Austin has been curious about the oceans and its waters since a young age. When he was just 11 years old, he setup a saltwater reef tank. This fascination pushed him to get his PADI Open Water Scuba Diving certification at 16 years old, Kona, Hawaii. At 18 years old, he travelled to Koh Tao, Thailand, where he got his advanced scuba diving certification. A few years later, after spending some time out of a dive resort on the Gili Islands, he completed his PADI Nitrox and Deep Dive Certifications. Most recently, he moved to Miami, Florida, where he works as a PADI Divemaster in the South Florida scuba diving industry.
Q. What’s your favorite place you’ve ever scuba dove?
It would have to be my first liveaboard trip in to the Exhumas in the Bahamas, where I dove 19 times over 6 days. It was the first time in my adult life that I had dove several times a day, for one week straight, allowing me to really work on my skills and become a much more comfortable and confident diver.
Q. How old were you when you first started scuba diving?
My first scuba diving experience came at 15 years old, when I was working on my PADI Open Water certification ahead of my trip to scuba camp in Hawaii. I was pretty young, so I wanted to spend more time playing video games than working on scuba diving skills. Because I grew up in Maryland, my scuba diving experience was limited exclusively to pools. It wasn’t until my trip to Hawaii where I truly fell in love with scuba diving.
Q. How did you start getting into scuba diving?
I spoke about this a bit above, but it all started from my parents booking a scuba diving camp for me in Hawaii in order to get me outside the house for the summer (lol!). I did everything besides my checkout dives inside the famous dive site that is Maryland swimming pools. When the time came to fly to Hawaii for scuba diving camp, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had such a great time at the diving camp that it eventually turned into one of my largest hobbies and even a career for me.
Q. Where did you get scuba certified?
This question depends on which certification we’re talking about here.
Q. What’s your current scuba certification?
My most recent certification would be the professional level certification of a PADI Divemaster. This is about as far as I see myself taking my certification level for the foreseeable future, as my priority is shooting content for the site and educating divers that way, rather than in person.
Q. What do you love most about scuba diving?
As time has gone on, I’ve discovered the exact things that get me excited about scuba diving 10 years later.
The first thing I love about scuba diving is discovering new dive sites and species. The fact that we know so little about our oceans makes me want to uncover as much of it as I can.
The second thing I love most about scuba diving is introducing my friends, family, and website visitors to scuba diving for the first time. Seeing them go through the same learning process I did when starting out, and stumbling upon those “Aha” or “WOAH!” moments is what keeps me going.
The last thing I love most about scuba diving is mixing in hunting and spearfishing. I know this can be a bit of a controversial one, but in my opinion, catching your own food is more sustainable than all industrial fishing methods, and helps you appreciate where it comes from more. It also makes every single dive different than the last. No single hunt is going to play out the same as another.
Q. What do you do in your free time outside of diving?
When I’m not scuba diving or working on OtterAquatics, I spend the rest of my time working a remote marketing job, playing tennis, going to the shooting rage, or simply lounging at the beach.