Dave Stone is larger than life, literally. A gently giant with a huge smile and hearty laugh whose only real goal in life is to make people happy. He’s achieved success on many levels. As a local radio personality, accomplished dive instructor, business owner, and a member of UnderWater Empires’ the DreadKnots, Dave has made a name for himself in many different areas but what is most important is that he leaves the world a better place than when he entered it.
Daddy Told Him No
Dave’s lifelong passion for everything that has to do with the water and being outdoors started at an early age. In fact, his diving career started when he was six years old. He said, “I was only six and my dad had told me I couldn’t dive with them because I was too small. Well, when they weren’t lookin’, I grabbed the gear I needed and headed off by myself to go diving in the river.” He had watched his dad teach other people how to dive and all of his observations taught him everything he needed to know. With that first unsupervised dive, Dave’s legacy began. Once he learned he could do it on his own, there was no stopping him and the rest was history.
When asked about how he got his nickname, he replied, “What’s the biggest thing in the water that fears nothing? The Kraken!” A kraken is a large squid-like sea monster that was often described as “large enough to bring down an entire ship.” Its fearsome appearance and legendary strength has made it a popular addition to many fictional stories. Many well-known authors attributed the kraken’s mythical status to giant squids that can grow upwards of 40 to 50 feet.
His love of being in the water started at an early age. With that first dive so many years ago, he discovered a world of never-ending adventure and challenges. What some people see as a dark and murky place, he sees a playground that is always offering something new and exciting. “A lot of people are afraid of what they will find, I’m not. Snapping turtles, alligators, snakes, I really don’t care. It’s fun to me.”
As part of the Lake Park Dive and Rescue Team, Dave and his fellow divers often go in the water when others won’t. Just recently Dave and his mates helped to rescue a Ford Pickup that had found its way into the Withlacoochee River in Lowndes County. It doesn’t matter what they are looking for, they will normally find it as well as many other interesting items. Sometimes they run into the creatures that call the river home. They go about their business and neither one bothers the other.
Life Is An Adventure
As part of the team known as the DreadKnots, Dave and Clint Roberts have worked as river loggers on the History Channel’s “Ax Men” series. Now they are part of a series on Amazon called the “Underwater Empire”. Dave and his friends are always looking for a new adventure. Whether they are diving locally in the blackwaters of South Georgia and North Florida or heading to the Florida Keys, adventure is the name of the game and everyone is always looking to have a good time.
Touching As Many People As Possible
One of the many ways Dave gets to reach out to people is through his morning radio show on 92.9 WAAC FM. “I like making people happy. I want to see a smile on their faces,” says Stone. He does the morning show because it’s fun and gets to interact with people on a personal level. It’s often been said that music touches the soul. Combined with Dave’s outgoing personality and his sincere desire to have a positive impact on those who listen to his show, it’s a win/win situation and everyone benefits in some way.
When you look at everything the man has going on in his life, it’s easy to see that he’s loving every minute of it. In addition to his radio and television shows, he also owns Southern Ocean Sports. The business opened its doors over 32 years ago and is still going strong. Dave purchased the business in 2008 and has continued to offer dive classes to those who are sincerely interested in learning.
His latest adventure is a more domesticated one. On October 17th, he married his wife Courtney. Even though she sometimes gets irritated by the “Kraken”, she is the love of his life and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Together they plan on embarking on as many new adventures as possible and living life to the fullest. Life is never dull in the Stone household, that’s for sure.
Dave Stone is no ordinary man. He’s larger than life and a dedicated southern gentleman. He has tattoos and an attitude. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that is just fine with him. If he can make one person smile with a handshake or by signing an autograph, he’s on it without question. It makes him happy and happy is what counts. “I will do whatever it takes to make someone smile. The first time it becomes a job or find myself turning down someone’s request for an autograph, I’m done. It’s all about being positive.”
You can’t be around the man for more than five minutes and not be smiling by the time the conversation is over. His smile is contagious and his uplifting attitude is more than enough to brighten the world around him. If you don’t believe me, meet the man in person just one time. Life’s an adventure worth living all you need is a big smile and someone like Dave to encourage you.
If you are interested in learning more about diving or need dive equipment, visit Southern Ocean Sports at 1607 North Ashley Street in Valdosta. You can also visit the store’s Facebook page here.