Even if you aren’t the type to get starstruck, it can be a pretty cool experience to meet a celebrity you admire. Since 1971, Jack Aaron -master scuba diver trainer and owner of Aaron’s Dive Shop in Kailua – has had the privilege of bonding with many entertainment celebrities. What makes Aaron’s stories a little more unique is that those celebrity engagements have come below the surface of the ocean.
A quick list of some of Aaron’s previous and repeat clients include Jerry Garcia, James Taylor, members of Fleetwood Mac, Bo Derek, David Hasselhoff, Tom Selleck, Joe Perry, Cheryl Ladd, Robin Williams, Kenny G, INXS, UB40, Steve Miller, Rob Schneider, The Rock, Buffalo Keaulana, cast members from LOST and Hawaii Five-0, Anthony Edwards, Jennifer Lopez, and of course the Cousteau family.
In the mid-’70s, Aaron was the new kid on the proverbial scuba diving block. He had a small outdoor shop and through the natural progression of desire and passion for what he did was able to establish a name and career for himself within the international diving community.
“I had four stores at one time, but the big thing is I was the distributor for Aqualung (a major scuba diving equipment manufacturer). I got to travel all over the world, I got to dive everywhere,” says Aaron – who was on MidWeek‘s cover Jan. 12, 1994. “Almost all my friends are from this store, people that I’ve met during a lifetime of diving. I’m feeling it a little bit now, but am luckily in good health.”
If you’re planning a scuba trip or are just curious about some of the premier dive spots around the world, Aaron is emphatic that the island of Palau, in the Western Pacific, is the spot.
“If you want warm water, super clear water and thousands and thousands of fish, they have it,” says Aaron. For those interested in pristine cold water diving, the Galapagos islands is his suggestion: “Depending on the season, the water is typically flat, there are thousands of sharks, huge circles of fish, the water is super clear and around 55 degrees.”
For a more local experience, Aaron notes you cannot go wrong with areas on the north coast of Big Island.
“There are so many places to go in the world now. Everything is accessible, from Southeast Asia, Bali, Papua New Guinea.”
Aaron, who has dominated Hawaii’s scuba market, certifying tens of thousands of enthusiastic divers and working with dozens of television and movie production teams for decades, has taken a desereved breather recently, dedicating a lot of time to travel with his family. Now with only one dive shop, Aaron is excited about being able to still provide a place for diving veterans and amateurs to share the experience of scuba. Aaron’s Dive Shop is also heavily involved with a VA diving program.
Sponsored by Pacific Diving Academy, Aaron’s Dive Shop offers dive master or dive instructor courses for veterans with VA-approved benefits.