Canadian Lucas Barroso is a rebreather diver. Nothing special about that — there are thousands of rebreather divers in Canada — except Lucas Barroso is so young he only just received his driver’s license, making him possibly Canada’s youngest rebreather diver.
The 16-year-old is an A student at Huron Heights secondary school and a member of the Huron Heights swim team. He’s been attracted to the water since he was a child and became interested in diving at young age. “When I got the opportunity to dive open circuit at 12 I didn’t hesitate,” he said. Lucky then that his father is a rebreather instructor with PADI, TDI and RAID, who also helped him get his rebreather certification on the Poseidon Discovery MK6 with RAID. “When I was 15 I decided to get my rebreather license, and I’ve been diving it ever since.”
Scuba Diving: Why did you want to be rebreather trained? Was it “boredom” with open-circuit, did you want to challenge yourself, is there a specific destination you want to get to for rebreathers?
Lucas Barroso: I had a tendency to run out of air quite quickly compared to most divers. When the MK6 came out and it became easier to dive rebreather I jumped on the idea. I have always wanted to visit Truk Lagoon like my dad did, and now that I dive rebreather I can dive long enough to really see the shipwrecks there.
SD: Does anyone else in your family dive rebreathers?
LB: Yes, my dad also uses a rebreather and dives it on a regular basis.
SD: What was the most difficult aspect of your rebreather training?
LB: Dealing with the stage bottle was the hardest thing I had to overcome because it was 1/2 my weight! Also buoyancy was a problem — on rebreather you do not rise and fall with each breath, so you could stay in the same spot and hover. Or sink like a stone!
SD: Do you think rebreathers have an unfair reputation as being “too technical” or “too difficult”?
LB: They do have a reputation of being too technical, but I assure you, it’s something many people can handle. The new ones, especially the Poseidon, make it a lot easier.
SD: Does being so young possibly confer to people that rebreathers can be used in a more recreational setting, and by divers of all ages?
LB: Yes, though most rebreathers are aimed for a technical and military audience, more and more models are coming out for the “average Joe.”
SD: Where’s your first rebreather trip planned?
LB: I have no idea. I’d like to join my dad in Florida to dive the wrecks in the Keys, but I’m excited to go wherever the current takes me!
SD: What’s up next in your training?
LB: The wreck penetration course. I have the time, so now I need something to do while I’m down there.
SD: What other passions do you have besides scuba diving?
LB: Mixed Martial Arts and snowboarding. I like to balance my activities as much as possible — MMA and snowboarding are high-intensity, high-adrenaline sports and scuba diving is the calming and peaceful counterpoint.