Posts Tagged ‘guest blogger’

Women’s Dive Day: Go Pro, Girls!

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

padi-womens-scuba-dive-day-2015-1024x3161

Today is PADI Women’s Dive Day, and in this guest blog article, Alexandra Dimitriou-Engeler shares exactly why she wants to encourage more women to take the next step and become PADI Pros…


I have been a diver since 1992 and I can say, without a doubt, that scuba diving has been the driving force behind my own personal development. I became a professional diver on Halloween 2005, joining the largest diving family that is PADI, and it changed my life forever. How have I felt throughout my journey? How did I feel entering a sport that I had considered a “manly” activity? Why am I passionate about encouraging more females to take the plunge and Go Pro?

Cultural

Equality. It is a beautiful word. It opens so many doors and scuba diving is definitely one of them. Women are being encouraged to lust after everything, women are encouraged to try anything that takes their fancy. Scuba diving is no exception. What was before considered extreme has become safer. What was before considered unusual has become an experience not to be missed. Equality has given women the confidence to think “I can do everything” and we can. Cultural differences may have meant that men were considered to possess greater physical strength, finding it easier to lift heavy scuba equipment, but that perception is a thing of the past.

Alexandra DimitriouExperience

When I became a scuba diver I was seen as a “tom-boy” – a little unusual, and it makes me extremely happy to say that this is no longer the case. When I was a child my father had over 10 friends who he would dive with – only one was a woman. She was seen as a dare-devil and I wanted to be just like her. I was the only girl on my dive courses from my PADI Open Water Diver course to Rescue Diver.

When I signed up for the Divemaster course, however, things had already started to change. The dive center where I received my training had more female instructors then male and my course had a balanced split of students from all genders and backgrounds. I felt more at home, and less of an anomaly. It became more and more evident that diving could be an interest for anyone, that is was a uniting force that allowed global discovery across the board.

Equipment

Diving equipment now exists that has been developed with females in mind. Female specific BCD’s can now shift the load of our equipment from the upper back onto the hips – making it more comfortable. Wetsuits are now tailored to fit the female form, they fit better and are definitely more flattering! All equipment comes in a huge variety of colours and girls can now express themselves underwater. Diving equipment has become more female friendly.

Becoming a PRO

So why should more women think about taking the next step? Why should more women “Go Pro”?

Because we can do anything we want to do.

We can teach and spread our passion to the next generation. If I can do it, so can you. When a guy signs up for his PADI Open Water Diver course, encourage his girlfriend, sister or mother to sign up too! Any doubts that she may have can be immediately dispelled when she sees that you can do it – and that you have made it your career. She can become “one of the gang” and it will be life changing.

In my experience dive centers like to keep ratios even. They like to have both female and male instructors, as it allows them to cater to more of the market. This can improve your chances of getting that dream job in an exotic land.

So, over the years I’ve seen a shift in the diving world. A shift in perception, a shift in involvement and a shift in the pursuit of adventure. We can do everything, and anything that we set our minds to… so tie up that hair and jump in girls!


Alexandra Dimitriou selfieAlexandra Dimitriou-Engeler is a dive center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner at Scuba Monkey Ltd.

The post Women’s Dive Day: Go Pro, Girls! appeared first on PADIProsEurope.

Skills Deconstructed: The “How-To” on Happy Hovering

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

Alexandra DimitriouAlexandra Dimitriou-Engeler is a PADI Dive Center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner of Scuba Monkey Ltd and is writing a series of guest blogs for PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa. Her next article shares advice on teaching the tricky skill of hovering to new students…


Good buoyancy control is one of the most important skills that a diver must master for two reasons: It keeps the diver in control throughout their dive and protects the marine environment at the same time.

Many students find hovering a tough skill to master. I know I did when I was an open water student, and that was over 20 years ago. I can still remember the frustration of not getting it right the first time. I can also remember the calm reassuring voice of my instructor.

So let’s see why students struggle sometimes.

Being overweighted: Take a lot of time with your guests when you first enter the water on day one. If a diver is overweighted, hovering is a nightmare. Take the extra time at the beginning and you will save time later.

Not thinking about how they are breathing: Try to emphasize that buoyancy should become a habit, and they should not just treat it as an isolated skill. Get them thinking about their breathing. Nothing more than that. Just make them aware from day one.

Getting Frustrated: Emphasize that hovering will take a little time, and because it is a skill that is controlled largely by the lungs, any changes to their rhythm of breathing will affect their success. If they get frustrated, their breathing will change, which will make it harder to control their buoyancy…. then they will get even more frustrated and the issue compounds itself.

alex_d

The Perfect Buddha Pose

So, what techniques can help you help your student?

#1 – Briefing

I like to tell my students the steps that I will go through before going into a hover. I ask them to kneel, stand or lie on the bottom, but I also emphasize the notion that, soon, contact with the floor will be eliminated altogether. I ask them to visualize their lungs once they get into the position that they would like to stay in for 30 seconds.

“Hovering requires control and it requires calmness” – This is my opening line when I start briefing them about this skill.

I keep this briefing for hovering only. I reassure them that they will be able to do it because they have already done multiple fin pivots and that hovering is almost the same – except this time ALL of their body will be off the bottom. I warn them that this is tricky because it is mostly about feeling the differences in their buoyancy as they inhale and exhale.

“As soon as you feel your body start to rise…. Exhale.

“As soon as you feel your body start to get deeper then inhale”

I repeat this several times. I show them how to signal this thought process underwater.

I find that keeping my voice to an almost yoga whisper keeps their nerves at bay. I keep repeating that they should stay calm, to have fun with this lesson and within a very short while they will never touch the bottom again if they don’t want to. I tell them that this is where the magic happens.

#2 Underwater

I find that this briefing is the key to success underwater. Students are prepared for the possibility that hovering will take time and therefore they give themselves the mental space to get their head around the physics of it.

michelle finlay (alex blog hovering)

Success for Michelle Finlay, hovering like a Pro!

I demonstrate the exaggerated breathing hand gestures that we instructors have used since our IDC. I get my legs into position and inflate my BC in tiny bursts to get to that bouncy feeling, signifying that I am neutrally buoyant. I show them that I am inhaling, that I start to rise because of it and that I exhale just as I get to the mid-water position. I show them the signal for thinking. Thinking about how full my lungs are as I control my position in the water.

In my experience students get to the mid-water point quite easily, but they cannot help but try to balance themselves with their hands and fins. Let them do it for a few seconds before gently silencing the movement. You are looking for a calm face. Let them feel the movement of a slightly-too-deep inhalation – how they ascend a little too far as a result. Let them feel it – don’t correct them too early but also be ready to stop them if they go up too fast. It’s a fine line between trial and error. Keep them safe above all but give them some learning room.

It won’t be long before they’re hovering like a pro – and they will remember your methods long after they have completed their first logbook entry all the way to the day when they might be teaching their very own students to hover!


Don’t forget, once your students have completed their PADI Open Water Diver course, they can sign up to complete a PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty course to further improve their diving skills. For more information on becoming a PADI Peak Performance Specialty Instructor, click here or contact the PADI Training department.

The post Skills Deconstructed: The “How-To” on Happy Hovering appeared first on PADIProsEurope.

Skills Deconstructed: The “How-To” on Happy Hovering

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

Alexandra DimitriouAlexandra Dimitriou-Engeler is a PADI Dive Center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner of Scuba Monkey Ltd and is writing a series of guest blogs for PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa. Her next article shares advice on teaching the tricky skill of hovering to new students…


Good buoyancy control is one of the most important skills that a diver must master for two reasons: It keeps the diver in control throughout their dive and protects the marine environment at the same time.

Many students find hovering a tough skill to master. I know I did when I was an open water student, and that was over 20 years ago. I can still remember the frustration of not getting it right the first time. I can also remember the calm reassuring voice of my instructor.

So let’s see why students struggle sometimes.

Being overweighted: Take a lot of time with your guests when you first enter the water on day one. If a diver is overweighted, hovering is a nightmare. Take the extra time at the beginning and you will save time later.

Not thinking about how they are breathing: Try to emphasize that buoyancy should become a habit, and they should not just treat it as an isolated skill. Get them thinking about their breathing. Nothing more than that. Just make them aware from day one.

Getting Frustrated: Emphasize that hovering will take a little time, and because it is a skill that is controlled largely by the lungs, any changes to their rhythm of breathing will affect their success. If they get frustrated, their breathing will change, which will make it harder to control their buoyancy…. then they will get even more frustrated and the issue compounds itself.

alex_d

The Perfect Buddha Pose

So, what techniques can help you help your student?

#1 – Briefing

I like to tell my students the steps that I will go through before going into a hover. I ask them to kneel, stand or lie on the bottom, but I also emphasize the notion that, soon, contact with the floor will be eliminated altogether. I ask them to visualize their lungs once they get into the position that they would like to stay in for 30 seconds.

“Hovering requires control and it requires calmness” – This is my opening line when I start briefing them about this skill.

I keep this briefing for hovering only. I reassure them that they will be able to do it because they have already done multiple fin pivots and that hovering is almost the same – except this time ALL of their body will be off the bottom. I warn them that this is tricky because it is mostly about feeling the differences in their buoyancy as they inhale and exhale.

“As soon as you feel your body start to rise…. Exhale.

“As soon as you feel your body start to get deeper then inhale”

I repeat this several times. I show them how to signal this thought process underwater.

I find that keeping my voice to an almost yoga whisper keeps their nerves at bay. I keep repeating that they should stay calm, to have fun with this lesson and within a very short while they will never touch the bottom again if they don’t want to. I tell them that this is where the magic happens.

#2 Underwater

I find that this briefing is the key to success underwater. Students are prepared for the possibility that hovering will take time and therefore they give themselves the mental space to get their head around the physics of it.

michelle finlay (alex blog hovering)

Success for Michelle Finlay, hovering like a Pro!

I demonstrate the exaggerated breathing hand gestures that we instructors have used since our IDC. I get my legs into position and inflate my BC in tiny bursts to get to that bouncy feeling, signifying that I am neutrally buoyant. I show them that I am inhaling, that I start to rise because of it and that I exhale just as I get to the mid-water position. I show them the signal for thinking. Thinking about how full my lungs are as I control my position in the water.

In my experience students get to the mid-water point quite easily, but they cannot help but try to balance themselves with their hands and fins. Let them do it for a few seconds before gently silencing the movement. You are looking for a calm face. Let them feel the movement of a slightly-too-deep inhalation – how they ascend a little too far as a result. Let them feel it – don’t correct them too early but also be ready to stop them if they go up too fast. It’s a fine line between trial and error. Keep them safe above all but give them some learning room.

It won’t be long before they’re hovering like a pro – and they will remember your methods long after they have completed their first logbook entry all the way to the day when they might be teaching their very own students to hover!


Don’t forget, once your students have completed their PADI Open Water Diver course, they can sign up to complete a PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty course to further improve their diving skills. For more information on becoming a PADI Peak Performance Specialty Instructor, click here or contact the PADI Training department.

The post Skills Deconstructed: The “How-To” on Happy Hovering appeared first on PADIProsEurope.