There are many long weekends in the year we long for:
- National Holidays (ie. President’s Day / Victoria Day)
- PADI Tec Xplor Day (PADI HQ)! – try all the cool stuff you are dying to add to your dive bag!
Little was known about the PADI Tec Xplor Day held on the Monday following the Scuba Show, and if it wasn’t for the information we received from the fine reps at Ocean Reef, we would never have heard about it. (A full-page ad appears in the Scuba Show’s program. At the time of entering into the scuba expo, it makes more sense to read the program later. This is a major reason this event is an oversight).
Upon returning home from the Scuba Show on Sunday evening, we searched the PADI website for information about this event. Sure enough, we see a reference to the PADI Tec Xplor Day for the following day. However, we noticed it was closed off for further registration and it left us a little puzzled because we really wanted to go. We were not sure what to do, so we emailed PADI that evening and followed that up with a phone call to PADI HQ the next morning. “Come on down!”
With their enthusiastic invitation, we gathered our swimsuits and towels and made the 45 minute trip South to Rancho Santa Margharita, where the mothership of scuba diving is located. Just like your first time to an amusement park, we arrived at the PADI HQ feeling anxious about what we were about to experience. Initially, before we even entered the facility, we felt like we were arriving at a multi-level marketing meeting to be sold some detergent, vitamins or some other stuff. But we walked through the back entrance to see a large, half Olympic-sized swimming pool flanked on all sides by reps of rebreathers, drysuits, full face masks, wing BCDs, tech lights and other diving equipment. It was the holy land of scuba diving!
Friendly from the get-go, the PADI rep provided us with a quick and informal tour of what was available to us. She showed us where we needed to register for a ton of prizes, plan our “trip around the pool” and eat lunch. Eat lunch? That’s right! “Go get lunch first” was her advice! Oh yeah! Some of the best tacos this side of the US-Mexican border! PADI did it right and fed us well.
Once we filled our bellies with a few tacos, we decided it was time to start making a list of things we wanted to sign up for. (Very important: get there early in the day to sign up for a session on a re-breather apparatus). Dan and Tim had a different agenda as they elected to get right into it and went straight for the DUI dry suits. This is the next step in our dive adventure around the planet and what better place to try these out than in the PADI pool. Comfortable, easy, dry; just a few of the adjectives to describe the drysuit. By the time we finished our session in the pool, we were convinced that drysuits need to be added to our inventory of equipment.
Of course, our trip would not have been right without trying out the products from the great people at Ocean Reef. We got into the pool to try out the full face masks and after a few quick tests, we realize how easy these masks were to use. They were nearly impossible to flood, do not fog, and have incredible peripheral vision. After our final briefing, they added the communication device into the mask so Dan and Tim could try these out. The conversations went something like this…
Tim: “Hey Dan, can you hear me?”
Dan: “Yeah. These are pretty cool.”
Tim: “I know. I think we have to get some. Dan?”
Tim: “I think I need to pee.”
Dan: “You can’t pee in the ‘Holy pool!’ That would be so wrong.”
We felt like this was an exclusive and personalized exhibition as there were never more than 150 guests at any one time. Not only were the respective equipment reps on hand to promote their equipment, but PADI also had a lot of staff on hand to answer questions.
You can imagine how much fun we had. Our day was a fantastic opportunity to satisfy our personal interests. We listened to the reps promote their tech equipment and why we should consider their equipment. For the reps from Ocean Reef and DUI, thank you for the opportunity to try out your gear. We were pleased with the performance of your products and hope to add these respective face masks and drysuits to our inventory of underwater exploration equipment in the near future.
The PADI Tec Xplor day is no longer exclusive. We’re formally announcing it to everyone so you too, can have a chance to make an informed purchase, try out the equipment you want, and experience a great day hosted by PADI. Thanks, PADI!