WHAT MAKES A LEGEND? Time, of course. It’s a title that can only be earned, most often over the course of a life. Sylvia Earle, Bob Hollis, Jordan Klein Sr., Dick Long, Zale Parry and Stan Waterman have lived the life aquatic more fully than most, and have influenced the way we dive today. But to be the stuff of legend takes more than simply counting up the years: It takes guts, determination, imagination, open-mindedness, a capacity for joy, and the ability to inspire. Even in their ninth or tenth decades, these legends of dive are still doing just that today, showing through their words and deeds what it means to be a participant in our sport, and a steward of the oceans we love.
Vocation: Engineer and Inventor
Legacy: Development of the dive computer
Opens the first Anchor Shack, a sporting- goods store specializing in diving equipment, in Hayward, California
Founds American Underwater Products, doing business as Oceanic, beginning with a dozen products, including the Anchor Shack’s photo line
Participates in first saturation dives on Andrea Doria, living in an underwater habitat at 170 feet for six days; returns to the wreck in 1981
“Divers like the adventure of reaching deeper wrecks and getting close to marine life.Rebreathers will make it all more accessible.”
Ensuring the future of the sport has long been a priority for this International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame honoree. He created several of the industry’s most popular brands — including Oceanic, Aeris and Hollis — based on an engineer’s mindset and a keen sense of what divers really need. At 80, the former DEMA president is refocused on strengthening his local community of divers to encourage wider participation.
“One of the most important products we’ve developed is the dive computer. We started engineering prototypes in the mid-’70s and were diving our first product in 1979. To provide divers with decompression information and time remaining at depth, we developed a new algorithm to predict gas consumption at all depths. Patents were granted, for which I give credit to my son Mike and physicist John Lewis. These safety factors can reduce the incidence of decompression sickness to a significant degree.”
“In the future, rebreathers will allow divers to stay underwater longer and go deeper with greater safety. Divers are explorers. We like the adventure of reaching deeper wrecks and getting close to marine life. Rebreathers will make it all more accessible. There is still a lot to learn, but we are on a mission.”
“Training has come a long way. When we started our retail dive store in 1963, classes were 40 hours with multiple nights in the water and multiple classroom sessions. The result was a well-trained and well- educated diver. Anymore, I wonder about whether we’re on the right path. I believe the more time students spend in a group, the more acclimation they experience, leading to more people staying in the sport. I think we’ve got to revisit how we train and retain new divers.”
“Recently, I bought a pair of retail dive stores in my hometown of Monterey, California. My wife and I are having a great time bringing in product lines and setting up the stores; we’re looking forward to closing out our years doing that. Our stores are going to focus on promoting the sport and encouraging people to get into extended phases of diving, such as tec diving or rebreather diving. I want to create an environment that is fun for local divers, and start activity programs that are good for the city and good for the diving community.”
“To keep diving into your 80s, you’ve got to have good buddies. Go diving as often as possible. Turn your family into divers. Beyond friends and family, I believe you have to have a healthy body and a healthy mind. Plus, you’ve got to have a positive attitude to do anything right. I started diving when I was 18, and I turned 80 in April. My plan is to dive as long as I can physically be involved.”
JORDAN KLEIN SR.
Vocation: Oceanographer and Explorer
Legacy: Innovations in underwater photography
Buys a 38-foot wooden boat from Miami Marine Laboratory and launches one of the first dive boats in Florida
Opens Marineland Inc., a dive shop on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard
Designs the Mako-Shark Camera, the first underwater camera sold to the public
Receives an Academy Award for technical achievement for pioneering the development of underwater camera housings for motion pictures
“I’d take pictures of sharks that no one else had seen before, and they’d say, ‘ooh, could we see sharks?’”
This pioneer in underwater videography has a long list of classics to his credit — Flipper, Sea Hunt, Thunderball, Cocoon and Splash — along with a 2002 Academy Award for technical achievement. He’s credited with creating one of the first liveaboard dive operations, and made innovative underwater housings for still and video cameras. At 91, Klein continues to push his own limits for one reason: fun.
“The movie studio up the street from my dive shop in Miami was doing Flipper. The cinematographer, Lamar Boren, said, ‘I’m going to need somebody to do underwater filming, and I understand you have a camera housing.’ At that time, there wasn’t any such thing as a motion-picture- camera housing. For some stupid reason, I made a deal with a camera company to trade a housing for an Arriflex 35mm movie camera. So I got the camera, built the housing, and I showed up with it. It blew Lamar’s mind.”
“Starting to build camera housings was logical and obvious. I had to give my divers something to do out there. And I liked doing it. I’d take pictures of sharks that no one else had seen before, and they’d say, ‘Ooh, could we see sharks?’ I finally got people to where they wanted to buy the cameras, and I’d sell housings on the boat. I realized I could make some money doing this crap, so that’s when I decided to make a housing for the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye out of clear plastic, and I sold them to Abercrombie and Fitch in New York.”
“Thunderball was a shark picture. The first time Sean Connery was supposed to be in the water with the shark, he said: ‘I’m not doing this. This is crazy.’ It was 2 a.m. We put a piece of Plexiglas between him and the shark, and that made him happier. We sent the shark in the first time, and it was a lousy shot. The second time, I said: ‘You have to get within 3 feet of the camera. We need to get the shark between us.’ He said, ‘Well, I don’t want to, but OK.’ So, we sent in the shark and it looked great, except Connery had his fingers pressed against the Plexiglas; if you watch the fi lm carefully, you can see his fingers are flat against the Plexiglas. He wouldn’t do any more takes after that.”
“I lived in the golden age of diving, where you could do what you wanted, when you wanted to do it. If you wanted to stay underwater at 50 feet for 2 hours, you did. Course, you probably got bent, but we didn’t know from crap. Soon, I understood about check valves and nonreturn valves, and I got interested in the time you could spend in the water. My sole interests were underwater photography and building props and sets for underwater pictures.”
“The fun for me is just being in a weightless environment. Even today, I still get great enjoyment out of diving.”
Vocation: inventor and founder of DUI
Legacy: Revolutionized exposure protection
Earns certification as NAUI Instructor No. 49
Founds Skin Diving Unlimited, precursor to DUI
Patents various elements of his hot water suit, which makes saturation diving possible
DUI introduces the first self-donning drysuit
Returns as CEO of DUI
“Keep asking questions. Keep looking for answers. Divers have an opportunity to change the world.”
At 80, the founder of Diving Unlimited International (DUI) continues to lead one of the most innovative companies in diving, developing groundbreaking exposure protection equipment. After nearly 60 years in the water, he’s still as excited as ever to explore and deepen his relationship with the ocean. Why? Because, as he says, it’s up to divers to protect what we love.
“A buddy and I were diving in Monterey in 1960, and when we climbed out of the water, these old ladies who had been sitting on the rocks jumped up and tried to run away. One fell down, so I, being a gentleman, went over with my tanks and gear on and started to lift her up. The other lady came back and hit me with her purse. ‘You go back in the ocean where you belong!’ she yelled. She thought we were men from Mars. My dive buddy was laughing so hard. I took my face mask off and said, ‘I’m a person, I’m a person!’ It was really hilarious.”
“I got into the diving business in 1958 because I was freezing to death, and I had to find another way. That’s when I started designing wetsuits. Many of the standard things you see in wetsuits today — the longjohn pants and hoods attached to the suits, that kind of stuff — I developed. We were constantly trying to find a way to give us more time in the water.”
“Cold is an occupational hazard, and so the advancements that we have made in thermal protection are massive. But it’s still not good enough. I’m working on some new systems now with electrically heated underwear so people going to Antarctica can stay in the water longer. It’s like an electric blanket. More warmth? Just turn it up. To me, that’s the future — new products, new development, new investment. We can’t just take the money and go home. We have to constantly develop new and better equipment with newer and better capability.”
“The sport-diving industry is shrinking now. There are fewer people in diving today than there has been. It’s no longer the daredevil thing to try. We have made it possible that anyone can go to the Caribbean, take a resort course, see pretty fishes, and go home and tell their friends about it. That is wonderful. But they will probably never dive again. We have great diver-training programs — but we have stopped making real divers.”
“With diving, there will always be something new to see and something new to learn, so you want to keep your mind open because a lot of the things you think aren’t exactly so. Keep asking questions. Keep looking for answers. Keep listening. Diving has so much to give, but unfortunately the vast majority of people who take scuba lessons will never really know it. Therein lies our tragedy — and our opportunity. Divers have an opportunity to change the world.”
Vocation: Instructor, Inventor, Record-holder, Actress
Sea Hunt is often credited with sparking the growth of scuba diving in the 1960s, but star Lloyd Bridges wasn’t a diver. Co-star Zale Parry, one of the first female instructors in the country, gave him a crash course. In 1953, Parry and her husband, Dr. Parry Bivens, founded Scientific Underwater Research Enterprises, which built California’s first civilian single-lock hyperbaric chamber. Parry set a deep-diving record for women — 209 feet — in 1954 while testing the Hope-Page nonreturn-valve mouthpiece, which revolutionized reg mouthpiece designs. A talented underwater photographer, Parry co founded the International Underwater Film Festival in 1957. She is a member of the 2000 inaugural class of the Women Divers Hall of Fame.
Vocation: Cameraman, Dive Ambassador
Stan Waterman learned to dive at 13. A pioneer of underwater film and photography, Waterman is a five-time Emmy-winning cinematographer and co-director or co-producer on films including Blue Water, White Death (1971) and The Deep (1977). In 1954, he spent $45,000 converting a former lobster boat into a dive boat in the Bahamas with tanks and a portable compressor, launching one of the world’s first liveaboards. He filmed a yearlong family trip to Tahiti in 1965, and National Geographic purchased the rights. In 1992, the Discovery Channel launched Shark Week with The Man Who Loves Sharks, a profile of Waterman, who kept diving into his tenth decade.
Vocation: Oceanographer and Explorer
Fearless, determined and curious, Sylvia Earle has been an ocean advocate for more than a half-century. Growing up with the Gulf of Mexico as her playground, Earle first used scuba gear at 17, just 10 years after the invention of the Aqua-lung. Her accomplishments are legion: a round-the-world oceanographic expedition in 1964 with 70 other scientists and crew, all men; leader of the first all-female team of aquanauts in Tektite II in 1979; National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998; the first female chief scientist of NOAA; co-developer of the Deep Rover research sub. She’s still leading the way today, with her Mission Blue campaign to create a global network of marine protected areas she calls “hope spots.”