Highlight of the Saturday Evening Casino Party is the awarding of the California Scuba Service Award. This award was established in 1989 by Saint Brendan Corp. (parent company of California Diving News and the SCUBA Show) to recognize those who have made significant and long lasting contributions to the California diving community. The recipient of the 2008 California Scuba Service Award is Karl Huggins, PhD, Program Director of the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber.
Karl has been diving since 1977 and a NAUI Instructor since 1980. He is noted for his work in decompression theory and models, which resulted in the Michigan Sea Grant (HUGI) dive tables. One of his most significant contributions to the diving community is as co-inventor of the EDGE dive computer, one of the first commercially viable dive computers.
Since 1992 Karl has served at the USC Wrigley Science Center on Catalina Island as Program Director of the Catalina Hyperbaric Center. Largely under his direction, this facility has become one of the highest regarded hyperbaric chambers in the world and a leader in research and education of hyperbaric medical and emergency response specialists. Karl is the recipient of the 1990 Leonard Greenstone Diving Safety Award and the DAN/Rolex Diver of the year for 1993.