Bob and Bill Meistrell were divers before they were surfers and Body Glove is proud of our diving history and heritage. We have been there almost since the beginning and are still going deep as often as possible to explore the beauty that is underneath the water. In recent years we have encouraged most of our professional surfer athletes to become certified divers and now some like Alex Gray and Holly Beck spend as much time under the water as they do above. We love the history of the SCUBA dive world so thought we would share some info with you to help keep that history of SCUBA alive.

  • 1878: Henry Fleuss invents an underwater breathing apparatus.
  • 1893: Louis Boutan invents the first underwater camera.
  • 1911-1912: Hermann Stelzner and the German company Draeger (Dräger) develop an
    oxygen rebreather.
  • 1923: W. H. Longley captures the first underwater color photographs.
  • 1926: French Navy officer and inventor Yves Le Prieur releases a successful self contained underwater breathing unit developed in conjunction with inventor Maurice Fernez.
  • 1933: San Diego divers Ben Stone, Jack Prodanovich, and Glen Orr found the The Bottom Scratchers of San Diego, the first diving club in the country.
  • 1938: Guy Gilpatric publishes the book “The Compleat Goggler,” a comprehensive guide to spearfishing.
  • 1943: The first Aqua-Lung is designed and tested by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan.
  • 1948: Rene Bussoz, a relative of Cousteau, imports and sells the Aqua-Lung at Rene’s Sporting Goods in Westwood, CA. Several shops across the country begin selling Aqua- Lungs the following year.
  • 1951: Chuck Blakeslee and Jim Auxier start Skin Diver Magazine. The Reserve Valve (“J” valve) is released.
  • 1952: Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Frédéric Dumas, and James Dugan publish the book “Silent World,” documenting the invention and early adventures of the Aqua-Lung.
  • 1953: Body Glove is founded when Bill and Bob Meistrell invent the first practical wetsuit, basing their design on neoprene research done by Hugh Bradner at the University of California, Berkeley. E.R. Cross publishes “Underwater Safety.” Al Tillman and Bev Morgan attend a comprehensive diving course taught by Connie Limbaugh at Scripps Institute. The following year, Tillman and Morgan develop the nation’s first public diving education program.
  • 1955: Al Tillman and Bev Morgan create the first formal dive instructor certification program. Many famous divers are brought in to teach and become certified, including Bill and Bob Meistrell.
  • 1958: The television show “Sea Hunt” starring Lloyd Bridges airs. Bill and Bob Meistrell provide wetsuits and dive training for the show, along with Zale Parry, Lamar Boren, and Al Tillman. Sherwood Manufacturing releases the piston regulator.
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  • 1959: The YMCA develops the first national diver certification program.
  • 1962: Ed Link spends 24 hours at 200 feet in the “Man in the Sea” project.
  • 1965: Al Tillman creates UNEXSO, the first complete destination diving resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.
  • 1966 : The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is founded by John Cronin and Ralph Ericson.