Cardiff University Sub-Aqua Club (CUSAC) is still recovering post-Covid, as current Chair and subject of this month’s member profile, Simon A. Betts, explains. 

How did you get into diving? 

My parents met when they were in their twenties due my dad attending my mother’s house to deliver some training. Clearly things worked out well for them as my brother and I are here. I have a picture of me as a little boy wearing a Barry Sub-Aqua Club T-shirt. In the last few years my father has worked hard to convince me to join his 50+ years in the water. So I joined HSAC (Hereford Sub-Aqua Club) and diving as a way of spending more time with him. What I hadn’t realised is just how much I would fall in love with the underwater world. 

Simon Betts, aged about 6

What is your club like?

CUSAC is a close-knit club. The members are extremely supportive with most things from socials, training, diving and more. Many have even been there for other members when going through hard times such as breakups or bereavement. All round I believe the members of CUSAC to be team players that genuinely care for their buddies and their diving. 

You’re Chair – tell us about your role and why you’re doing it…

In my role as Captain (Chairman) of the Cardiff University Sub-Aqua Club (CUSAC), I attend all of the training sessions, organise dives and look for solutions to the problems I think the club will be facing in the upcoming months… or years. A big part of that is delegating work to members and committee of the club so that day to day and week to week tasks can be completed. 

I do this because of the opportunity to get people into diving for the first time - and for people to experience UK diving for the first time is something special and incredibly rewarding. University is the place to experiment with life and is such a great opportunity for re-energising new members into BSAC.  

What motivates you? 

Most who know me know I find it difficult to switch off, I like to keep myself busy and active. Diving gives me both the opportunity to exercise and keep my mind active, while simultaneously giving me an hour where the only thing I am thinking about is the dive. My buddy, the life around me, the creatures…. it is a small escape form the chaos of life to settle my thoughts and feelings.  

It is really very difficult to describe, so as I say to all my new members don’t read/listen to me tell you why this is so great; get some kit on, and join me in the water so I can SHOW you why it is so great! Trust me, from dive number one you will get it.  

Any particular challenges? 

There have been a wide range of challenges this year. Training and finding instructors has been a lot of work. Our boat has been through a complete engine rebuild lead by two members of the club. Our compressor has needed new towers all year which our students union (SU) has been unwilling to address due to the club reaffiliating with the university. All of our kit has needed testing due to the club shutting down post-Covid. 

One of the biggest issues has been navigating the SU politics and bureaucracy especially when we have been given zero funding by our SU due to reaffiliating. Irritatingly we have also not been able to apply for any external funding as all funding bodies have told us the university should provide for us. The cost of transport has priced out use of the SU equipment, meaning we are dependent on three or four students who bring their own cars to uni. We have a very limited selection of kit so often kit fitting currently is a big challenge. CUSAC is also lacking critical kit such as dive computers, dive tools and DSMBs. Some equipment like weightbelts have recently been purchased out of club members’ own pockets.

All round, the list of challenges is a lot. However I have no doubt that we can continue to keep working on this list of challenges to return the club to its former glory. 


What do you plan to do next?

The plan I created to recover CUSAC was a five-year plan. Currently I am one year into the plan and so the ongoing recovery of the club is a must. I am also a member of HSAC so supporting and learning from their experienced members is high up on my list. I would like to keep expanding my own diving into some of the more technical aspects.  

In short, finding a place where I can combine my engineering skills with my love of diving is high up on my bucket list. 

Why should people join, and dive with BSAC?

BSAC is brilliant. I love the way it’s a community and it doesn’t matter where you are from, if you say you’re BSAC you instantly have a connection with people. I am not trying to be a BSAC purist and say it’s the best or it’s the only body. But from my experience it’s one of the kindest and one of the most forgiving. It comes with its problems however I think as a team (locally) and as a community (nationally) there isn’t much we can’t figure out a solution to!  

How CUSAC members describe Simon:

He advocates for the club - Boat Officer
An honest, hard-working man with great air consumption who definitely doesn’t have proof of why I’m banned from Cumberland – Treasurer
Very organised, especially with club stuff and cares about other people’s enjoyment (maybe more than his own sometimes.) Oh, and a classic diver who’s always up for a pint – Equipment Officer 
Perpetually hard working; Enthusiastic; Natural leader; Inspirational; Social animal (butterfly) – Diving Officer 



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