Ask anyone who’s been diving for decades and you’ll undoubtedly hear a common chorus — diving has changed a lot. Clearly, our sport has become safer. We have much greater access to dive sites all over the world as well as here in California. We enjoy the option of live-aboard diving and visiting faraway resorts at destinations around the globe. Our equipment is lighter, more comfortable, more durable, and far more efficient.
In diving’s early days our sport was about as male-dominated as the starting lineups are in today’s National Football League. Macho ruled. No women. No kids. No kidding.
Now we’ve got nitrox and mixed gases in regular use, and rebreathers are becoming accessible to those interested in technical diving. At the same time, freediving is making a big comeback with revolutionary equipment and techniques.
The advent of the digital era has greatly increased our ability to capture wonderful still photographs and make videos about our underwater adventures. Back when I started taking pictures underwater we used film while being limited to 24 or 36 shots before having to surface and re-load. Today, dive centers offer courses in underwater photography, videography and many other aspects of our sport that were not offered in the past.
Even our ideas about marine life have changed significantly over the years. We no longer see animals like moray eels and sharks, as being dangerous and aggressive toward divers. We leave those views to Hollywood.
Not long ago the CDN staff attended the DEMA (Diving Equipment and Marketing Association, Inc.) trade show. As a “trade-only” event, attendance is limited to those who in some way make their living in the diving industry; store owners, instructors, charter operators, etc. The event is like a diver’s equivalent of a candy store — a convention center chock-full of the newest, best, brightest and most delicious diving equipment, accessories and destinations you’d ever imagine — all under one roof. It’s also the place where dive industry members can attend seminars that deliver cutting-edge information on advances in diving science and technology, medical research and environmental issues. And so much more.
Yes, attendance to the DEMA show is restricted, but that doesn’t mean the average sport diver can’t gain access to insider info. It’s easy, really. Just visit your local dive center and ask, “What’s new?”