Más allá de la norma.
Ciudad natal: Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Cantidad de años de buceo: 39 años.
Destino de buceo favorito: Islas Turcas y Caicos.
Why I’m a DAN® Member: As a dive professional who specializes in training, education, safety and risk management, DAN’s core values resonate with me. I’ve supported DAN ever since I became a pro and learned about how DAN serves the dive community, and I continue to be an ambassador to this day.
Dive legend Tec Clark has built a memorable career and legacy around training excellent divers. He describes his underwater experiences as “absolutely worshipful” and “otherworldly.” It’s the place where he feels closer to God than anywhere else on Earth. Helping others safely and professionally experience this same life-changing magic is his focus.
Clark seemed destined for a life revolving around water and teaching. As a child, he stared off his grandfather’s fishing boat into the deep, wishing he could be down with the fish. At 12 years old, he went on his first dive and instinctively resecured his instructor’s loose tank. He was certified at age 14 and an instructor by age 20.
As a young instructor, he progressed quickly to become the managing director of the University of Florida Academic Diving Program, one of the nation’s largest university dive training programs. Clark honed his skills and philosophy on safety while teaching to auditoriums of over 200 students and certifying hundreds of divers each year. He is now the associate director for Aquatics and Scuba Diving at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he directs the academic diving program.
A través de estos roles de liderazgo y como director nacional del Programa de Buceo de YMCA (YMCA Scuba Program) y capitán del primer equipo de buceo en apnea de los Estaos Unidos, Clark destacó la importancia de las habilidades sólidas, una educación apropiada y la seguridad. Actualmente, como fundador de ScubaGuru.com y anfitrión de varios podcasts de buceo, comparte sus conocimientos para beneficiar a todos los buzos.
“Scuba education is foundational, and continuing skill set development allows for proficiency and enjoyment,” Clark said. “When I see things such as ‘three-day scuba classes,’ it doesn’t compute well with me because I’ve seen the product of three-day scuba classes: divers who are uncomfortable and don’t have longevity in the sport.”
Una capacitación apropiada, orientación y muchas horas de contacto con estudiantes en el agua son las claves para inculcar valores y crear mejores embajadores para el deporte, aseguró Clark. Nadie nace siendo un gran buzo; la orientación lo convierte en uno, agregó. Este enfoque es donde su filosofía de enseñanza se destaca.
“The thing that most people will remember me for is how I approach teaching and supervising,” he said. “I open their eyes to a different way of looking at dive education and risk management.”
Clark practica y enseña un triple enfoque: entender todo lo que puede salir mal en un buceo, considerar cómo mitigar cada riesgo y estar preparado con una respuesta si surge un problema.
“My dive professionals throughout the years have learned this approach to risk management for every dive they do,” he explained. “Once you do, it will change the way you teach, supervise and manage risks on every dive. Risk management is an area where the divemasters and instructors I’ve taught are different from most dive pros.”
Clark also provides the rationale behind every educational principle he puts in place so his dive professionals understand why they do things a certain way. Mask clearing, for example, is a fundamental skill. The typical industry method calls for divers to perform the skill a certain number of times up to a certain standard, and then they are considered to know how to clear their masks. Clark instructs divers and trains dive professionals to teach one-handed and sideways mask clears in addition to the traditional two-handed clear. He wants to instill true mastery of the skill, which he defines as “absolute comfort” in its performance.
“The only way to achieve absolute comfort is to do skill variations and repeats with changing dynamics,” he said. “When I teach mask clearing, it isn’t good enough to do just the prescribed amount. I teach other situations such as one-handed, neutrally buoyant and to the side. If a student has only done it with two hands but now has to hold on to a line in real life, they’ll drift away.”
Looking back at his life’s work and knowledge, Clark considered the unique skill set he had developed and how to share his tips with others. That thought led to the founding of ScubaGuru.com, un sitio web dedicado a ayudar a las personas a convertirse en mejores buzos profesionales, lo que, a su vez, permite tener buzos más capacitados.
ScubaGuru reúne en un solo lugar todos los consejos y las técnicas que Clark y otros líderes de la industria del buceo han aprendido de sus experiencias e incorporado en sus enseñanzas para que los buzos de cualquier nivel puedan mejorar sus habilidades. Los buzos profesionales tienen un deber de cuidado para con las personas que están a su cargo, por lo que deben mantenerse informados acerca de las mejores prácticas de seguridad y enseñanza, manifestó Clark. El sitio incluye manuales de recursos en PDF, podcasts con miembros fundadores de la industria y la Academia ScubaGuru (ScubaGuru Academy) con cursos en línea que abordan temas que las agencias de capacitación no tratan.
ScubaGuru’s motto, “Go beyond the standard,” grew from the idea that stronger, more confident divers benefit from going beyond agency standards in their training. The platform’s goal is to promote excellence in professional dive services to prevent divers from leaving the sport or experiencing injuries and fatalities.
“ScubaGuru is a brand that celebrates what it means to be at a high level of diving,” Clark said. This professionalism and excellence minimize risk and allow people to flourish in diving and develop a love for the sport that will last their entire lives.
Clark summed up the philosophy behind all his advice to new dive professionals: “Great training is the key to great diving. Don’t cut corners. Offer excellent training. Go beyond the standard.”
Learn more from Tec Clark in these videos.
© Alert Diver — Q2 2021