Travelers, actors, brand ambassadors, and influencers. We see them every day on our media feed. But did you know that many of these social media personalities are also PADI Open Water Diver certified divers?

Here’s the proof with a collection of stories from three formidable women who after a PADI Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) experience, went on to become PADI Open Water Divers.

From DSD to Open Water Diver – Read on to get inspired!

Justene Alpert – Step Into the Unknown

Justene Alpert is a former Los Angeles Rams cheerleader, a credited actress, a published author, and, as of August 2023, a PADI Open Water Diver. She wears many hats, but surprisingly, her diving education was years in the making.

She was 10 years old when she first enrolled in the Discover Scuba Diving program while on a family vacation in Maui, Hawaii. After that, whenever she was in Hawaii, doing a Discover Scuba Diving experience became a sort of tradition. But after five DSDs, Alpert got tired of repeating the same training, so, in 2023, she finally decided to get scuba certified in Catalina in California. Looking back, she says, “I am kicking myself because I could have had so many of those dives in my diver’s logbook—but at least I’m certified now!”

As an animal lover, Alpert has always been interested in marine life, and learning to scuba dive allowed her to learn more about everything that swims, jumps, crawls, and scuds underwater. She explains, “There are things we still can’t explain about the ocean and I think that is so miraculous.” Alpert considers scuba diving as “not just a hobby, but a hobby that gives you an insight into a different planet.”

Embracing the ocean’s vast mysteries, scuba diving has also become Alpert’s way to #LiveUnfiltered. Linking her artistic and creative careers to scuba diving, she says, “Getting certified has made it really similar to performing and writing. When I’m performing, I’m untouchable. I’m in my own little word. Nothing can hurt me. And scuba diving has become that to me. When I’m underwater I feel like nothing bad can come into my little bubble.”

With that being said, she now plans to put her Open Water Diver certification to good use by kickstarting her diving adventure around her local dive sites in California, mainly at Catalina, but she also has her eyes set on diving in La Jolla (where she’s hoping to dive with sea lions).

Nouf Alosaimi – Connect With Yourself and the Ocean

Nouf Alosaimi is from Saudi Arabia and at 20 years old – before becoming a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor, Tec Diving Instructor, and PADI Ambassador – she didn’t even know that scuba diving existed.

But things changed in 2008 while on vacation in Egypt, where she was encouraged to take part in PADI’s Discover Scuba Diving experience. From then on, she was hooked. In her words, “After the DSD I wanted to become a certified diver. I was obsessed with it. I wanted to know as much as I could.” And within one year, Alosaimi went from DSD to Open Water Diver. This allowed her to use what she’d learned in the DSD experience as credit towards her Open Water Diver course.

Since then, Alosaimi has made a career out of scuba diving, supporting environmental change at international conferences and promoting women’s empowerment from her dive center in Saudi Arabia, Red Sea Citizen. Contrary to what the media shows, she says, “Saudi is not just deserts and camels. We drive. We dive. And we go on boat trips.”

Nouf Alosaimi PADI AmbassaDiver
Nouf Alosaimi went from DSD to Open Water Diver – and beyond!

On a personal level, in 2023, Alosaimi was diagnosed with ADHD. Dreading to think what an office job would have done to her mental health, she says, “For all these years I didn’t know I had ADHD, but I’m glad I was really into diving. It was the best treatment for my mind.” She explains, “Underwater is the only place where I feel focused and my mind is clear.”

If you’re hesitant about trying scuba diving, Alosaimi wants you to know this, “You have two options: you either love it and you’ll always be on an adventure for your whole life. Or—you’re not going to like it and nothing is going to happen. At least you tried. But if you like it, your life is going to change 100%.” She adds, “I didn’t even know that scuba diving existed, but I tried it, and look where I am today!”

Kritika Goel – Add a New Dimension to Your Life

Kritika Goel quit her 9-5 desk job for something more soul-pleasing – a life of adventure full of possibilities and promises. An Indian solo traveler, YouTuber, and entrepreneur, Goel now travels full-time and has racked up over 627,000+ followers on YouTube.

It was while on a family vacation in Australia in 2010 that she first came across scuba diving. Only 17, she thought it was too technical and opted to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef instead. But as a traveler, it was only a matter of time before she came face to face with scuba diving again. It happened in 2014 while she was visiting the Andaman Islands that she finally enrolled in the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program. Her verdict, “It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I remember feeling very enriched, satisfied, and accomplished at having gone scuba diving.”

She went on to do more Discover Scuba Diving experiences in other parts of the world and made a pact with her brother to do the Open Water Diver course together, but unfortunately, their schedules never aligned. Tired of waiting, in 2023, she broke her pact and got certified in Pondicherry, India.

“I’ve never felt as still and peaceful as I have while scuba diving and it’s an almost meditative experience,” says Goel who has since dived in some world-class dive destinations, including Fiji and the Great Barrier Reef.

Kritika Goel on her Open Water Course in Pondicherry, India.
From DSD to Open Water Diver – Kritika Goel during her course in Pondicherry, India.

Looking ahead, she says, “Scuba diving has profoundly changed the way I plan my trips now. I found myself leaning more towards places where I can go scuba diving. The underwater realm adds an entirely new dimension to my journeys.”

Pushing to see new places, having close-up encounters with marine life, and learning to #LiveUnfiltered, Goel has more dive trips on the horizon: Hawaii, the Red Sea, and Raja Ampat – just to name a few.

What’s Your Story?

As inspiring as these stories may be, scuba diving is not just for the actors, Instagrammers, and bold souls of this world. Scuba diving can often seem like the wildest dream, but with an open mind and a bit of courage, you too can create your diving story and get something more out of life.

Trust yourself and do it.

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