply click here to download and complete the form and return it to Ally Toullec in the Marketing department.

Date Country City Language
22 February Sweden Stockholm English
27 February Sweden Göteborg English
20 March Switzerland  Bern German
22 March Denmark Copenhagen Danish
7th April Portugal Lisbon Portuguese
9th April Saudi Arabia Jeddah Arabic
21st April UAE Dubai English / Arabic
25th April Spain Madrid Spanish
26th April Spain Barcelona Spanish
2nd May Cyprus Paphos English
3rd May Cyprus Protaras English
9th May Norway Oslo English
10th May Canary Islands Lanzarote English
12th May Canary Islands Tenerife English
12th June Zanzibar Zanzibar Town English
3rd July UK Leeds English
1st August Maldives Paradise Island English
1st September Italy Ustica Italian

EXCLUSIVE SALES OFFER!
Register today and as an attendee you will be entitled to our exclusive 5-4-4 sales offer on all digital products¹

OWD_touch¹Valid on all PADI digital products excluding eLearning for PBA Lite 2017 attendees.

*Please note that PBAs shown in this Schedule may be subject to change or to be cancelled. If you plan to attend a 2017 Business Academy Lite, please check this schedule regularly. Additional PBAs may be added during the year.

** For accounts purposes the currency charged will be reflective of the currency that the attendees pays their renewal fee in, irrespective of PADI Business Academy Lite location.

***Price does not include VAT

5 PADI Pro Tips: How to Deal with Nervous Students

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The first breaths underwater are always very exciting for first-time divers, and usually the fascination for this new underwater world is much bigger than any fears. Sometimes, however, there are some new divers who are very nervous about learning to dive, and need to be treated very carefully by their PADI Instructor.

Follow these 5 tips on working with nervous divers to help alleviate their fears and encourage them to succeed in the best possible way.

#1 – Talk to your students about their fears

If you notice that one of your students is very anxious, then you should talk to them about their fears and concerns. Ask them questions to help identify what and where the problem is, and explain to them objectively, using facts and reassurance, about why there is no need to be scared.

#2 – Explain all of the exercises in detail in your briefing

As a PADI Pro you’ve already learned to describe and explain all the skills, exercises and dives which you’re performing with other divers or students.

If you have one or more anxious divers in your group, you should extend your briefings and deal with the concerns of the divers. Prepare your group and let them know what could be the challenges during the exercises or dives you’ll do together – and tell them how to deal with them in the best way.

#3 – Position anxious students correctly

If you’re doing underwater skills with students, or guiding a dive for a group of divers, then make sure that any nervous members of the group are always very close to you.

While training for skills in larger groups, any nervous divers should never sit completely at the end of the row. If possible, they should always have another diver on either side.
Make sure you begin the practice of diving skills with a more confident diver – not with someone who is already anxious. This reduces the nervousness when one sees that another diver masters the skill without any problems.

If you’re guiding a group with an anxious diver, you should offer them to dive directly behind you. Form a buddy team, and give them the safety and attention they need to build confidence underwater.

#4 – Reduce the distance between nervous divers

As a PADI Pro you’ll already know that you need to stay close to your diving students to have complete control over them. However, if you have a very nervous student in your group you should pay special attention to stay as close as possible to them in particular. This makes it possible for you to intervene at any time, and gives them a feeling of safety and security.

#5 – Give anxious students frequent commendation

After each training session, you should highlight one thing in every debriefing that all diving students have done particularly well – that’s what we call positive reinforcement.
With anxious divers in your group you can expand this positive reinforcement even more and give them extra commendation for things they have mastered. With this additional positivity and praise, you’ll push the self-confidence of anxious divers, which in turn will help to relieve their nervousness and boost their confidence in the water.

Extra Tip: Work in small groups with more time – if possible!

Where possible, work in groups of max. two divers, and plan more time for your course from the beginning – this should be helpful for anxious divers who will feel less pressured by others’ progress. In a smaller group, you can respond even more effectively to the problems and concerns of each student.


christian_huboThis article was written by guest blogger, Christian Hubo. A PADI diving instructor, Christian has enjoyed over 4,000 dives whilst travelling around the world. Above the surface, he’s hiked thousands of kilometers across the natural world. Christian is a freelance web and media designer, underwater photographer, social media and marketing consultant and freelance author. His magazine articles and blog, Feel4Nature, inspires people to follow an independent, individual and eco-conscious lifestyle.

PADI Business Academy Bristol

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PADI EMEA is proud to welcome in its EMEA office the final PADI Business Academy of the year.

During this unique event, the biggest one for 2016, the 33 attendees from dive centres all around the EMEA region will be going through a series of presentations and workshops on all the aspects of running a dive centre from website design, online strategies and pricing issues.

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This exceptional PADI Business Academy is presented in 5 languages (Spanish, French, English, Italian and German) by your PADI EMEA management team and Regional Managers.

The 2-day program will enable PADI business owners to expand their knowledge, get the latest PADI products updates and meet other from the diving industry and all the PADI staff.

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We wish all our Bristol PADI attendees a successful PADI Business Academy.

Do not miss out on your chance to join a PADI Business Academy next year! The 2017 schedule will soon be available.

For more information on this program please download the 2016 brochure here.

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Posted in Uncategorized

What is it really like to be an Examiner?

What’s it like to be a PADI Examiner? Guest blogger Adele Verdier-Ali shadows Maldives Regional Manager Matt Wenger as he conducts a two-day Instructor Examination at the Villa College Marine Faculty campus at Sun Island Resort & Spa Maldives to find out…

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Photo by Ahmed Shan

“Coffee,” croaks Matt as he finally joins me for breakfast at the sprawling beachside restaurant of Sun Island Resort & Spa, “I need coffee.”

Bleary eyed and less than his usual chipper self, Matt doesn’t look so good. I signal the waiter who hurries to pour him a cup. Having stayed up answering work emails until the small hours of the night, Matt explains, a zealous native bird calling in the dawn outside his window ensured that he was awake at four. It’s the first morning of the IE, and we both know it’s going to be a long day.

He takes a sip of his coffee, grimaces and pushes it away, “Ugh, I can’t drink that.”

It’s a bad start. And a grouchy examiner is not what the candidates need. Because while many Course Directors might joke that ‘IE’ really means ‘It’s Easy’, I was getting the feeling that this time (for Matt at least) it might just stand for ‘It’s Exhausting’

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No comments, photo by A. Verdier-Ali

No Rest for the Wicked

Having flown in the night before from Male’, the country’s chaotic capital, Matt had wasted no time. After a quick sit down with the head of the Villa College Marine Faculty Dean Shamaa ‘Anna’ Hameed and the Maldives’ only PADI Course Director Hussein ‘Sendi’ Rasheed to clarify the two-day itinerary, he’d jumped straight into the orientation. The candidates, six Maldivian guys, were initially nervous. As I sat at the back of the classroom at the beachside campus, the atmosphere was strained, no one spoke much, and the apprehension was palpable.

Over the next 45 minutes however, Matt achieved something impressive. Not only does he manage to put people at ease, to get people talking and asking questions but at the same time he somehow manages to keep people on their toes. His natural warmth made the candidates feel relaxed, but there was an undeniable boundary. This is PADI, he seemed to imply, and we don’t mess around.

 

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After the Orientation, photo by A. Verdier-Ali

Good coffee + good weather = good start

So back to our search for coffee. We head to the resort’s in-house dive centre in search of a more palatable caffeine fix. The walk to the centre, located at the end of a long wooden jetty at the edge of the island’s house reef, goes some way to raise Matt’s spirits. We spot several juvenile black tip reef sharks glide under the walkway, and the weather, at least, is being good to us. After several stormy weeks, the skies have cleared. The island stretches far into the distance and heaves with palm trees, bobbing above the shore. The lagoon that encircles it is completely flat; conditions are perfect.

“It doesn’t get much better than this, does it?” Matt remarks, as he pauses for a moment to take in the view.

Luckily, the dive centre has an espresso machine. As he sips his liquid breakfast, candidates bustle around him readying their gear.

“Right,” Matt says clapping his hands together, “let’s do this!”

Sun, Sea and Slates

With gear assembled, Matt leads a short briefing to explain what’s going to happen over the course of the morning. The candidates would first perform the Confined Water skills in the lagoon. Then head to the drop off for Open Water Teaching presentations and the Rescue Demonstration. Energy levels seem high but there’s not much talking. It’s go time.

I snorkel a short distance from the candidates and marvel at their efficiency. It’s clear that these guys belong in the water. I creep up to peer over Matt’s shoulder at his slates, hoping to see their scores. But instead there’s a series of letters. It’s a code which he explains in whispers. I realise that a lot of the candidates are getting straight 5s.

Every now and then, Matt turns around, nods his head and purses his lips and if to say “These guys are good!”.

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Sneak peek…… A. Verdier-Ali

 

The candidates’ English is fluent and confident and their briefings are simple and clear. They complete their tasks in swift succession and I’m surprised when it’s already time for them to head to the drop off for part two.

As I’m not in dive gear, I hang back and enjoy the reef. Two adult black tip reef sharks swim by, then a hawksbill turtle and a sting ray. Shoals of filter-feeding mackerel swerve and lunge by.

I head back to the jetty and await the candidates return. After quite some time, I can see them performing the rescue scenarios but it’s obvious that the energy has changed. They’re visibly tired and their adrenaline is no longer seeing them through. Shoulders sag as they exit the water and I worry that someone might have stuffed up.

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Rescue Demonstrations, photo by A. Verdier-Ali

Another quick briefing. Matt gives short precise feedback to justify the lower scores, and there are a few, but overall everyone passes.

 

The Physics of Failing and Failing at Physics

It’s lunch and then the two theory exams. As the candidates sit in silence I take the opportunity to explore the campus surroundings. The building, which was purpose-built in 2006 to train local dive and water sports professionals, sits on the western shore of the island. As well as providing accommodation facilities for the students and teachers, it’s home to two classrooms and an office. The small beach outside is glorious and I snap a few pics of a heron in the shallows, wading amongst juvenile black tips and a cluster of sting rays.

The candidates exit the classroom. All have passed the Standard Exam but three have failed in physics in the Theory Exam. They’d have to resit in the morning.

This dampens the mood of the group who, I observe, function as fish out of the water as well as in it. They move as a shoal, with the whole group affected by the misfortune of an individual. And with that the first day draws to a close.

A Second Chance

It’s late by the time I wander down from my room the next day and join Anna and Sendi by the beach. Usually chatty, they’re sitting in silence. The guys were resitting their exams – another fail and they’d not pass the IE.

And then they appear, three silhouettes against the morning sun. Anna stands up, and the three young men all smile. They’d all passed this time and there is a collective sigh of relief. The Knowledge Development Teaching presentations go by without a glitch and as the candidates exit the classroom the campus rebounds with their whoops and hollers. It was over! As the candidates all dive into the sea it’s as though they are different people. Their reserve melts in the water and they are suddenly animated, laughing and jubilant. It’s only then that I realise just how focussed, just how tense they’d been over the last 24 hours.

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Sharing the good news with family and friends, photo by A. Verdier-Ali

Matt, I notice, stays on the beach, and watches from the distance. From what I can see, he is still in examiner mode, and feels his job isn’t over until he leaves the island. But he does not escape being raised on the candidates shoulders a little later after awarding them their completion certificates. The candidates’ joy is infectious, even emotional to see, especially as they call their parents to share the good news.

The main thing I learn from him is this:

The key to a good IE? Decent coffee.

 

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About the author: Adele Verdier-Ali is a freelance travel writer and content marketer who has been living in the Maldives for over six years. She’s a certified PADI rescue diver and when she’s not underwater, she writes about Maldivian culture and tourism. You can read more of her thoughts over on www.littlebirdjournal.com

 

My PADI. My Ocean. My Hope.

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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.

Elite Instructor Interview: Chris Azab, PADI Course Director

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Chris Azab, a highly experienced PADI Course Director and Tec Deep/Trimix Instructor, has been diving “a long time” and was awarded the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2015 earlier this year, an award which recognises the achievements of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world. 

With an impressive 11,000+ dives in her logbook, Chris conducts Instructor Development Courses in the Netherlands and Egypt, teaching in her mother tongue of Dutch as well as English, German and Arabic.

PADI Regional Manager Teo Brambilla caught up with her to learn more about her achievements as a PADI Pro, and what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to her. 


chris-azab-studentsWhat inspired you to become a PADI Professional?

Ever since I started diving in 1998, I’ve loved the underwater world and its beautiful creatures. I wanted to show them to other people, so in 2001 I became a PADI Pro.

How do you think you’ve changed – personally and professionally – as you’ve moved up the ranks to become a PADI Elite Instructor?

Personally, I’ve changed my whole life! I was working for a banking and insurance company, and chose a different lifestyle. Since 2004 I have been working full time in the diving industry, making people happy. I’m always proud of what I’m doing; working as a professional teacher, thinking positively all of the time – that’s how I reached the PADI Elite Instructor status.

chris-azab-studentWhich PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most, and why?

I love to teach new PADI Instructor candidates, that’s why I became a PADI Course Director – I see so many positive changes in people. Another favourite is the Tec Sidemount course, it’s great to do dives with more tanks on the side before moving on to further Tec courses.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?

Becoming a Silver PADI Course Director and PADI Tec Trimix Instructor. One day I hope to achieve Gold status, and then Platinum. Teaching people is my passion!

chris-azab3What does diving give you that nothing else does?

During diving, it’s the silence… and then after each dive I love the smile on each diver’s face. And that’s the same for teaching, as well – seeing that smile.

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now?

When I started my PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, the Night Adventure Dive was mandatory, but I really didn’t want to do it. I reached two meters and quit the dive, but I still wanted to become an Advanced Open Water Diver… My PADI Instructor took me to Marseille, France, and let me try it again. I succeeded – not with pleasure, but I did it. The next night dive I booked was during a holiday in Egypt, and from that moment forgot my fears and I’ve found night diving great ever since.

chris-azab2Do you believe you change others’ lives through teaching scuba diving?

Absolutely. Students change from shy to confident, and I’ve had students suffering from depression turn into positive and active people. Some become PADI Instructors, quitting their jobs and travelling around the world. Some even started their own PADI Dive Center. I’ve given students the power to overcome any fear, I’ve given disabled students freedom, and helped people become positive. That’s why I want to do this job as long as I can – it’s amazing to change lives.

How does it feel to be recognised as one of PADI’s Elite Instructors in 2015?

It’s a result of hard work… being a real PADI Professional with quality teaching. I’m proud of it!

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?

Follow your heart and your dream. You are your only limit.

And finally, what does “my PADI” mean to you?

“My PADI” is my way of living. It’s a lifestyle, supported and promoted by PADI and I’m proud to be a part of it. I want to follow this lifestyle as long as I can. It’s not always easy, but I’d still choose this life. It’s an adventure as well, so let’s go for it. I remember the words from my PADI Open Water Diver course a long time ago and they still count; meet people, go places and do things. So, for now, I’m on my way to Malta…


Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

Find out more about Chris Azab via her website.

Breathless in the Maldives

Akim Adhari is one of the few people who has dived to over 100m. HOLDING HIS BREATHE! Let’s face it, a 100m dive is still a huge achievement on scuba, but doing it as a constant weight freedive is very rare!

akim1In fact Akim has been challenging himself to push his physical limits since he was just 6 years old when he started training in Judo and Juitsu. By the time he was 18 he had a 2nd Dan degree and headed to Thailand to train as a Thai boxer.

In 2009 Akim changed career to embrace his new love of freediving, becoming a Freediver Instructor and setting himself another challenge. He developed and shared training methods using the discipline and methods he had learnt over a lifetime of martial arts training. As well as achieving personal excellence, some of Akim’s students have done on to hold national and world records.

In 2011 he launched the world’s biggest freediving school, Blue Immersion, with his partner Jonas Samuelsson (now a PADI Territory Director!) and Good Time Adventures, Koh Tao and with the support and help of his friends Tim and Charlie Severino. Blue Immersion quickly became one of the leading centers for freediver training and has influence the industry worldwide.

Since then, as well as staying active as a competitor and instructor trainer, Akin founded a Freediver instructor development course and a freediving liveaboard in 2016 he has joined PADI and brought his experience to help PADI divers and members moving into and through the PADI Freediver courses. Akim has trained and certified over 250 Freediver instructors!

Recently Akim visited The Maldives and told us what an amazing experience it was both as a freediver and as a tourist:

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My experience in Maldives was unique,

I spent some times in Male the capital for a few days with friends originally from the region.

I was surprise to see that just 500 meters away from the capital we had 40 meters visibility and unlimited depth for training.

For our first day of training we just went 10 minutes out of the harbor and performed an 85 meters CWT dive, I was so excited to discover a real new place for training deep freediving with such excellent conditions and being that close to a capital means that, in case of an emergency, any care that would be needed can easily be given.

As well as finding the ideal environment for freediving, Akim was also overwhelmed with the culture and warmth of the Maldivians:

In the Maldives I can really say I was able to relax and had a comfortable time. The food was great -it’s very similar to the Indian cuisine and the locals will make you feel home. There was no hassle, which you can find in some tourist destinations, and I think the kindness and hospitality of the people is in general part of the culture.

He went on to tell us about some of the things he saw while visiting:

A few days later me and my Maldivian friend and student Valho went to an island called Ukhulas. In only a few days we had the opportunity to see dolphins, sharks, manta, all kind of fish and the reef was in perfectly good condition.

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And how the set up made it easy to freedive:

I did some deep dives there from 90 meters to 97 meters using the boat kindly provided by Island Vista Inn which is a local guest house that provides high standard room that have been restorated for a very decent price. If you wish to travel as a backpacker and not have to go through resorts you can easily find guest house now in the Maldives.

I finished my voyage in the Maldives with the conclusion that it was one of my best trips over 12 years of traveling around Asia.

I will definitely come back to organize more training and free diving courses 3 to 4 times a year  I believe the Maldives should be as popular a free diving destination as it is for scuba diving.

In September 2016, Akim will be back in the Maldives conducting a training camp and PADI instructor course, should you be interested in participation please contact PADI Regional Manager matt.wenger@padi.com