Randy Thornton: SDI Instructor Trainer Ambassador

Randy Thornton, co-owner of Dive Addicts and SubGravity, has been actively diving since 1992. An SDI and TDI Instructor Trainer Evaluator, as well as a member of the TDI Training Advisory Panel, Randy enjoys teaching all levels of scuba diving from beginning students through CCR Advanced Mixed Gas, CCR Cave and DPV. Randy’s real passion is cave and wreck diving and he is actively exploring several new projects in Florida, Mexico and Utah. Together with his family, Randy is a founding organizer of the world’s leading technical diving conference, TEKDiveUSA as well as founder and moderator of CCRExplorers.com

A frequent guest lecturer and presenter, Randy has presented at technical diving conferences and events all over the world, including OzTek, ADEX, TEKDiveUSA, Bonaire TEK, DEMA and Inner Space.

As an underwater photographer and videographer, Randy has captured underwater images all over the world including, The Bahamas, Florida, Hawaii, California, Turks and Caicos, Belize, Galapagos, Bikini Atoll, Truk Lagoon, Cayman Islands, Tahiti, Fiji, Mexico, California, Jamaica, St. Croix, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Greece, Thailand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Maldives, The Philippines, Russia, Finland, Costa Rica, Bonaire, The Eastern Seaboard of the USA, The Great Lakes, as well as every mud hole in the state of Utah!

What was the first dive you did and how did it influence you to start a career in the diving industry?

My first dive was in 1986, in Hawaii. It was in the Molokini Crater off of Maui and it forever changed my life. The abundance of sea life instantly overwhelmed me and opened up a life long passion for all things underwater. There have been very few things in life which have created such an overwhelming sense of awe, as being underwater with amazing sea life, exploring long forgotten shipwrecks with amazing histories, penetrating amazing underwater caves and using various new technologies to extend my duration and reach underwater! As I have gradually learned and progressed with my own diving, I have developed a love and passion for teaching others and helping them to experience the amazing world under the water.

What do you believe is the most important trait of a professional educator and why?

A passion to share the excitment of diving with others!

What is your favorite SDI class to teach and why?

I love to train new instructors. Helping them to understand and internalize how share their passion for diving through well developed skills, professional and inviting teaching methods and helping to improve the overall safety of the instruction process is very gratifying for me. I love to watch people go through the progression of starting out as a nervous yet excited instructor candidate and end up as a polished professional educator.

What is a bucket list dive you still have?

Antarctica! I am in awe of the huge icebergs and sealife not normally experienced by most divers.

What is one bit of advice you would give to a perspective Instructor candidate about to embark on becoming an SDI Instructor?

Be patient and enjoy the journey. It’s not a race to see how fast you can climb the ladder. Each step of the way is an experience that should be charished and enjoyed to the max! Education and training should be a life long endeavor that is both challenging as well as gratifying. Make sure that you gain experience at each level before pushing on to the next level and have fun while doing it!