X Games Medalist Young Takes a Dive
From Killer Tabletops to Wrecks and Reefs
by Margo Malcolm
Since he was a kid, Gary Young, 2009 ‘X’ Games BMX Freestyle Bronze Medalist, has been defying gravity, hanging in the air twisting and turning on his bike. Now he is taking his love of extreme activities down under the sea. “Snorkeling was really like the gateway for me to get into diving.” said Young, 26. “I started snorkeling a few years ago and it really sparked my interest. I learned about sea life and hanging out under water was a new thing for me. It’s always been something I’ve been interested in but I didn’t really get hooked until I went snorkeling.”
Young has started his diving certification through PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). When he first expressed interest about diving to a friend he discovered that his friend’s girlfriend and her father both worked for PADI.
“I was talking to him about getting into diving and he said his girlfriend had been trying to get him into diving for a while but he’d been scared,” said Young. “And I said let’s do it together. One thing led to another and now we’re on our way into diving.”
Young began his diving training with PADI’s eLearning. PADI eLearning courses allow beginners to complete the classroom portion of certification at their own pace, whenever or wherever it’s convenient for them. The eLearning system consists of interactive presentations that include videos, audio, graphics and reading, and is available in seven languages.
Since Young lives in southern California, he was able to go to PADI’s head office for his confined water dives. This is followed by two open water dives and completion of his diving certification.
Another reason Young chose PADI certification was because he found when he did some research that PADI certification was accepted worldwide. This was important to him because Young travels a lot. The BMX circuit takes him all over the world, including some of the best diving places like Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. PADI has over 5300 dive shop and resort members worldwide.
Although Young spends most of his days on the road practicing and competing on his bike, perfecting his killer tabletops and 360s, he’ll be taking sometime to check out the local marine life.
“I’ve been to so many places and now I’ll have the opportunity to go out and see what is underwater and check out the reefs and wreck ,” said Young. “Diving seems so cool to me.”