Even while working at a scuba shop, it’s not everyday you meet a Master Scuba Diver.
This coveted certification is reserved for those who are willing to put in the educational and mental discipline to further their scuba education and knowledge.
In order to earn the rank of PADI Master Scuba Diver you must complete the following:
- Open Water
- Advanced Open Water
- 5 specialty courses
- Rescue Diver
- 50 logged dives
And even less common, is meeting a Junior Master Scuba Diver.
That’s why we want to introduce you to one of the raddest divers to grace us with her presence…
Valentina is a 15 year old Junior Master Scuba Diver who regularly dives on the Lady Go Diver.
She has earned all her certifications from PADI Open Water to Junior Master Scuba Diver with DXDIVERS - and we’re very proud.
Valentina loves diving so much, she plans to turn it into a career and that plan is already in the works.
Keep reading for an interview with Valentina herself!
Q: What led you to getting scuba certified?
A: My family’s background is from South Africa. Growing up, we would regularly visit my extended family in South Africa, who love the water. Their love for the water was infectious and got me excited to one day try scuba diving. My uncle Mitchell was the one who really influenced me and got me into diving. When we would travel to South Africa, we would visit Mozambique, a country with clear blue waters and lots of marine life. At 5 years old, I did the PADI SEAL Team, which is a scuba program for young children under the age of 10 where you complete “aqua missions” in the pool with gear on. I did this program in Mozambique and that was my first formal experience with scuba diving. Being in Mozambique, they didn’t always have the necessary study materials so when I came back to the states and eventually took PADI Open Water with Instructor Martha, I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn’t believe how structured and professional the courses were. After Open Water, I quickly got into the Advanced Open Water course again with Martha. In 2019, I participated in my first DXDIVERS Annual Pier Cleanup and it was the year of the Guinness World Record, which was really cool to be part of.
Q: What was your favorite moment during one of your courses?
A: My favorite course so far has been the Night Diver specialty. At first I was nervous, but as soon as we got down and turned off the lights, it was incredible. We turned off the lights to see the bioluminescence, I won’t forget that moment.
Q: How has scuba or earning scuba certifications helped in other areas of your life?
A: When I grow up, I want to be an underwater welder. I did the diving portion first and had that interest, now I’m focused on the engineering part. I’m currently at a school that focuses on engineering to prepare me for my future. I guess it really transformed my life since diving is part of my future career.
Q: Are you interested in specific specialties or hobbies within scuba?
A: I love underwater photography and videography. Sometimes when I take a picture of something like a shark, I think okay that’s cool, I show others and they agree. When I take a picture of a fish with its mouth open, almost looking at the camera, people are fascinated. Non-divers don’t usually see fish interact in that way. I live by the idea that every picture has a memory so it's a good way to look back and remember each dive. For videography, I like editing the videos and documenting my dives.
Q: Do you plan on taking any more courses?
A: Yes! I’d actually like to try ice diving and spearfishing. I have already gone lobstering and caught my own bugs, so I’m interested in trying more hunting.
Q: What do you see in your future with scuba?
A: I see it as a way to bond with my family since they live so far away and that’s a hobby we have in common. It’s such a fun experience to see the animals, capturing pictures, and showing people the underwater world they may not get to see. I do have a diving bucket list: the Red Sea, whale diving in Mexico, Bahamas for the sardine run, and of course the Great Barrier Reef.
Q: If you could give a message to a young person (10-17 years old) who is hesitant to get scuba certified what would you say?
A: I would say what’s portrayed in movies and shows makes diving seem scary, like the animals are out to get you, and that’s not true. As long as you don’t mess with the animals, they don’t bother you. For me, scuba diving is an escape from reality. Everyone I've met through diving is super kind and welcoming, everyone just wants to have a good time. Last thing, don’t give up on your dreams and what you want in life. Stay dedicated and true to yourself.
How cool to see the perspective of a young (and accomplished) diver.
Thank you Valentina for taking the time to answer our questions and share your love of scuba with us.
Remember, if you’re looking to get you or your child scuba certified, check out this link.
Minimum age to get scuba certified is 10 years old.
We also offer Scuba Summer Camp for children aged 10-17 years.
If you have any questions about children diving, drop the comment below!