SIOUX FALLS, SD† Feb. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Ice Hole Festival started as a bucket list check off. A new scuba diver walked into International Scuba in Carrollton, Texas† He asked if anyone had info about scuba diving under the ice. Richard Thomasowner of the chain of Texas dive stores International Scuba, called his friends in South Dakota who have lots of ice.
The Friday Night Ice Hole Cutting and bon fire has become legendary. It includes pizza, drinks that warm your hearts and toes, and a bonfire on the ice.
Meeting up with Colonel Echols of Land Shark Scuba in Sioux Falls, they organized the first weekend of ice diving. Locals showed up to support the effort and to get a good laugh at the crazy Texans willing to risk freezing on a -20F afternoon. It turned out the joke was everyone had so much fun and bonded while completing an extreme sport that a pact was made to repeat the next year and the locals would also take the plunge.
Since then, the event has grown every year. It now draws certified scuba divers from Canada† Mexico† Florida† Arkansas† Texas† Illinoisand California† According to Thomas, “The unique nature of the environment seems to really attract the southern scuba divers that want to test their skill in a harsh environment.”
Richard Thomas explains, “The mission of the Ice Hole Dive Fest is to create a gathering of scuba divers that want to expand their skill set. Also, to foster working relationships with Scuba Dive centers from all reaches of North America.” To get started a shop sponsors an Ice Diving Instructor. They are now considered a stakeholder. They can benefit each year because the infrastructure is already in place. In future years, the Scuba Dive shops just need to reserve their space.
The added benefit is these Scuba Dive shops get a chance to collaborate on other events during the year. For example, Ocean Impact out of Arkansas hosts a spearfishing tournament. Each year, the other shops are eager to support that event – hosted by Justin Sours† It allows shops that typically have a small gathering of local scuba divers to show off the best they have to offer and create a larger following. This grows the diving industry and has created what Richard likes to call a Scuba Mafia. A collection of Scuba Dive Shop owners that are willing to share the limelight and have their divers be the winners.
Thanks to world renowned, award winning underwater photographer Tom St George from Tulum, Mexicoeverything gets documented by his camera lens.
This year there will be Course Directors from PADI and SDI ready to create new Ice Instructors. The outstanding support from PADI has helped grow the event in large part due to Leroy Wickham† He has been a constant supporter of the event. The end goal is to have all scuba dive training agencies that want to take part be represented.
Are you ready to step up and earn a place amongst the Ice Hole divers? All you need is a spirit for adventure and some questionable judgement. The entrance fee for the event is $425.00† That includes transportation from airport to host hotel (The Hilton Garden Inn South Sioux Falls, SD), transportation to the nearby Wall Lake where the event is held, and entrance to the Friday night ice hole cutting.
Thursday and Friday there will be professional level training for any scuba instructors or assistants wanting to become Ice Dive Instructors. All scuba certifications cost $100† Saturday starts the ice diving certifications and fun dives for the previously trained Ice Divers. Sunday divers will complete their certification dives. For non-divers wanting to join in we can provide training in tendering the divers and shore support.
You can sign up online at https://internationalscuba.com/trips/ice-hole-festival. You can also call the shop at 972-416-8400. Various that have gear rental needs please call the shop or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We have tanks at the event for those flying in. We can also supply a small number of undergarments.
International Scuba in Dallas provides scuba diving certifications for all experience levels, small classes, flexible schedules, and year-round diving. https://internationalscuba.com/
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SOURCE International Scuba