Local shop offers underwater exploration at Lancaster Center

Debbi Ballard, left, and Nikole Ordway, both of Wilton Manors, swim underwater as they practice speaking through special full dive masks enabled with sound to communicate with one another while diving offshore of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, June 22, 2009. Debbi is a Jewish cantor who performs wedding ceremonies, and only a week prior gained scuba certification to perform underwater weddings. (Carey Wagner/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/MCT)

By Taylor Moak

UK students will have the chance to breathe underwater Monday night. With the proper equipment and training, of course.

New Horizons Dive Shop in Lexington will be holding a “Discover Scuba Diving” event at UK’s Lancaster Aquatic Center Monday beginning at 8 p.m.

Tori Philipp, a Professional Association of Diving Instructors intern and business, marketing and management junior, helped coordinate the event.

As an intern, Philipp tries to promote scuba diving on campus for the association’s PADI X marketing initiatives.

“(There are) people on campus who want to be involved, but don’t know how to get involved,” she said.

On April 18, New Horizons held a “Discover Scuba Diving” event for lifeguards at the Lancaster Center. New Horizons uses the Lancaster Center to train divers and Lavon Land, owner of New Horizons, said the lifeguards are always helpful.

Land said the lifeguards always watch the water from the outside, and the shop wanted to give them the opportunity to try scuba.

“They always watch,” Land said. “It’s nice to experience it.”

Travis Land, Lavon Land’s husband and owner of the dive shop, said they wanted to give the lifeguards a new experience for all their help.

“(It) made sense to make this happen,” Travis Land said.

Travis Land said bringing scuba to campus allows him to promote the sport he loves.

Jeremy Stith, a biology sophomore, was one of eight lifeguards to discover scuba.

“I’ve never done this before,” Stith said. “I didn’t even know we had this in Lexington.”

The event Monday is free and open to all UK students, but students must register online via the Facebook group, titled “UK PADI X”, Philipp said.

Students will have classroom time, then gear up and dive in with instructors to discover scuba first hand.