Scuba diving is an underwater experience that transports individuals to the depths of the sea for exploration of the unknown and to explore the creatures beneath the water’s surface.
ASI invited Cal Poly Pomona students to a unique scuba diving experience Nov. 8 to test if they could handle this extreme hobby.
The certified scuba instructor detailed how to prepare goggles, tanks, suits and gear. After learning all the basics, the participants took a quiz on basic safety measures before getting in the water.
Standard scuba gear includes a Buoyancy Control Device, a regulator, mask, snorkel, wetsuit, defog, fins and booties, surface marker buoy, a dive weight and a dive computer.
Students interested in becoming Professional Association of Diving Instructors must dedicate approximately three to four days and complete an e-learning program combined with in-person course material. The ASI scuba center provides all gear to complete a dive and only basic swimming levels are required to begin the training.
Alexis Hermosillo, an accounting student at CPP, chose to give the Discover Scuba Diving experience a try after recently watching “No Limit,” a movie based on the true story of a woman who broke a world record for freediving.
“It piqued my interest in water sports and really inspired me to try out scuba diving,” Hermosillo said. “Besides that, it has always been on my bucket list, and since CPP offers amazing, affordable opportunities to get into scuba diving, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
Hermosillo’s interest has turned into a genuine passion after her first confined water diving experience.
“It was nerve-wracking throughout the experience, but the instructor made me feel safe at all times,” said Hermosillo. “It felt like an out-of-body experience, like I was in a game or a movie. I definitely want to get certified after this experience.”
Hermosillo also said it was more challenging than expected. To deal with the fear involved in such an intense activity, Hermosillo focused on staying calm and clearheaded when underwater and said that the women who accompanied her throughout the activity encouraged her to stay confident.
Fascination led others like Micaela Garcia, a civil engineering student, to take the plunge. Amidst a heavy course load and studying this semester, she decided to lean into this experience for the evening.
“I thought since I’m an experienced swimmer that I would do just fine, but I ended up learning so many new things,” said Garcia. “It was such a satisfying challenge to say the least, and I want to definitely get better at it.”
Garcia also plans on continuing her journey toward certification while studying at CPP. With a PADI Scuba Diving certification, students can venture the depths as far away as Australia and as local as the Channel Islands.
While scuba diving can be frightening at first, overcoming that fear opens up countless enriching opportunities for students, according to hospitality student Vivian Chen.
Prior to the activity, students were required to read an informational pamphlet with helpful tips and necessary hand signals to communicate under water.
“The instructor was encouraging us to try things under water and take in the experience, and I would consider getting certified,” said Chen.
ASI instructors declined an interview request for this article.
For those searching to try new things, sign-up sheets are available online. CPP offers certification at a discounted rate for students, and it is $10 to start the process. To learn more, go to ASI’s website.