The instructors and professional staff at PADI five-star instructor center Beach Cities Scuba introduce students to the big blue with PADI-certified diving courses for divers of all levels. They certify newbies with basic open-water courses and teach advanced divers in specialty courses such as Deep Diver, Rescue Diver, and Shark Therapist. They operate out of five convenient locations and sling necessary gear in onsite stores, from wetsuits and facemasks to spear guns. Beach Cities Scuba also connects divers through its dive club and hosts exotic dive trips to locations such as Indonesia, Fiji, and Cozumel.
Underneath blue skies, students geared up in masks, fins, and snorkels dive into an outdoor, heated training pool to learn how to breathe underwater. As students acclimate to the water, certified instructors lead them through courses of varying levels, such as the introductory Discover Scuba course, that teach breathing basics and safety techniques. After mastering the fundamentals, Scuba Schools of America can take water enthusiasts to the beach or out into the Pacific for open-water dives where they'll implement full dive-planning methods and artistic poses atop opened clamshells. For those seeking certification, Scuba Schools of America teaches intensive classes and specialty programs such as underwater photography and rescue diving.
The Waterman's Depot is owned and operated by people who not only love the water, but have also spent plenty of time on and in it. Racks of recreational and fishing kayaks stand side-by-side with state-of-the-art stand-up paddleboards. When staff members aren't helping customers around the shop, they launch guided kayak trips and give product demonstrations. The expansive store contains aquatic sporting gear and apparel from more than 50 brands, including Oakley, Reef, and Sanuk. Available scuba gear ranges from basic fins and snorkels to more advanced gauges and computers that can tell you the number of old soggy boots buried in any fishing lake.
Jacques Cousteau had barely slipped the first scuba tank off his back when Pacific Wilderness opened its doors in 1953. Since then, the shop’s staffers have used their collective expertise to outfit divers with high-quality equipment from brands including Aqualung, Oceanic, Scubapro, Seaquest, and Zeagle.
They also teach PADI scuba-certification courses that range from basic open-water training to advanced rescue diving. Lessons start at the on-land facility's heated pool but progress to weekend-long dives in the waters of Redondo Beach. The shop's scuba-philes also arrange journeys to exotic locales such as the Sipadan Water Village Resort in Malaysia and the secret depths of Camp David's presidential bathtub.
Sometimes the best way to describe a passion is also the simplest way. That’s the case with Orange County Scuba Dive & Photo. With the two simple words “dive” and “photo,” they encapsulate everything they love and teach, from PADI diving-certification courses to their selection of top-of-the-line underwater cameras. They also organize and lead dive trips both locally—such as excursions to Santa Barbara Island—and internationally, including a planned 2013 trip to Micronesia, where they will dive with the abundant reef life and search for sunken treasure chests full of vintage floppy disks.
Some of Sea Stallion Scuba Outfitters's certified dive instructors fell in love with the ocean after moving to the West Coast from landlocked states, and others caught the diving bug on Caribbean vacations. But no matter how they came to love the sport, all of the instructors translate their passion into superior tutelage to help students earn their underwater independence through SSI-open-water-dive courses from beginner to instructor levels. These same staffers exercise their expertise to sell diving, snorkeling, and underwater-photography equipment from top industry brands, in addition to tweaking existing gadgets to ensure safe below-surface adventures. Though based in the Pacific Ocean, Sea Stallion encourages sea-hopping with yearly excursions to exotic locales, such as the Bahamas, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the recently discovered Eighth Sea.