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Agency Culture (Truth in Humor?)

Discussion in 'Humor, Games, Clips, Yarns & Tales' started by Trace Malinowski, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. Trace Malinowski

    Trace Malinowski Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Alexandria Bay, NY
    I posted this in a Facebook group where few folks would get butt hurt. This was part of an E-mail exchange I had with an instructor from another agency. We've both taught for multiple agencies and the topic of culture came up. Some names had to be removed and language toned down. I rewrote the discussion for public entertainment purposes. WARNING: POLITICALLY INCORRECT! Bring a sense of humor and beware of truth. 1f642.png

    PADI Culture
    As a behemoth brand, you wouldn't think that PADI would create a culture. Just like the United States had an industrial North and the antebullum South, PADI has two distinct cultures based upon whether they are an island resort (doesn't matter what sea) or a mainland shop (doesn't matter what continent). The young resort instructors/DM's are motivated by the enthusiasm of youth, adventure, sex, living the dream, etc. They remind me a lot of the young lifeguards I supervised. They are the best of PADI because they can dive well and are fit enough to handle an ocean rescue. The resort courses, DSD's, and open water classes they teach are a nice escape from the constant worries of rent increases, need for more roommates, fear of a visa not being renewed, and who is Fiona dating this week. You cannot really join their culture without being young, fit, sexy, and searching. At work, they are the cowboys and the students and divers are the cattle - even other PADI pros from the mainland. They think PADI instructors from the mainland are like kooks and barnys. They are impressed by good divers, but only a small few are motivated or can afford to venture into tech or cave. When I lived in the Keys only 1 instructor from Key Largo wanted to be UTD, 1 wanted to be GUE and the rest didn't care. In the Bahamas, there were only 3 of us who were cave divers. The mainland PADI culture, on the other hand, usually provides the cattle for those seeking an endless summer. At the heart of the mainland life is a shop like a McDonald's where course directors and shop owners make sure to keep the customers branded and happy. I was on a flight to Boston from Philly and ended up being seated next to a PADI scuba instructor from Bonaire on his way home to visit his family. He didn't even know there was another training agency. I dated a female PADI instructor from Washington, D.C. who refused to ever learn anything from me while we were diving. "I don't need to know that. I'm a 'PADI Baby'." Anything beyond PADI is just unnecessarily hard and bad for the industry.

    PADI resort instructor: "Dude, I just don't want to get thrown off the island."
    PADI mainland instructor: "PADI says that's too hard."

    SSI Culture
    SSI is like the "lost culture." It doesn't really have its own identity. It's not sure what it wants to be on a national or global scale. Its identity is entirely dependent on the local dive shop. It's everything from progressive and exciting to Ma & Pa Kettle's 1959 dive training package. Is SSI growing? Is SSI going away? No one really knows. It's a weird agency in that no one really hates it, but no one really loves it. It's like the middle kid in a large family that gets overlooked. When something bad happens like a big accident everyone is shocked. When they do something good like the middle kid getting into Harvard, they get a "That's nice, Dear," from the industry and everyone goes back to PADI bashing. Even SSI instructors aren't big at bragging about being instructors. I dove with a GUE guy for a decade before I learned he was an instructor - with SSI. SSI has a great website, sexy C-cards, they treat other instructors with respect like with the SSI Platinum Pro 5000 Award (PADI would never recognize my dive count), they can be innovative, and the instructors can be everything from a 300 pound podunk shop owner to a pro Ironman from Hawaii. It's like SSI instructors are so not interested in belonging to the agency since they must affiliate with a shop. SSI is accused of being a PADI chaser but they are usually ahead of PADI when it comes to valid innovative courses. Just ... no one cares. "SSI has a freediving program? That's nice. Did you hear PADI has one too? Why would anyone take a PADI freediving course? Why not just take a Performance Freediving course with Kirk Krack?"

    SSI Instructor: "I'm too exhausted to talk diving after having to explain what a 'Dive Con' is."

    NAUI Culture
    NAUI never really left Sea Hunt. Their culture is, "We are better than PADI." In fact, NAUI thinks they are better at everything, but does nothing relevant. It's like a giant committee culture that never shares their information. According to NAUI everyone stole their ideas. Example, JJ supposedly stole their tech curriculum to create GUE. AG joined NAUI only long enough for NAUI to want him to pay NAUI to look at the cutting-edge materials he could create for them. Materials that could take them from a post WW II mindset to the 21st Century. What does NAUI do? Ditch & dons. Want to join NAUI and be a tech or cave instructor? Well, you gotta jump through some hoops. What hoops you ask? They'll get back to you. All they know is they can cross you over and you can join a committee.

    NAUI Instructor: "'God,' you say? We invented Him."
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
    Danseur, dead dog, sigxbill and 18 others like this.
  2. Trace Malinowski

    Trace Malinowski Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Alexandria Bay, NY
    SDI/TDI Culture
    Mavericks like Brett Gilliam. They are just going to do whatever they want and can get away with in the industry. That's why they need twice the insurance. They've got business savvy and guts. Why aren't we all SDI/TDI? Almost every instructor would go there if kicked out of their own agency. But, then again, they started just selling C-cards - literally. I remember their crossover ads in dive magazines. $199 if you are a currently certified and insured instructor. That got you an SDI instructor card and 4 student kits. We all know exceptional SDI/TDI instructors and instructors that seemed to pop out of nowhere with poor skills that teach based on volume and threaten to drive the good ones out of a job. If you want to join a brand join them. They are like the "Tech PADI." Why resorts don't go SDI and create their own pros from the island kids, giving belongers a job over foreigners who shelled out $20K to go to a PADI instructor mill for the IDC/IE, is perplexing.

    SDI Instructor: "Everyone uses a computer."
    TDI Instructor: "I use two computers."

    PSAI Culture
    Oldest tech agency in the USA. Deep, dark, dangerous diving ... well, only because they use air. Known as the deep air guys. No one understands why they exist. Why aren't you an instructor with ABC, XYZ, or PADI? Is Hal still alive? The secret to the safety record is no one survives the PowerPoint presentations to make it to the water! People have only heard of PSAI because they've heard of Edd Sorenson. Most don't know PSAI has a trimix program. Oh! And, the guy who was the training director from 2011 - 2016 is a jerk.

    PSAI Instructor: "No! I don't dive deep air."

    IANTD Culture
    Everyone has heard of the International Association of No Trim Divers. Joking about the logo. Mistaken for being the oldest tech agency in the USA, but smart enough not to keep diving deep air. Everyone who wanted to dive deep on gas had to endure Jedi Knight school. "Move the pencil with your mind. Do or do not. There is no try." IANTD is mix of true believers and people who just wanted helium in their tanks. IANTD paved the way for the NACD to confuse people. IANTD instructors wondered if they should call Patti, Tom, or those guys in Canada if a student didn't receive a C-card. You have to hand it to Tom. At his age he can kick you in the face, do a split, has a hot wife, etc. Maybe I should start trying to move the pencil?

    IANTD Instructor: "Welcome to the Dark Side."

    NSS-CDS Culture
    I dove with Sheck! You didn't. But, you can still help clean up Cow.

    NSS-CDS Instructor: "If you ain't from Alachua County you have no business cave diving. If you're not one of my friends you have no business teaching cave diving."

    NACD Culture
    Um ... we have another board for that.

    InnerSpace Explorers Culture
    The GUE and UTD guys have been doing everything entirely wrong. Let's give you a 1000 page presentation and a 13 minute video on why the bolt snap should be clipped facing your body.

    InnerSpace Explorers Instructor: "Here's 1 of 137 videos of Achim demonstrating how to tie a bolt snap."

    GUE Culture
    A global group of wanna-be's living vicariously off JJ's platinum gonads.

    GUE Instructor: "Anything negative was George Irvine's fault."

    UTD Culture
    UTD divers want to prove they can dive, but don't want to be involved with GUE (because they are on the west coast and it's just too far to go to learn to hover). They also don't want to spend 7 years and $25,000 to teach people to swim forward, backward, and turn around. The UTD culture is progressive, vegan, hipster, and the counter cultural movement to Florida cave divers. UTD divers know how to dress and what to order. If you order a venti, half-whole milk, one quarter 1%, one quarter non-fat, extra hot, split quad shots (1 1/2 shots decaf, 2 1/2 shots regular), no foam latte, with whip, 2 packets of splenda, 1 sugar in the raw, a touch of vanilla syrup and 3 short sprinkles of cinnamon at Starbuck's, Andrew G will promote you to IT.

    UTD Instructor: "Secretly, I wish AG never created the Z system."

    SEI/PDIC Culture
    When is Tom Leaird going to combine agencies?

    SEI/PDIC Instructor: "I wonder when Tom Leaird is going to combine agencies?"

    IDEA Culture
    We're still here.

    IDEA Instructor: You never hear from IDEA instructors. Are there any?

    RAID Culture
    Rebreather divers who found open-circuit divers have money because they didn't buy an expensive bucket of bolts, but require buoyancy. They haven't tinkled in too many Cheerios bowls yet. They totally understand how to use smart phones, cater to immediate gratification, and stay off the bottom.

    Andy Davis shared a thought with me that nails it, "RAID is like a foster home for the disenchanted and disenfranchised dive pros of the world."

    CMAS Culture
    The most ancient dive culture obsessed with stars, astronomy or astrology. They are like a cult without a leader. Jacques Cousteau and Jacques Mayol died. No one at CMAS got the memo. They are always hunting for dive leaders.

    CMAS: "Do you want to be a dive leader?"

    BSAC Culture
    Right behind CMAS except they have a dive leader. HRH The Duke of Cambridge - when he's not flying military helicopters or appearing in tabloids. BSAC, BS-AC, BS^AC, no one really knows how to spell it, nor why it takes months of club membership and mentoring with up to date gear just to be trained to dive like it was still 1954 when the club was created. According to Andy Davis, "BSAC is the only agency to have 'enjoy a cup of tea' as a formal stage in the pre-dive preparation.

    BSAC Instructor: "It's bloody BS^AC you dozy twonk!"

    L.A. County
    L.A. County is everyone's favorite training agency. It's shrouded in myth, legend, and black & white photos of daring young men and women with spearguns in hand. We owe a lot to L.A. County. Not only was L.A. County the first training agency that was directly responsible for the YMCA and NAUI programs being able to bring organized dive certification to a national audience, but those spearguns killed every fish in the sea making diving the safe, often boring, sport it is today - without the shark feeding frenzies and Leviathans around every stalk of kelp or elbow in the reef. At one time, their peers often regarded them as jerks, opinionated loudmouths, dangerous, and ignorant. Today, we revere them as the "legends" they are and we aspire to be.

    L.A. County Instructor: "No! AL Tillman ... A.L. As in AL-bert. Pat Tillman was a pro football player who became an army ranger. Al Tillman started L.A. County along with Bev Morgan. An interesting story about Bev ... this one time ... or maybe it was Rodney Fox ... no he's the Australian ... truth be told my memory isn't as good as it once was. Did I tell you Al's homemade goggles actually became the prototype for Speedo ... or was it Tyr? Let me think ..."

    YMCA Culture
    A shining example of Bernie Sanders economics. When you give away free stuff you lose Kay Smiley to the United States Lifesaving Association, Tom Leaird will buy two training agencies indistinguishable from each other, and Dan Marelli will be smart enough to stick to the college students. Maybe if Y Scuba instructors weren't kept out of YMCA pools because aquatics directors contracted with every other agency's instructors, the program wouldn't have died.

    YMCA Instructor: "Why Y? Why???"

    NASDS Culture
    The business of diving is not diving. That's why we went out of business and SSI ate us. No one cared.

    NASDS Instructor: "We actually invented everything. Not NAUI."
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
    Danseur, wnissen, dead dog and 25 others like this.
  3. Lake Hickory Scuba

    Lake Hickory Scuba Course Director

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Taylorsville, NC
    You listed the 5 agencies that I teach for, SSI, PADI, PDIC, SEI, and CMAS. After a very long soul searching time frame (all of 2 minutes) I have determined without a doubt, this is the only time in history, anyone has remotely been able to read my mind on exactly how I feel, not about training agencies, but the brain washed instructors that teach for them. I say this in all kindness to other instructors, because let’s not forget, I have been brain washed by 5 different organizations. I wish I could incorporate this post @Trace Malinowski into one of our YouYube videos, but I feel with a 100% certainty, I would lose a ton of subscribers. @Trace Malinowski, this would have made a really great standup performance at the 2017 Platinum Pro Awards Ceremony at DEMA. Thank You for posting.
  4. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!

    As always you hit it on the nail directly on its head ! So true ! So humorous - LAUGH ?- I doubt if my pants will ever dry !

    Sam Miller, 111
    LA Co
    SWIP (Ya missed the Texican's program)
    etc etc
  5. agilis

    agilis Cat Lives Matter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: N.J.
    Is there something wrong with doff and don as part of basic scuba training? It certainly develops a sense of confidence and demonstrates a respectable level of competence. Of course, my own training goes back to the J valve era, so maybe I have aged out of relevance. Still, some of the new divers I see on headboats while on warm water vacation might have benefited from a few of the old style training practices.
  6. mcohen1021

    mcohen1021 Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Texas
  7. agilis

    agilis Cat Lives Matter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: N.J.
    JamesBon92007 and mcohen1021 like this.
  8. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Woof! ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    Trace Malinowski likes this.
  9. Trace Malinowski

    Trace Malinowski Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Alexandria Bay, NY
    I was joking that the only thing NAUI is known for doing in the industry is ditch & dons. Being facetious that a pool skill is their claim to fame, unlike PADI and GUE, where both agencies have been involved in legit science and changing the way we dive.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  10. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    I needed a good laugh! What a hoot! :D

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