Best Course Director in Thailand.
Phuket’s PADI IDC
If you are looking for the Best PADI IDC with the Best Course Director in Thailand then we recommend Marcel Van Den Berg
IDC Guide Recommends you take your PADI IDC in Thailand with Koh Tao with Marcel Van Den Berg.
This page is now archived. We no longer recommend Chris Owen in Phuket as the best place to do your PADI IDC but we recommend Marcel Van Den Berg in Koh Tao.
Chris started diving in England nearly 20 years ago, he has been living, working and diving in Thailand and South East Asia the past 18 years.
What is the philosophy of your company?
I believe very much that if you are going to do something, then do it properly and do it to the best of your ability, if you’re not prepared to commit to this, then why bother doing it?
I guess that would be the easy way to sum things up, but is has become the philosophy of the dive centre and of my staff, we aim to provide the very best indepth courses that we can, giving the customer the benefit of our years of experience in the dive industry: in the way of knowledge, teaching tips, marketing ideas and reminders and the many, many things which can only be learnt by time and experience over many years.
We also do our best to “practice what we preach” on the IDC, so when it comes to attitude, fun, humour, punctuality, customer service, professionalism, adaptability and flexibility, team building, knowledge and the many things which are so vital if you are to succeed in the dive industry as we have, and give our students – whether Open Water students or IDC Candidate candidates – the most fun, safe and professional experience possible.
Through our teaching we also have a chance to instill a love for the sea and the marine life it supports and by having the chance to show the wonders of the underwater world to our students, this also gives us a chance to promote and share the “Project Aware” philosophy…
Has anything funny happened during your IDC courses?
Gosh after almost 10 years of IDCs I could write a book on this subject … ha ha ha … but a few spring to mind: we were once doing an IE in Confined Open Water and I had an American Candidate in a group of other candidates from other Course Directors, and he had CESA. We could watch him from the beach doing his briefing and measuring out his 9m with his reel.
After the debrief at the end of the presentation there was a deathly silence, followed by some head bobbing, followed by more silence, then hysterical laughter by the whole group whereby my Candidate left the water shaking his head and giggling … we just couldn’t understand ?? if he was leaving the group now then he must have failed and be leaving the water to prepare his makeup … in which case why was he laughing?
It turned out that he had very carefully measured out EXACTLY 9 FEET instead of METERS so of course scored a 1.0 as his students didn’t complete a CESA for 9m, but what cracked them up the most was one of the other candidates comments: “I wondered why it was so easy … normally I can’t swim 9m on a single breath”
He passed his CW makeup with a 5.0 by the way … 9 feet ?!?!?! We also once did an U/W Navigator Specialty Instructor Course off Kata Beach, no sense in trying to teach these off a boat, you need sand and bottom time not beautiful reefs, and we had a turtle kept chewing and moving the markers and driving the instructor candidates mad …. but that’s a whole other story !!!!
What is the reason Divemasters should take their IDC with you?
This is more a question of not “why people should take their IDC with us”, but more a question of “What people should take their IDC with us” There now many, many some might say “too many” PADI Course Directors out there teaching IDCs so when choosing a Course Director and a Instructor Development facility, you should be looking at what YOU want out of the IDC program.
If you are looking for the quickest and cheapest IDC then by all means go for it, but we are unlikely to be what you are looking for, and we will probably not get on very well after a while.
We believe in keeping all our courses not only the most value for money available but also the most comprehensive and up to date courses possible, teaching the latest PADI courses as soon as they are released and using the latest PADI materials as soon as they become available.
On our IDCs the focus is very much on NOT ONLY passing the IE, which is actually quite easy, but on becoming a successful Instructor in today’s Dive Industry which takes a lot more work and effort for me and my staff but I believe it is worth the extra time and effort … and to be honest the results speak for themselves !!!
I probably spend as much time if not more time with correspondence from past candidates, helping them find work, putting them in contact with others of my instructors if they are moving to the same island, region, concealing them on what direction to take in the dive industry if they have hit a plateau, and a 101 other questions they seem to keep coming out with ….
We preach customer service on the IDC and we are living proof that customer service lasts a lot, lot longer than the days of the course, I still get e-mails for advice or mentoring from candidates I taught 10 years ago … which is a good feeling as I know not only that I helped change their lives, but that my knowledge and skills can still be of help to them and their future goals.
If I had to answer this question in one sentence, then I guess it would be something like this:
“… because I try to make my IDC not only the most value for money available, but also the most comprehensive and up to date to the minute IDC where the focus is NOT just on passing the IE, but on becoming a successful Instructor in today’s Dive Industry which takes a lot more work and effort for me and my staff but I believe it is worth the extra time and effort … and to be honest the results speak for themselves !”
Nothing replaces “real life” experience and I honestly believe that with the years of experience we have, the years of commitment to our candidates and customers in general, the knowledge gained from over 20 years of not only diving, but of managing successful dive operations on resorts / islands to managing large centres with many boats in land based environments like Bangkok and Pattaya, the focus on always being available for consultation and advice often years later is what has made the majority of my candidates successful instructors, many of who are still in the industry today.
What are your personal diving obsessions?
After more than 20 years of diving everyday that’s not an easy question to answer : ) but that is one of the incredible things that we have in this industry, one which I believe no other industry has, and that is that as our interests in life change, one of the magic things is that as they change and we “get into something knew” – this too can almost without doubt be done underwater too : )
I started off very much like most other divers and that was getting into what we were looking at, whether it was pikes in the UK or stunning reefs and fish in Asia. I then very much got into photography, particularly when I was working as a DM in Malaysia in 1992/3, then when I moved up into the Gulf of Siam and up to Pattaya / Bangkok in 1993 I started getting into a lot of deep air diving and a LOT of Ship Wrecks !!! We worked with a Thai Boat Captain who had 100s of coordinates in the Gulf of Siam which he had from fishermen and boat captains of where their nets got snagged etc so with the sonar we could see pinnacles / wrecks and I run a number of exploratory trips to dive these … some were amazing wrecks and pinnacles thriving with fish, others were a collection of rocks and some of the wrecks were just that !!! wrecks with nothing but silt and rust at 35m … but the exploration and the excitement of never knowing what was there till you got there as no one had dived it before was something I will never forget!
Last year I taught my fiancee to dive (yes my first Open Water Course after 9 years of running monthly IDCs !!!) … and now I like nothing better than going on a nice coral dive and showing her all the things underwater which turned me into who I am today…
Sometimes it’s easy to forget how exciting a Lion Fish is if you have never seen one before, or a sea cucumber or Christmas Tree Worm … she has brought me round full circle back to loving simply ….. diving : )
I currently operate out of a purpose built Dive Resort complete with poolside bungalows, (complete air-conditioned rooms with fan, hot water, TV, telephone, safe and mini bar, and own large, private terrace close to the pool ) where we house our candidates as well as provide onsite breakfast and lunch during the IDC Prep / IDC and EFRI in the resort restaurant.
The purpose built scuba training pool has is ideal for practicing Lift Bag deployment and Rescues both of which are now assigned at the IE !!
The pool itself and the confined water training are without doubt the most important parts of your Instructor Development Training.
The classrooms are 2 minutes away complete with all the latest training materials from PADI, DAN and DSAT, including all digital products.. The Classrooms are open until 23:00 and the pool until 20:00 so you are welcome to practice amongst yourselves and make full use of our facilities. Our Staff are also always available in the evenings to help you in both the classroom and the pool.
All in all perfect IDC facilities in a perfect Dive Resort for your Pro Instructor Development Course IDC.
Why do you love being a PADI Course Director?
I became a Divemaster because I loved diving and couldn’t afford to dive the amount I wanted to unless I was working in the industry, so I started working as a DM back in 1992, then the more time I spent around instructors the more I saw the excitement and sheer delight of their students and I then got into the teaching side of the industry sharing my love and passion of diving, and the result of 18 years of teaching scuba diving is now that I teach IDCs …. Why you ask?
… I guess because I just love teaching people how to teach and get such great satisfaction from hearing the tales of their first few classes, the surprises, rewards etc ..
I enjoy helping people fulfil their goals and reach their potential.
What does the future hold for you?
If I knew the answer to that I would be a rich man : )
No seriously – having been focusing solely on running monthly IDCs the past 9 + years I have recently built a purpose built dive centre here on Phuket, so I will reopening my own 5* IDC Dive Centre – Dive Community – in the coming weeks. I will not pull out of Teaching IDCs … that is still my favourite kind of teaching … but I will let my staff take over more of the Assistant Instructor Training and I will focus more on Managing the Dive Centre and getting it back up and running … we will be offering obviously all PADI courses up to PADI / EFR / DSAT Instructor but also offering daily day trips, over-night trips, Liveaboards etc all of which will take some months to all get set up and running…
..and of course my fiancee hasn’t got her Master Scuba Diver yet so…
What does IDC Guide think of Chris?
We no longer recommend Chris Owen in Phuket as the best place to do your PADI IDC but we recommend Sarah at Scubacat instead.
A no-nonsense PADI Course Director that has bags of experience and great pass rates on his IDCs, while living and working with in Phuket you find that Chris is responsible for bringing lots of instructors to the area to live and teach diving in phuket. Chris uses the luxurious Palm Garden Hotel for his pool work which is the best and most luxurious confined water training area in Phuket. The food is great also.
The reason for removing Chris from this guide is that he has kept us waiting for 5 months now for payment for inclusion in the idc-guide and he owes me money for course commissions, padi idc inclusion and work we have done on his website, which amounts to 18 months worth of updates so I unfortunately have to make a decision and that decision is to stop working with Chris, therefore I would love for for another Phuket Based Course Director to be involved with the idc-guide and that Course Director would be a ‘founding course director’ taking Chris’s place on the site and the facebook page.
This is a fair and reasonable way to act, we are offering the primary Phuket inclusion. The course director will be sent IDC referrals monthly (currently more than 25 per month) and would expect a 10% course commission on any students that sign up with them.
The site currently gets a huge amount of unique visitors a month and that has been increasing every month over the last 24 months
Before setting up idc-guide I previously worked in Phuket (ran Dive Community with Ulf in 2006-07 and worked freelance for Sea Bees and staffed with Chris Owens). So I obviously thought that Chris should be the first choice for the PADI Phuket Course Director (as I have hosted / promoted and worked on his websites for 3 years and as I know him as Course Director) but over the weekend he has decided to move his websites away from us as he has a student that wants to have a free IDC and do work for him on his websites in return.
Therefore Chris had the option to become a proper ‘paid’ member of the idc-guide but by his lack of action and payment it is clear that this isn’t something he wants to take us up on so we believed all our business relationships should end.
When we were contacted by other Phuket based Course Directors we said – it looks like you have contacted me at the perfect time and if you are willing to provide unique text and images relevant to your IDC and the other IDC-Guide members do not object to your inclusion and you pay a 1 year or 2 years inclusion fee then I would like to include you. I was thinking about sending an email to all the Phuket Course Directors this week to see who would want to be included so this is very good timing indeed on your behalf.
James at the IDC Guide has personally met and / or work with all the Phuket Course Directors and met most a few times (during meetings / courses at the Kata IDC hotel and TDA meetings) and definitely knows most the dive centres and business owners and partners for all IDCs in Phuiket.
There are some nice bonuses for inclusion in the guide and one of them is the fact that we have sent over 2000 (yes two thousand) referrals for IDC courses where we have agreed a ‘introduction rate’ for candidates and you also get instant emails when someone asks about the IDC on the website. We gave the option to certain Phuket Course Directors that if they are not willing to pay for inclusion that we will approach some other Phuket dive intructor trainers that I am acquainted with from my time in Phuket and offer them the same deal as you which will be exclusive phuket / Thailand entry with all the above benefits
After a trial it was reported that they got some responses from the IDC candidates after the initial contact. So far there has been 5 positive responses at all from the contacts that were sent to the Phuket Course Director, The CDI did not expect any bookings, but 1 of them bounced back, and one even replied with “thank you, but I’m not interested” and a few requested to “send more info”. The best response was from that girl who asked me for more details on the Phuket IDC, she was very interested.
Want to see what goes on during our IDC classes ?
Click on the photo to the right to view a photo gallery from a recent IDC class
IDC Guide Recommends you take your PADI IDC in Thailand with Koh Tao with Marcel Van Den Berg.