10 mai 2013

Paradivers dive Russia's Star City Cosmonaut Center

Disabled Slovenian diving group IAHD Adriatic Dives in Star City, Russia

Damian Peklar is a man who does many things. He has jumped out of airplanes, rides motorcycles, and cuts through ice to dive. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that the Slovenian diver spends most of his life in a wheelchair. 

Despite the limitations from spinal cord injury, last month Damian and other divers from the International Association for Handicapped Divers Adriatic (IAHD Adriatic) made good on the the opportunity of a lifetime — diving in Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC).

Located in Star City, Russia (Zvyozdny Gorodok), the GCTC is one of the most unique dive environments in the world, named after Yuri Gagarin, the first human being in space. The GCTC allowed the Suunto-equipped divers into an area where few divers have ever been – it's the same place that Russian cosmonauts train for operations in the weightlessness of space.

The team spent an hour in the crystal clear water of the hydrolab examining space modules, together with Nikita Vankov, the first Russian wheelchair diver to be certified by CMAS/CRASA. Nikita was trained in his native city, Anapa, on the Black Sea, by Russian instructors of the Foundation for support of the Russian state program “Dostupnaya sreda” (available environment).
“It was the dream dive and the fulfillment of a long term dream,” says paradiver Damian Peklar.

“This opportunity was the first of its kind in the world,” adds Slovenian diver Branko Ravnak, principal organizer of the IAHD Adriatic. The indoor dive tank is a massive 5,000 cubic meters in volume, 12 meters in depth, and offers 45 viewing windows. It houses unique sights for scuba divers, including full-size mockups of Russian space station modules.

The team was supplied with a range of Suunto diving instruments, including the Suunto D4i, Suunto D6i, and the Suunto D9tx. Mika Holappa, Director for the Suunto Dive Business Unit, shares excitement for the IAHD Adriatic divers. "The group is so inspiring, and we're very happy to have supported them in this unique project,” he says.

Check back to Suunto's Facebook page for updates on this and other inspiring diving stories.


About Suunto

Suunto was born in 1936 when Finnish orienteer and engineer Tuomas Vohlonen invented the mass production method for the liquid-filled compass. Since then, Suunto has been at the forefront of design and innovation for sports watches, dive computers and sports instruments used by adventurers all over the globe. From the highest mountains to the deepest oceans, Suunto physically and mentally equips outdoor adventurers to conquer new territory.

Suunto's headquarters and manufacturing plant is in Vantaa, Finland. Employing more than 400 people worldwide, Suunto products are sold in over 100 countries. The company is a subsidiary of Amer Sports Corporation along with its sister brands Salomon, Arc'teryx, Atomic, Wilson, Precor, Mavic and Nikita.

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