Campus Life

Underwater pumpkin carving benefits local charity

About 40 divers, including more than 25 students from the UWF Scuba Club, put their pumpkin carving skills to the test in the third annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest at the Grand Lagoon Yacht Club in Pensacola.

The annual event benefits Toys for Tots, and the entry fee for the competition was one unwrapped toy for donation. Michael Day, the UWF Scuba Club’s treasurer, estimated that students and other participants raised more than $450 in cash and toy donations for the charity. In addition, the group raised about $500 in cash through tickets for door prizes.

Contest participants vied for prizes from MBT Divers, a local dive shop, and competed to win Best Pumpkin, Biggest Pumpkin and Ugliest Pumpkin.

As if the chilly temperatures weren’t challenge enough on a Saturday morning, carving a pumpkin underwater is a taxing endeavor.

“A pumpkin floats,” said Jay Massey, a judge for the contest and assistant director for web services at UWF. “Imagine trying to wrestle a pumpkin-sized cork underwater, and then try carving a design into it.”

In addition to all the divers, about 30 spectators came out to enjoy the contest on dry land, watching from nearby boat docks. As the carving got underway, pumpkin seeds and entrails amassed on the water’s surface.

After more than an hour, the divers proudly showcased some very unique pumpkins. One team even chose to hollow out and carve a watermelon to be unique.

The Best Pumpkin award went to Jeremy Porter, an Escambia Search and Recovery diver, who drew free-hand a sketch of an owl and carved it expertly into his pumpkin. The Biggest Pumpkin belonged to UWF students Chris Hicks and Clint Murphy. And the Ugliest Pumpkin award went to Brian Segao, another Escambia County Search and Recovery diver.

“It was supposed to be a spider, but I ran out of time for my plans,” Segao said.

Winners got to select their choice of dive equipment donated by MBT Divers.

View photos from the event on Flickr.

Read about the event in the Pensacola News-Journal.