Kerrie Eade, PADI Course Director and owner of PADI 5 Star IDC Center Ocean Turtle Diving, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2016 – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world.
We spoke to Kerrie to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to her, as well as learning about her achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.
What inspired you to become a PADI Pro? I learnt to dive in the 90’s and was surrounded by male divers. I felt, even then that more women should get into diving, both at recreational and professional level. I loved the challenge of proving myself in this dive environment, so after my PADI Rescue Diver course I decided to become a PADI Divemaster, and the rest is history!
How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor? My journey has been so much fun and quite literally life changing. As a PADI Divemaster, I moved to Spain and started working as a dive guide and eventually became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. I decided I wanted to stay in the dive industry, so when my local dive centre went up for sale, I bought it! So professionally I have progressed to become a PADI Course Director and dive centre owner, and I have never felt so alive and challenged.
Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why? I love teaching the PADI Rescue Diver course as it’s such a positive experience for the participants and I love watching them grow in confidence. I also love teaching Instructor Development Courses as I get share the instructor candidates’ highs and lows and really make a difference.
What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career? Achieving my PADI Course Director in 2016 is my greatest achievement in diving – closely followed by turning around a failing dive centre into the rip roaring success that Ocean Turtle Diving is today.
What does diving give you that nothing else does? Peace. I have two young children and a very busy and demanding business with many staff and customers. When I dive I get time to myself – peace, tranquillity, relaxation and space.
Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now in your diving career? My greatest challenge was, and still is, time. With a young family it’s hard to carve out enough time to teach, to run the business, to expand the business, to enjoy fun diving and to be mum and wife! I often work 7 days a week, but I try and chop out segments on many of those days to spend time with my family. Luckily my husband is great and very tolerant of me and my passion!
Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving? Undoubtedly, but I wouldn’t dream of taking credit for that! The divers are the ones who have taken action and are changing their lives for the better. Ocean Turtle’s Missions Statement is “Changing Lives and Making Dreams Come True” – it’s emblazoned on the wall of the dive centre and we do our best to live up to it every day.
Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?
I would never convince someone who doesn’t want to learn to dive that they should BUT I do always spend time getting to know someone and to find out what they are interested in. From that, there is normally something in their life (photography, exploration, travel, history etc..) that they are passionate about and that can be satiated in a new and interesting way by doing it underwater!
As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognised as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2016?
It’s very humbling. I don’t feel that I do more or less than the guys and girls around me – we have a great team at Ocean Turtle and we all work very hard. This year we are on track for at least 4 of us getting this prestigious award – which I am super proud of. To me it shows that even if the industry isn’t basking in the glory days, you can still give a great service and add true value. There are still plenty of people out there who want to learn to dive and crucially want to keep diving and expanding their knowledge.
What does “My PADI” mean to you? To me PADI is a big supportive and protective arm around me – I am fortunate to have an amazing team who encourage me, push me, challenge me and support me.
What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors? It’s not about numbers. Concentrate on giving each and every student / candidate / customer / diver a great experience, the benefit of your time and experience, and the rest will fall into place by itself.