PADI® Members around the world continue to take action for the ocean, their businesses, the dive industry and their local communities – hope is certainly rising.
Together, on 17 July 2021, we will celebrate the 7th annual PADI Women’s Dive Day. This event has grown into the most celebrated day of diving on the planet, transforming lives and opening the door to the underwater world. Once again, the dive community will rally together (locally or virtually) to encourage divers of all genders, ages, races, backgrounds and abilities to confidently explore and protect the ocean.
Around the world #PADIWOMEN work daily to advocate for – and exemplify – a more inclusive dive community. From inspiring new generations as their country’s youngest diver to creating foundations that change perceptions of who can be a PADI Diver, here are just a few of the many ways women around the world are diving deeper to create balance between humanity and the ocean.
Combining Two Loves to Create Balance: Song-Hyun Choi
Song-Hyun Choi has found a way to combine all her passions for the common purpose of encouraging others to experience the healing benefits of the ocean. Song-Hyun has taken her platform as a successful Korean actress and used it to inspire others in South Korea to learn how to dive. Song-Hyun learned how to dive for a movie she was acting in, and is now a PADI Instructor and AmbassaDiver who shares her diving experiences online to inspire others in her home country to explore new places and join her in protecting the ocean.
Providing Hope for the Next Generation: Amber Matarage
Showing you’re never too young to make a difference, 10-year-old Amber Matarage became the youngest diver in Sri Lanka in February 2021. With the support of Submarine Diving School, she received her PADI Junior Open Water certification, moving one step closer to fulfilling her dream of becoming a marine biologist. Amber is showing other children in her community that any dream can come true, with hers being creating a cleaner ocean for others to explore. She is focused on fighting marine pollution in her local area so that others can dive there with more coral, more fish and less debris in the ocean.
Driving Diversity in Diving: Dr. Tiara Moore
Dr. Tiara Moore believes that water connects us all and that there is an opportunity for more Black people to feel a sense of belonging in the marine world. She had often dealt with the stereotype that Black people can’t swim, until she proved otherwise when she herself became a certified PADI Open Water diver with the support of PADI Dive Center Lake Phoenix. Since then, she has founded Black In Marine Science, which started out as being a week-long event to highlight the need for more diversity in marine science. But the swell of support for the event turned it into a global community that now aims to inspire younger generations to be part of the marine world through community outreach and scholarship programs. The group also uses their BIMS TV Youtube Channel to further show the need to protect and save the ocean and the role inclusion plays in accomplishing that. Subscribe to their channel today to take a bite into marine science!
Changing Lives One Dive at a Time: Cody Unser
In 1999 Cody Unser contracted Transverse Myelitis, which left her paralyzed from the chest down and confined to a wheelchair while on land. But she didn’t let that stop her from seeking adventure and discovering the freedom scuba diving and the ocean gave her. Now a certified PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, AmbassaDiver and the first paralyzed woman to be inducted in the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Cody founded The Cody Unser First Step Foundation. She has partnered with PADI Dive Center The Scuba Company to introduce more people with disabilities to diving and to prove they can be included in the sport as well. She also organizes dive trips for adaptive divers through Cody’s Great Scuba Adventures to further encourage them to seek adventure and save the ocean. Stay tuned for exciting events and activities on the foundation’s social media sites, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Making Saving the Ocean Stylish: Michelle Morgan
PADI Instructor and co-founder of sustainable swimwear line SeaMorgens, Michelle Morgan is on a mission to make saving the ocean as inclusive and stylish as possible. Wanting to find a way to provide female divers with sustainable, ethical and ocean friendly swimwear, Michelle designs the products herself using ECONYL® regenerated yarn from marine debris like fishing nets. With a dream of growing the business to concentrate on financially helping ocean conservation, 5 percent of profits go toward the Marine Megafauna Foundation to support the conservation and research of manta rays. Having recently beaten breast cancer – which left her with two different sized breasts – Michelle insists on modeling her collections to show that women of all different shapes and sizes can seek adventure and save the ocean through scuba diving. To further support this, Michelle plans to do a global casting call for a body positive photoshoot with her community, and is creating a new fighter fish bikini print dedicated to others fighting breast cancer. She is also starting a monthly newsletter to remind women to get their breasts checked.
Taking a Grassroots Approach: Nicky Smedley
PADI Rescue Diver and Divemaster trainee Nicky Smedley is taking a personal approach toward educating those in her community on the importance of protecting and saving the ocean. Teaming up with PADI Dive Center Scuba Dream At Eight Acre Lake, Nicky is focused on educating children and non-divers through school talks, community land-based cleanup events and art projects. Taking a grassroots approach in educating others, her priority is to make conservation more inclusive in the community so that more people will be inspired to get involved in helping to protect and save the ocean.
Share Your Hope Rising Stories with #PADIPeople
There is hope rising everywhere. PADI will continue to amplify stories like these with fellow PADI Members and divers to inspire, excite and accelerate recovery by demonstrating the spirit of #PADIPeople around the world.
Share your own stories about how you are making a difference, and the better days that are possible right now through diving. Simply post descriptions, photos or videos to your social media channels, tagging PADI and #PADIPeople.
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