Diving's Own Memory Lane
By Al Hornsby
W hen I picked up my first issue of Skin Diver, back in 1962, I practically devoured the pages. I had just discovered diving, and I was out in the water almost every day, spearing fish, collecting shells and catching critters for the aquariums that my mom and dad were nice enough to let me scatter around our house. For that's what diving was about in those days-lots of deep freediving and hunting. And, as you'll notice when you look through the authentic reproduction of our very first issue included in this magazine, that's also the essence the early Skin Diver captured.
Beginning with that first issue in December 1951, Skin Diver grew with diving, and diving's growth and development were reflected in its pages. There was likely not a single diving product, training program or dive destination introduced that did not appear somewhere, sometime, in Skin Diver. As we put this special issue together, we poured over thousands of archival photos and leafed through all 50 years of back issues. What an experience! History and memories all mixed together; famous names, often before they were famous, and names unknown to most of us now, of people who contributed remarkably to the sport we enjoy today.
We've tried to bring as much of it to you as we possibly could. We owe much to the contributors who worked with us on the historical pieces, Jim Church, Zale Parry and Al Tillman, Bonnie Cardone, Eric Hanauer, Nick Icorn, Ellsworth Boyd and others. From their files and memories came incredible stuff that is too interesting, exciting-and sometimes wacky-to be forgotten.
This project, indeed, has been a real memory lane experience for me, taking me back to a time when I was lying in my bedroom in Guam, a dog-eared copy of Cousteau's Silent World on one side, a stack of well-read Skin Diver magazines on the other. I'm sure a lot of you reading this will have your own memories stirred up as you turn these pages. Enjoy. It's been an awful lot of fun for all of us here at Skin Diver to bring you this very special edition. Thanks so much for reading.