The Crucible at The Antaeus Theater

•May 23, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The Crucible at The Antaeus Theater.

PADI ScubaFit Distinctive Specialty

•January 19, 2012 • 1 Comment

PADI approves ScubaFit® Diver Distinctive Specialty Course

Dive and fitness instructors alike can now become certified to teach fitness to divers. The PADI ScubaFit® course was developed by Gretchen M. Ashton, a certified fitness trainer and Stephen Mendel, a multi agency scuba instructor.

The PADI ScubaFit® Diver Distinctive Specialty Course offers new opportunities for instructors and dive shop owners to improve the health, performance and safety of their diving clients and increase diving participation. Divers who are fit are much more likely to enjoy their diving experience and to dive more often. Classes are forming now. For more information, interested instructors may

Ashton is a diver and the owner of ScubaFit®. She is an International Sports Sciences Association Personal Trainer and Fitness Therapist, National Board of Fitness Examiners Personal Trainer, World Champion Hall-of-Fame Athlete, and scuba fitness writer. Her training success, unique coaching style and innovative work establishing a health profile of the scuba diving community also resulted in the FitDiver® program.

Mendel, owner of Premier Scuba Diving, is a NAUI and Los Angeles County Instructor Trainer, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, CMAS and Handicapped Scuba Association and a First Aid/CPR/AED instructor. He has extensive diving, teaching and leadership experience along with a longtime and ongoing participation and interest in fitness. He is also a voice over artist with many projects to his credit.

Ashton and Mendel acknowledge both the inspiration and practical importance of Dr. Glen Egstrom’s groundbreaking research and the meaningfulness it brought to this first of its kind course. Egstrom, Professor Emeritus of Kinesiology at UCLA, is renowned for his extensive contributions including the UCLA Diving Safety Research Project and over 100 publications on the topics of dive training and safety.

“We believe that our collaboration provides the best knowledge, resources and experience to bridge the worlds of diving and fitness. We encourage dive instructors and fitness professionals who select this specialty course to enhance the teaching and learning experience by working together whenever possible, for the common good of all divers.”

The purpose of the PADI ScubaFit® Diver Distinctive Specialty Course is to teach divers who are new to fitness an effective approach toward the establishment of a foundation of general fitness and fitness specific to diving, as well as an understanding of the physical demands of diving.

The course serves as a safe and supervised fitness program for diving. This specialty will familiarize divers with the skills, knowledge, planning, organization, procedures, techniques, problems, hazards and enjoyment of being physically fit for diving. Divers will learn how fitness greatly improves diving performance and reduces the risk of injury and illness.

For those divers with experience and knowledge of general fitness, in addition to the above mentioned topics, they will learn activity specific exercises and training concepts that will enhance all their diving activities. All divers will also be given an introduction to the basics of nutrition and the necessity of maintaining hydration during diving.

For more information, instructors can contact Gretchen directly at or Stephen at

More than a little break

•January 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It’s been quite some time since I posted here. I suppose I could say that I’ve been busy and that would be true but not so busy as not to have had time to post. My bad. One of the big things that I’ve been busy with is the creation of a brand spanking new PADI Distinctive Specialty course. It’s called ScubaFit. I co-wrote it with Gretchen Ashton a certified fitness trainer, scuba diver and the holder of 22 world records in women’s power lifting! Wow!

She and I created a a program aimed at introducing divers who are new to fitness (and believe me there are many divers who need the introduction) to the basics of a fitness program that leads directly to general fitness using exercises that are really applicable to scuba diving. The program also talks about nutrition and the importance of hydration to everyone but especially divers. For those divers who are already familiar with fitness programs we introduce a range of exercises that allow people to get into or stay in diving shape during the off-season.

Old sea dog learns new tricks

•March 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

GUE or Global Underwater Explorers is a relative newcomer to the ranks of scuba certification agencies. I don’t claim to know everything about it as I have just taken my first GUE class but I am a very experienced (34 years) scuba diver and instructor. GUE sprang from the Florida cave diving community. Their goal/mission was very extended exploration of the cave systems that permeate much of Florida. These are dangerous and challenging major expeditions and it was deemed by the central players that divers be up to the challenge physically and that all participants be on the same page in every way from physical training to equipment configuration. Among many of their special techniques they gradually devised methods of propulsion that avoided stirring up the floors, ceilings and walls of the caves. That is a lot of what I learned in my GUE Fundamentals class. More next time

More on GUE (Global Underwater Explorers)

•February 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently took an introductory course, GUE Fundamentals. I mentioned that I learned a lot and I did. I learned several new methods of propulsion, that is variations on the standard fin kicks that we typically use. I’ll go into a little more of that next time.

Scuba Diving for one and all

•February 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

In January I took a Global Underwater Explorers Fundamentals class. This after divng for over 30 years and being a PADI, NAUI, LA County, YMCA and CMAS instructor! And boy did I learn a lot. More on what I learned next time.

Hello world!

•February 21, 2010 • 1 Comment

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!