Gabriel LuNAUI COURSE DIRECTOR
“I believe that everybody has a responsibility to the world. I found that mine was to share with others a passion for another world. The only way to do this was to dedicate my entire life.”
Born and raised for the first sixteen years of his life in the rural countryside of Taitung, Taiwan, Gabriel Lu began scuba diving early at the age of fourteen. What started out as catching fish for pocket change quickly evolved into an undying curiosity for the underwater world.
From there it was underwater special ops in the military, commercial diving for Taiwan Petroleum Company, education in New Zealand focusing on mixed-gas saturation diving, underwater welding and cutting, and a bachelor degree in the United States for deep-sea diving technology and ocean engineering.
As a certified Scuba instructor since 1987, Gabriel didn’t hesitate to begin his pursuit of recreational diving education. In the process of receiving the NAUI course director title, he established Ocean Safari Scuba and began adding to his expertise underwater and outdoor photography, free diving, underwater precision equipment manufacturing, underwater hunting, and what accumulated to over thirty years of exotic world-traveling and outdoors experience.
However, it isn’t just your industry savviness which defines your character. In the community Ocean Safari Outdoors and Gabriel Lu caters to, it is a burning passion that moves things forward. It’s the willingness to dedicate yourself. This spirit produces a relationship which in the end is fit for nothing else but a good adventure.
Thomas TemplarNAUI Instructor Trainer
Born at the tender age of zero, he began his first migration towards the great Pacific Ocean. Forged by the rough shell sand and pounding temperate waves, he formed a deep connection with the sea and all of her creatures. Now he uses his powers to teach others how to form a deep and lasting relationship with our mother, Ocean.
In his terrestrial life, Thomas is most commonly spotted at the Ocean Safari headquarters answering calls, repairing equipment, orchestrating excursions, and signing autographs.
After hours he must travel to the nearest body of water to avoid desiccation, often spending his weekday evenings teaching scuba, free diving, and rescue diving at the Norman S. Johnson Aquatic Center in Arcadia.
When he is not “working” photography, music, surfing, and hiking are his go to activities.
Though his powers are great and many, there are still countless migrations ahead.
Join Ocean Safari and view this majestic creature on your next underwater adventure.
Andy RiosNAUI INSTRUCTOR
Born and raised in Southern California, I always had that drive for adventure. Whether it is going on hikes off trail or exploring underwater, the outdoors never ceases to amaze me. As an instructor at Ocean Safari, I take great pride in what I do and always love to see smiling faces after an awesome dive. You'll probably find me behind a camera underwater.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." -Einstein
Thai QuachNAUI Instructor Trainer
Thai is a NAUI Instructor Trainer and has been a certified diver since 1996. He loves to share his diving passion and experiences with every student and diver. He believes it is important to train every single student to be self-reliance and a safe diver so they can enjoy their diving experience.
Thai’s favorite dives are wall dives, drift dives and coral gardens and some of his favorite places to dive are Paula, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Locally, he loves to dive at Catalina Island, Santa Barbara Island and Anacapa Island.
Stu RoyNAUI/PADI INSTRUCTOR
I am an instructor for PADI being certified as an Staff Instructor in the Instructor Training Course. I am also certified as an Instructor for NAUI as well as with DAN instructing Emergency Medicine for Scuba Divers, Advanced Oxygen Delivery and Aquatic Animals Emergency Medical Care. I am also a CPR with AED instructor.
I started diving in 1972 and became an instructor in 1988. I have logged over 8000 dives and have instructed over 1000 students. I still get excited when first timers exclaim upon surfacing after their first dive "that was incrediblle". I have dove throughout the world and taught in the Cayman Islands for seven years before discovering Gabe and Ocean Safari some years ago.
In the "other world", I am a Physical Therapist, licensed in California and have been licensed since 1963. Presently I specialize with knee and hip replacements seeing the patients in their homes after discharge from the hospital following surgery.
My passion lies with diving where I feel in touch with the sea and actually feel more comfortable under water than in our natural environment..
Soo SeoGraphic Designer
I started diving in 2003. I’m proud that I conquered a near-drowning experience that I had when I was young. Even after that experience, I still had the desire to explore and find out what’s underneath the water’s surface. The process of learning scuba diving and going out diving was something that could relieve loads of stress from me. From then on I worked really hard to improve on my skills and increase my comfort in the water. I love being underwater and breathing; I feel like a fish! I travel around the world and have logged over 700 dives. I love trying to take pictures of macro marine life in several different angles. My on-land profession is graphic designing, processing loads of Ocean Safari's underwater images, maintaing the website, and feeding Ocean Safari's kids/staff/dogs.
Haruka ItoNAUI Instructor / Biologist / Nature Guide
Did you know that the same geometric ratio that forms the spiraling pattern in nautilus shells, abalone shells, and snail shells is the same ratio that arranges the fronds ("leaves") of giant kelp, is the same ratio that governs the spiraling of our milky way galaxy, which also found in the proportionality of the human body, and also determines the spiraling of DNA in every cell of ALL living things? It's the golden ratio (phi).
Nature is amazing. And we, humans, are connected to nature in so many ways, no matter how hard we try to separate ourselves and put ourselves at the top (trying to control nature). We are one with nature and it's beauty permeates through everything including ourselves. My passion is to show everyone this beauty and facilitate connections with nature in this way.
I'll guide you underwater and open your eyes to the creatures often overlooked. I'll give you health and beauty tips using algae, and make you delicious seaweed cocktails. I'll lead you into the mountains to forage for wild foods and make seasonal drinks! Come out and explore with me!
"From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to the earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free" - Jaques Cousteau
Hi! ^___^ I began my diving experience with the amazing Ocean Safari team in the fall of 2012 and I'm having a blast! I continue to dive because it's fun, it's unique, I meet lots of awesome people, and I want to improve my diving skills. Happy diving! :D
Megumi ItohIllustrator/NAUI Instructor
I started taking pictures as a way to remember what I saw during the dives. Since then, my obsession with the nudibranchs and other small marine animals led me to specializing in underwater macro photography.
Ggambo aka Kumbu LuPublic Relationship and Security Guard manager
Ggambo was a lost, wandering street kid in Koreatown, Los Angeles who was born in early 2006. When he was four months old, he went on his first ocean excursion in the extremely rough Northern Californian waters. His job description at Ocean Safari is Public Relationship and Security Guard manager. He handles his job very well, but we don’t exactly understand why he doesn’t get along with mailmen. Other than that, he takes his job very seriously and is always eager to go to work. Ggambo has a lot of boating experience, but doesn’t go on local or overseas group trips due to species discrimination. He does, however, join the Ocean Safari Staff in as much of their personal expeditions as possible. Ggambo is a father of six kids with one lovely wife named Lulu. He rides a bike to work every working day and greets customers with love.
Luis TorresNaui Instructor/ La County Lifeguard
To be is to do.....
Manuel ChavezNAUI Instructor
-Volunteer Diver for Santa Monica Baykeepers / Los Angeles Waterkeepers since 2009
-AAUS trained since 2011
-Emergency Response Diver trained since 2012
-What draws me to the ocean besides its ever changing beauty? The family atmosphere and teamwork displayed by the staff from Ocean Safari whose goal I believe is to share and open up a new experience of the underwater world to our divers, also the work accomplished while volunteering my time with the Los Angeles Waterkeepers, we call it diving with a purpose.
Summy LuNAUI Assistant Instructor
The best advice someone gave me is to learn scuba diving. It's a life changing experience and I am still loving it to this day. Living beyond bounds, what can one person in the whole wide world could have asked for? Life on land is amazing, but life underwater is simply magnificent. Ocean Safari makes it happen for me.
Eko [ek-oh] ChangIntern/Security Guard
Known as the quiet one, Eko has been with Ocean Safari Since 2012. Packed with big paws and a bigger heart, Eko is always greeting people with that smile of his. Although Eko is pretty fit, don't make fun of his weight because he's sensitive about it. You can catch him at the shop following Andy around so be sure to say hi.
Norbert LeeNAUI Instructor/ Marine Biology Technician for LACSD
Most people dive to enjoy the macro-scale beauty of the underwater world such as kelp forests and coral reefs. I dive to study the the ecology of marine environments as well as the microscopic world of the ocean that most people cannot see, the world of phytoplanktons and bacteria that are both vital and harmful for the ocean.
As a Dive Instructor, I feel a sense of accomplishment when students and veteran divers alike see the beauty of the ocean and soak in the awe of the sight. Leading or assisting with dives also gives me a chance to slow down and enjoy all the little organisms I take for granted with divers that haven't seen them before. Watching divers grow into the sport to me means that there is one more voice for our delicate oceans.
I hope more divers get into the sport to open their eyes and appreciate the everchanging underwater world. With Ocean Safari I know they will do just that.
Hi! I started diving when I was 13 because my mom saw an article about Ocean Safari in the newspaper and asked me if I wanted to learn scuba diving and I said yes. From there the month after I got certified, my brother got certified, and then did our advance certification together. After that, I dove every weekend, every summer throughout high school.
I've been on countless local and oversea trip with Gabe and Ocean Safari. Gabe is so awesome and has taken care of me ever since I was 13 and continues to this day =)
Not only did I meet my husband scuba diving with OS, I've also met one of my best friends, and a few tight knit family members. OS is such an integral part of my life that I couldn't imagine my life without it.
I've always been drawn to adventure, especially in nature. I grew up in a small town where my backyard was a dense forest. The forest seemed endless, and it fascinated me. I missed it like crazy when I moved to Southern California. Then I discovered the forest is still right in my backyard, in the giant kelp of the Channel Islands. I've never been diving outside the California coastline, and I know someday I will. But for now, there is plenty of adventure to be had right here.
Adam KeenanNAUI Instructor
I fell in love with the ocean and discovering the secrets that lie beneath the surface when I was 11 years old during a week long stay on Catalina Island at the Catalina Island Marine Institue. From there, I was hooked and have always known my future lies somewhere in the ocean. I later received my B.S. in Marine Biology from Cal State University, Long Beach. My dive career began in 2009 with Ocean Safari and I have been diving and instructing with OSDT ever since. In my opinion, nothing beats the serenity of the kelp forest, but I hope to travel our oceans and experience the unique beauty that each desitnation has to offer. See you all under water!!