Underwater Connection added 6 new photos — with Anthony Younan.
Several years ago I attended a seminar at our industry’s tradeshow. With a room full of dive store owners, managers and instructors, the presenter posed the question… “What are WE in the business of?”
After a brief hesitation, the attendees began to respond. “Scuba!”, “selling a lifestyle”, “Blowing bubbles”, “Making money!” (that one got a big laugh)…
“Wrong!” the presenter responded sharply….
”WE are in the business of TRANSFORMING LIVES…”
Initially, there was a cynical groan from the crowd, but the presenter continued, “Think about the first time you breathed underwater! Think about YOUR first time diving …whether it was in a pool, in a lake, or in the ocean. Didn’t that moment literally TRANSFORM your life?”
Of course, she was right. My life, our lives, have all been transformed because of our first moments breathing underwater.
When I got into SCUBA, the instructor in the classroom for my Open Water Diver certification was Colin Zylka.
He was also my instructor for my Open Water Training Dives. I can still see his orange dry glove piercing through the dark, silty waters of Lannon Quarry to ask if was “OK?”.
In the mid-90s, when I would stop by the Underwater Connection after work, Colin Zylka would be there, patiently answering the questions of an over-enthusiastic 20-something who was becoming obsessed with the sport of scuba diving.
Colin Zylka was first person to let me use an underwater camera.
He was also the first person to let me try an underwater video camera (in Lannon Quarry of all places!). And to this day, I STILL love taking photos and video underwater (just not so much in Lannon Quarry).
Colin Zylka was the instructor who convinced me I was ready to become a PADI Divemaster.
When it came time for me to take my PADI Instructor Development Course, out in Baraboo, Colin Zylka volunteered a week of his time to participate in that course as a PADI IDC Staff Instructor.
Colin Zylka was also there when I passed the PADI Instructor Exams.
Colin Zylka was also the person who first introduced me to this relatively unknown little island, called Bonaire. And now, for the past 20 years, I, too, have been introducing divers to this special little island.
Today, however, Colin Zylka - our beloved Course Director, Delafield store manager, friend & mentor - is hanging up his fins and retiring.
Tonight, Colin Zylka, I tip my hat to you sir….
As your time at the Underwater Connection comes to an end,
And as you set out to TRANSFORM your life once more,
Thank you for transforming mine…