Time Capsules

By Tiffany H. Carey

1978 - Underwater Hockey—Canadian Style

If there’s one thing Canadians are serious about, it’s hockey. And in the January 1978 issue, Andy Lamb gives a play-by-play on scuba divers’ up-and-coming winter sport, underwater hockey. But what begins as an introduction to the sport, which improves “proper fin kicking and correct surface diving,” ends in a bold-faced challenge. Lamb proclaims that “…the British Columbian team has dominated the Canadian National Championships…. An unabashed challenge is issued to any team that would dispute this claim.” Lamb goes on to say, “Those interested in questioning the Canadian team’s superiority should contact….” Lamb includes two measurement-precise diagrams and player position requirements to tutor any team interested in a face-off. It is not known if Lamb’s cheeky dare was ever accepted, but the Underwater World Championships will be held in Calgary in 2002.

1963 - Getting the “Bug”

And we’re not talking about the flu. We’re talking about a record-breaking, 20-pound lobster caught in Belmar, New Jersey. Charlie Stratton managed to spot a large lobster crawling into a hold under the wreck of the Delaware, a site known for “bugs.” “With bare hands, he [Charlie] reached into the hole and fought with the lobster to free him from the wreck,” Russ Govet writes in the January 1963 issue. As the quick-handed Charlie broke to the surface and yelled for his dive buddy, the lobster flipped and flopped, trying to get a grip on its hunter. But Charlie prevailed. The prized bug weighed in at “19 pounds, 14 ounces,” and like a proud pop, Charlie “strutted up and down the dock, passing out cigars and proudly announcing, ‘It’s a boy.’”

1955 - Surfboard Construction

Just as diving has come a long way, so has surfing. Bev Morgan wrote about the evolving stages of the surfboard in April, 1955. Originally, boards were constructed of heavy balsa wood and weighed up to 160 pounds. During the ’30s, a hollow surfboard was created, bringing the weight down to 60 pounds. But as Morgan describes, progression with plastics boomed during the war, and boards were soon being constructed of foam plastic and plywood. The weight lightened to 40 pounds. “Each board is built to the individual’s specifications, and the price ranges from $65 to $95,” wrote Morgan. Plastics were making waves in the surfing industry, and Morgan seemed to know it, as he concluded his article with a knowing question: “Will the all-plastic board replace the balsa board? Time will tell.”
Not only can boards now be made in all-plastic, but a custom-built board can run a surfer a cool $400.