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Stan Waterman just may be the most influential and certainly one of the best-known scuba divers in the world. We suppose it only makes sense that the greatest legend in the sport would dive the best gear as well. Both pioneers of the same mindset, Stan and our organization were cut from the same cloth, driven by technical excellence, exploration, adventure, preservation and a love for all things in the ocean. Stan Waterman has been diving for over 70 years and he's been doing it in SCUBAPRO for nearly four decades.
"I'm Stan Waterman and, my name, I've been asked about my name, Waterman, which is actually Herman Shmuckledink but Waterman has gone very well with what happened to me because I never thought about a career, a vocation that would take me into the sea and take me diving for most of my life... A sense of adventure did come a long time ago."
"Well technically I started diving, free diving of course long before Cousteau came on the agenda, probably around 1935 and I was given a present, a mask, a face mask that the pearl divers in Japan use, so I started free diving right off of Palm beach Florida, right off of Breakers Hotel. For the first time, opening your eyes underwater with a full mask is an epiphany, an awakening because you can focus clearly and I was hooked for the rest of my life."
"It was that sense of exploration and adventure. Diving has taken me to such diverse areas as the Amazon, a thousand miles up to make the first collection of fresh water dolphins, exploring ancient wrecks in the Aegean Sea, and swimming with some of the worlds most feared sharks. It was exotic, fascinating, sometimes dangerous but it was real adventure, and it also was earning my keep."
"One day, when I was a blueberry farmer, I picked up a Geographic magazine Jacques Cousteau was in and he was cage diving in the red sea with sharks. I thought, 'Who is this man?' How do you carve out a vocation like this? Will you be bound in shells and miseries all your life? What does it take, and that germ of a thought came, maybe you have to take a chance, take a chance, maybe mortgage the house again, build a boat, put air tanks on the back of it and set out for something that changed my life."
We were producing the film called Blue Water White Death. At the very start of it, we went 100 miles to see out of Durban South Africa to dive with the Union Whaling Company, just tag along with them to find the Great White Shark. It wasn't the Great White, it was the Oceanic White Tip, the big eight to ten foot freighters that we found. We were in cages with the producer, Peter Gimble. He never told us that he was going to step out of the cage. We were up near the surface with 1000 feet of water under us, and Ron Taylor and I were in one cage and Peter and Val Taylor, the Australian diver, were in another cage. The Peter stepped out of it, and Ron and I looked at each other and thought, we better go, we can't let him go out alone. The adrenalin was running because no one had encountered these Oceanic Sharks in the open like that. We had no idea what the behavior would be, and they were feeding on a great big Sperm Whale that had been buoyed on the surface. Well that was the test; we were very, very afraid. But it was also the genesis of beginning to learn what we could do with sharks. They bumped us, and they nosed us from behind while we're shooting with 3 big cameras; it was frightening. But we learned that the sharks weren't really interested in attacking us because we were strangers, strange animals not on their diet and that, that was our cue over many years which Ron Taylor and I earned our bread by working with sharks because that is what the media always wanted."
"One of the most memorable was Ningaloo Reef. You may have seen the picture - it was taken quite a long time ago. I was filming a 40-foot whale shark in Northern Australia. I was swimming backwards with the camera to get a front shot of him coming on and staying ahead of him but he came faster than I could go backwards, so I had to shove off. A lady guest photographer snapped the picture and I will never have another like it because we just don't see Whale Sharks like that anymore. They are an endangered species and they take years to grow to that optimum size and they are easily harpooned, their fins cut off."
"I have been asked many times by young people especially that have seen one of my films, 'why did you start diving?' I try to be more philosophical than just saying it was the sense of adventure. It was actually, and I learned this from Robert Frost who I studied with in college, who said that 'yield who will, to their separation my object in living' as that my aim in life is to make my vocation my avocation as my two eyes make one in sight. He said, only where love and need are one and the work is play for mortal stakes is the deed ever really done for heaven and the futures sake. And he meant that you must love what you're doing through your life so you continue to be energized with it and happy that you went that route. And I went to diving and the sea took me in and it has never been dull, it's been an on going adventure. There is not a big chance that you're going to be an astronaut but going into a whole other dimension, the Ocean, not our world, as terrestrial animals is a great adventure and I have never looked back and regretted it."
"Some people carry fetishes like a waterproof rabbits feet! I carry and wouldn't leave home without it, a SCUBAPRO dive computer. You get very careless as you get older, and I depend on technology to keep me safe diving."
"Companies have helped me and over the years and for the last many years, SCUBAPRO just happens to be the company, one of the finest manufactures of scuba equipment. The fact that I have reached this horrid old age of 90 and am still alive means it is great equipment. Safe, beautifully designed, constantly evolving - and I am very grateful for it. SCUBAPRO came up with the first BC, buoyancy compensator, and other innovations that put you in the real vein of diving. And of course, their computers - all of us are bent from diving before we had those, now we are living in a world that lets us know when we're in trouble and we better come up when we need to. So I am very grateful for that. SCUBAPRO is one of my great partners and I am still here to tell you about it."