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All reviews sail rock dive master dive shop open water course fun dives these guys made us feel padi certification advanced open water great instructor small group my boyfriend shallow water amazing experience friendly atmosphere whale sharks great dive school
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Reviewed December 19, 2015

I came to Koh Tao to do my dive master and knew very little about diving, I enrolled in one of the bigger schools when I came straight from the ferry and did my open water and advanced open water with them. I was pretty disappointed at the fact that I was in such a large group and visited the same dive sites on multiple occasions within my first nine dives. I researched online and found New Way mentioned as 'making it's purpose' to dive at the premier diving spots around Koh Tao as often as possible, and give customers the most varied experience.
When I went to take a look at the diving school I instantly new it would be a better fit for me to complete my course and get the most enjoyment out it. I signed up for my rescue diver and DM and was on the early boat to Sail Rock the next day. The diving was excellent and as usual we were the first people on the site. Since then I have dived at all the premier sites surrounding Koh Tao, often going to Sail Rock, South West Pinnacle, Shark Island, Green Rock and many more.
New ways policy is to be the first boat to leave the pier and it is always nice to be heading out as the sun rises and know you will be alone for your first dive apart from your friends and the people diving with you. There is a real welcoming and family feel to the school.
Recently they have bought completely new equipment and I feel very safe using it, it is certainly alot better than stuff I have used before on the island!
So to summarize I'd like to say that I personally am very glad that I changed schools and am doing some fantastic diving. It's fine to go somewhere and do diving but it's really nice to know that with New Way we're getting lots of variation, which ultimately means we get the best diving and see the coolest stuff.

Date of experience: December 2015
Thank JBravo1984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2015

I did my advanced open water with New Way and will definitely want to dive more with them, much more!

Top notch BRAND NEW EQUIPMENT that works like a charm, what a chance they just got in in time for me to start my course!

I know choosing where to dive while on Koh Tao can be difficult, and I felt extremely lucky for finding such an excellent place- it got me coming back again and again! 'one more day with New Way', now I understand ^^

So many places to dive with means so many divers in the water, the morning boat leaves really early, but it's worth watching the beautiful sunrise on the boat and being the first in the water ;)

I got the option of finishing my advanced open water course at Sail Rock! It's the best dive site I've ever been to! Breakfast and lunch are included... absolutely amazing!

Small groups! I got all the attention I needed making me feel safe and secure, I definitely built a lot of confidence in the water thanks to my awesome instructors. questions can be openly asked, no rush, all good !

The service at New Way is quite outstanding, the staff are friendly and easy to get along with, and Lorne and Joel who I've dived with so far will go out of their way to make sure you learn as much as you can and enjoy not only diving, but everything built around it too :)

I also got a free ride (taxis are really expensive on Koh Tao) and that was much appreciated

I had a really good time with them and I doubt anyone would regret diving with New Way :)

Date of experience: December 2015
Thank jules_laitinen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2015

I really wanted to like New Way Diving – I really did. The staff are friendly and easy going, their prices are the cheapest on the whole island (8200B for PADI OW), and they have a cute cat which sleeps all day. Unfortunately, their equipment is old, unsafe, and prone to failure.

The good: Lorne is the manager – he’s hugely enthusiastic about diving and talks a good talk. He was great at explaining the different diving options available to us because on day one we weren’t sure whether we wanted to do the OW course or not. We ended up doing a day of Discover Scuba Diving, and when we decided that we wanted the do the OW course the next day, Lorne sorted out the learning materials so we could study the very same evening and get up to speed with the other students.

The bad: There were so many problems with the equipment that we cancelled our Open Water course after the first day.

- I had a BCD which failed to inflate.
- My girlfriend’s regulator continually let in water. Seemingly a common complaint as other students earlier in the week had the same problem.
- Our instructor’s regulator hose exploded – he cancelled the dive.

I spoke to Lorne afterward. He acknowledged that our concerns were valid and gave us a full refund for both days (including the first day when we had no problems). We had a long conversation about the problems that New Way were facing and he agreed that the quality of the equipment was inadequate, and stated that they would immediately purchase new equipment. If you do end up choosing New Way, make sure you have a good look to see if their new kit has arrived.

What worries me is that New Way were already aware of the problems, but continued to allow customers to dive with faulty equipment. Some of the equipment had actually been marked out as requiring a fix, but still remained in circulation. This place sounded like an accident waiting to happen and we had no confidence in their ability to safely teach diving. Lorne explained that the equipment was designed to be fail-safe i.e. the system will continue to give you air, provided you know what to do. The problem is that as a learner on one of your first dives, you simply do not have the experience to cope with a range of equipment failures that we saw. Yes, there is an instructor present, but remember that they are not always with you. If you know the equipment is broken or prone to failure, do not let people use it!

The other issue was that both my girlfriend and I have a prior history of medical conditions which increase the risks of diving. Before visiting Thailand we underwent a medical assessment which cleared us to dive. However, no-one at New Way asked for our medical form and our instructor was not informed of our conditions. It seemed like New Way were happy to take anyone on board provided they were willing to pay up, regardless of their suitability.

In summary – we were so disappointed. We really enjoyed the actual diving, and New Way could have pre-emptively done so much more to ensure that we had a good first experience. Lorne promised that things would improve – too late for us, but hopefully you’ll find New Way in a much better state when you visit.

Date of experience: December 2015
6  Thank 34x32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Travelsteadyready, Manager at New Way Diving, responded to this reviewResponded December 18, 2015

Thank you for agreeing to write this review as I requested. I wanted the chance to officially and publicly reply your concerns as we clearly let you down with some of your expectations. I can honestly say that your review was clear and concise and very well worded. It is exactly the same as our lengthy conversation with the exception of the medical issue which I will cover at the end of this response.

You will be glad to know that we do indeed now have 37 sets of brand new Aqualung equipment. We replace our equipment every 2 years. We had 28 sets before and these have now been removed. We need more gear as we are doing so well in our service to the majority of our customers. Clearly we cannot please everyone 100% of the time, but we go to great lengths to do so.

This year there were hold ups with the supplier and as we have become so much more busy with our popularity increasing, we were forced to rent equipment from a competitor until the new gear arrived.

This rented gear was older than our regular gear and therefore required more maintenance.

The reasons why we had troubles with you is totally my fault and nobody else. It actually had nothing to do with the age of the rental gear we were using. This gear should have been serviced but it was not marked for service after the issues from your first day of diving. Ultimately that is my responsibility and I have spoken to my staff at length about reporting procedures, which are usually incredibly thorough. That was the fault and the ultimate nature of your complaint. You were indeed very unfortunate to use the same gear that had issues on the following day after your first day of activities with us.

All equipment can fail, and as you mentioned when it does fail it just gives more air. This is the way that all scuba gear is designed, it means that scuba diving is an incredibly safe activity. This does mean that you were safe at all times under the water even if you did not feel as safe as you should have done. Your instructor did re-assure you of this.

New Way has not had a diving incident in the 27 years it has been in operation and with any of the 40,000 divers it has qualified. We are one of only a few shops on the island that hold this record and we are one of the original schools to open on Koh Tao.

I thought you would also like to know that the other student who was in your group decided to continue and passed her course successfully without a hitch and any other equipment issues. We also had 17 other customers who on the boat who continued on to complete their courses without a hitch or equipment issues. This doesn't excuse what happened to you, but it does show the rarity of this type of event.

I also understand from your review that you enjoyed all other aspects of our service except the equipment issue. I am glad that you liked us for what we do well!

We have just spent $30,000 dollars on new equipment to rectify this so that our future customers can be rest assured that they will 'feel' safer in the future seeing that all gear is looking brand new and that we will continue to have strict procedures and guidelines if there is a fault with any of our brand new scuba diving gear that is in circulation.

We do take our customers concerns and comments seriously at New Way and we go to great lengths to rectify those concerns as we have with this case. Our customers satisfaction is the key to our business and we are sorry that we fell short in your case. If a customer has a valid complaint, we immediately act upon it. I am also incredibly pleased that you chose to talk to me at length about your issues and not just write directly to trip advisor.

Now on to the only thing that was not accurate about your review:

It concerns your girlfriend's medical condition. I was only told of your complaint later, as you did not mention this to me directly in person when we spoke. If you had have done so I would have reminded you of the following:

You may have forgotten the conversation of our first meeting, as you were very rushed. You wanted to start your diving that day due to the possibility of finishing at Sail Rock with us (we are the only dive shop that go there regularly and this was a key sales point) and that gave you only 40 mins to check with your girlfriend if she would like to go and only 40 mins for me to organise one of our instructors to take you.

Before I let you go and confirm your girlfriend wanted to participate, I asked you if either of you had any medical conditions as it might prevent you from diving. You told me that your girlfriend had asthma and I told you that it was therefore unlikely that she could take part as certain types of asthma prevent students from learning to dive without a valid diving certificate from a specialist doctor.

You then stated that she had had a medical completed in the UK in preparation for diving and that she had been certified by this doctor to dive. I remember telling you that if she had this she could then partake in the course.

I then asked you to bring that certificate back with you to show to my staff and your instructor. When you returned I was out renting equipment and organising our new equipment delivery schedule so I presumed you had indeed done this.

I also assumed you were not lying to me when you stated that your girlfriend had this medical. We would scan this certificate and attach to your diving records for reference, however as long as you have a copy this, it is required to cover her for all related insurance purposes.

Thanks again for making this review. I truly hope after this personal negative experience that you both continue on to dive, as you clearly both really enjoyed the diving very much indeed.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2015 via mobile

It has been an absolute pleasure to have been diving at New Way. Getting my PADI open water as well as going to Sail Rock for my first deep dive have been wonderful experiences. Both Lorne and Rik make sure people are comfortable, secure and properly equipped. I was a bit nervous about diving at first, but their knowledge and enthusiasm made things so much easier.

Small downer for us was the ancient equipment. However, the day after our last dive, the whole bunch was replace by new equipment.

As for the atmosphere of the dive school: the reason we choose New Way, is because of the laid back community. Having the opportunity to share a beer and a bite at the school, together with dive masters, instructors and dive buddies after a full day of diving is the reason we kept coming back.

Date of experience: December 2015
1  Thank WienekeHoorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2015 via mobile

I came to Koh Tao to complete my open water dive course as it was the cheapest place I could find in South East Asia, and probably the world!

A friend of mine recommended the New Way diving school and it did not disappoint! My instructor Billy was superb, he has a deep passion for the sport and marine life in general and has been diving in Koh Tao for years so has great knowledge of the many dive sites around the island. I felt completely safe and relaxed at all times and was able to learn a lot from him in just a few days. He's got endless energy (which is a massive help at 5am) and is a genuinely nice guy.

The dive centre is fairly small and the staff are all very friendly which keeps the group numbers low and gives it a chilled out, family atmosphere.

Date of experience: December 2015
Thank Nathan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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