USA (1932-2018)

Last updated: January 4, 2020 at 3:48 am

Co-founder of Kirby Morgan, a manufacturer of commercial diving helmets, with Bob Kirby in 1966; surfing pioneer; commercial diver (abalone and oil fields); writer; underwater photographer; did his first dive circa 1949 using a WWII frogman’s mask rigged with a tilt valve regulator from a B-29 bomber oxygen unit; purchased an Aqua-Lung and founded the Los Angeles County Instructors program in 1953, which led to the first public scuba instructor program in 1954; author of the first diving textbook Underwater Safety for L.A. County; founded Dive ‘n Surf in 1955; developed and manufactured the Dive ‘n Surf Thermo Cline wetsuit; sold his interest in Dive ‘n Surf to Bill and Bob Meistrell—who would later rename the company Body Glove—to pursue a career in commercial diving in 1958; senior editor and writer for Surfer magazine and Skin Diver magazine; began designing and manufacturing underwater life-support systems and photography equipment with Bob Kirby in the 1960s, including traditional copper helmets; co-founded the Kirby Morgan Corporation with Bob Kirby in 1966; co-designed and manufactured the revolutionary Kirby Morgan Band Mask (KMB-7), which incorporated an adjustable demand regulator, an equalizing device, an oral nasal mask to reduce the level of carbon dioxide, communications, and a removable neoprene hood connected to the mask by a band; co-designed and manufactured the first lightweight surface-supplied fiberglass helmets; supplied helmets and training for the film The Deep in 1976; continued designing and improving lightweight helmets including the Superlite series, which quickly became a household name in the commercial diving world.

Bret Gilliam. Diving Pioneers and Innovators. 2007
International Legends of Diving
Kirby Morgan Dive Systems
International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (2011)
Hans Hass Diving to Adventure Award (HDS, 2007)
DEMA Hall of Fame (1996)
NOGI Award (Sports & Education, 1995)
NOGI Award (Arts, 1990)
Commercial Diving Hall of Fame (1982)

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