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(CNS Business): Eight industry pioneers will be inducted into International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame on 7 November at a gala event to mark the 12th annual induction ceremony. Dive industry experts from around the world will journey to the Cayman Islands for the event, which will be hosted by Cayman Premier McKeeva Bush at the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa. 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.
Those chosen to join this prestigious establishment in 2012 include Lesley Leaney, Clive Cussler, Kelly Tarlton, Ric and Do Cammick, Ron Kipp and Armand and JoAnn Zigahn.
“The line-up of notable individuals who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame are men and women who are recognised as pioneers, innovators, inventors and household names in the international scuba diving industry,” Bush said. “The ISDHF Board is pleased to recognise them as the best in their field and to place their names alongside other outstanding individuals who have been recognised over the years for their outstanding contributions to the dive industry. On behalf of the People of the Cayman Islands, I congratulate each of them on their exceptional achievements.”
Ric and Do Cammick built with their own hands the first diving resort in Fiji in 1974, close to what is still Fiji’s signature dive site, Rainbow Reef. They also pioneered promotion of Fiji on the international market, using film showings at early film festivals as well as print advertising. Through their efforts, the world quickly became aware of Fiji as the soft coral capital of the world. They were the prime movers of reef conservation efforts which involved getting support from 90 tribal chiefs. With Jean-Michel Cousteau, Ric and Do established the first recompression facility in Fiji.
Clive Cussler is a multi-faceted prolific author of adventure fiction and non-fiction novels, undersea adventurer and explorer. He began writing in 1965 and published his first Dirk Pitt novel in 1973. His first non-fiction work, The Sea Hunters, was published in 1996 and earned him the first Doctor of Letters degree ever awarded by the State University of New York Maritime College in its 123 year history. As founder of the non-profit National Underwater & Marine Agency (NUMA) his life has mirrored his literary works; he has supervised the discovery and documentation of over 60 historically significant underwater wreck sites with all artifacts and proceeds donated to museums and institutions of learning. Dr. Cussler is a Fellow of The Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Society of London.
Ron Kipp left a prominent position with IBM in 1980 and relocated to the Cayman Islands, BWI to become the owner of Bob Soto’s Diving, Ltd. He began a program of modernizing and promoting not only his business but the Cayman Islands. His company was recognized as one
of the largest and leading diving companies in the Cayman Islands - which is regarded by many as the Number One Diving Destination in the world. In early 1995, Rodale’s Scuba Diving magazine awarded Bob Soto’s the “Number 1 Favorite Day Boat Operator” award. Skin Diver magazine, stated, “Bob Soto’s Diving is the Cinderella story of resort diving.” His successful marketing programs include the first Guaranteed Dive Vacation, Cayman Madness, and SCUBABOWL.
Leslie Leaney had an insatiable interest in diving history which lead him to co-found the Historical Diving Society-USA, with Skip Dunham in 1992. Under his guidance, the Society has grown from a few dozen members to over 2,700 in 44 countries with similar internationally affiliated organizations. Leslie has assisted in strengthening the ties between America and divers in other countries who wished to record their own nations diving history. In 1993 he founded Historical Diver Magazine, (now The Journal of Diving History). The Journal is the first, and only, publication devoted to all aspects of diving history.
Kelly Tarlton worked throughout his career to design an innovative marine aquarium four times larger than any other in the world. It is called Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World and it opened in 1985 in New Zealand. His concept has been emulated internationally and his innovative techniques, such as curving the acrylic tunnels are still used. These aquariums have promoted awareness and conservation of the marine realm around the world and have provided an educational platform for schools and students. The Underwater World was an instant success, winning various awards including the “British Tourism Award for Best New Attraction Worldwide” in 1987.
Armand and JoAnn Zigahn - Thirty-six years ago Armand Zigahn (Zig) founded Beneath the Sea, the largest consumer oceans exposition, dive and travel show in America. JoAnn joined him 10 years later as President and implemented a children’s program called Ocean Pals, an international contest open to children from kindergarten through 12th grade. Since the beginning of Beneath the Sea, the Zigahns have been a major force within the dive and travel industry by providing a stage for travel and tourism to speak directly to divers and dive travelers the New York Metro Market. With this dynamo team at the helm, this not-for-profit dive show continues its charitable efforts and provides public education for the support our oceans.
For more information please visit www.scubahalloffame.com
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