12-Year-Old RSF Resident is World’s Youngest Master Diver


Tennessee “T” Cumming, a Rancho Santa Fe sixth-grader, became the world’s youngest master diver last week. This is the highest achievement a young diver can earn from the international Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). 

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports:

“To celebrate his new title, Tennessee (who goes by the nickname ‘T’) was honored Tuesday by his classmates at The Winston School in Del Mar, which serves children with learning challenges.

Driscoll [T’s diving coach] said with all the classroom and diving time she spent with T, they started setting goals.

The hardest to reach was becoming the youngest Junior Master Scuba Diver, a category open to youths ages 12 to 15. Besides the 50 dives, the achievement requires multiple certifications, including rescue diver, emergency first responder diver and advanced open water diver.

He also had to complete training in five specialty areas.

Driscoll said T picked some of the most technical and complicated specialties, including emergency oxygen provider equipment specialist, dry suit diver and peak performance buoyancy. Only the poor diving conditions off San Diego’s coast due to El Niño-related tides this year kept him from earning more, she said.

With his new certification, T is now qualified for deeper and more challenging dives. He said he loves diving on shipwrecks, where over the years he’s found ‘sunken treasure’ including an antique coin, a pocket knife, a GoPro camera and a small boat anchor. His next goal is to dive in the Tennessee River, where he wants to explore the wreck of a Civil War-era steamboat.”

Read more about Tennessee’s accomplishment here.