Dave Knight, Instructor Certifier
As a youth growing up in the Mid West, Dave loved the typical cornhusker sports like football and wrestling. A gifted athlete eager for a new adventure, Dave enrolled in Scuba training as an energetic 18 year-old. Who would have thought that a kid that had never been in the ocean would someday grow-up to become a SSI Platinum Pro Scuba Instructor with more than 5,800 dives, as well as, almost 5,000 open water and 75 instructor training graduates to his credit.
In 1998 Dave was awarded the SSI Platinum Pro 5000 diver award “The SSI Platinum Pro5000 Diver card is the calling card of the world’s most elite water explorers. The list of cardholders is a “who’s who” of diving, containing the world’s most prominent dive leaders, scientists, photographers, manufacturers, retailers, and resort operators”.
See other Platinum Pros’ @ http://www.divessi.com/platinumpro.
Now, nearly 36 years later, Dave continues to teach open water, specialty, dive control specialist and instructor training courses. He also holds the prestigious position of SSI Instructor Certifier, an appointment made by SSI to an elite group of diver education professionals.
When asked his thoughts on why he has committed so much of his life to the promotion of diving, Dave responded that “diving is my passion and has provided me with the opportunity to enjoy fantastic adventures over the years. One of the greatest rewards in my life has been to introduce the wonders of the underwater world to others while making life-long friendships though-out the world in the process.”
Laura Brugger, Advanced Open Water Instructor
Whether it’s Scuba diving, cooking, photography, or just enjoying time with family and friends, Laura is known for her heart and commitment. The first to arrive and the last to leave each Saturday, most of us would balk at that schedule as too much work. But for Laura, Saturdays are a day to look forward to. After all, it’s a day filled with teaching others, enjoying time with friends, and of course diving.
Under the watchful eye of her parents Merle and Karen, Laura learned to swim as young child in Madison, Wisconsin. From then on, life in the Manion household centered around the water with summers spent at the family cabin in northern Wisconsin. As an adult, Laura pursued her passion for hobbies such as swimming, marathoning, cooking, gardening, and photography – excelling at each. In January 1998, Scuba was added to the top of the list when Laura received her Open Water Diver certification. And since then, with her husband Ron who is a Sea Stallion Dive Control Specialist and Chief Engineer, she has been diving almost every weekend since and has amassed more than 200 dives.
Laura received her Open Water Instructor rating in October 2000 and has since taught more than 20 students. Whether in the classroom, at the pool, or in the ocean, Laura is known for her reassuring nature, enthusiasm, and ability to build confidence in her students. Former student Sue Douglass had this to say about Laura. “Laura is an outstanding instructor – knowledgeable and patient in her instruction. She was very good at calming any fears I may have had. I felt very comfortable with her and continue to be so as diving is an ongoing learning experience for me.”
An avid scholar, Laura shares her life experiences through the many stories and literary quotes she provides for the Sea Stallion newsletter. When asked her own thoughts on teaching, she responded “I particularly enjoy teaching because I have always believed that we should constantly stretch ourselves and advance our minds by learning new things; sometimes that comes from being the student and sometimes that comes from being the teacher. Sharing what we know to those who are interested in learning is highly rewarding. I believe that learning to dive is considered to be a "life goal" by many people and I get off on the idea that I'm making a difference in someone's life by being part of that goal.”
In addition to Open Water Diving, Laura teaches Enriched Air/Nitrox, Dry Suit and Photography specialty courses. Laura is known for talent as an underwater photographer with many of her works displayed on the Sea Stallion walls. She also coordinates the Sea Stallion local and international dive trips, as well as, store events.
Ron Brugger, Master Open Water Instructor
Ron was initially certified in 1985 with NAUI right after moving from Wisconsin to Riverside, CA. He actively dove in Southern CA for several years, and also in Hawaii and Okinawa while in the Marine Corps. In 1995, Ron’s wife Laura started diving and they both become an integral part of the group at Sea Stallion. Since then, he has completed numerous SSI Specialty Courses, including Diver Stress & Rescue, and worked thru Dive Control Specialist, Open Water Instructor and Advanced Open Water Instructor to reach the Master Instructor rating. He also teaches Diver Stress & Rescue, Underwater Navigation, Deep Diving, Night/Limited Visibility Diving, Enriched Air Nitrox, Dry-Suit Diving, Underwater Photography, Boat Diving, & Waves, Tides & Currents specialty courses.
He has gone on diving trips to Baja Mexico, Belize, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Bahamas, Curaçao, Grenada, Indonesia, Fiji and the Philippines. He is an avid underwater photographer, with pictures on the walls of Sea Stallion, on this website and also here.
Mauricio Moreno, Advanced Open Water Instructor
Although Mauricio's childhood was spent in Mexico City, many miles from the water, his intense passion and curiosity for the ocean and its creatures developed very early in life, always eager to read every book and magazine about the ocean and SCUBA diving he had the chance to put his hands on. Despite a lack of formal training Mauricio taught himself to free dive in local pools, and then tried his hand at SCUBA for the first time at age 16 on the coast of the Mexican State of Jalisco using SCUBA gear borrowed from the local kids. One dip under the water with his SCUBA tank and there was no turning back. When Mauricio turned 18 he moved to Ensenada, Baja California, where he quickly increased his skills in both free diving and SCUBA diving, and earned his first SCUBA certification in 1983, even though he had under his belt dozens of “unofficial” dives. While in Ensenada, Mauricio studied, and earned his Bachelors of Science degree, in Marine Biology and Oceanography at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California.
Mauricio worked as a commercial, technical & research diver in Ensenada for a few years following the completion of his Marine Biology degree. Tired of the dark, gloomy world of commercial diving, and curious about what else the ocean could teach him, Mauricio moved south to Cabo San Lucas, tip of the Baja California peninsula in 1993, where he earned his Dive Master certification and in the following year his Master Scuba Diver Trainer certification. Mauricio worked as a Dive Master/Instructor for several SCUBA operators throughout Cabo San Lucas, and quickly fell in love with the beauty and diversity of the Sea of Cortez. In addition to working as a Dive Master/Instructor, Mauricio was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to utilize his skills as a technical/deep diver to serve as a safety diver for Francisco “Pipin” Ferreras' successful free diving World Record attempt in 1996. Wanting to leave busy Cabo San Lucas, but still eager to explore and teach others about the amazing underwater world of the Sea of Cortez, Mauricio moved 2 hours north to the capital of the Baja California Sur estate, a city named “La Paz” in 1999 to continue his work as a Dive Master/ Instructor on Summer months and also using his background in marine sciences as Sea Kayak Instructor/Natural History Interpreter during the winter season. Then, just when Mauricio thought that he had found his niche, the unexpected happened.....Mauricio met his future wife Michelle, a diver vacationing in La Paz from Alabama. Two years later, in 2002, Mauricio waved good-bye to La Paz, and the Sea of Cortez, and moved north to marry Michelle and live in Oceanside, California.
Since receiving his first SCUBA certification in 1983 Mauricio has logged over 7,500 dives, and has had the privilege to share his passion for diving and the ocean with more than 200 students during his years of teaching Open Water, Advanced, Rescue Diver, Dive Master, and Specialty Courses such as Underwater Navigation, Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diving, Wreck Diving, Night and Limited Visibility Diving, and Enriched Air/Nitrox .
Steve started his diving adventures in 1995 and has been a scuba diving junky ever since. He spent much of last seventeen years diving California waters. In 1996, Steve became a Master Diver and worked closely with a facility in San Diego County; he then spent the next four years helping to train open water students. He became a full Instructor with SSI in 2000 and then obtained his Dive Control Specialist Instructor rating in 2005. In 2010 he made a big move to Bellingham, Washington, but kept up his teaching there in the much colder waters of the Puget Sound . He found he loves the cold water and the abundant life that comes with it, especially in the Sound. On many of his dive excursions. Steve saw lingcod over five feet long and giant pacific octopus; on one special occasion he saw a pod of orcas. All these great experiences gave a whole new meaning to diving for Steve in the emerald sea.
Steve joined the crew at Sea Stallion in June of 2012. During his tenure as a dive instructor/DCSI he has certified approximately 375 dive enthusiasts. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience. He instructs students in open water, kelp diving, nitrox, deep and wreck, dry suit, and several other specialties.
Steve has traveled to Belize, Roaton, Bonaire and Mexico. Some trips were pleasure, others as the group dive leader. He hopes to continue traveling and exploring other dive destinations. Steve retired from his full time career in December 2009. He holds a degree in fisheries and wildlife from Iowa State University.
Scott Auchmoody, Open Water Instructor
Scott has been diving since 1997 when just before sailing in the British Virgin Island for vacation decided to take the plunge and learned to dive. Over the years, one thing lead to another from Rescue Diver, Dive Control Specialist and on to Instructor and even regulator repair, Scott absorbed all things diving. He leads a Tuesday night dive at Shaw's Cove for his dive Club "Laguna Sea Dwellers" and can be found all over southern California diving its many dive spots. Scott has also travelled to other dive locations including Palau, Bonaire, Grenada, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Puget Sound and most recently the Cenotes in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. From helping build the family boat as a young boy in Long Island to playing Water Polo in High School, Scott has never been far from the water.
While not under water, Scott can to be found feverously typing at EMC where he works on the Avamar Backup Software Product as a Software Architect. He and his friends from UC Irvine founded Avamar in 1999, Avamar was sold to EMC in 2006. Avamar software backups over a million computers a day at thousands of companies including little places like Bank of America, Boeing and Visa. He is our newest instructor.
Kevin Rodgers, Open Water Instructor
Kevin is native to California. During his school years Kevin found his love for water through his high school swim team. Like many others Californians he already loved to surf. In 1986 he discovered that he loved to dive and has been hooked ever since. Although his national travels took him to Phoenix Arizona where he obtained his official training and rose to become the Dive Shops primary Dive Master in 1999, he felt himself longing to be near the ocean again. Kevin is currently enrolled at the National Polytechnic College of Engineering and Oceaneering where he remains on the Deans’ List and presides over class activities as Dive supervisor. Kevin’s Major includes Commercial Diving with a specialty in Hyperbaric Medicine and Med-Tech. He is scheduled to graduate in May 2008. Kevin has been instructing with Sea Stallion since 2007, turning out successful and knowledgeable divers.
Robert Carter, Open Water Instructor
Bob first joined Sea Stallion in 1998 when he signed up for his basic Open Water Certification. Since then he’s worked up through the ranks as an Advanced Diver, Dive Leader, Dive Control Specialist and Dive Master. In 2001 he became an Open Water Instructor. In 2004 Ben became the latest addition to the Sea Stallion family. Ben rolls his eyes to think that he has to wait another 10 years before he can suit up and head into the water.
John Losey, Open Water Instructor
John Losey has been diving since 1986 and has worked as an advanced open water scuba instructor, field biologist, naturalist and environmental educator for over 20 years. He loves to combine his passion for helping people understand the outdoors with his love of diving. John has spent years in the waters off Southern California and Catalina learning about this amazing marine environment. He has also done extensive diving off of the Hawaiian Islands and the Caribbean so he knows reef systems as well. John is considered an expert in experiential methods in teaching and learning with one book out and two more on the way.
Jaycie Dane, Open Water Instructor
For Jaycie, turning sixteen meant not only learning to drive, but also learning to dive. Growing up in a family of divers, Jaycie shared her love of the sport with her parents, stepfather, and younger sister. Jaycie and her stepfather Bill even completed their advanced open water training together. And in 1989 with the birth of Jaycie’s niece Preston, the family looks forward to the next generation of divers.A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Jaycie explored local quarries and made trips to the pristine and warm waters of Florida. When her career brought her west to Southern California, she knew that she wanted to take her diving to the next level. As gifted athlete with a natural aptitude for teaching others, Jaycie obtained her open water instructor rating in 1997.
Since then, Jaycie has successfully introduced 65 new divers to the wonders of Scuba and received her Advanced Open Water Training rating in 2000. She also teaches Diver Stress and Rescue, as well as, navigation, limited visibility, deep diving, and boat diving specialty courses.
With an infectious laugh and easy-going nature, Jaycie is known for her ability to relate to her students and put them at ease. Former student Jim McManus had this to say about Jaycie. “She has the uncanny ability to react to the needs of her students and provides a calming effect at just he right time.”
When asked her thoughts on being a role model, Jaycie responded, “One of my greatest joys is seeing the excitement in a new divers eyes the first time they are underwater and see a fish, lobster, or moray eel. It’s gratifying to be there and help them along.”