Course Review: PADI Open Water Diver

Course Review: PADI Open Water Diver

Check out the Course Review: PADI Open Water Diver by Simon Gozzard who has now gone onto become an active UK diver with us at Scuba Leeds.

Do you have an interest in marine life or shipwrecks? Are you looking for a hobby which is exciting and rewarding? Have you considered scuba diving but weren’t sure if it would be right for you?

Rather than have me explain to you why you just have to get involved! I decided that it would be best to speak with one of our students about their experience of the course. Simon Gozzard recently took the plunge into the scuba diving world and completed his PADI Open Water Diver Course with Scuba Leeds. I asked him the questions on every non-divers mind!

What made you want to do the PADI PADI Discover Scuba Diving program?

It all started on holiday in Turkey. I was sat around the pool when a couple of guys with a scuba kit asked if we fancied a go in the pool. They said if we liked it we could go in the sea with them. This was my first PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience.

I was initially unsure, but then I thought “well why not” so I jumped in the pool. To tell you the truth I felt uncomfortable at first but as the rest of the family were enjoying it, I thought I’d give it a go. Two days later we where sat on a boat going to a small island off the coast. My nerves were starting to get the better of me  as we kitted up. We got in the water. The dive team were great! Ensuring that we were safe but also making sure that we were enjoying ourselves at the same time!

Why did you choose Scuba Leeds?

When I got back to the UK all I was thinking about was diving! I took to the internet to look for local PADI dive centres and this is when I discovered Scuba Leeds.

Researching the school, I found that they had great reviews and seemed very professional. I decided to go to the shop to find out more and this is when I met Ben. I immediately decided that this was where I wanted to complete my PADI Open Water Diver course.

Ben talked me through what I would need to do in both the pool sessions and open water over a coffee. I went away that night and had a good think… I went back the very next day to sign up.

I definitely made the right choice with the Scuba Leeds team as not only did I complete my course successfully but I felt completely safe throughout. The Scuba Leeds dive team are thorough but are also a very welcoming bunch. The team at Scuba Leeds made me feel more like part of the family than a student.

What did you think of the course overall?

I found the course very informative. The PADI Open Water Diver manual is full of information and has detailed explanations of the required skills and what to expect when you are in the water. The manual was written in such a way that it was simple and easy to understand. What I did like about the Scuba Leeds team is that they showed us all the skills and techniques out of the water first so that when we got in the water we knew how to do them all.

What did you enjoy the most?

I really enjoyed most of the course but the best part was when we turned up at Capernwray. I was quite scared but excited at the same time. Mike carried out the brief, talked us though the dive plan and off we went. Under the water, we had amazing visibility. I got through all my skills and then we went for a swim. I even got to ride Shergar the horse and that was brilliant!!

At my second Open Water session we went down to 17m. It was then that I got to see the big plane. Swimming around and looking into the big plane has to be my favourite part of the entire course.

What did you find the most challenging about the PADI Open Water Diver Course?

I remember having to remove my mask and breathe though my regulator for one minute. This really freaked me out the first time I done it. I remember telling Ben I didn’t think I could do it and that I would try again later. Having had time to think about it and go over the skill with Ben again I was ready to give it another go. The second time I done it, everything was fine. I completed the skill with absolutely no problems. I still don’t understand to this day why I freaked out so much the first time! I knew the Scuba Leeds team wouldn’t have let anything happen to me.

How did it feel to dive in a drysuit?

Diving in a drysuit for the first time I was a bag of nerves. I did my first pool session with Chris. He got me to jump into the pool with only the drysuit on so that I could feel how the suit compresses when you’re in the water.

The suit does compress but this is where your inflator valve comes into play. Some people can feel a little claustrophobic in a drysuit as it can feel tight around the neck and wrists. It did feel strange at first but it didn’t take me long to get used to it. To tell you the truth, I am always in my drysuit now, even in the pool! I’d probably prefer to wear it everywhere I dive now, even in warmer waters.

What’s next?

After doing the PADI Open Water Diver course and PADI Drysuit Diver course I went on to do the PADI Advanced Open Water straight away as this opens a few more doors and dive sites for me. I am planning to do the deep dive and also the PADI Wreck Diver Speciality but am also just enjoying getting some logged dives and gaining experience as a diver. I am hoping one day I might be able to work my way up to teaching divers in the way that Scuba Leeds have done with me. Now I am ready to go scuba diving in the sea and explore our underwater world.

What would you say to anyone who wants to Start Scuba Diving?

I would highly recommended Scuba Leeds to anyone who is thinking about giving it a go. Go on! give it a go! I know you will love it just as much as I have.

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