2023 Master Diver Winner

The Scuba Schools International (SSI) Master Diver Challenge is not just an ordinary dive certification, it’s a journey that tests the limits of your recreational skills, knowledge, and passion for the underwater world. This challenge is a series of certifications that includes 4 specialty courses, the Stress and Rescue certification, and the completion of 50 logged dives. For those who complete the challenge, there are coveted rewards such as trips, collector’s items, and bragging rights.  

Master Diver Challenge winner 2023 John P. with Diventures staff
Master Diver Challenge winner 2023 John P. with family

We interviewed John Pope of Springfield, Missouri, the winner of the Diventures 2023 Master Diver Challenge. John was one of 120 Diventures Master Diver completions last year. Below John shares his experience and advice below for those who aspire to take on this remarkable challenge themselves. 

Why Did You Sign Up for The Master Diver Challenge? 

“I originally didn’t intend to sign up for it. I just wanted to go in and get my open water certification. But I met the staff, the instructors and people that go there, and I’m like, “Man, I got to keep taking classes with these guys!”  

The Master Diver Challenge consists of multiple classes, so it is important to have an instructor you trust to guide you through the twists and turns that come with each one. For John, this wasn’t a problem at all. 

“Jerod was one of the guys that walked in during my open water class and immediately I knew he was from Texas and we were going to be friends.” 

Beyond the instructors, the most important part of the challenge is the courses and the knowledge and understanding you get from them.   

“Each course gives you a better understanding of things that can go right and wrong in a dive.” 

The Master Diver Challenge was created with this exact thought in mind, to give divers the knowledge needed to become more competent in various situations.  

What Was the Most Rewarding Part?

“I think the most rewarding part of doing the Master Diver Challenge was having it all tied together. I honestly can’t imagine going for open water and then later starting this, because I think you retain so much more if you’re actively diving while you’re doing this.”  

You can choose to start the Master Diver Challenge immediately after your Open Water Diver certification by signing up for 4 specialty courses, Stress and Rescue, and planning out 50 dives.   

“The challenge made me a better, safer diver because the skills are the same in a lot of those classes. You’re constantly repeating your safety measures and going over what to do. I’ve yet to have a really bad moment, and I think a lot of that’s because I’m confident in what I’ve been taught.” 

What Was Your Favorite Class?

“Science of Diving was one of my favorite classes because it taught me so much. Stress and Rescue was a blast, too.” 

What does diving mean to you? 

“I’m very passionate about it. It’s a hobby. You know, I fish, I hunt, I do all those things. But diving is something I’m passionate about because of the stress release I get when I dive. If you’re having a really bad day, you can go out and dive and just sit there at zero gravity and think about stuff for a second. And it takes away the stress. 

As far as what diving has done for my life, my wife will tell you, I’m a much calmer, cool guy. And I hope to pass that on to other people that are looking for something, but just don’t know what it is.” 

Congrats, John, on your Master Diver rating and winning the 2023 Diventures Master Diver Challenge!  

In addition to his Diventures Master diver jacket and coin, John won a dive trip to Cozumel with accommodations for 7 nights and 5 days of two-tank boat dives.  

Ready to take the challenge yourself? Learn more at https://www.diventures.com/master-diver-challenge/  

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