Best Dive Shop - 2007
Tarpoon Dive Center
Readers' Choice: Reader's Choice: Austin's
Tarpoon Dive Center's Hialeah store is pretty much where diving began in Miami. Opened in 1952 (and in its current building since 1956), The 'Poon has helped generations of locals find their way to the silent world just offshore. Its founder, the late Mike Kevorkian, was a legend in the underwater education world. He produced hundreds of live marine biology-oriented TV programs for Miami's WPBT Channel 2, developed the first CO2 spear gun, and helped make possible one of Jacques Cousteau's first U.S. public appearances. Kevorkian's daughters, Valerie and Stephanie, continue the tradition. Their staff of highly experienced, knowledgeable divers will talk you through your purchase, steer you to a class (there are regular sessions held in the heated indoor pool, available in English, Spanish, or Portuguese, for everyone from novices to assistant instructors), or simply give you good tips on where to dive. Recent deals included a three-millimeter-thick full wetsuit for $101 and an underwater digital camera set marked down from $770 to $530.Tarpoon also has a store at the Miami Beach Marina, feet from where it docks its own 46-foot custom-built dive boat.