Thanks to movies, underwater diving is no longer a remote sport limited to a select few. More and more people are now daring to explore the world beyond the sea level.
So if you are feeling adventurous and are willing push your diving to the next level, Martial Warnier de Wailly, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) regional manager for France, is ready to help.
For those who have already mastered the basics of diving, how can you push your diving further?
There are many PADI courses that will help you learn more about diving. You can learn to be an autonomous diver to 18 meters, then there is an advanced diving course to 30m.
You can also do a Rescue Diver Course to learn how to help your diving buddy if they have a problem, or you can even choose to do specialty courses about various marine animals or a Digital Underwater Photography course.
You can decide with your instructor what courses are right for you, but PADI can take you from complete beginner to a PADI Instructor, if you want to take it that far.
Where do you think are the best, or most beautiful, diving spots around the world for more advanced divers?
It is similar for advanced divers as it is for beginners — warm, sunny holiday locations such as the Maldives, Egypt, Thailand — but it depends on the person, of course, and what they would like to get from their dive. For example around Thailand depths are often around 30m, so if you’re more advanced and want to dive deeper this might not be for you.
And are there any accessories that you recommend investing in?
A diving computer. Worn on the wrist like a watch it measures the time and depth of a dive, calculates at every minute where is your body in the water and the compression. Using it will tell you when you can safely ascend to the top. You can also adjust and personalize it, even on a daily basis.
For example if you feel particularly tired one day, you can adjust it to keep your dive a bit more conservative. Or as the temperature of the water influences the compression, you can also adjust it to take this into account. It’s expensive but for me it is an essential piece of kit and worth the investment.
Are there any diving events or competitions that non-professionals can take part in to help take their diving to the next level?
There are not really any competitions, scuba diving is a contemplative sport so it is just about the pleasure of taking part. But there is something called TecRec, or technical diving, which is a specific activity for those who want to dive deeper — beyond 40m — and explore further. But it is a competition for yourself, to push yourself further. You might start in a group at the top of the water but after 40m you are alone.
And it is also definitely for the very advanced diver -- you can do a PADI TecRec course to learn more but they will make it clear at the beginning that there are added risks of going deeper and you could risk death. You have to be in very good health, check everything at all times and be very well prepared.
There is also a new PADI activity called freediving and there is a competition for this. Freediving is an anaerobic exercise where you go as far as you can without breathing — like in Olympic sprinting. You have to be in good health and prepare your body to push it to its anaerobic capacities but you can go maybe 8m on just one breath.
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