Experience the Deep

Colorado: the Scuba Capital of the U.S.

Article by Allison Bankston

Photography by Coral Key Scuba & Travel

Originally published in Arvada Lifestyle

Fear can hold you back from trying something new and exciting, but with the right support and training, you can work through those feelings and maybe even discover a new passion. Colorado has more certified scuba divers than any other state in the U.S., according to the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA), and Freddy Halcomb has had something to do with that. As the owner of Coral Key Scuba & Travel in Arvada, he and his team provide training for those interested in learning how to dive or snorkel. Freddy says scuba is actually easier. “You can go down and stay, rather than continually going up and down, which wears you out quickly.”

Freddy knows what he's talking about and has worked in the industry since 1995. He was the youngest certified scuba diver in California at 11 years old, and the skill runs in his family. “My grandfather was the first human to dive down 500 feet. I still have the helmet he used to make that dive.” Freddy also used his skills to serve his country, while he was in special forces in the Navy.

Students who go through training at Coral Key Scuba & Travel first attend classroom sessions, then pool lessons, and, finally, open water dives. It helps to know how to swim, but even if you don't, the instructors can help you learn. “I had one woman who came in to take classes. She got to the first pool session, put on her gear, and when she went in the water she just sank right down to the bottom and stayed there.” The instructors dove down and retrieved her. “She didn't know how to swim!” Freddy says. “Talk about no fear! That woman diving into the water with no idea how to swim was the bravest thing I think I've ever seen.” That being said, Freddy can make sure you do know how to swim and that you feel confident in the water.

Coral Key Scuba & Travel takes clients on about six big trips a year in groups of 12-20 people, and they go to places like the Caribbean and even more remote, fascinating locations to dive together and have a blast. “We can match you up with a dive buddy if you want to go on the trip by yourself, and we also have a lot of couples or friends who go together.”

Scuba does take some adjustments. "Human beings have an instinct to not breathe when their face is under water." Freddy says it’s a natural response. "That is part of our training. We help people get over that all the time. They become confident and comfortable under the water. Then the fun begins!"

The shop keeps a significant inventory. In fact, Freddy says Coral Key Scuba & Travel has more items available than any other shop in Colorado. “We generally don't have to order things for people. We can take you right to what you need. We don't sell. We educate. Whether you know what you're looking for or you're still learning, we can help you find the gear that's right for you.”

A sign in the shop states Diving is passion in motion. Freddy says he enjoys watching people learn to love scuba diving. “If people stay in the sport, they're going to care about the oceans and the animals in it like we do and want to join in protecting it.”

Freddy and his instructors are just people doing something they love and sharing it with others. “We're here to guide people, so they have an awesome experience.” You can learn more and sign up for training at coralkeyscuba.com or call 303-431-5911.

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