Nouf Alosaimi doesn’t let fear define her. On a trip to Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh in 2008, the Saudi native experienced the beauty and wonders of the underwater world for the first time on a scuba diving excursion, and instantly fell in love. Only three years later, Nouf completed her PADI Divemaster course in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She decided to make scuba diving her full-time job and traveled back to Sharm El Sheikh, where she spent several years as an underwater photographer and diving guide. In 2013, Nouf officially became a PADI Instructor and has been an advocate for women in scuba diving ever since. Today, she holds the record for the deepest technical dive by a Saudi woman.
This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating women in diving with Nouf at The Standard, Maldives. Join us for a week of underwater exploration as we dive in, raise our glasses, and reflect on how we can improve inclusivity in one of the world’s most exciting sports. This is your chance to set fear aside, suit up, and slip into the peaceful and pellucid waters of the Maldives, including our pristine house reef with 98 types of coral and over 220 species of marine life. But first, dive deep with Nouf as she discusses gender equality in diving, her dream destinations, and more.
How did you become an advocate in empowering women to scuba dive?
I never planned on becoming an advocate, but once you dedicate your life to the thing you love, it takes you to places you never imagined you would be. I believe every woman deserves to be happy and free and that is exactly how I feel when I dive. I wanted to show the women in my country that if I can do it, they can too.
What does female empowerment mean to you and how does it relate to diving?
Diving has always been a male-dominated sport, so getting women involved is an act of empowerment in and of itself. Female empowerment through diving means conquering your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone. It makes you a stronger, more adventurous person. Through scuba diving, we can prove to ourselves as women that anything is possible.
What has felt like your greatest achievement or obstacle in your career so far?
I feel like my greatest achievement is that I can reach a large audience. I can now inspire more people, not just my circle of friends and the women in my country. As for challenges, I tend to forget them once they’ve passed, I see them as simply the adventurous part of the journey.
What do you want people to know about life underwater?
It’s a safe, beautiful, new environment for human beings. But it's important to take care of it as it keeps us and our planet alive. The underwater world washes all your stress away. It surprises you. All the colorful fish and corals will take your breath away and make you focus on living in the moment.
Do you have any advice for people who are interested in diving?
Scuba diving is not just a sport, it’s good for your wellbeing, mental health, and soul. Make sure that when you take your diving courses, you pause to soak it all in and accept every emotion that comes your way, especially if it’s your first time. It's ok to be worried and nervous, it’s ok to take your time, enjoy every single moment.
What can we expect from the collaboration with The Standard, Maldives?
First of all, a lot of fun. But most importantly, a platform to inspire others around the world. It is one thing to create a mark on an individual, but together with The Standard, we can reach so many more people. I specifically chose to work with The Standard, Maldives for their interest in women empowerment, apart from its beautiful surroundings of course.
What are three reasons no one should miss your residency at The Standard, Maldives?
The more people who take part in it, the more change and hope we can inspire. Hopefully, I can inspire guests to stop putting life-changing decisions on hold due to fear or doubt.
It’s about time people learned more about Saudi Arabia from an inside perspective, not from a newspaper. Guests will discover that Saudi women and women from their own home country have more similarities than differences.
It’s a chance to learn more about the inner workings of the oceans that cover 70% of our planet and what we can do to protect them.
What are the dream diving destinations on your list for 2022?
I have so many! Swimming with whales in Tonga, diving with hammerheads in the Galapagos, witnessing the sardine run in South Africa, cenotes in Mexico... the list is endless.