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."

 

buzzoole code

With 23 Years Of Hindsight – Rigging Options For Diving

A recent post on a diving forum stated "sidemounting is just a fad".

New(er) divers to the sport could be forgiven for thinking this style of scuba diving is a recent phenomenon.

Cave Photography, Gavin Newman, Mike Thomas, Cave Diving Group, CDG 50th Anniversary, Wookey Hole, Drager Dolphin rebreather, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Two Brit Cave Divers marking the CDG's 50th Anniversary by diving Wookey Hole, June 1996 Photo Credit: Gavin Newman

Sidemounting was actually invented in the 1960s by the Brits. They were exploring sites such as Wookey Hole, Swildons Cave and other underground systems, and would often find 'the way on' was blocked by a submerged passageway called a sump. In order to explore further, these sumps needed to be navigated.

British sumps tend to be short, cramped, flooded passageways, therefore buoyancy is not an issue nor is the use of fins. Cavers just needed a means to be able to breath and (sometimes) see where they were pushing. The caver would attach a cylinder and regulator to their body using a robust belt that allowed the cylinder to be worn against the body. This 'English system' of cylinder rigging allowed the explorer to crawl through both dry and wet sections of cave and keep on pushing the system.

During the 1970s the 'English system' was adopted across the pond by Floridian cave divers. These cave systems tended to be properly flooded with the emphasis on diving to explore the cave. Buoyancy, trim and propulsion became an issue, hence cylinders were moved from the waist / thigh area, up towards the armpit and against the torso.  Once again, these divers made their own rigging system. However it wasn't until the mid 1990s that the first commercial sidemount diving system was manufactured by Dive Rite. This was designed by Lamar Hires, a renowned cave explorer and instructor. 

The following article by Michael Menduno is reprinted from the pioneering American journal for technical diving, aquaCORPS, V4, MIX, January-February 1992.

Though double (twinset) tanks and stage bottles are generally a requirement for most technical diving operations, diving sets vary significantly depending on the specific application and diving environment. Here’s a look at some of the more common methods of set rigging as practiced today in the “doubles community.”

Squeezing By - authored by Lamar Hires

Lamar Hires, Jared Hires, Lee Ann Hires, Bob Janowski, Michael Menduno, aquaCORPS Magazine, Dive Rite, sidemount diving, technical diving, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, XRay Magazine
A Floridian sidemount rig from the early 1990's, before Dive Rite released their TransPac system Image Credit: Bob Janowski

Originally developed for the tight low visibility sump diving that is common in Europe, sidemounts allowed spelunkers to more easily transport single cylinders through a dry cave to the dive site. In North Florida, the use of sidemount techniques has allowed exploration into small silty areas that were once thought impassable and has opened up entire new cave systems that were simply inaccessible with back mounted doubles.

Sidemounts reduce the strain of carrying heavy doubles up steep inclines, lowering cylinders down into a hole, and making those long walks through the woods to the dive site. Cave systems known to be silty can now be penetrated without heavy silting. Sidemount configuration means wearing the cylinders on the hips instead of the back. The cylinders are fastened in the middle with a snap to a harness at the waist. The necks are clipped off at the armpit using bungee material (a bicycle inner tube is preferred) so that the cylinders are forced to lay parallel to the diver’s body. Adjustments are usually needed at first to insure a snug comfortable fit.

When diving with sidemounts, gas supplies must be balanced for adequate reserves throughout the dive. The regulator and SPG hoses no longer lay across the back and instead are clipped across the chest area. The management of these is critical for proper monitoring of gas supplies and switching regulators during the dive. Back-up and emergency equipment must be streamlined and tucked away to achieve the desired profile—no thicker than two cylinders that lay along the diver’s hips.

Clearly, sidemount diving is not for everyone because of the potential hazards that exist; low visibility, line traps and squeezes that seem to get smaller and smaller are only a few of the obstacles to be overcome. A diver must be totally comfortable in all these conditions before considering sidemount as an alternative. Suitably equipped, divers who are, can usually find a way to squeeze by.

China Cult - authored by Billy Deans 

Billy Deans, Joel Silverstein, Michael Menduno, aquaCORPS Magazine, SS Andrea Doria, Poseidon, doubles, twinset, technical diving, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, XRay Magazine,
Technical diving pioneer and educator Billy Deans Image Credit: Joel Silverstein

Previously isolated from the underground and fellow wreckers to the south, the east coast wreck diving community evolved its own style of set rigging suitable for the cold dark waters of the north and the available technology. Still seen on the boats that work the Doria, Texas Tower, the Virginia and the San Diego, a typical east coast wreck diving set consists of a pair of double 80s or 95s (10.5 or 11.5 liter) or secured to a large capacity BCD jacket with a manifold system, or commonly two independent regulators, which are rotated throughout the dive.

A 40cf (5.5 liter) pony mounted between the doubles serves as a bailout, along with a handmade upreel (hemp rope wrapped around a forearm-length aluminum spindle). For the most part, stage bottles, typically air, are something divers leave tied off to the anchor line at 10ft (3m), and oxygen for decompression is still used sparingly, if at all.

Now with the advent of larger tanks, harness and manifold systems, improved decompression methods and mix technology, all that is changing. Today, a well-outfitted high tech wreck diver carries a pair of cold-filled Genesis 120s (14.5 liter) with DIN crossover manifold and valve protectors, shoulder mounted stage bottles, or ‘wing tanks’, containing decompression gas (EAN and or oxygen)—do you really want to bet your tissues on that cylinder clipped off to the anchor line? Harness, bag and back plate system, argon inflation system and of course an upreel.

The result? Wreck divers are staying down longer, getting more of that first class china, and most importantly are doing it safer. After all, when you come right down to it, the most valuable artifact that you’ll ever bring home is yourself.

To read the full article, click here

First Published: X-Ray MagazineMay 2015 Issue 66, Page 78

Rebreather Forum 3 Speakers

Rebreather Forum 3 Speakers - Friday 18th May 2012
Caribbean Ballroom III, Caribe Royale Convention Center

 

Dr Drew Richardson, PADI, Professional Association of Diving Instructors, Rebreather Forum 3 Speaker, TUMC, The Underwater Marketing Company, Rosemary E Lunn, Rosemary Lunn, Roz Lunn, Rebreather Forum 2.0, Rubicon Foundation, Rebreather Forum 2.0 Conference Proceedings

 

 

 

 

Dr Drew Richardson

07:30 Rebreather Forum 3 Welcome
15:00 Rebreather Forum 3 Orientation

 

 

Michael Menduno, Rebreather Forum 3 Speaker, RF3, Lessons learned from Rebreather Forum 2, Rosemary E Lunn, Rosemary Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, TUMC, aquCORPS magazine, technical diving, diving conference,

 

 

 

 

Michael Menduno

15:15 Lessons Learned from Rebreather Forum 2

 

 

Richard Harris, Harry Harris, Rebreather Forum 3 Speaker, RF3, cave diving, cave diver, Australian, Rosemary E Lunn, Rosemary Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, TUMC, anaesthetist, physician, Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital

 

 

 

 

Dr Richard 'Harry' Harris

16:30 Rebreathers - Overcoming Obstacles in Exploration

 

 

Martin Robson, Rebreather Forum 3 Speaker, RF3, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Rosemary Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, TUMC, Christian McDonald, Evan Kovacs, Mark Caney, Phil Short, Lamar Hires, CCR communities

 

 

 

 

Martin Robson

17:20 CCR Communities

Book now for Rebreather Forum 3

For anyone with an interest in rebreather technology and science, Rebreather Forum 3 (RF3) is an unmissable occasion. With all the major players attending, this is the perfect opportunity for you to get up to speed with current thinking in rebreather technology, from the industry's foremost minds.

RF3 (www.rf30.org) will be held from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th May 2012 inclusive at the Caribe Royale Hotel, Orlando. This unique conference comprises two elements; 30 different talks delivered by a team of respected speakers over three days and a specialist Expo with more than 30 international exhibitors.

Rebreather Forum 3, Drew Richardson, Michael Menduno, Kim Smith, Kiss Rebreathers, Martin Robson, Petar Denoble, Andrew Fock, David Concannon, Peter Sieniewicz, Bill Stone, John Clarke, Arne Sieber, Jeff Bozanic, Kevin Gurr, Dan Warkander, Bruce Partridge, Gavin Anthony, Mike Ward, Martin Parker, David Cowgill, Oskar Franberg, Phil Short, Dave Pence, Jill Heinerth, Terrance Tysall, Neal W. Pollock, Simon Mitchell, CO2 Sensors, O2 Sensors, O2 Control, Scrubber technology, RESA, Rebreather Education & Safety Association, Rebreather Forum 2, Thermal Physiology and protection, thermal stress, CCR physiology, CCR diving fatalities, decompression methods, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, ANDI, TDI, IANTD, DAN, AAUS, DAN, Divetech Cayman, Nancy Easterbrook, Steve Lewis, Bruce Partridge, Richie Kohler, Richard Pyle, US CoastguardIt's 16 years since the previous Rebreather Forum and there is much to discuss. Major issues will be addressed surrounding rebreather technology, and its application in sport, military, research and scientific diving. RF3 has two key objectives; an emphasis on safety and the much needed peer review of the state of the art. As a RF3 delegate you will be part of this important process.

The social side has not been forgotten either, whenever divers get together they like to talk and in the up and coming months you can follow us on Twitter; #RebreatherF3 or Facebook. On Friday night there will be a Loud Shirt Party - a Beach BBQ extravaganza - ideal for catching up with friends and colleagues, meanwhile on Saturday night we celebrate success at the glamorous and sophisticated RF3 Gala Banquet.

Although rebreather diving is a niche market, it is not without influence and it’s actively expanding. We are now entering a new age of diving. In the last couple of years we've seen major steps forward with the recent launch of two recreational machines. The ‘Type R’ rebreather is coming of age and the training agencies are actively working with manufacturers to grow this significant new market.

Attending Rebreather Forum 3 gives you unrivalled access to the very latest in rebreather training, technology and ethos, delivered by some of the world's significant figures in the field. It’s not often that you will get the opportunity to meet and talk to these cutting edge leading professionals who shape and influence this industry.

Delegates will therefore be pleased to hear that there are "Early Bird Specials" on RF3 Tickets until 1st February 2012, with savings of up to US$100 per ticket. With RF3 tickets starting from US$290, log onto www.rf30.org now to book your place at this decade’s most momentous rebreather event. Regardless of your experience level, Rebreather Forum 3 is not to be missed.