Don’t be surprised if you see 10-year-old Hunter Nicholson out on some local dives this summer because he just became scuba certified.


Matt Ryle, Open Water Diver Instructor and Hunter

Hunter isn’t like other kids his age. He isn’t interested in football, baseball, or soccer, but his family told him he needed to choose a sport or activity he would love to pursue. His mother Jameli isn’t sure why, but Hunter chose scuba diving as his new pastime.

Hunter began his scuba diving journey in February of 2020 with Scuba Rangers at Diventures in Omaha, Nebraska. Matt Ryle, an Omaha Open Water Diver Instructor remembers working with Hunter and his mom when they came to the store. From there, they worked together to prepare a training plan for Hunter.

Hunter’s family was very proud of him.

Hunter getting certified at Sandy Channel near Kearney, NE

Ryle knew immediately that Hunter would make a good diver. “Hunter was very calm and collected in the water. He took direction well and had great movement. When underwater he seemed like he belonged there. He has a demeanor of inquisitiveness and of pursuing his interests. He was focused and mindfully present.”

No one in Hunter’s family is certified to dive, so neither of his parents knew where to start. But they pursued Hunter’s dream until they found Diventures.

Matt Ryle and Hunter practicing safety skills

“Hunter’s brother does it all,” said his mother Jameli, “football, basketball, and soccer, but Hunter wanted to scuba dive. I’m from Belize and we usually try to go visit family there every year, so I thought he could enjoy diving there when we visit in a few weeks.”

Hunter was planning on getting certified while on their trip to Belize, but his family felt more comfortable doing it here with Matt, an instructor they know and trust.

Ryle is proud to have been part of Hunter’s scuba journey. “Kids like Hunter are one of the reasons I became an instructor.”

Posters made for Hunter to celebrate his accomplishment

“Now Hunter’s brother wants to get certified,” said Jameli. “Hunter was so excited that when we were driving home, he said ‘Guess who’s scuba certified now?’ We are just so proud of him for achieving this certification!”

 At Diventures, students as young as eight years old can begin their scuba journey with snorkeling, shark, and mermaid classes. At ten years old, students can get certified as a Junior Open Water Divers. Once the young diver turns 15, they will automatically have their certification upgraded to an Open Water Diver. Learn more about Junior Open Water Diver programming here.

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