Mac inducts six dive pioneers for 2011 hall of fame

| 29/03/2011

(CNS): Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush and the Board of Directors of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame have announced six dive industry pioneers as the inductees for the 2011 Hall of Fame. Andre Laban (France), Bev Morgan (USA), Alan Power (Vanuatu), Clement Lee (Borneo) and Howard and Michele Hall (USA) will join the growing line-up of feted industry members who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since it started in 2000. The board has also cited three of the dive industry’s early pioneers for induction. They are John Scott Haldane (Scotland), who developed staged decompression tables; Louis de Corlieu (France), who is credited with inventing the swim fin; and Hugh Bradner (USA), who developed the wet suit.

Dive industry fans from all over the world are invited to join the inductees at a gala Dinner and Induction Ceremony, which will take place in Grand Cayman on 8 November.

"This latest slate of inductees are men and women who are pioneers, innovators, inventors and household names in the international scuba diving industry, as much as their counterparts in previous years have been,” Bush said. "The ISDHF Board is pleased to recognise them as the best in their field and to place their names alongside the other outstanding individuals who have been named to the Hall of Fame over the past 10 years."

Founded in 2000 by the Cayman Islands Ministry of Tourism, the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame recognises international and local Cayman pioneers who have made outstanding contributions to the recreational scuba diving industry, in a yearly ceremony held in the Grand Cayman.

André Laban, a world-renowned French diver, photographer, author and painter was a pioneering member of Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s Calypso team, serving as chief engineer and diver. He developed early underwater cameras that were used in shooting ‘The Silent World’, which won an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1956. He shot several films in the Cousteau Odyssey series and co-directed three. His distinctive bald head can be seen in several Cousteau films.

From 1956-1966, he was Director of the French Office Underwater Search. From 1966, he began to paint his underwater images, which are internationally acclaimed and collected worldwide. In 1996 he won the Palme d’Or at the World Festival Underwater Images in Antibes for his film, ‘Iris and Oniris’. A collection of the photographs he produced from 1973 to 1983 has been published as ‘One Bald Man,’ released in 2007.

Bev Morgan’s ideas and inventions have had a huge impact on commercial and sport diving for nearly half a century. He began free diving and surfing in 1949, a year after leaving high school and became a Los Angeles County lifeguard in1952. That year, he purchased an early Aqua Lung scuba unit and founded the Los Angeles County Instructors programme, which was the first scuba instructor’s programme available to the public. He wrote the first instruction manual, which was based on the Scripps Institute programme and also authored ‘Underwater Safety’, a standard diving book of the 1950s.

Bev also began manufacturing wetsuits and developed what would become the Body Glove. As an early diving writer and photographer, his work appeared in Skin Diver magazine. He also dove commercially for abalone and in the oilfields. In 1966, in association with Bob Kirby, a former Navy diver, he began The Kirby Morgan Corporation, a company that would change the face of commercial diving forever with its development of lightweight, comfortable, professional diving gear. It also produced the diving equipment for the movie, ‘Sphere’.

Today, the company is the world standard for surface supplied diving helmets and its products are employed in every ocean in the world. Kirby Morgan is a name that has become synonymous with outstanding diving equipment and remains the company through which Bev Morgan continues to serve the diving industry.

Alan Power’s inclusion in the 2011 International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame recognises his over 40 years spent diving the wreck of the President Coolidge and making it into one of the best known and safest dive sites around theoceans of Vanuatu. Over 40 years ago, he visited Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu on a salvage expedition and remained to become ‘caretaker’ of the President Coolidge, a 200 m long luxury passenger liner that sank in 1942 after hitting a mine as it was about to enter the Segond Canal.

The President Coolidge has been declared a Marine Reserve and is renowned throughout the world as one of the most accessible wrecks that divers can explore. Alan Power has done over 15,000 dives on the wreck and has taken over 20,000 divers to visit the Lady Godiva panel alone, a decorative part of the wreck’s salon décor.

Clement Lee is recognised as a leader in the development of diving in Southeast Asia. With extensive diving experience in Sabah (Malaysia) waters, Clement Lee became a dive master in 1985 and later that same year, a PADI Instructor. In August 1991 he became the first PADI Course Director in Malaysia.
As Managing Director and a founding partner of Borneo Divers and Sea Sports, in 1989 he was among the first to build a dive resort on the famous Sipadan Island.

He has received numerous awards for his achievements and contributions to the diving industry. These include the PIRA Excellence in Dive Resort Operations Award, for Significant Leadership and Innovation in the Dive Resort Community (1994); PADI Outstanding Achievement Award, for 12 Years of Excellence in Dive Retailing & Dive Travel (1996), the DEMA Reaching Out Award (2008) and a Malaysia Tourism Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Tourism Industry (2000).

Underwater filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall are hailed for their marine cinematography contribution to over 100 films. Howard has received six cinematography Emmy awards for films produced for television and Michele has received one Emmy. They have authored several books about diving, underwater photography, and marine wildlife. Howard has authored and illustrated three children’s books — ‘The Kelp Forest’, ‘Sharks’ and ‘A Charm of Dolphins’. Michele has authored two – ‘The Shark Project’ and ‘All About Sharks’. She has also published several books of photographs of marine life and directed numerous films for PBS and National Geographic.

The couple has also created two critically acclaimed IMAX Productions – ‘Into the Deep’ (3D) and ‘Islands of the Sharks’. They also appear in a third one, ‘Coral Reef Adventure’, which was directed by Howard, with Michele as the location manager. Released in 2003, the film continues to be played in IMAX theatres around the world.

For more information on the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame visit

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  1. Shabba-Labba says:

    Ahhh.. yeah.. ummm.. o-kaay

  2. Anonymous says:

    Did Mac notice that the following six Caymanian "pioneers" were also diving?

    Voter satisfaction, investor confidence, consumer confidence,  business interest, tourist satisfaction, and take home pay.

    On the plus side, since he took power the following have ascended rapidly:

    Cost of living, cost of doing business, crime, corruption, environmental destruction, and personal anger.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Come on now, really? The comedy continues, and you Cayman, keep allowing yourselves to get bent over the desk.

  4. Michel Lemay says:

    ???????? Don’t we have more important issues to deal with. Yes it’s good to know but who are we trying to impress here ? Sorry I don’t get it.