Meet the OkieScuba Team!

Rick Couri

Rick Couri

PADI IDC Staff Instructor

Why did you become a diver?

I always wanted to see what was down there.

When did you become a diver?

August 1994

When did you become a professional diver?

March of 1997

What made you want to teach diving?

To introduce people to a world they had only dreamed of and give them an escape from all the pressures and responsibilities of the “dry” world.

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?

Seeing the moment a student “gets it.” The look on their face when they take their first breath underwater is priceless.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?

Catalina Island, California. The water is cold but being in a giant kelp forest is like being in church.

What is your favorite local dive?

Beaver Lake. It’s clear, clean, and far enough away to be a real weekend.

What kind of gear do you use?

BC  TUSA for the pool. Scbapro Hydros Pro for open water
Reg Atomic T1-T2
Mask TUSA Pano Geo
Fins Scubapro Seawing Nova 

What is your favorite after Dive meal?

Fried pickles followed by almost anything spicy.

Where’s that one last place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?

Truk Lagoon or the Galapagos Islands

Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba?

I teach for only one reason, because I love to see students as they develop the same love for being underwater I feel. At Okiescuba, I share that passion with the most experienced, patient, and caring staff in the state. And, they’re all family to me.

Christine Couri

Christine Couri

PADI Assistant Instructor

Why did you become a diver?
The adventure of doing something different and new. Always enjoyed the water, and thought it would be a fun thing to do with my husband.

When did you become a diver? During July of 1994.                           We did our pool dives at LaFortune on a Sunday morning, and our lake dives near Gene’s dive shop on Lake Tenkiller.

When did you become a professional diver?                                       After Rick! We decided that working together would be a good way to spend the weekend.

What made you want to teach diving?                                                  Had always enjoyed my experiences diving, and after having Rick and good friends become instructors, I wanted to join in on the fun!

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?                 Getting to know so many new people, and helping them progress from newbies to full fledged divers.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?

Picking favorites is always hard for me! Every place I have dived has had its own appeal.

What is your favorite local dive?                                                                    Beaver Lake. No doubt I enjoy the better visibility, and the area we dive is so familiar to me.

What gear do you use?
BC                  Seaquest
Reg                
Atomic B1-T2
Mask             
TUSA old style
Fins               
TUSA split fins

What is your favorite after Dive meal?                                               Totally depends on where I am, but I always have a BIG meal wherever we are!

Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba?
The people. Our great staff and students make it easy.

What was your biggest rush in diving?
Two come to mind. A wreck dive in the Keys with Captain Jeff and a huge Manta ray in the Flower Gardens.

Where’s that one last place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?
The Red Sea, the colors seem unreal in photos, would love to see them in real life!

Phillip Hance

Phillip Hance

Divemaster

Why did you become a diver?

I have always loved the ocean and grew up with Jaques Cousteau. I wanted to be an underwater adventurer.

When did you become a diver?                                                                   July of 1998

When did you become a professional diver?                                        June of 2013

What made you want to teach diving?                                                          I enjoy teaching all things “high adventure” and diving is my favorite.

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?                    Seeing people get comfortable breathing underwater, when they finally relax and have fun.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?                 Cozumel Mexico for the drift dives and the Yucatan for the Cenotes.

What is your favorite local dive?                                                           Beaver Lake.

 What Kind of gear do you use.                                                                    BC  Sherwood                                                                                               Reg  Genesis                                                                                                    Mask  Tusa                                                                                                         Fins  Tusa Imprex

What is your favorite after Dive meal?                                           Depends on where we are, a burger at the malt shop coming back from Tenkiller. Beaver Lake area  I am still exploring all of the local fare.

Where’s that one last place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?                                                                                Silfra Fissure in Iceland 2018

 Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba?                                 Everyone is friendly and on the same page and we all enjoy it for the same reason, our passion is diving and teaching people to dive safely.

Luciano Cunha

Luciano Cunha

Divemaster

Divemaster

When did you become a diver?                                                                        I got my open water certification with Okiescuba in June of 2014

Why did you become a diver?                                                                          I remember as a kid watching Jacques Cousteau especially when he was going through the Amazon forest and diving with pink Amazon river dolphins and thought about going scuba diving.  However, it wasn’t until much later in November of 2013 when I was in Indonesia for work and did a Discover Scuba dive at the USAT Liberty wreck and fell is love with the underwater world.  Since then, I can never go back under water fast enough.

When did you become a professional diver?                                     Summer 2017

What made you want to teach diving?                                                        It is so rewarding to get people under water and have them experience what I fell in love with.  Beyond experiencing it I wanted to share and help others enjoy the life underwater.

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?                             It is both when I help that person who is having a little of a hard time really get it and feel comfortable and when I see a swimmer turn into a diver and enjoy the freedom of breathing under water.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?                              I have to say it is Bali in Indonesia where I took my first plunge and went diving there several times after.  The place is incredible and there are so many different types of dives and dive spots you can do there.  It does also help that the above water experience is out of this world as well.

What is your favorite local dive?                                                            Beaver Lake where the water is clearer and there are lots of things to do under water.

Where’s that one last place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?                                                                                        I would love to dive, among other amazing places, the Silfra Fissure in Iceland

What kind of gear do you use?                                                               Reg Atomic Aquatics M1 regulators for the first stage and both primary and alternate second stages (with a 5 ft flex hose)                                   Mask Hollis M1 Frameless
Fins Hollis F-2 Technical Diving Fins or ScubaPro Twin Jet Max               BC Pro-Fit Stainless Steel BackPlate and LCD20 wings both from DeepSeaSupply                                                                   Computer Shearwater Perdix AI as primary and Shearwater Petrel as backup

What is your favorite after Dive meal?                                                          I will take just about anything after a dive but I would kill for a Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)

Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba?                                    Because at Okiescuba it isn’t about getting people through to make money.  It is all about sharing the love of diving and doing so in a way that is fun and relaxing.  All the instructors are sooo patient and caring which really makes a big difference with the students.

Ryan Dougherty

Ryan Dougherty

Divemaster Trainee

Why did you become a diver?
I did my first diving near Ocho Rios, Jamaica in 2008; and I fell in love with the underwater world. There is something great about seeing a side of nature that many don’t get or take the opportunity to see.

When did you become a diver?
I received my PADI Open Water Certification in March 2010, and my PADI Advanced Open Water Certification in August of 2018. I’m hoping to earn my PADI Rescue Diver in the Summer of 2019, and will start the Divemaster program following that.

When did you become a professional diver?
I’m still working on that one… I will let you know in a year or two.

What made you want to teach diving?
I want to teach others to dive because it gives me the opportunity to pass on what I have learned to the next generation of divers.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?
It would be a toss up between diving the Bahamas, or Jamaica. They were very different environments so I would recommend them both.

What is your favorite local dive?
It would be a toss up between the Scuba Park at Tenkiller Lake, OK and the Scuba Park at Beaver Lake, AR.

What kind of gear do you use?
BC- Scubapro Litehawk
Reg- Scubapro Mk 2 w/ R190 Regulator
Mask- Scubapro Synergy Trufit Twin w/ Prescription Lenses
Fins- TUSA Liberator Xten Fins
Computer- I don’t have one yet.

What is your favorite after Dive meal?
The safely edible, and flavorful kind.

Where’s that one place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?
I would love to dive the warm water world. There are far too many places to list.

Why did you want to teach with Okiescuba?
I want to teach with Okiescuba because of the good people, the individual attention given to each student, and the drive for safety. Rick and his staff focus more on teaching the subject safely than the money being made, and that is an admirable mission to stand behind.

Wade Reeves

Wade Reeves

Divemaster trainee

When did you become a diver?
Got my first cert in June of 2016.

Why did you become a diver?
When i got into it the goal was to do search and recovery/rescue.

When did you become a professional diver?
Summer 2017.

What made you want to teach diving?
Never thought about teaching till my instructor Rick showed me how fun it could be.

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?
Just being in the water and meeting new people.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?
I haven’t traveled too much because I don’t want to spoil myself and not be able to enjoy Oklahoma waters. But I did go to Santa Rosa New Mexico and dove the Blue Hole, it was awesome.

What is your favorite local dive?
It’s a rock quarry but you have to see me for details its secret.

Where’s that one last place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?
If I could dive anywhere in the world it would probably be Brazil.

What kind of gear do you use?
Reg       Auqa Lung legend edition regulator
BC        Seaquest Balance edition                                                                      Computer Sunnto Viper
Mask    Aqua Lung
Fins      Aqua Lung

What’s your favorite after dive meal?
A good steak or fish.

Why do you like teaching with Okiescuba?
Because they offer everything you need and they work with you exclusively if you need it. Great group of people.

Gary Cancienne

Gary Cancienne

PADI Open Water Instructor

Why did you become a diver? 
The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. Only became upsetting when I found out the Calypso dynamited a passage through the coral of the Great Blue Hole in Belize. Ah, to be a true historic naturalist!

When did you become a diver?
My OW Certification was in March of 1999 with the first 8 divers of my Venture Crew.

When did you become a professional diver? 

I finished my Divemaster Certification in March 2000 to take my Crew to the Springs of Florida.

What made you want to teach diving? 

Just having a lot of fun teaching teenagers and their parents.

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class? 
Watching the true sense of accomplishment on the faces of folks when they finish their last OW dive.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?

Little Cayman, but then there’s the Turk’s and Caicos Islands with the coolest swim throughs I’ve ever seen.

What is your favorite local dive? Beaver Lake. 
The best place to take a scout unit diving.

What gear do you use?

BCD                                        Zeagle Ranger
Regulator                             Sherwood Maximus
Fins                                        Apollo split fins
Mask Pana Geo                  
Perfect seal, prescription lenses and bifocals!!!

What is your favorite after Dive meal?

I’m with Randy on this, but must include fried pickles and onion rings.

Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba? 
I’ve never worked with a more experienced staff that is especially patient with youth.

What was your biggest rush in diving?

Solo diving for Megalodon shark teeth in Cooper River, SC. Intense.

Where’s that one last place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?

Gotta go with Rick here, has to be Truk, or Palau.

Jamie Wheeler

Jamie Wheeler

Divemaster

When did you become a diver?
2000

Why did you become a diver?
I was lured in by snorkeling and wanted to go down there and be with what I saw from the surface.

When did you become a professional diver?
Summer of 2017!!!

What made you want to teach diving?
I love to teach, and dive, so what better thing to teach than something you love to do.

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?
The look in a student’s eyes when they “get it”

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?
Cozumel

What is your favorite local dive?
Tenkiller, it is close, easy, and usually able to find a buddy when I am not helping with a class.

Where’s that one last place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?
Great Barrier Reef, Australia

What kind of gear do you use?
Reg Scuba Pro MK-25/S600
Mask Scuba Pro
Fins Scuba Pro Twin Jet
BC Scuba Pro Glide Pro

What is your favorite after Dive meal?
Fresh fruit on the boat back, then a good ole fashion hamburger with all the fixins’ once on shore.

Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba?
I absolutely enjoyed my first conversation with Rick, followed by AOW, Rescue Diver, and eventually Dive Master courses. Once I hung around a little I realized this is what I wanted to do, and who I wanted to do it with!

 Tony Porter

Tony Porter

Divemaster

 Why did you become a diver?  

 I was always interested in it but just never felt like I would ever be able to do   it. I did a Discover Scuba in Cozumel on a cruise and was hooked.

 When did you become a diver?  

June 2017

 When did you become a professional diver?

April 2018

 What made you want to teach diving?

I enjoy sharing my love of scuba with others.

 What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?

Seeing people that have difficulties with some of the skills finally conquer   those skills and surprise themselves and excel as a diver.

 Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?

Haven’t been too many places yet but so far Cozumel was my favorite.

 What is your favorite local dive?

I really enjoy Tenkiller Scuba Park. There are tons of fish that really like to be   fed. Feeding the fish there is what got my wife to try scuba.

 What kind of gear do you use?

BC  ScubaPro Hydros Pro                                                                                    Reg ScubaPro S600                                                                                              Mask  Tusa  Freedom Elite                                                                                  Fins Tusa X-Pert Zoom Z3 Split Fins                                                                Computer  Mares Quad

 What is your favorite after Dive meal?

Fried Zucchini from Soda Steve’s

 Where’s that one place in the world you haven’t been that you would   love to go dive?

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

 Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba?

It is a wonderful group of people to work with and their teaching style and   welcoming attitude is great. I consider myself lucky to be a part of this   organization.

Fred Block

Fred Block

Divemaster

Why did you become a diver?                                                                 Because I look incredible in a wetsuit!

When did you become a diver?                                                                Sept. 2008 with my son

When did you become a professional diver?                                         Oct. 2016

What made you want to teach diving?                                                          I love to talk about diving. When you do that with students, it’s called teaching. When you do it with other people, they call it bragging.

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?                     Watching the evolution of nervousness to confusion to confidence to excitement. When a student says “Oh my god, did you see that!!!” It’s mission accomplished.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?                          I’ve never done an ocean dive that I wouldn’t do again. With that being said, Fiji is pretty incredible.

What is your favorite local dive?                                                            Open Water check out dive #4

What kind of gear do you use?
BC Oxycheq backplate and wing
Reg Atomic B2’s
Mask Cressi big eyes
Fins Mares Avanti Quattro
Computer Oceanic T3

What is your favorite after Dive meal?                                                        A big greasy hamburger and fries

Where’s that one place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?                                                                         Australia

Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba?                                              I love that Okiescuba is focused on teaching people to dive, not just certifying divers. It’s not a numbers game. There is no quota. There is, however, a great staff that is passionate about teaching people to dive to the best of their abilities.

Charles Gibson

Charles Gibson

Divemaster trainee

Why did you become a diver?                                                                          I started diving for various reason, but #1 my oldest daughter used to play soccer, but as she got older we needed something else to bond with. When she graduated I gave her a cruise for her graduation present and dive lessons because we both love advernture

When did you become a diver?                                                             August of 2018

When did you become a professional diver?                                              Working on it!

What made you want to teach diving?                                                          I enjoy teaching anything I can, I love being under the water and seeing a world that most only see in movies.

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?                    Seeing the students eyes light up when they realize that diving isn’t as hard as people make it out to be.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?                           So far, Cozumel

What is your favorite local dive?                                                           Beaver Lake in Arkansas

What kind of gear do you use?                                                                         BC  Mares Bolt                                                                                                   Reg  Scuba Pro                                                                                               Mask                                                                                                                       Fins                                                                                                           Computer Mares  Quad Air

What is your favorite after Dive meal?                                            Seafood LOL

Where’s that one place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?                                                                            Ireland

Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba?                                         The staff is laid back and fun to be with, the professionalism and comradery is unmatched. Not to mention our students are second to none.

Michael Washburn

Michael Washburn

Divemaster Trainee

Why did you become a diver?
I have always loved the water and have always wanted to learn to dive…now that I’m in, I’m hooked!!!

When did you become a diver?
Open Water 27 May 2018

When did you become a professional diver?
Working on my divemaster now.

What made you want to teach diving?
In the Navy I was an Aircrew instructor and found that I enjoy teaching and helping others learn and improve.

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?
Seeing someone succeed in the face of adversary. A lot of things that divers do are not natural. I enjoy seeing people go beyond what they think they can do.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?
So far I would say Mexico but I have limited experience. I’m sure this will change over time.

What is your favorite local dive?
The Scuba Ranch in Terrell, TX.

What kind of gear do you use?

BC Scubapro Hydrous Pro
Fins Scubapro Twin Jet Max
Mask, Snorkel & Gloves Scubapro

What is your favorite after Dive meal?
Anything Mexican and lots of it, I’m usually starving after a dive.

Where’s that one place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?
The Stuart Cove shark dive in Nassau, going in June 2019!

Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba?
Because Rick and Christine make you feel like family!!!

Penny Miller

Penny Miller

Divemaster trainee

Why did you become a diver?                                                                          My husband and I went on a trip to the Florida Keys, he was already a certified diver – I was interested, but was unsure about the whole “breathing under water thing”, found out the place he was diving offered SNUBA – which gave me the opportunity to see if I could/could not breath underwater. Unsurprisingly I fell in love, when we returned to Tulsa I reached out to Okiescuba to start working on my certification so that the next trip I would be able to explore the deep blue with my husband.

When did you become a diver?                                                                         August 31, 2014 I became open water certified, and then in July 2018 I earned my advanced open water certification and nitrox certification.

When did you become a professional diver?                                                Working on it now!    

What made you want to teach diving?                                                          On a recent dive trip I met a couple of new divers, and in helping them I learned more myself, and learned that I did have some skill sets I could share with others – even though I don’t consider myself a seasoned diver.

What is your favorite part of teaching a scuba class?                               Getting to dive, enhance my knowledge, share my passion for diving, and getting to see dives through the eyes of the student – keeps it fresh.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go dive?                              So far we have only hit 3 places – the Florida Keys, Cozumel, and Roatan Honduras… Which makes choosing one place difficult as they both have something to offer. In Roatan there is unlimited diving – actually managed to see Sea Horses for the first time – that was so amazing! Even saw two together! In Cozumel I’ve seen more “big stuff”: nurse sharks, eagle rays, sea turtles.

What is your favorite local dive?                                                                      Don’t have one yet

What kind of gear do you use?                                                                        BC  Aqualung Pearl Twilight                                                                                  Reg  Aqualung                                                                                                          Computer  Cressi Giotto                                                                                        Fins  Splits                                                                                                                                                                                                 

What is your favorite after Dive meal?                                                          Anything HOT and SPICY – I tend to get really cold underwater and want something that will warm me up from the inside out.

Where’s that one place in the world you haven’t been that you would love to go dive?                                                                                   We have a long list of places we would like to go: Maldives, Belize, Australia: Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos, Fiji, Micronesia: Truk Lagoon, Grand Cayman and I’m sure there are many more that I don’t know about (yet) that will end up on my list.

Why do you enjoy teaching with Okiescuba?                                               Feels like home – it’s where I truly started my diving journey – friendly knowledgeable supportive staff, equipment available to borrow, responsiveness of the staff to inquiries…. And of course the ability to continue to hone my own skills and grow more within the diving community,

Got questions about learning to dive right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma?

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