Dubai: Colourful tales of real-life undersea adventures by her scuba diving father inspired a Dubai girl, 10, to become one of the youngest certified scuba divers in the UAE.
Tisya Panigrahi, a grade five student of Raffles World Academy in Dubai, has also become the youngest scuba diver from her Indian home state of Odisha, her father Priyadarshee Panigrahi said.
Scuba diving means underwater diving using your own breathing equipment (scuba), like an air cylinder.
Tisya could dive 33 feet (10m) deep off the Fujairah coast on August 22 as the last of her four dives in the ‘PADI Junior Open Water Scuba Diver’s Course’, Panigrahi said.
PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the “world’s largest scuba diving training organisation” with 27 million certifications issued globally.
“I feel really good because I finished the course and I’m happy I got the certificate because that means I can now dive with my father. So that’s pretty cool,” Tisya said.
When asked about her feelings during the dive, she said she was “pretty confident overall”.
Tisya is now allowed to dive up to 12m deep with a certified diver-parent or a PADI professional, Panigrahi said.
How it all began
He recalled how Tisya’s love for diving began.
“The genesis has been my telling her tales of underwater life. I used to carry a [camera] when I dived most of the time. I have a compilation of my videos and I used to share those videos with her. Basically the pictures and videos of underwater life is what got her hooked into diving,” he said.
“We have always looked forward to her 10th birthday milestone because that is when PADI allows you to start this kind of course.”
Tisya turned 10 in June.
Her certification process involved a four-day training programme that consisted of classroom sessions, training in the swimming pool and finally four dives in the open sea.
To be eligible for this training, she also had to pass a basic endurance test – which involved a 200m swim and a 10-minute floating session.
‘Her strength impressed me’
Open Water Scuba Diving Instructor and Specialty Instructor Domingo Jasareno Labitag, who hails from the Philippines, was Tisya’s teacher at Al Boom Diving, one of the UAE’s largest diving schools.
“Tisya’s strength impressed me. She completed all her critical underwater skills easily. I did not have to struggle with her. I wish she dives a lot in her life,” Labitag said.