While most people’s biggest water-related fear might be sharks, Phil Pektas's was children. Not the kids themselves, of course, but the prospect of teaching them. This terror first surfaced when he was tapped to fill in for the Pre-K instructor at the swim school where he taught. Fortunately, he conquered that fear during the very first lesson and 20 years later is still introducing young people to the necessary skills for ensuring safe, aquatic fun. Pektas and his staff of American Red Cross–, CPR-, and First-Aid- certified instructors use activities, toys, and analogies to improve performance in the pool. With games such as Bird Catcher, kids will learn how to control their breathing and hunt for sub-aquatic fowl indigenous to chlorinated pools.
Imagine for a moment diving into the ocean, resurfacing with not only memories of the sub-aquatic environment, but a full reel of photographs, too. Underwater photography is just one of the many courses offered at Scuba Quest, a family-owned company that has shown students how to safely explore the seas for more than 25 years.
Scuba Quest began as a single shop, but has since spread to six locations across the state of Florida. At each, the company’s NAUI-certified instructors lead refresher courses, beginner classes, and comprehensive certification programs. Rather than climbing into fish tanks while pet-store clerks are on break, Scuba Quest's students can put their new skills to the test in unfamiliar waters during the company’s exotic diving excursions around the globe.
For more than 25 years, The Dive Station has led PADI-certified scuba courses and graduated more than 3,500 students. Their courses range in scope, and include open water certification, advanced open water certification, nitrox diver, rescue diver, and specialty diver courses. They also lead divemaster courses for aspiring pros who wish to take scuba to a professional level, and cave-diving courses for explorers who wish to chart the unknown and possibly glimpse a grizzly bear taking a bath. The Dive Station stays active in the diving community, leading guided diving trips to local spots and exotic international locales such as Puerto Rico, Honduras, and Turks and Caicos.
The King of Wake series glides into its final day at Orlando Watersports Complex, pitting extreme athletes against each other to finish off its first heat of this summer's eight-city tour. During the all-day event, buoyant competitors from around the globe take to the tides in a battle for points, which amass over several months before determining a champion and winner of a novelty-size mustache comb at season's end. Cheers sweep through throngs of onlookers as aerial stunts, rail tricks, and bone-rattling wipeouts crash across the liquid field behind towboats travelling at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. A panel of judges scores each round, advancing only the top performers into the event's finals. Although not included with this Groupon, food stands, music, and stores packed with watersports gear join forces to further entertain fans and cheer up cranky dolphins awakened from their afternoon naps.
As an ex-NFL athlete, Danny Tolbert Jr. has trained fellow gridiron stars, including Terrell Buckley, Brandon Jacobs, and Johnathan Joseph. Through 24CoreFit, Danny helps craft fitness programs that use small daily changes to produce healthier and happier lives. After an initial 15-minute phone conversation, Danny can help craft a fitness program, then lead long-distance training sessions through Skype. Danny also helms blistering boot-camp sessions and can lend his expertise for nutritional counseling, meal planning, or stress-management programs.