Learn more about our team
Matt moved to the island of Oahu in the year 2000 after completing a Ph.D in Biomedical Sciences at UCSD. Having already completed a PADI Instructor level certification, it soon became clear to Matt that one could support an avid diving habit on the island of Oahu by taking island visitors scuba diving – score!
What was at first an informal local diving club quickly became a part time business run from a one bedroom ground floor apartment in Waikiki. That part time business soon became a full time endeavor with a new friends/divemasters helping out (moved up to 2 bedroom apartment). Eventually, a strong local reputation led to a diving service contract on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam and the evolution of Island Divers Hawaii into a traditional, established dive store.
Success serving the military led to the opening of a second retail location at the Hawaii Kai marina and shortly thereafter the addition of the vessel Sea Fox imported from Florida. Since then the scuba dive vessels Dive Barge, Sea Hound, and Enzo were added to the fleet. While a couple of those vessels are leased out to other interests, we still go diving on them from time to time. Matt believes that the success Island Divers has enjoys comes from his position that customers are friends.
Matt started Island Divers with the goal of making customers into friends, and that principle has guided the growth of the business. Matt tells a story to each new instructor that comes into the business. “A diver may remember what they saw on the dive, but for sure they will remember how they were treated at the dive shop and how you made them feel about diving with Island Divers”. The dive professionals selected to work at Island Divers are chosen because they are friendly, outgoing people that truly enjoy sharing their passion for diving with a new group of divers every day. The people you will find on this page are the best of the best.
Most recently, Matt became the president of Hawaii Scuba University. Coming full circle back to academic life and incorporating of a decade of experience in the diving industry, he is very excited about the training programs being offered and is looking forward to tackling the opportunities the school represents.
I am a Life Long Divemaster closing on 10 years in multiple facets of the business including Guiding, Dive support Supervisor for documentary/TV productions, management, and Guest Liason for large groups in remote areas.
My “past life” was as a Marketing/Sales/Distributor Liaison for a Vodka company started by a hip hop artist back in the early 2K when the trend for Hip Hop Artists becoming Moguls in many facets of Merchandising began.
It was a whirl wind of fun and excitement but I knew, after spending my undergrad years overseas in Surfers Paradise, Australia before becoming “corporate”, that I wanted a life on or in the water.
I retired early from the fast paced life and moved to Costa Rica where I surfed, sun bathed, and sold real estate. I soon became best mates with a Dive Center owner and became a professional Diver. Costa Rica is where I met my Scuba Instructor husband and started my travels that ended us in Africa, married and with a our son.
We moved closer to the states working in the dive industry of Mexico for a couple of years and now Hawaii. I am the Customer Service and Marketing Manager For Island Divers Hawaii. I get to do combine what I am good at, marketing, and my passion diving!
After finishing the final page of Hungry, Hungry Sharks as a little kid, Nate was dedicated to spending his life on and under the water. While growing up in Alabama, he spent most of his time in the water. Whether it was a creek, a lake, a summer vacation to Florida, or even a 7 hour session in the public pool flipping off diving boards and swimming length of the pool on a single breath-hold, Nate’s parents were heavily burdened keeping him dry and out of the liquid he wished was home. When they were able to restrain the amphibious boy inside, research and sketches were done on everything from sharks to penguins. The water was his home away from home, and he wanted to learn everything about it.
Nate was first certified as a birthday present under the SSI organization through Auburn University. The door had been unlocked and opened! After studying biology for a few years in Alabama, he took a break and moved to St. John in the US Virgin Islands to begin his diving career. Following this was Thailand, Malaysia, and even Fiji. He landed on Oahu, Hawaii in 2011. Since then, technical diving has perked his interest, and he continues to expand his own knowledge and skill-set, day in and day out. Still feeling the same passion he felt as a small boy reading about the suit of armor a tiger shark might consume, this MSDT tries to ‘work’ everyday, to find another adventure…under the sea.
Mark grew up in San Diego, CA and has always spent time in and around the water. He first came to Hawaii in 1997 to study marine biology and oceanography at Hawaii Pacific University. He first took up scuba diving in the summer before his senior year of college in 2000 and found time at least once a week to avoid school work and go shore diving around the island of Oahu.
Upon graduating in 2001 Mark moved back to San Diego and started working in a dive shop. Over the next four years he worked his way up from an open water diver to an open water scuba instructor. But after getting tired of putting on a hood, gloves, 7mm suit, and a ton of weight to go shore diving, he decided to pick up and move back to Hawaii.
Mark has since been working at Island Divers Hawaii from 2005 and has become a Master Scuba Diver Trainer. His main passion in diving is photography and enjoys playing with his camera whenever he has a chance. Over the years he has been diving in Thailand, Grenada, Australia, California, and Hawaii.
Joakim arrived from Sweden in ’98 to study marine biology at Hawaii Pacific University. The magic powers of Hawaii keep him anchored here, and though he is on temporary leave to San Diego, he comes back every few months or so to check up on the Island Divers crew. He’s been with Island Divers Hawaii since the beginning years and has seen all the phases of expansion towards world domination; Kaioo, Hickam, Hawaii Kai, Sea Fox, Sea Hound, Barge, Layla, and most recently the Enzo.
Jo knows most of the dive sites on Oahu since he has been diving here since 1998, but he is still eager to explore new spots. He started Island Divers Hawaii’s HaTeD program (HAwaii TEchnical Divers) and later his own side project Hawaii Underwater Explorers (HUE) and it gives him the perfect opportunity to explore new sites all over the island. Joakim’s other interests are photography and videography, especially inside the caves of the Yucatan peninsula.
Jo was IDH’s first working Divemaster, but Matt the owner persuaded him to become a PADI dive instructor. That was back in 2003 and he is happy he did, teaching diving is one of the most rewarding things in life. Joakim’s drive to explore, educate and to excel at scuba diving has resulted in over 100 trained technical divers and being the only GUE instructor on island and one of the few that can teach Technical Trimix diving or gas blending programs he has his work cut out for him here on Oahu.
Originally from the heart of the PA coal region, Amy moved to Hawaii to escape the harsh winters and pursue a career in teaching special education. Always at home in the water, Amy began diving as soon as she arrived. She was certified as a PADI instructor in Phuket, Thailand in 2009 and has been actively diving and working as an instructor ever since. Amy is a now Master Scuba Dive Trainer and hoping to become a Handicapped Scuba Instructor in the very near future.
Amy has traveled all over the Pacific Islands,Asia, the mainland, and the Mediterranean exploring the underwater world. If you can’t find her on the Island Divers Hawaii boats, you’ll find her on her surfboard, her yoga mat or at the University of Hawai’i in class. She’s a busy girl, but she always makes time for her scuba family at Island Divers Hawaii.
Larry grew up with a great family, spending his youth exploring the tiger-filled jungles of rural Connecticut, and the ocean known as Long Island Sound. Not quite a valedictorian, he still really enjoyed NWCH high school in Hartford, and graduated from Villanova University, with lots of great friends and a degree in Psychology.
Which prepared him perfectly for a career owning and managing a construction company for over 30 years in New York city. While visiting Hawaii in the mid 70s with some friends, one of whom was a PADI CD, he was thrown into the ocean with a full set of dive gear on (thanks Dave) and immediately fell victim to scuba’s greatest danger – a serious addiction to diving.
Added to a love of travel, he has managed to dive all over the place and has seen and marveled at the profound sights the ocean offers, the great white sharks of South Africa, the giant mantas of Komodo, the whale sharks of Thailand, the white dolphins and piranhas of the Amazonian rain forest, as well as the Humpback whales, spinner dolphins, monk seals, and octopi of Hawaii.
He began the road to diving professional in the early 90′s assisting instructors at Beach 9, Brooklyn, Friday nights at the Y, and under the Throgs Neck Bridge in Queens (while still having a real job). A Master Scuba Diver Trainer since 2005 he has also worked in Phuket, Thailand, as well as NYC and now works with a great group of people at Island Divers Hawaii.
Kevin started diving as a teenager and was drawn to the sport because of the teaching style. That teaching style inspired him to gain a degree in Experiential Education and Environmental Science from SUNY Empire State University. Combining real life hands on experiences with a solid academic backbone is the way he prefers to learn.His early diving took place in the lakes and rivers surrounding the Catskill Mountain Range in Upstate NY. From there he moved to South Florida and received his PADI Instructor rating. He worked on reef protection programs in the Carribean, The Red Wolf Reintroduction Project in the Great Smoky Mountains NPS and developed environmental science based programs for the state education systems of NY,NJ and PA. In his spare time he zigg zagged the globe leading wilderness expeditions in the US, South America, Baja Mexico and Southern Africa.
In 2003 Kevin was invited to Hawaii and after a very short time decided it was time to settle down and stay in one place for awhile. He now spends his time exploring all Hawaii has to offer and sharing it with some of the most interesting people he has ever met. When he is not leading Island Divers Professional Development Program you can find him somewhere out there on his rebreather, stand up paddle board or just trekking through the countryside.
Captain Joe grew up in Deal, New Jersey and Miami, Florida where he started surfing, diving, fishing and sailing at very young age. He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1988 and retired after 21 years of service including 12 years at sea on various ships ranging in size from 82FT to 378FT.
He sailed the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to Columbia, and the Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea to Costa Rica, including Japan, Korea, and China. The other half of his career was spent as a Search and Rescue controller, including 4 years as Chief of the Joint Rescue Coordination Center here in Honolulu. He started at Island Divers in the summer of 2009 and is the Primary Captain of the Sea Fox.
Sheila is moved to Honolulu at the age of 19 from California. Her first scuba dives were in 1994 but she really caught the diving bug in 2005 and a few years later she began working in the dive industry. At Island Divers Hawaii, Sheila is largely responsible for getting the right people assigned to the right boats and shops so that the daily operations run as smoothly as possible.
Managing the schedule for two boats and two dive shop locations is a challenging job with so many people and moving parts, but somehow she brings it all together day after day with a kind approach and sincere attempt to accommodate everyone’s personal schedule.You can find Sheila manning the front desk, organizing the shop or captaining the boats as needed. Currently her latest dive passion is cave diving with Captain Matt, above.
Ashley grew up in beautiful Vail, Colorado, skiing and snowboarding at some of the best resorts in America. Early in 2008, friends in New Zealand enticed her to visit and she ended up living there for a year, working in vineyards in the summer and the ski resorts in the winter. An itch of wanderlust had her backpacking through Central America during the summer of 2010. It was in the city of Utila, Honduras, that she discovered scuba diving and got certified. Over the next year, she continued to wander and explore the countries of Panama, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru.
A California native, Brian moved to the islands in 2008. Brian graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in photography. Before moving to the islands, Brian worked as a professional photojournalist for 10 years for several publications. His photographs have been published by National Geographic, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Scuba Diving, Backpacker, Outside, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and many others.
After working as a professional photojournalist, Brian decided he had a passion to return to school, this time to complete a degree in marine biology. What better place for that than Hawaii? Brian is currently a student at the University of Hawaii, studying the ocean and all of its creatures.
Brian has been diving for more than 10 years. Having worked his way from an Open Water diver to Master Diver in the NAUI system, Brian is currently a certified PADI Divemaster. Brian has spent time diving in several places, including the kelp forests of California, Mexico, Belize, New Zealand, Thailand, and, of course, the beautiful waters of Hawaii. Brian still enjoys wielding his camera underwater, attempting to show the rest of the world the beautiful creatures that continue to amaze and inspire us divers. Brian’s biggest passion is the inhabitants of the reef, and he has dedicated himself to learn to identify each and every one of the inhabitants of Hawaii’s waters.
While topside, Brian is passionate about learning about the world. He still keeps a camera in hand, and is the victim of a traveler’s heart. He enjoys spending what time he gets away from his research backpacking throughout the world.
Jeff was born in Fall River, Massachusetts but grew up in East Stroudsburg, PA where he learned to dive in murky quarries and flooded slate mines. Jeff went to college at Plymouth State University where he was a three time NCAA All-American Wrestler, graduating in 1997 with a dual major in Finance and American Economic Development.
Since then Jeff has lived in 20 cities in 11 countries in the past 16 years. In 2002 he moved to St. Petersburg, Florida and signed up for the PADI OW Course. Unfortunately, there were four Hurricanes that hit Florida in four weeks and the shop that he had chosen was forced to close after their boat sank.
So Jeff went looking for another place to complete the scuba course and found Mermaids Dive School in Pattaya, Thailand. He called that day and after talking to the owner, he quit his job and bought a ticket to Thailand. A week later Jeff landed in Thailand and started his Scuba Diving career. Eight months later Jeff was a open water scuba instructor.
Jeff then traveled all over Southeast Asia for three years, visiting Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, before working as a dive instructor in Koh Samui, Thailand for two years. In March of 2006, Jeff flew to Oahu to work with Island Divers Hawaii and has been here ever since. Jeff likes to work the summer and winter months and travel a couple months in between seasons with his girlfriend, Charlynn, the owner of Gone Diving in Bellingham, WA and also an PADI MSDT. It is a rough life, but somehow he seems to manage.
Jeremy is a Divemaster from South Carolina. He and his family moved to Hawaii December 2012. Jeremy started diving that same month and has never stopped. Jeremy is currently pursuing an MBA at Hawaii Pacific University. Jeremy is the registrar and a certifying school official for Hawaii Scuba University. Former active duty and current reservist himself, he can often be found meeting at the shop with active duty and retired military helping them set up their GI bill benefits to pursue professional level training.
Davy was born in California but spent most of her life traveling the USA and a bit overseas with her beloved family. Her travels took her to Brazil where she lived and went to school for three years and met her future husband, Kendal. She fell in love with scuba diving the moment she took her first breath underwater at Blue Water Divers in Rochelle Park, New Jersey when she was 23 years old. She got her open water PADI certification two days after her graduation from college with a degree in Theater Arts. Davy went on to work for the very dive shop that certified her and thus began her climb to the exotic life traveling the world as a scuba instructor. She has had the pleasure of diving of the coast of New Jersey, the Caribbean Sea, Western Australia, and Bali, Indonesia. Davy is passionate about sharing her love of the ocean and it’s inhabitants with future generations.
Davy’s favorite creatures to see underwater are any kind of rays, nudibranchs and octopus.
Kendal was born and raised in Portland, Maine. Growing up in a traditionally nautical New England family, children are made into capable mariners as soon as they can throw a line. As such, Kendal was captaining his first boat on the “Downeast” coast of Maine by the age of 12. At 13, he began diving during one of the many family ventures out of the country during his youth. Spending much of his early years on and in the water, he developed a passion for the ocean and a profound respect for its power and its beauty, a passion matched only by his love for his beautiful wife Davy and his compulsion for traveling.
Naturally, Kendal began seeking a means to combine his interests with a career at 19, and moved to Sydney, Australia to learn how to teach SCUBA and became a PADI MSDT. Over the following decade, Kendal used his skills as a dive instructor and a mariner to not only become a 100 ton US Coast Guard Captain, an Australian Master Class 5 for shipping and trade, and a licensed Marine Engineer, but also to travel the world. He has lived and worked as Captain and/or Instructor in Indonesia, Thailand, the Bahamas, Kauai, Vietnam, Puerto Rico including the Mona Isles, the US Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Australia and New Zealand.
Through his many miles at sea at the helm of a wide range of vessels, Kendal has had the good fortune to receive the experience one gets by spending years at sea, and the knowledge and skill it has afforded him are an asset he values greatly. At the same time, being responsible for the training and supervision of literally tens of thousands of divers from an expansively diverse cultural mix, Kendal has developed into an effective, observant and extremely adaptable Instructor.
Drew was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, but moved to Hawaii about 4 years ago after getting his Bachelor’s Degree in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology from the University of Colorado. He has always been an avid underwater enthusiast and moved to the islands to pursue his passions for Scuba Diving and underwater photography. Drew now works as a Master Scuba Diver Trainer here at Island Divers Hawaii, and is thrilled to not only be diving everyday, but to work with such an awesome group of staff and friends. Currently, Drew is preparing to apply for graduate school to pursue a career in Marine Conservation and hopes to one day join the fight to conserve our tropical marine ecosystems for generations to come. Drew went back to school full time in the fall of 2013, he’s still on island and can be found leading charters on weekends when not studying for one test or another.