Time Capsules

Tamara Collins

1972: Women Underwater
In the 1970s men were still questioning a woman's place in the sea. On the cover of Skin Diver's March issue, Should Women Dive? was one of the prominent blurbs. According to Dr. James Woodruff's article, in 1970 about 200,000 people had been certified; 15 to 20 percent of them were women. But there was still some doubt whether frail woman might perform in an underwater environment as well as man and many myths about their physiological adaptability. The article, illustrated by a bikini-clad woman wearing some groovy little hip-huggers, addressed the main concerns about women and diving: physical ability, menstruation, the pill and pregnancy. Dr. Woodruff concluded that none of these should stop a women from diving, but that there wasn't enough data for any definitive answers, and he hoped his article would stimulate further research.

1968: Flashbulbs are Obsolete
In the 1950s and '60s the underwater photographer's flashgun was an unreliable cross to bear. With most of its parts exposed to salt water and the effects of pressure, flash failure was a possibility that loomed over every perfectly framed shot. In 1965 Bob Hollis got together with Ray Collins and Bob Kile to design a housing that could stand the shock of hard use and eliminate the corrosive effects of saltwater. Three years and thousands of dollars later, they produced the Hydrostrobe. Paul Tzimoulis tested the new strobe for the February issue. After a lengthy and in-depth look, he said the Hydrostrobe was practical, inexpensive, reliable, and tops for close-up color photography.

1957: Wipe Out!
In the old Skin Diver, shipwreck salvage, hunting and dive clubs dominated. But you could also find a bit of surf culture in the mix. Dive and surf culture may have been more closely linked back then; divers were hardcore explorers with little formal training and a lot of guts. Maybe it was the leisure aspect of our sport that put us on a divergent course, and maybe, as Carl Kohler suggests in this April 1957 article, we are just two different beasts. Unlike us sane divers who wait for the water to calm down your shredded-cuff-dungaree-with-a-rope-belt surfboarding enthusiast wants those monstrous, thundering rollers found after every storm. This article profiled Hap Jacobs and Dale Velzy, two legendary surfers and board shapers.