Richard is the epitome of a family diver. He started diving because his son wanted to try the sport and now has dived all over the world. He’s also an accomplished photographer. We chatted with Richard a bit to learn more about his story and aspirations as a diver. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to get your family diving; Richard is the guy to ask!
Where are you, what do you do when you’re not diving?
I live in the Netherlands with my wife Jacqueline and two sons Mitchel (18) and Dyan (15) in a town called Hoofddorp. We are located pretty close to the Dutch national Airport Schiphol. That is also where my work environment is located; I work in the Sheraton hotel as Security Manager.
Tell us how to get your family diving!?
There was a local initiative enabling kids to try different kind of sports, more or less providing the local clubs a way to promote their activities as well as a way for kids to try a different kind of sport and join in for several lessons to experience if this would be something to continue with. In 2009, my oldest son, when he was 9 years old, chose scuba diving and loved it so much he became a member of the SSI affiliated Diving club. I did my SSI Open Water course in 2009 with the idea that when the kids would become older we could dive together. At a certain point my youngest son also joined the SSI Scuba Ranger program making three three divers in the family. Result was that since the boys followed lessons one hour after each other, I found myself staring at bubbles at the poolside for 2 hours. The turning point for me was when I was asked if I would be interested in becoming a kids instructor as well. Being there every week anyway I might as well make the time spent useful.
I have focused on those things I thought would came in handy or should be considered a necessity; Nitrox, Deep Diver, Navigation, Night/limited Visibility, Rescue & Independent Diving. For fun, I did the SSI Scubaranger Instructor course. After the change of our diving club, I am now doing the cross over to CMAS. Furthermore, I do weekly courses for kids from the age of 8 at the the pool, for the diving club BUBBLEBEES.
To be quite honest, I do not have a real favorite dive site, as mentioned I couldn’t be happier at any dive since I mostly dive with my two sons. How cool is this…sharing the same hobby?! Nevertheless if I need to mention one particular dive, this would be summer 2016 where we visited old friends who are SSI dive professionals and used to own a dive store but moved from the Netherlands to live and work in Phuket. They are also the ones who certified us. We calculated that my son Mitchel would be able to make his 100th dive during our diving period in Koh Phi Phi. How cool would this be to do share this milestone together with the instructor with whom he also did his very first open water dive in the Red Sea in Egypt. His 100th dive even became more special when his mom, whom said she would never go diving, did her “try dive” during the same dive!!! Legendary!!
What is your current scuba kit?
Aqualung 1st and 2nd Stage
Ikelite underwaterhousing with Nikon DSLR D70s D80 and sometimes D90 (fits in same housing)
Ikelite DS51 & Ds125 strobes
Metalsub & Seacsub divelights
Both sons; Mitchel and Dylan.
Favorite family diving spots
Nearby; Toolenburgerplas, Haarlemmermeerse bos, and Vinkeveen.
What’s on your diving bucket list?
Indonesia, Maldives, South Africa, Australia
What’s next for you in diving?
Trying to professionalize my underwater photography even more. I am seeking opportunities to not just shoot for fun but also contracted.
Furthermore, I would love to obtain an underwater housing for my Nikon D7200 DSLR, the functionality of this camera will greatly improve my pictures because of the better features and spec compared to the ‘ancient’ D70, D80 and D90.