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Our Elite Instructor Staff

We Are Here For You


Chris Howard

Owner, Director of Training, PADI MSDT Instructor, EFR Instructor, Atomic Repair Technician

Chris grew up on Catalina Island starting at the age of 2 years old. As a local, he spent countless hours in and around the beautiful waters of Catalina.  Chris has been a PADI professional for over 8 years.  All of those years have been spent teaching novices to professionals right here on Catalina Island. 

Chris is recreationally certified on closed-circuit rebreather, PADI Tech 40, 45, 50, and Trimix.  He is a gas blender and PADI O2 provider.  Chris has extensive and expert knowledge in teaching in confined open water. Due to his experience and wealth of knowledge, you could not be in better hands.

In his free time Chris enjoys camping, paddle boarding, kayaking, body surfing, free diving, hunting, and playing video games. As a scuba repair technician, he has extensive knowledge of the inner workings of all scuba equipment. Chris specializes in training divers with zero water experience all the way up to the seasoned professional.  No matter your experience level, Chris' expertise will help you to grow into a confident, safe, badass diver.


Nikki Howard

Owner, PADI Staff Instructor,
HSA Instructor, EFR Instructor, Director of Chris Howard

Nikki is a Southern California native whose love for the ocean started at a young age. She has been scuba diving off the Channel Islands since she was a young girl, and has been a PADI professional for over 13 years. With over 20 years of scuba experience, it’s Nikki’s passion to share her knowledge and love of the underwater world with all her clients. 

Nikki lived in Puerto Rico for 8 years where she taught scuba diving on the western coast.  Nikki also gained extensive knowledge of scuba equipment as a regulator repair technician and apprentice at Malibu Scuba Repair. 


In her spare time, she enjoys surfing, free diving, spearfishing, hunting lobster, camping and mountain biking. 

  She loves to experience and share new adventures with an extreme focus on safety and fun. Nikki specializes in training divers with disabilities and children. No matter your experience level, you’re in excellent hands. 


John Kowitz


Underwater Photographer/DirectorPadi Freedive InstructorAida II & Fii Level 1 Certified Freediver

John Kowitz combines his background in freediving, love for the ocean, and passion for photography to capture stunning underwater images.  John is a freediving instructor, has worked as a spearfishing guide in Maui, as well as a freediving guide for a whale and shark tour in Kona Hawaii.    

Through his work, he displays an array of images including marine life and water lovers in an artistic manner.  He combines knowledge learned in several different freediving disciplines and his background as an emergency room nurse to make safety a priority.  He has worked with leading brands and influencers in the ocean and adventure industry. He hopes his passion will inspire people to explore, protect, and expand efforts in ocean conservation.


Luna aka The Tuna

Casino Point Entry and Exit Expert

Gus began diving when he was a teenager.  He immediately fell in love with the underwater world, and couldn't wait to continue his training.  Gus trained exclusively with Chris for all of his courses which included many specialties. Gus is Catalina Scuba's #1 Dive Master for a reason. Not only is he a consummate professional, but he's devastatingly good looking.  You will be super safe with Gus, and have a complete blast.

Kara is our newest Dive Master, and she's on fire! Kara focuses on safety and having an absolute blast in and out of the water.  Her vibrant, unique, and infectious personality won't disappoint. She was born in Avalon, which gives her the coveted title of true Catalina Islander.  We are so proud and excited to have her has one of our team members, and we know you will feel the same. 

Luna is a key fixture out at the Avalon Underwater City Dive Park.  Luna loves to swim, but it wasn't always so easy for her.  After many months of dedication and commitment, Luna has become quite the swimmer. Her ability to predict the ease, difficulty, and overall conditions of the entry and exit at the stairs is first class. If you're really lucky, you might spot her during your safety stop.  

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