Joe Knight’s One Ocean International Watermanship Course is all about using the ocean as a medium for personal discovery, but it was a personal catastrophe that birthed the course and changed the course of Joe’s life.
Joe grew up spearfishing competitively in the frigid waters around Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. He was fanatic about diving from a young age and when he finished school he joined the navy and began training as a clearance diver, then later a medic.
The navy was all about chasing numbers, says Joe; diving was highly competitive, and he strived to push his own limits and be the best. He retained this attitude even after discharging from the navy in 2008 and starting a freediving school in Byron Bay.
But in 2013, Joe was working as a safety diver at an international freediving championship event in the Bahamas when he witnessed the tragic death of freediver Nicholas Mevoli. Witnessing the death affected him deeply, says Joe, and completely changed his relationship with diving and the ocean.
“After Nick passed away, things were really hectic for me. It made me completely rethink what I was doing, why I was diving and what I wanted out of my ocean exploration, basically my own journey. So that really shifted me around. I basically stopped all competition, didn’t do it anymore. And I started to focus on that journey of self-discovery that you get through using the ocean as a medium.”