PADI Underwater Model Hernan Bermejo

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Hernan Bermejo is a familiar face to any PADI Diver who’s taken a course in the past few years. He appears in the new Open Water Diver materials and on the cover of our Scuba Tune-Up manual – among other places. We asked Hernan to tell us a little bit about his career. Below are some highlights from our interview – presented in English and also Spanish, Hernan’s native language.

PADI scuba underwater hand signals

What inspired you to become a diver?
In Margarita, Venezuela I met Pablo Montoya, he is an active instructor and he helped me developed the necessary skills to become a Rescue Diver. When I moved to California, I started working for an underwater cleaning hull company, I worked for 3+ years in a Lagoon in Carlsbad , CA looking for [a particular kind of] algae, then I went on to Sea World in San Diego, as a Water Quality Diver for about five years.

In the meantime, I was teaching scuba diving and I fell in love when I saw people learning the skills and being happy, because this life is about LOVE. I later worked on a cruise ship and went to 96 Countries [including] Russia, Indonesia, and Greece. I had the opportunity to dive amazing sites.

Then, I went to work in Cirque Du Soleil as an Artist Handler, but not for too long. I contacted PADI for an audition to be a model. Of course I would never say “no” to that offer!

Now I am in charge of building a 16-acre theme park in Medellin, Colombia where I will install a PADI training center, and teach skydiving in a Wind Tunnel. The training from PADI, and the opportunity to have all this experiences, it has been the best thing that could happened in my life.

Hernan in the PADI Open Water ManualEn la Isla de Margarita, Conocí a Pablo Montoya, una leyenda viviente en el mundo del buceo, Tome sus clases hasta el nivel de Rescate. A los 17 años de edad, después de la muerte de mi papá, me mude a USA, en busca del sueño americano. Encontré trabajo limpiando Barcos debajo del agua, bucear por un lago en la ciudad de Carslbad, en California, buscando una alga llamada “Caulerpa Taxifolia”, un alga nacida en el mediterráneo y que ahora se encontraba en las costas de California.

Luego, entré a trabajar en SeaWorld, San Diego, California como buzo de Calidad de Agua por cinco años. Después, me fui a la aventura de viajar por el mundo abordo de un Barco Crucero. Viaje a más de 96 países, y conocí ciudades maravillosas. Vi el mundo de primer bocado.

Hace unos años Cirque Du Soleil me contrato para ser parte de Artist Handler.
Entre estos años, PADI me ofreció ser modelo en su publicidad y estar dentro de las grabaciones del video de cursos de Aguas Abiertas. Un honor para mí, ya que he trabajado con un equipo profesional y amigos.

Porque les cuento todo esto, porque si no fuera por mi instrucción de PADI, yo no fuera quien soy hoy. “Si se tiene el poder de cambiar el pasado, cambiaríamos toda la sabiduría que hoy tenemos”


Why did you decide to become an instructor?
Teaching others has been a fascination. Also traveling: I taught in Bahamas, Bali, Greece, Florida, California, Caribbean, Red Sea, all over. I made money doing something I love.

Bueno, enseñar a otro es algo fascinante, también el viajar, yo enseñe en Bahamas, Grecia, el Caribe, y muchos otros sitios. Estaba haciendo mi dinero y mi modo de vida haciendo lo que amo.

Hernan with his cover shotCan you describe an average day on a photo shoot?
Sometimes we have to do a dive three times to get a shot. There are easy days and there are difficult days. I remember this one  day in particular – we were filming the Open Water Diver video on the California coast, and the waves were kind of big.

I said to myself, “We can make it… ” And all of the sudden this wave hit Rocio [the other diver] and I, and pang! Wipe Out! Hehe…we had sand everywhere. It was funny and of course these moments made me who I am. “If we have the power to delete the past from our lives, we will destroy the knowledge that we built”

Bueno, el primer día que conoces al Crew es muy importante la primera impresión, no solamente porque estas modelando, sino que te presentas como un profesional y que deben saber que en el caso de una emergencia uno puede responder correctamente.
Como dicen hay días buenos y malos. Hay que tener paciencia en toda situación, pero al final del día es paz lo que importa.

What are some things an aspiring PADI model should have on his/her resume (educational background, languages, volunteer work, etc).
Well, I am from Venezuela, from a small town called San Antonio de los Altos, all my friends made fun because I am not that tall, and Altos means Tall. Education is important, but life experience is what makes you? So, your resume has to show who you are and what you are capable of doing.

Bueno yo soy de Venezuela, de un pueblo llamado San Antonio de los Altos. Y aun así viaje por todo el mundo he hice cosas que muy pocos pueden contar, me siento muy orgulloso, la educación es muy Importante, pero pienso que alguien con experiencia vale más. En el Resume debe de decir quién eres y que eres capaz de hacer.

PADI Diver model Hernan Bermajo
What is your favorite place to dive?
Shark diving is my favorite type of diving, but shipwrecks are amazing, and cave diving is another level! Something really sad is the bad conservation of the ocean, we all live here on planet earth, we have to do the right thing, we must!

Bueno, el buceo con tiburones es mi favorito, pero barcos hundidos, son momentos mágicos debajo del agua. La conservación del planeta. Todos vivimos aquí, tenemos que hacer las cosas de la mejor manera. Tenemos!

You can connect with Hernan at or on Instagram: hernanbermejo. His new venture is: