Scuba diving is one the world’s most unique sports where beauty, potential injury or death are often close together.
With 71 percent of the Earth covered by water there are numerous untouched views only accessible by water.
Unlike many sports scuba diving doesn’t require extreme athletic prowess just the ability to swim which opens the sport to many diver of all ages.
Recreational diving didn’t become sport until 1942 when Jacques Cousteau and engineer Emilie Gagnan created the world’s first successful rebreathing device.
Most recreational diving is limited to 120 feet with technical dives as deep as 330 feet using a special mixture of air called Trimix.
The current world record for a deep scuba dive is held by Ahmed Gabr of Egypt at 1,090 feet set in 2014.
Gabr dove with nine tanks and took 12 minutes to reach his depth and 14 hours to return to the surface.
Grady Weston of Extreme Sports, based out of Joplin, Missouri has been diving for the past 27 years.
Weston, a native of Paradise Point on Grand Lake, has also been teaching scuba with his wife Deb for about 20 years.
With both his children certified divers, Weston started Extreme Sports to promote family fun.
Almost every week Weston offers classes ranging from your first open water certification to more advanced dives.
Recently Weston took a class of 12 divers to Beaver Lake in Arkansas for the final few dives required to become a certified scuba diver.
Weston said he doesn't dive in Grand Lake because of visibility issues, which can be as little as a foot.
Nick Salzer from Carl Junction, Missouri had the distinction of being the youngest diver - at the age of 13 - working on his open water certification.
Salzer was accompanied by his father who was excited his son found a sport he took such as strong interest in.
Having already completed some hours of homework and three pool dives Nick was feeling, “good not nervous” about his first dive.
Salzer became interested in diving because he wants to be a marine biologist. He thought diving would be a good way to start exploring his interests.
With plans to attend the University of Florida, Salzer is otherwise a normal teenager with interests in video games, wrestling at school and hopes to earn more scuba certifications.
With his open water diver, Salzer will be able to dive to depths up to 60 feet with a dive buddy.
Weston will take another class to Mermet, Illinois the second week of September to teach the advanced diver class, which allows divers to reach depths up to 120 feet.
Mermet is the U.S. Marshals film location showcasing a sunken 727 aircraft which is still underwater for divers to explore.
Beaver Lake is one of the best diving locations within short driving distance, Weston said, because it boasts clear visibility and depths reaching up to 300 feet in some areas.
Beaver Lake also offers sites such as submerged resorts, buildings, cars and even statues.
“Water temperatures stay warm in this area through October which allows divers a long season running from mid-May till mid-November,” said Weston.
While diving may seem daunting and even dangerous to some, Ronnie Prevost a licensed diver with upwards of 700 dives compares it to everyday activities.
"Scuba diving is like driving a car," Prevost said. "If you’re careful and pay attention it’s a very safe activity, but if you’re not it can be very dangerous.”
Both Prevost and his wife have been active divers for many years with Ronnie becoming a dive instructor as well.