What is a Subway Watersports PRO?

PROS are graduates of our Divemaster or Instructor internships who have discovered what it’s like to work in one of the most exciting industries in the world! They are talented Divemasters and Instructors pursuing their dreams and sharing their love of diving with people all around the globe. PROS are passionate professionals who have taken their dive training to the next level, guiding people into the wonders of the aquatic world. They are individuals who make us proud to call them Subway PROS!

Irma Korb

Born in: South Africa
Living in: Roatan, Honduras
Places visited diving: Durban & Sodwana; South Africa, Ponta du Oro, Tofo & Barra; Mozambique, The Red Sea, Similan Islands & Koh Tao; Thailand, Great Barrier Reef; Australia, Tulamben & Komodo; Indonesia, Roatan & Utila, Honduras.

We all have that perfect scenario in our heads from when we are little of what we want want to become one day. For me it was always crystal clear that I wanted to work with Marine life. 

I grew up in a town very much in-land and would count down every day towards summer holidays so we can go to ocean. On my sixteenth birthday my sister and I signed up for a scuba diving course and from that day my life changed forever. 

From then on every cent saved would go towards new scuba gear and dive trips to various destinations. 

In 2010 after diving for more than 12 years and still loving it as if it was the first day I took a breath under water, I knew it was time to do this full time. Life in the city and being trapped in an office never made me happy, so it was the easiest decision I’ve ever had to make. I quit my job in South Africa and decided to make diving my career. The only question was: WHERE? 

Where in this world, where there are so many amazing places to dive do I want to go? The possibilities were endless. After much research and debate I ended up choosing Roatan, Honduras. 

The starting point to a career in diving is definitely experience; not just experience in diving which I obviously had, but working in a dive centre, knowing how the logistics work. Boat schedules, equipment, tank fills etc. 

The best way to get this is a divemaster internship and this is what lead me to Subway Watersports. After days of Google searching for the best place my heart was set on Subway. Their internship not only sounded thorough, but also like it would be filled with fun and adventure. And boy did they exceed my expectations. My internship was one of the best experiences of my life and what’s more is it was the foundation of my life on a tropical island doing what I love most. 

I was lucky enough to get offered a job at Subway Watersports soon after I completed my IDC (instructor development course) and I got to share my passion and love for the ocean with others. 

Since then I have traveled the world teaching people how to dive. 

Today I’m the proud manager of Tobri Divers Resort a small dive resort on Roatan, living the dream. 

I will forever be grateful to Subway Watersports for giving me the opportunity to work and grow in this industry and giving me the abilities to make my hobby my life. 

  • Subway intern October 2010
  • Padi instructor # 283930
  • Ssi instructor # 63368

Cole Smith

Born in: Omaha, Texas
Living in: Ft.Lauderdale, Florida
Places visited diving: St. Thomas, St. Martenm St. Barths, St Kitts, Anguilla, St Croix, Roatan, East and West Florida

My name is Cole Smith and I am from a small town in Northeast Texas called Omaha. The decision I made, in taking the opportunity of a lifetime and coming to begin my dive adventures at Subway, was one of the single most greatest decisions I have ever made. In September 2014 I came home from working on a farm and was exhausted and realized how ridiculous it was that I was just getting through life instead of actually living it. I decided I wanted to learn to scuba dive and began the search for adventure. A little research lead me to Subway and the rest was history. I got a passport and took my first flight on a plane 3 months later en route to Roatan.

My internship at Subway led to my employment as a divemaster and then as an instructor. My life was forever changed from my first open water dive. The friends and experiences I made while at Subway were just as great as the diving. I love meeting people and learning of their adventures. All of my success since coming to subway has been from meeting people and taking opportunities.

After Subway ,I took the opportunity to move to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and begin working on yachts. I soon was offered a job on a charter yacht in the BVI’s as a dive instructor/deckhand. I was referred to this job by a dive guest I met at subway while in my divemaster internship. I have been working on private/charter yachts since. I have had the opportunity to travel to and dive all over the Caribbean, Bahamas, and the Keys just in the past two years.

This summer in my off time I was given the opportunity to work on a treasure salvage boat on the treasure coast of Florida. We dive and salvage historic artifacts and treasure from a fleet of Spanish Galleons that went down in a hurricane off the coast of Florida in 1715. It is an amazing feeling to pull up gold and silver coins and pieces of handmade pottery and shipwreck material that have been beneath the ocean for over 300 years.

Needless to say the decision to take the plunge changed my life forever. I met people that gave me opportunities I never could I have dreamed of. I’ve only been diving for 3 years now and can’t imagine the stories I’ll have in the years to come. I love that diving can bring so many people from all around the world together that all share that love for the ocean and all of its beauty. I couldn’t imagine my life now without diving

Bobbie Renfro

Born in: Austin, Texas
Living in: Austin, Texas
Places visited diving: Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, Florida Keys, Honduras, British Virgin Islands, Nevis, Antigua, Les Saintes, Saba, Statia, Dominica, Guadaloupe, St. Barthelemy, and Madagascar.

Whatever it is that you teach, you’ll never forget your first students. I just wrapped my first Open Water SCUBA course with four of the best students a Master Scuba Diver Trainer could ask for, certainly four divers I’ll never forget. I completed my Dive Master and IDC at Subway Watersports this spring and immediately started a job as a marine scientist and diving instructor aboard the teaching vessel S/Y Ocean Star for Sea|mester, a college study abroad program. I was nervous, as I imagine any instructor would be, that first day on the quiet sandy beach of Savannah Bay, Virgin Gorda. This little patch of the British Virgin Islands was perfect for our confined water training: shallow, no current and so clear. I was in confined water paradise, yet all I could think was what if I don’t explain the skills well enough or they drop their masks in the ocean or they won’t like diving if I don’t do well right here right now. We got in for our first dive and as could be expected there were some ear troubles and some upset faces when the mask flood skills rolled around. When we finally walked back on shore I asked them what they thought of our first few dives? To my surprise they loved it and were sure I must have been teaching for years! I realized how well Subway Watersports had prepared me for this job when my students told me my demonstrations were so easy to follow they probably wouldn’t have even needed the explanations beforehand. Even with salty eyes and slow descents to avert ear troubles they had loved their first dives because I had made them feel comfortable in the water and excited about just how wild it is that we are breathing beneath the waves.

By the end of our course my newly certified divers were gliding through the pristine reefs of Saba Island with such ease and care for the underwater world that our national park guides were shocked to hear we had only recently finished their open water certifications. As a marine biologist, I strive to impart environmental awareness not only in my marine science students, but also in my diving students. That was one reason I chose Subway Watersports for my professional dive training. Into the Dive Mater program, they integrate work in a coral reef restoration garden, with invasive lion fish management and practice with explaining the marine park to visitors. I briefed my Sea|mester students on the marine parks we dove in the same way Subway had trained me to brief visitors on the reefs in Honduras. Our students here at Sea|mester really took to heart that the reef is alive and the organisms that create it are easily disturbed or damaged. To my happy surprise, my brand new divers worked so hard early on to get their buoyancy down well enough that in a full twenty day program diving throughout the Caribbean I only had to pull a student away from nearly bumping the reef once!

A new group of students is now boarding Ocean Star for a forty day voyage island hopping from the British Virgin Islands to Dominica and back. With a first successful class under my belt and the knowledge that Subway has prepared me well for my job, I cannot wait to take the next group of Sea|mester students out learning and exploring under the waves.

Tripp Funderburk

Born in: Durham, North Carolina, USA
Living in: Roatan, Honduras
Places visited diving: Cayman Islands; US Virgin Islands; British Virgin Islands; Turkey; Koh Tao, Thailand; Jamaica; Mustique, St. Vincent and Grenadines; Roatan; Bonaire; St. Martin; Florida Keys; and Roatan.

I learned to scuba dive during a family vacation to the Cayman Islands when I was 11 years old. I will never forget the awesome abundance of fish and other marine life thriving on the majestic coral reefs. Since then, I have been lucky enough to dive in the BVI, St. Martin, Turkey, Thailand, Jamaica, Mustique, Bonaire and Roatan, Honduras. I have always loved Roatan where I took my PADI Open Water course in 1996, Divemaster course in 2014, and Instructor Development course this year at Turquoise Bay.

In 2013, I visited St. Croix’s Buck Island National Park with my father who shared my love of coral reefs, Jacques Cousteau documentaries, and everything about the undersea world. We were excited to see the famous Elkhorn Coral that surrounds Buck Island. However, when we jumped in, we saw a graveyard of dead coral. This was jarring and heart-breaking for both of us. What happened to the vibrant, healthy, full-of-life coral reefs that we had explored together when I was younger? That sad experience sparked a desire in me to figure out why those corals died, what can we do to prevent coral decline, and how can we pro-actively restore coral reefs.

My research turned up information about the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF), a non-profit based in the Florida Keys that grows corals in off-shore nurseries and plants nursery-raised corals back on the reef. CRF holds weekend seminars where eco-conscious divers learn about the various coral stressors and CRF’s strategies for restoring corals. I took CRF’s course and learned how the coral nurseries were managed, and how to actually plant live coral back on the reef. Taking part in CRF’s work made a huge impression on me. I was hooked and decided that I wanted to work in coral restoration.

I kept volunteering at CRF until they finally hired me to work as the Operations Manager for CRF International, a separate non-profit that built coral nurseries in Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Mustique, Curacao, and Roatan. We built a coral nursery close to the Turquoise Bay Resort, and another nursery near Mahogany Bay. Shortly after helping to construct the nurseries in Roatan, I transitioned to work as the Policy Director for CRF. While I enjoyed taking advantage of my 20 years of experience working on policy issues in Washington, DC (my former life), I knew I wanted to be in the ocean building and expanding coral nursery programs. So, I moved to Roatan to help Turquoise Bay expand their coral nursery program and to take the PADI Scuba Instructor Development Course from Phil Harrington, the knowledgeable and entertaining Course Director for Subway Watersports. Now I am a Scuba Instructor and Coral Restoration Program Manager for Turquoise Bay/Subway Watersports. We are developing a Coral Restoration Specialty Course, cleaning and upgrading the nurseries, and outplanting nursery-raised corals to local dive sites.

I am thrilled to be pursuing my passion to conserve and restore coral reefs while helping Subway expand its Go-Green Eco Divemaster and coral nursery programs. We will educate Divemaster candidates and Turquoise guests about the challenges facing coral reefs, and provide exciting opportunities for them to take part in our coral nursery and restoration activities.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for coral restoration with the fantastic dive staff, students, and guests at Turquoise Bay/Subway Watersports.

Shannon McFadden

Born in: New York
Living in: Connecticut
Places visited diving: Massachusetts (Ocean), Connecticut (Brownstone Quarry & Long Island Sound), Rhode Island (Ocean), Pennsylvania (Dutch Springs Quarry), St Lawrence Seaway (US and Canada), North Carolina (Ocean), South Carolina (Ocean), Florida (Ocean), Florida Keys (Ocean), Aruba, Bahamas, Bonaire, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Roatan, Jamaica, Japan (Okinawa), Mexico (Cozumel, Acapulco, Puerta Vallarta, Puerto Adventuras (Cenotes), Revillagigedo), St Maarten, St Croix, and St Eustacias

In the Fall of 2000, Shannon signed up for an Open Water Scuba course to fulfill a few remaining credits she needed to graduate from UMASS, and immediately fell in love with the underwater world. In 2012 she moved to Roatan, Honduras to do a Dive Master Internship program, and then the PADI IDC program with Subway Watersports. After doing a little teaching in Roatan it was time to go back to the states. Shannon is a Career Firefighter in Danbury, CT. She also instructs on her own and is an instructor for a local dive shops recreational divers as well as thewith their Public Safety Division.

Shannon’s passion for diving can be seen in her instruction and in how she is able to relate to all types of divers. Shannon enjoys traveling the world both above and below the water, and someday hopes to visit and dive on all 7 continents. She is a Staff Instructor and can teach 14 Specialties.

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