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Sports Chalet PADI OW Course

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Brendan93, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Brendan93

    Brendan93 Garibaldi

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    Well, the name's Brendan, I'm a complete newb to diving and have never even done a discovery dive. I turn 15 on the 26th, and one of my good friends has his cert, so I thought I'd start diving as well. Having just come back from the Caribbean, I'm more eager to start this awesome hobby and just yesterday signed up for the Open Water diver course at the local Sports Chalet. I didn't even think beforehand to compare different organizations and dive shops, and now my ignorance has me somewhat concerned. Is Sports Chalet an adequate place to get my Open Water cert? Obviously it's a big name, and there are many Instructors that work at multiple stores across the entire chain, but does anyone know of quality control issues, or particularly large class sizes that may be detrimental to my learning process? I've got my "Orientation" tonight, and no real instruction until next weekend (which seems slightly odd to me). Anyways, I was just looking for some background on Sports Chalet's courses, the less-than-enthusiastic employee who signed me up at the Scuba area has me slightly worried.

    Thanks,

    Brendan
     
  2. pussiinstructor

    pussiinstructor Garibaldi

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    dont go to sport chalet you wont get quality training and they just try to sell you gear, go to a mom and pop shop where they care about you and your diving experience
     
  3. Puffer Fish

    Puffer Fish Captain Happy ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: Knoxville, TN
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    The quality of the instruction you get is first and for most about you...how hard you are willing to work... how much do you care. After that it is the instructor and what they teach. Don't know the specific instructor, so cannot comment on that specifically, but in general, yes. I know good divers from every agency.. and almost every type and size of class.
     
  4. Puffer Fish

    Puffer Fish Captain Happy ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: Knoxville, TN
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    pusslinstructor - understand your point of view, but unless you know specifics... that is not much help for Branden93.
     
    Whitewatermike likes this.
  5. DiveNav

    DiveNav ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southern California
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    Brendan,
    first and foremost ... WELCOME to this beautiful sport ;)

    I got my OW, long time, at SC, then my DM via a Private Instructor and did my IDC (prep to become Instructor) with a "Mom and Pa" shop (Local Dive Store).

    I have found good - and few not soo good - Instructors across the board.
    As Puffer-Fish said earlier, what really counts is Your attitude toward learning.

    From Your post above, it seems to me that You will be fine and will become a very good diver. Just don't rush it.

    Last but not least, in case You do not know it already, You can now virtually dive online some of the local Southern California dive sites (including the popular Casino Point at Avalon - Catalina) using our free dive simulator available here --> www.ediving.us

    Regards,

    Alberto
    online eDiving service
     
  6. livewire

    livewire Photographer

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    I'll defend Sport Chalet here also. I've met, worked with, and been out diving with various instructors over the years, including several from Sport Chalet. I don't think you can say generically that Sport Chalet sucks, or that Mom and Pop store X is better. When it comes to instruction, whether your course is good or not really depends on individual instructor.

    As far as quality control, PADI is the organization that sets the guidelines, and Sport Chalet is a PADI 5 Star Dive Center (their highest rating), which means they've met certain quality checks and requirements that PADI has set for quality of instruction, safety of students, etc. I can also tell you the Sport Chalet does provide some nice perks for instructors in hopes that they will attract and retain good instructors (covering instructor's insurance, discounts on gear, etc). But really I think you'll know if you're going to like your instructor or not soon after you meet them, and that's what counts. I wouldn't sweat the employee that signed you up... I've had that experience at Sport Chalet, too. Fortunately, they're not the ones teaching the course. :)

    Hope this helps!
     
  7. Brendan93

    Brendan93 Garibaldi

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    Thanks for the responses. I just got back from the Orientation which went okay. The Instructor seems fine, he talked to us about how the course works and then showed us some equipment out on the floor. My next question, which I guess was partially addressed, but should I purchase my basic gear (snorkel, mask, fins, boots, etc.) from Sports Chalet or should I head over to a real dive shop and look at their selection? I didn't find a ton to choose from at Sports Chalet, but I can't tell if that's the norm or not because I'm a newb to the entire diving world. Diving will be awesome, I'm very excited.

    Brendan
     
  8. livewire

    livewire Photographer

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    Glad to hear it went well. :)

    I think snorkeling gear is fine to get there (mask, snorkel, boots, fins, gloves), since it's the same stuff you're going to find pretty much everywhere, even buying a tank there is fine, but BC, regulator, and even weights seem to be more expensive there, don't know why. I think they're carrying a Body Glove wetsuit that's somewhat reasonably priced ($280 I think?) but the ONeill one is like wicked expensive.

    Oh speaking of snorkels, SC does carry the AquaLung Impulse which is, in my opinion, one of the best snorkels ever manufactured. The hard core free divers would probably disagree, but for a new scuba diver in So. Cal, this thing is worth every penny.

    Best of luck!
     
  9. Brendan93

    Brendan93 Garibaldi

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    Thanks Santiago, I'll look into that snorkel.
     
  10. Teamcasa

    Teamcasa Sr. Moderator Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Near Pasadena, CA
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    Sport Chalet has some very good instructors.
    They also have some quality gear and they have some inexpensive stuff as well. A note about masks, get one that fits, forget about price or brand name, try it out before you settle on one. Nothing will ruin your dive experience quicker than a leaky mask.
     

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