PADI Instructor #24235
Keller Laros became a PADI professional scuba instructor in 1985, the same year he did his first manta ray night dive with Jeff Leicher and Jack’s Diving Locker. In 1991, he went to work for Jack’s Diving Locker and now has over 11,000 logged dives in Kona waters. Keller is a charismatic individual who is passionate about what he does. If you’ve ever gone diving with Keller, you know this to be true.
Also known as the Manta Man, Keller Laros is the foremost expert on the manta ray population of Kona, Hawaii. Laros is able to combine his career as a professional scuba instructor and underwater videographer with manta ray research. In 1991, he noticed the mantas had different spot patterns on their undersides and started cataloging individuals and recording sighting data. As the years passed, Keller conducted an in-depth study on manta rays and by 1993 authored a PADI Distinctive Specialty – Manta Ray Diver. This course is one of the most popular certifications issued at Jack’s Diving Locker. Keller leads a motivated and enthusiastic team of Manta Ray Diver instructors and Manta Ray Diver certified staff.
In 2002, Keller and wife, Wendy, co-founded Manta Pacific Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to research, education, and conservation concerning manta rays and the marine environment. In 2009, the conservation efforts of Keller and the Manta Pacific Research Foundation were realized when Governor Linda Lingle signed a manta protection law for the State of Hawaii. In 2013, manta rays earned more protection globally at the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). For more information about manta rays go to www.mantapacific.org.
In 2013, Keller had a chance encounter with a Bottlenose dolphin on the manta ray night dive. He noticed the animal had fishing line wrapped around its pectoral fin. He signaled to the dolphin to come to him and it did! He removed the line and hook and basically “rescued” the dolphin who might have lost the fin if Keller had not taken action. Keller routinely removes fishing line from manta rays, so this event was similar, but in many ways very different.
In 2014, Keller was selected as a Sea Hero by Oris Watches/Scuba Diving Magazine. Later in 2014, PADI Worldwide awarded Keller with a plaque that reads “In recognition of your commitment and devotion to the creation of Manta Pacific Research Foundation. For your contribution to the dive industry, community, and divers you have directly impacted as a result of your passion, loyalty, and quality of service and education you provide as a PADI Instructor.”
In 2015, Keller received the Pualu Award from the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce for Environmental Awareness. This award recognizes an individual or organization in the community that exhibits sensitivity and concern for the environment through innovative environmental practices. Keller was recognized for his contributions for the well-being of manta rays and their marine environment.
Ask me about
- Manta Rays
- Underwater video
- Good Clean Jokes
Favorite Dive Site
Manta Ray Night Dive
Loves manta rays and authored a PADI Manta Ray Specialty Certification.
Outgoing and gregarious, Keller rarely lacks energy and enthusiasm.
Years can wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul – Samuel Ullman