On 24th August, the world is reuniting for the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics. This once in every four-year event brings the best athletes together for the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet with the goal of building a better world through sport.
But Paralympians past, present and future don’t just wait every four years to take action for a better planet. From every corner of the globe Paralympians are masking up as PADI Scuba Divers to create balance between humanity and the ocean and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps once again.
Alana Nichols: x7 American Paralympian (2008-2021), Wheelchair Basketball, Kayaking and Alpine Skiing
Alana was an up-and-coming snowboarder when she broke her back in a freak accident. But that didn’t stop her from becoming a Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball player, Sprint Kayaker and Alpine Skier—competing in six Paralympic Games and preparing to compete in her seventh in Tokyo this month. But she also continues to inspire others underwater, showing that being a PADI Open Water Diver is an inclusive sport and mentoring other divers with disabilities
On top of the water, Edina Müller is one of the fastest Paralympic kayakers in the world, having won Paralympic Gold and Silver, along with setting Paralympic and World Record for her specialty, the K1 200m sprint. Her sights are set on gold this month at the Tokyo Paralympics as well. But she is also a sports therapist, PADI Rescue Diver and PADI Freediver who is equally passionate about showing the therapeutic benefits of the ocean and diving with her patients.
To follow in these Paralympians’ footsteps, join them as fellow PADI Torchbearers who protect and explore the ocean.
Jump into… Powerboats
As divers we all love the water, either on top or underneath, so what could be better than learning to powerboat. This was something that I had not really looked to do before… basically because I knew that I would be hooked with already being a huge pirate fan, and that’s exactly what happened!
Last year I joined the RNLI, which has been a fantastic organisation to get involved with. I could not think of a better way to volunteer my time and, I get to jump aboard and helm a 20m Shannon… awesome! At the same time, after 6 years of owning a boat, I decided to take my Powerboat Level 2 Course. Learning the basics of operating the boat, the two main things that I learnt were:
- I now have huge respect for the boat skippers that work here being able to get right close up to come and pick me up regardless of the conditions.
- There are no breaks… no back ups…at all!
It was an awesome course, just as good as my PADI Open Water Course, I was hooked and wanted to learn more. The next step being the Advanced course (deja vu!) and then, I went on to do the Day Skipper and Instructor. So, even cooler, we can now offer the RYA Powerboat Courses at Hafan Marina Dive Centre with our boat Little Viv.
Doing the course was great for me, to be able to move out of my comfort zone and learn something completely new. Like being an Open Water student again, I just wanted to learn more… and more… and find out what came next. It was brilliant to be the student again and pick up new tips and tricks, as well as having the frustrations of not being able to do something. An aspect that was a good reminder for my own teaching, that we as instructors should remember from time to time!
The Powerboat Course is definitely something that I would recommend any diver to do, not only to have an appreciation of the boats, but to improve your knowledge and understanding of tides, charts and all of those things that are useful for our dive planning. I like to think that I had a good knowledge of these beforehand, but doing the course has definitely reinforced this aspect… and if doing the course to become a better diver still doesn’t do it for you, surely the thought of a 250hp engine on the back of the boat will do!
Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com
Tips for… Your IDC
Looking to become a PADI Instructor? Then you will be looking to take your PADI Instructor Development Course. Those of you thinking of becoming an instructor may be finding this a scary process and those of you that have already been through it, will (hopefully) have looked back and enjoyed it! But that’s normal with anything that involves an exam, no?
The IDC is, as it says, a course designed to refine your teaching skills to the standard required to pass the Instructor Examination… and not only that, but prepare you for teaching your own students. There are some things that can make your IDC easier… this involves being prepared!
We have lots of divers come through to take our IDC’s and have the same types of questions each time, mostly asking how best to prepare. So, here are our tips and tricks.
To start – consider the time of year, and what you will be wearing. The IDC open water sessions can be stressful enough when you are trying to become neutrally buoyant in front of the Course Director, without the added stress of having added an extra few layers and not being weighted correctly. Prep your kit before you join the course.
Our next tip – skills. We have no doubt that you can perform mask removal and replace, but can you demonstrate it? The best way to do this isn’t always in the water either… how about trying it in the mirror? Yes, you will probably feel like an idiot (but that will only make you feel better when in front of a group). Watching yourself go through the skills, will allow you to see if you need to slow down…and what your student would be seeing. If you were to be on the other end watching the skill, would you be able to understand it? Our only other tip would be, maybe to leave out the hover with this tip!
Theory – Don’t forget the physics, RDP etc… not the most fun part, we know, but an all-important one nonetheless. This is the element of the course where you can do a lot of work behind the scenes and whilst we will of course take the time to teach you on the IDC, we also don’t want to waste all of the valuable time sat in a classroom. As with all diving, we want to be diving; working with you in the water to develop your skills and underwater control.
Lastly – don’t stress! Easier said than done, right? But we can almost guarantee that you will enjoy it. Go into the IDC having prepped with your skills and theory, questions prepared, and don’t be afraid to ask. That’s why you are there. Remember when you started your Open Water course? You didn’t know all of the answers, and guess what? This is the same.
Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com
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