Scuba club members dive around the world

A member of Scuba at ASU swims near a sea turtle during one of the club’s dives. (Photo courtesy of ASU Scuba Club)

Students are diving deep into the activity they love most.

Doctorate candidate Mike Thomas started Scuba at ASU in 2006 after his research led to a fascination with life under the sea.

He said the club is set up like an instructional sports club. It does not have many meetings, but members can attend training classes and planned diving trips.

“Scuba is really a recreational activity,” Thomas said. “It’s not meant to be strenuous or stressful.”

The club has taken trips to dive at Lake Pleasant, which is about an hour away from the Tempe campus, Hawaii and the Florida Keys. It’s also traveled to places in Mexico, including Cabo in San Lucas and Cancun.

Thomas said there are 2,500 people on the club’s email list, but only small groups of people participate in many of their events.

He said about 14 people went on the last trip to Rocky Point.

There are no membership fees for Scuba at ASU, and members pay for the classes or trips in which they wish to participate.

“The good news is since we are sharing resources, the fares for trips are low,” Thomas said. “They are about half the price of normal dive shops.”

To obtain a scuba certification, members complete a few days of classroom bookwork followed by a pool session that is usually held at the Student Recreation Center.

From there, students can complete their checkout dives required for the official certification wherever and whenever they please, Thomas said.

Students can pursue ASU credit for their scuba certification classes, he said.

Doctorate candidate Zack Bowles helped found the Scuba at ASU club.

He serves as beach master on many of the club’s scuba trips.

The beach master is in charge of gear organization, loading and working with the divers and boat operators.

Bowles said his interest in scuba came from his parents. Both enjoyed the activity in college, and his Dad dove while in the Navy.

“I have always been a beach person, so it was natural to be involved in diving,” Bowles said.

Doctorate student Brandon Guida said in an email that he was open water certified during the summer of 2011.

He has since completed his advanced open water and rescue diving certification with Scuba at ASU and is almost finished with his dive master certification.

He said he loves to teach and is involved in the instructional part of Scuba at ASU.

Guida said he likes studying the ocean because it is the last place humans have not fully colonized.

“I am innately curious and fascinated by the unknown,” he said.

He said the biological diversity underwater is extraordinary and beautiful.

“The sounds are so soothing,” Guida said. “You hear lots of different clicks, whistles, whooshes, and can’t help (but) imagine what made them.”

With all this, there comes a bit of fear because a person is no longer the dominant species once he leaps into the water.

“I was attracted to the beauty, the mystery and the danger of the ocean,” he said.

Guida said scuba is a social activity for him because he always dives with friends.

“There is a lot of trust to be put in a dive buddy,” he said. “You have to trust that they will do whatever they can to help you in any type of situation you may encounter underwater.”

He said he hopes to get his scuba instructor’s certification and take over the club when Thomas graduates.

 

Reach the reporter at hblawren@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @hannah_lawr