Mike Gasper
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Mike Gasper


Tell us your origin story!
Like many divers my age I first became interested in diving by watching Sea Hunt and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. As a kid living in Ontario Canada at the time this seemed like it would only be a dream. Then, as fate would have it, in 1968 I ended up in Southern California and the following year, at age 16, I was on my first open water dive in the kelp forests off Catalina Island wearing a 7-mil wetsuit, weight belt, “horse collar/May West” flotation device, and a tank with a J Valve. Just in case! I don’t know what, if any, agency provided certification. The minimal classroom and mostly pool sessions were conducted by some retired Navy guys and involved more task loading and endurance skills than the dive knowledge.

What caused you to make the leap from amateur to dive professional?
Fast forward to 1994 and I get my PADI Open Water Certification with Underwater Phantaseas, South (the Marina Landing location). Then, encouraged by a friend and Dive Instructor, I decided to pursue becoming a PADI Instructor. In 2002, in Kingfisher pond at Chatfield State Park I successfully completed the Instructor open water exam.

Favorite class to teach?
Probably Rescue. I remember this particular class changed how I look at diving and divers. It provides knowledge and skill sets that will serve you well even if you do not pursue a professional level.

Favorite dive destination?
So far, I think the best dive experience I have had was a group trip to Cuba to dive the Queens Garden

What is your most beloved critter to spot under the waves?
Small Ones – Sea Horse

Larger Ones - Sharks

What is your “must have” piece of dive equipment?
Dive Computer and more recently a reel with SMB attached

Favorite non-diving activity?
Downhill Skiing, Road Bike Riding, Tennis

Favorite post-dive treat or beverage?
Ice cold beer!

Any advice you’d like to offer divers new and old?
You never stop learning. You gain new knowledge above diving whether teaching it or just participating in it as well as the importance of our aquatic environments to life on this planet.