COLLEGE STATION, Texas — As the summer months are upon us, people in the Brazos Valley are looking for things to do. Many want to find an activity that is outside and near some water. One Brazos Valley business has just the sport for you.
Typically, when people think of Bryan-College Station they don't associate it with scuba diving. However, Aggieland Scuba owner Nathan Blanchard said that there is a large community of divers in the area, even to his own surprise.
"What people don’t realize is that scuba is a year-round event that you can do," said Blanchard, who is also a scuba instructor.
Blanchard is a huge scuba diving enthusiast. So much so that after working in the oil industry for a few years, he left it all to started his own company centered around the sport in 2014.
“From there just fell in love with teaching the community, having fun with people and surrounding myself with instructors that are a great part of my inspiration here at Aggieland Scuba," Blanchard said.
Aggieland Scuba certifies hundreds of scuba divers each year. Seven years after opening, Blanchard and the rest of his team continue with the same goal they started with. They strive to provide a high-quality service to the Brazos Valley community in scuba equipment and instruction.
Aggieland Scuba has contracts with the cities of Bryan and College Station to use their aquatic facilities.
"This is a great safe environment for people to be in," Blanchard said. "We take safety very seriously.”
Over the past summer during quarantine, Aggieland Scuba saw a huge number of families sign up for private scuba lessons. Instructors were able to work with families one on one and at a pool in town.
"It really gave them the opportunity to have something fun to do with their kids if they didn’t feel safe to travel anywhere or do anything outside in big groups," Blanchard said.
Working and teaching new skills to people is what the instructors at the store have a passion for.
"Watching them light up," said Megan Bob, an instructor at Aggieland Scuba. "Watching someone’s face when they’re like, ‘Oh my God. This is something that I can do, this is something that can take me all over the world.’ Just being able to watch them enjoy something new.”
Aggieland Scuba has a wide range of classes and camps people can sign up for.
For younger kids, around eight to ten years old, the store has the Seal Team camp for the summer. It teaches kids the basics, allows them to go on 'missions' and just have fun around the water.
For older age groups who aren't too sure about committing to scuba classes, Aggieland Scuba has a course called, Discover Scuba.
"It gives you a way to get your feet wet, have a little fun, test out the waters in scuba and see what you think about it," Blanchard said.
The course takes people through a private hour and half long lesson with an instructor. They teach students what the equipment feels like, how to breathe underwater, the correct hand signals to use and more. The course is $125 but for those looking to do more and get certified, some of that money will go towards their certification courses.
"If you love swimming, you love snorkeling, you love the water, this is a sport that you’re going to want to be in," Blanchard said.
For those looking to do more with scuba and interested in exploration outside of Bryan/College Station, Aggieland Scuba goes on multiple dive trips throughout the year. Instructors will lead the trips.
"We make sure you’re going to have a great time, that’s what this is all about," Blanchard said.
People interested in learning more can contact the store two ways:
- Email: email@example.com
- Call: 979-703-7949