Corey Mearns from Light Monkey mentioned it when I was interviewing him. You never know what connections you are going to make through diving, and the path each individual relationship will follow.
Flying into Sydney early Saturday morning, I had no idea that a few hours later I would meet Michael Menduno at OzTek 2011. Some of you will be reading this and wondering—and yes, it was him, the one and only Michael Menduno—the rest of you will have absolutely no idea of who I am talking about. Let me fill you in...
Jump back to the summer of 1996 and British Cave Diver Mike Thomas presents me with a copy of aquaCORPS magazine, (and I still have this issue in my office today). It was a defining moment in my diving career. Mike had taken me under his wing, showing me there was more than 30 metre, single tank, recreational, air diving. The aquaCORPS issue was N11, October / November 1995 and I vividly remember being thrilled to learn of a brave new world of diving.
The power behind AquaCorps was Menduno. He conceived and edited “the independent journal for experienced divers”, commissioning a crème da la crème stable of knowledgeable diving pioneers to write for him. The resulting prose was greedily consumed by every diver wanting to know more about the evolution of sport diving—the new and exciting movement—high-tech diving.
AquaCorps was born at a very exciting time, and it certainly greatly influenced the technical diving revolution of the late 80’s to early 90’s. Wired Magazine described it as “The Sea Geek’s Bible”, and if you ever wanted confirmation of this, just talk to pretty much any technical diver of note today. They will all agree on one thing—the publication that greatly influenced their personal diving was AquaCorps.
Bumping into Menduno at OzTek was the moment I met a personal diving hero. Later, over a game of pool, I was delighted to discover he was an utterly charming, approachable and generously spirited man. We talked about AquaCorps, writing, rebreathers, diving and magazines. Sometimes all the very best things happen over a beer. “Would it be okay for X-RAY MAG to republish articles from AquaCorps, starting with issue one, Michael?” I asked. “Yes, sure Roz,” said Menduno.
High Tech Renaissance
Ironically, we are now enjoying a renaissance in high-tech diving. In the last two years, there’s been an explosion in sidemount diving. PADI is now moving into recreational rebreather training, with other agencies wanting to follow the same path, hot on their heels.
So, grab a cup of coffee, take your phone off the hook, indulge yourself with a moment of peace and discover what influenced so many of today’s leading technical divers. Some of these articles are just as pertinent today as they were when they were penned, and others are a charming look back at how we were. Either way, enjoy this slice of diving history, with many grateful thanks to Michael Menduno and AquaCorps magazine.