BEV MORGAN

June 7, 2018

Sad to say we lost Bev Morgan today!

 Bev Morgan - 1932-2018NOGI recipient Arts - 1990, Sports/Education 1995,

     

Link to book on Bev Morgan:         Click HERE          

Link to AUAS film on Bev Morgan:Click HERE

 

 

Bev Morgan is the only person to be inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame, Commercial Diving Hall of Fame and the Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.   He started out as a surfer in Southern California.  One day around 1946 while in San Diego, he saw 3 scuba divers come out of the water: Conrad Limbaugh, Jim Stewart and Andy Rechnitzer from Scripps Institute of Oceanography.  They had caught abalone and lobster.  They soon became lifelong friends and helped to establish the first training programs for all recreational and scientific divers.

 

As an early surfer, learned fiberglassing techniques by making surfboards.  One of his first jobs was grinding metal at a factory in Torrance, working under German rocket scientist Dr. Wehrner Von Braun.  Bev was able to convince Wehner to start using fiberglass in the production process because it was quicker and easier to grind.  

 

Bev learned to scuba dive using a WWII tilt valve regulator from a B-29 bomber.  Around 1951, he bought an Aqua-Lung.  He was working as a Lifeguard for Los Angeles County and ran the original Baywatch boat.  One of his jobs was body recovery.  Scuba Divers were dying on a regular basis because they could buy or rent gear, but there was no training other than “Don’t Hold Your Breath.”  The L.A. County Board of Supervisors was seeking to make scuba diving illegal because of the high accident rate.  Bev along with Conrad Limbaugh and E.R. Cross proposed creating a board of advisors, to keep diving self regulated by dive shops, clubs and agencies and free from governmental intervention.  Bev wrote the first diving training book: Underwater Safety.  He partnered with Al Tillman and Ramsey Parks and created the L.A. County dive instruction program.  Tillman later left and formed NAUI using the L.A. program as a template.

 

Around 1955, Bev and surfers Hap Jacobs and Dale Velzy opened a combined diving and surfing shop in Redondo Beach: Dive n’ Surf.  Later on, Bill and Bob Meistrell came in as partners.  At that time, the only dive shop in the area was Mel’s Aqua Shop, owned by Mel Fisher.  The new competition made it more difficult for Mel, so he decided to sell the shop to go hunt from sunken treasure off the coast of Florida.  On July 20, 1985, Mel Fisher found the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, a Spanish galleon with 47 tons of gold and silver on board.

 

Bev was making wetsuits for divers using Hugh Bradner’s technique of using neoprene rubber.  He changed the name from “thermo cline” to “Body Glove” because it fit the body like a glove.  It worked well for both divers and surfers, but the surfers refused to wear them because they considered it “chicken.”  Bev approached the top 10 surf teams in convinced them to wear his wetsuit during a surf contest.   Shortly after the meet, he had orders for over 1000 surf suits.  Soon it was 2000.  Bev sold the business to the Meistrell brothers and went sailing throughout the Pacific: Cocos Island, Galapagos, Pitcairn and other islands.  He collected fish specimens for Scripps and wrote articles for Surfer Magazine.

 

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