John Dalla-Zuanna Receives OZTek 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award

OZTek 2015 Technical Diver of the Year, OZTek 2015 Industry Recognition Award, OZTek 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award, OZTek 2015 Media Excellence Award, John Dalla-Zuanna, Richard Vevers, Richard Evans, Lance Robb. OZTek 2015 Award Winners, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, The OZTek Awards celebrate the achievements and endeavours of Australia's leading Divers and Dive Industry personnel - the people who have helped push the boundaries of knowledge and exploration in the field of advanced and technical diving.

On Sunday 15th March 2015, during the Gala Award Ceremony, previous OZTEk award winner Dr Richard 'Harry' Harris announced OZTek's 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award. This is what Harry had to say to packed audience of advanced and technical diving movers and shakers.

"It is an enormous honour to be asked by the OZTek Organisers to present this very well deserved award to a close friend, a wonderful dive budy, a mentor and a constant voice of reason in the mad world of technical diving!

I would like to break with tradition and ask this man - John Dalla-Zuanna - to come and join me up here, whilst I tell you why he is such a special guy in this great sport of ours.

At the cheeky young age of just 58, JDZ is truly a veteran of the sport of cave and technical diving. Cave diving in Australia started pretty much at the time JDZ started cave diving, so it is impossible to consider one without the other. Around the time the CDAA became incorporated in 1973, JDZ started visiting the Mount Gambier area. He cut a fine figure in Piccaninnie Ponds with his Moray suit! He became qualified in 1975 as member #256 and from that time on was inspired by the sport. A trip in the late 70's to Florida to meet Sheck Exlley, Wes Skiles and Woody Jasper quickly led to adopting sidemount diving, and feeling the thrill of laying line in virgin passage.

OZTek 2015 Harry Harris and JOhn Dalla Zuanna by Rosemary E Lunn
Dr 'Harry' Harris introducing cave diver John Dalla-Zuanna at the 2015 OZTek Award Dinner Photo Credit: Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company

Thus the passion was born and returned to Australia and began teaching both open water and cave diving. He has reached the highest levels of recreational and cave diving instructor. And, as a long time FAUI instructor, a PADI Course Director and CDAA Advanced Cave instructor, countless students have come under his thoughtful and methodical influence. The CDAA has benefited enormously from John's vision for cave diving, and he has filled a voluntary position with that organisation in some form or another almost continuously. Ken Smith always said that he used to think cave diving politics were a matter of life and death, and now he realises it is much more serious! JDZ has been a calming influence on all factions of the CDAA for many yearss and is unique in that he is respected and heard by all sides.

OZTek 2015, cave diving explorer, Paul Hosie, Craig Challen, Ken Smith, Wetmules, John Dalla-Zuanna, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, technical diving, scuba diving, The Underwater Marketing Company
Cave diving explorer Paul Hosie @ OZTek.15 Photo Credit: Rosemary E Lunn

I met John at OZTek in, I think, 2003. We had been exchanging emails for awhile and I was about to leave to live in Vanuatu. John had built a rebreather heads up display from an LED light and a mobile phone vibrating motor! He generously gave me this device to put onto my KISS rebreather, which considerably enhanced the safety of my cave exploration at the the time.

After my stint in Vanuatu JDZ was one of the instructors on my penetration course and we struck up a real friendship underscored by our passion for caves, rebreathers and exploration. John had dived in so many caves around the world and along with guys like Paul Hosie, Craig Challen and Ken Smith, I quickly found a group of experienced cave divers who mentored me into the world of exploration and expedition diving. I am sure John has had a major impact on many other peoples' lives, the way he has influenced mine.

JDZ's ingenuity goes way back. He built a radio detection device called 'the Thumper' which played no small part in the mapping of Mount Gambier's showpiece, 'Tank Cave'. John was an early adopter of closed circuit rebreathers, and along with Tubby McKenzie the early leaky valve CCR Dolphin was born and dived to 85 metres on the Bayonet in the ships graveyard in Victoria. It was this creation that caught my eye and got me into rebreathers in 2002.

John the inventor became an indispensable part of the Wetmules team. (Moto: Lurching from crisis to crisis). His lithium scooter batteries propelled Craig Challen and I to the end of Cocklebiddy in 2008, where Craig added new line to the end of the cave. They also now famously caused the fire which burnt my car to the ground on the way home! His early 12 volt heated undergarments kept us warm in the Pearse Resurgence and his wonderful pasta kept us fed.

OZTek 2015. Dr Harry Harris, battery fire, Cocklebiddy Cave Exploration, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Dr 'Harry' Harris contemplating the fact that his beloved Mk15.5 rebreather was now a blackened blob inside the burnt out shell of his Nissan Patrol. (Along with all his other diving equipment, camera system, camping equipment, laptop and clothing). Harry was his way home from a two week cave diving trip to Australia's famous Cocklebiddy Cave in summer 2008, when he spotted smoke in the rear view mirror. 10 minutes after pulling over, everything was destroyed by fire.

John is a regular ocean and wreck diver. He has numerous sub 100 metre / 328 feet wreck dives to his credit and continues to teach young divers open water diving through the La Trobe university club, sharing his passion for all things aquatic. His huge passion right now is the 3D mapping of cave using a combination of video and gaming technology, and in this area he is becoming a world leader. I hope many of you got to see his talk on this today. As the current Site Director of CDAA he shows no sign of letting up, and I look foward to sharing many more dives with this wonderful friend and great ambassador for the sport of technical diving.

2015 OZTek Speakers, Heather Hamza, Alberto Nava, Richard Nicholls, Jayne Jenkins, Richard Taylor, Paul Raymaekers, Ben Reymenants, Liz Rogers, Dave Ross, Ken Smith, Lance Robb, Martin Parker, Simon Pridmore, Sue Crowe, Rod Macdonald, Daren Marshall, Barry McGill, Pete Mesley, Rosemary E Lunn, Simon Mitchell, David Strike, Dr Catherine Meehan, Michael Menduno, Richard 'Harry' Harris, Lamar Hires, Paul Hosie, Deborah Johnston, Richard Lundgren, Heather Hamza, Liam Allen, Michael Aw, Peter Buzzacott, Matt Carter, Steve Cox, John Dalla-Zuanna, John Garvin, Laura James, Paul Haynes, Paul Toomer,
The 2015 OZTek Speakers

John Dalla-Zuanna, please accept this Outstanding Achievement Award for your long standing contributions to cave and technical diving."

 

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How Honest Have You Been With Your Family About Diving?

EUROTEK advanced and technical diving conference, Vikki Batten, PADI, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Leigh Bishop, Mark Dixon, Dr Neal W Pollock
Vikki Batten about to dive at Ginnie Springs © Copyright Karl Shreeves PADI

We are aware there has been more than 60 'recreational' diving fatalities worldwide since 1st January 2014. In the UK this subject is rather raw at present; we lost 4 divers in 4 days during last weekend's Bank Holiday.

Vikki Batten, (PADI Director, Rebreather Technologies) will be delivering a talk on Sunday 21st September at EUROTEK.2014 entitled 'The Aftermath Of Incidents'. This topic is rarely discussed professionally, and will be a useful tool for dive centre owners, managers and dive pros.

Vikki has experience of dealing with the fall out of serious incidents from both a personal standpoint, and as part of her role at PADI. She has taken part in extreme dives herself and been on the other side of the fence. In January 2012 she received a phone call advising that her partner had a serious case of DCS (decompression sickness) following a dive beyond 200m / 656f depth. She then spent the following week not knowing whether he would survive, and if he did, what state he would be in. In her professional capacity Vikki has been involved with people reporting incidents, providing support to ease their distress and assistance with practical matters in the following months.

In this presentation Vikki focuses not on the victims of incidents, but on the fallout that their fellow divers, friends and family experience. Vikki asks whether your family would be prepared if you had an accident? Have you faced the possibility that diving could kill or injure you? None of us like to think that we could become a victim, but preparing yourself and your loved ones for this eventuality is Step One in preventing it or minimising the damage it could cause.

Vikki looks at the reality of incidents and their consequences, and discusses ways to prevent a tragedy becoming an even bigger disaster. This is an interactive talk, so come along prepared to take part in this rarely discussed aspect of advanced and tec diving.

Not sure when Vikki is speaking? Click this link to access the handy EUROTEK.2014 Conference Schedule.

 

Sue Crowe is the new organiser of OZTek

OZTek - the Asia Pacific / Australiasian biennial advanced and technical diving conference and exhibition - has a new organiser.

Sue Crowe David Strike OZTek EUROTEK TEKDiveUSA advanced and technical diving conference Simon MItchell Neal W Pollock Andrew Fock Jill Heinerth Roz Lunn Rosemary E Lunn The Underwater Marketing Company Jim Standing Fourth Element Corey Mearns Light Monkey PADI OWUSS Rolex Scholars rebreathers scuba diving
Photo Credit: Paul Morrall

David Strike, former organiser, announced that Sue Crowe will be the new Convener and Organiser of OZTeK2015. "Since its inception in 1999, OZTek has established itself as an internationally acclaimed diving event. In order to maintain that momentum, and recognising OZTeK’s need to build on its previous successes, I am pleased to announce that Sue Crowe will be the new Convener and organiser of OZTeK2015. I can think of no more fitting person than Sue to take control - she has many fresh ideas and enthusiasm."

Sue is much respected and well known stalwart in the Asia Pacific diving industry and brings a wealth of experience to OZTek. She originally trained as a journalist before learning to dive. After working as an instructor, Sue became Editor and then Managing Editor of Scuba Diver Australasia.

She ran her own marketing and communications consultancy agency for two years before becoming Executive Director of Tabata Australia in 2005 through to 2012.

During that time, Sue has introduced several new brand names to Australia, been President of the Diving Industry Association of Australia. She is currently on the board of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), is co-ordinator for the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society (OWUSS) in Australasia.

OZTek2015 will be held on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney, Australia.