Keller Laros, a.k.a. Manta Man, logged his 10,000th scuba dive on Thursday, September 6th, 2012 with a dive at Suck’em Up Lava Tube on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Laros is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer #24235 and professional dive guide and instructor at Jack’s Diving Locker.
Keller states, “Suck’em Up Lava Tube is probably my most favorite dive of all times. It has everything Kona has to offer – lava tubes with skylights, reef fish, and a big drop off. I’ve seen turtles, dolphins, manta rays, white tip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, and even humpback whales at this site.” One must remember that Laros has had ample opportunity with these sightings because 10,000 dives is equivalent to 312 days underwater with an average dive of 45 minutes. Wow!
Laros logged his first scuba dive 28 years earlier (1984) with a dive at Kaloko Arches, just south of where he went for the 10,000th dive. He was actually a customer of Jack’s Diving Locker and went diving with owner Jeff Leicher. After the dive, Leicher broke out his logbook to log his dive. This was Keller’s first dive after certification and he decided to do the same. Twenty-four Scubapro logbooks later, Laros was thrilled to write #10,000 for the Suck'em Up dive entry!
Laros became a PADI Scuba Instructor in 1985 and went to work at Jack’s Diving Locker in 1991 and has been there ever since. Keller is well known in the scuba industry for his charismatic personality and love for diving. Most people remember his bad jokes, but he would argue they’re pretty funny. Keller’s made his biggest impact when in comes to manta research and conservation. He started identifying the local manta population in Kona in 1991 and wrote a PADI distinctive specialty called Manta Ray Diver that he still teaches regularly at Jack’s Diving Locker. In 2002, he co-founded a non-profit organization called Manta Pacific Research Foundation. By 2009, Keller and others lobbied lawmakers with information that helped to pass a manta protection law in the State of Hawaii. Keller takes people on the world famous Manta Ray Night Dive every week and continues his lifelong dedication to research, education, and conservation concerning manta rays and the marine environment.
Check out Jack's Diving Locker's Facebook for a video of Keller’s 10,000th dive at Suck’em Up Lava Tube.