Janice Kurbjun
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February 22, 2013
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SCUBA divers unite in Summit County

SCUBA?

In Summit County?

A lot of people aren't thinking about diving the seas when they're in the land-locked mountains of Colorado, but there's one group who is: the Summit County SCUBA Club.

The group formed about six months ago as an avenue for adventure-minded people to get together and share their love of diving - which is remarkably prevalent in such a snowy place.

According to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, Colorado has the highest number of divers per capita.

"It's an extension of mountain biking" and all the other activities people enjoy here, said Dave Deetlifs, one of the club organizers. Sometimes, it's something people picked up simply by being adventure-minded or by vacationing in the tropics in shoulder seasons.

It even extends into the younger generation, like D'Artagnan Barson, who is nearly complete with his pool and classroom SCUBA diving lessons through the club.

"I want to go around the world, like Hawaii, and be a SCUBA instructor," the 10-year-old said, explaining that he'd been snorkeling before when his father introduced him to SCUBA diving through an online video. D'Artagnan was immediately interested.

"It's different being underwater breathing. It feels like you're weightless," D'Artagnan said of the difference between snorkeling and SCUBA diving. He added that he's looking forward to taking in the undersea world in three dimensions instead of from above.

The club teaches SCUBA diving for a fee. Deetlifs is a certified instructor who spent several years in the Caribbean before heading to Summit County to take part in the variety of activities offered here. It helps that the Caribbean is just a few hours away by plane - making an easy escape for both him and those interested in joining the club.

In addition to offering certifications for a fee, the club also coordinates SCUBA trips for its members. Fellow club organizer Ryan Weber said there's a Bahamas trip slated for April 28 to May 4 and another slated for May 5-11. The all-inclusive trip costs $2,000 for six dives - a bargain, both Deetlifs and Weber say. Deetlifs is quick to mention that the pool-based certifications are also a bargain at about $265 for four pool sessions and two classroom talks. The open-water portion can happen on a trip like the one to the Bahamas, or instructors will travel to spots in New Mexico or Utah. If permissions are granted, the club could even complete certifications at the Downtown Aquarium in Denver.

So far, the club has been popular among the masses, Weber said.

And D'Artagnan is smitten.

"I want to see coral reefs and animals," he said. "I want to see a shark - a little shark."

Emphasis on "little."

For more information on the club, call (314) 359-1374.


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The Summit Daily Updated Feb 22, 2013 09:17PM Published Feb 22, 2013 09:13PM Copyright 2013 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.