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There’s A New Sheriff at DUI

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Header image of DUI’s new CEO Dan Drake and additional photos courtesy of Diving Unlimited International.

Dick Long, Founder of Diving Unlimited International (DUI).

Dick Long, the founder of Diving Unlimited International (DUI), has announced that DUI is under new leadership. “We are moving forward in our mission to create innovative products for safe and comfortable diving under new leadership,” he said. To that end, Dan Drake has stepped up to be the new CEO of the 55-year-old San Diego company. Dan has served in most sectors of the company since he joined DUI 17 years ago. “Dan’s passion for the ocean, diving, and DUI is as strong as mine,” Long said. “I can’t wait to see him bring DUI to new heights.”

DUI is famed in the diving community for creating new drysuit technology that enables divers to be safe in cold water. DUI created dozens of patented products used by military, commercial, and recreational divers which keep oil workers safe in frigid Arctic waters, give Navy divers more time underwater to complete their missions, and make it more comfortable for recreational divers to explore marine life wonders. The company continues to develop new, more advanced products, shipping them worldwide while keeping their loyal employee base local in San Diego. 

Under Dan’s leadership, DUI is renewing its commitment to improved work relations with vendors in order to ensure that DUI has the highest quality materials as well as the best production and repair times. In spite of the challenges, keeping  all of DUI’s manufacturing in the USA has allowed DUI to keep producing and delivering products during the pandemic. Even with the difficult work environment during COVID, the best drysuits in the world are made by DUI’s highly skilled workforce. Many members of DUI’s staff have been working for them for years, some with over 25 years of experience. Dan’s goal last year—avoid reducing any part of DUI’s skilled professional staff—has been successful. This year, his goal is to add skilled staff members to their production team and to expand their production and shipping footprint in an effort to better meet today’s customer needs with more effective systems that tie DUI closer to their customer base and create a stronger production workflow.

Dan is committed to making products that meet customer’s needs. Understanding those needs today involves more technology than it has in the past. DUI’s best products have always come from the needs of their customers, but Dan plans on expanding DUI’s digital footprint so customers have more access to customer service, repairs, and the sales staff. Dan has also made changes in DUI’s internal technology: cloud-based communication systems that include phone, video chat, email and social media, more product support online, and helpful videos on the DUI YouTube channel. Giving all of this product education and information to the end user creates a more educated and loyal customer base. 

A big order from Woodviile Karst Plains Project (WKPP) divers

Dan also plans to make a shift back to more research and development. DUI has been the leader of thermal protection for years. Producing drysuits, insulation, and dry bags are just a few of the items for which DUI strives to be the leaders. He has had the opportunity to work on many military development projects for groups that are always trying to push the limits of diving. It is time for DUI to take that education and expand in other areas of diving, such as recreational and commercial.

Dan is excited to have this leadership opportunity and to work in such a great industry. He has been involved  in the diving industry for the last 17 years, with most of it in research and development, and he is very confident in DUI’s future. 

With Dan Drake’s leadership, we can all look forward to seeing where DUI will be in the near future.

For more information, you can find us at: https://www.divedui.com



Art

MER

Creative director and photographer Brenda Stumpf conjures up a crush of living, breathing mermaids and monsters that dwell deep within our collective unconscious.

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“Working at depth is a particular challenge with models and I was fortunate to have a fantastic crew and a subject who was not afraid to dive deep.” 

“Shooting in closed environments allows for more exploration in costuming and effects that might become too dangerous in the open water.  In this shot, with the help of a fantastic hair and makeup crew, we were able to create an underwater ‘ivy jungle’ that our model could interact with to create an image that is filled with movement.”

“California diving is extraordinary, but it is also difficult – cold, and often hampered with poor visibility.  On this day, we struck gold… late summer, water about as warm as it would get in the upper 60’s and visibility around 50 feet.   Under these conditions, Mermaid Virginia was a rockstar… and managed to perform effortlessly for more than double the usual time you would expect from a model under cold water conditions.”

 

“While not underwater, this is one of my favorite images.  The visibility that day was pure green soup out at the island – maybe 2 or 3 feet… so we improvised and pivoted our plan to do some shoreline images.  Paul became the pirate who finds Mermaid Virginia – washed ashore. The look on his face and the commitment to the story that they both provided – makes this image complete magic to me.”

“The sequences we shot in Mexico are some of my favorites… and this image rises to the top.  I wanted to portray the duality of the beautiful mermaid who is really a monster in disguise.  Above the water, she is beautiful and intriguing, and under the surface, she is all murder and terror.  Mermaid Jessica was able to pull this one due to her extraordinary presence and incredible costuming skills.  As a bonus, we had a few little fish that kept popping into the shots – that I think really added to the overall effect.”

“Nestled deep in the mangroves of the cenotes of the Yucatan, we found a spot that became the perfect ‘lair’ for our siren/monster mermaid.”  

“Another beautiful day on Catalina Island.  If you depart from the dive park, and explore around the island a little… you can find amazing locations at shallow depth, but with a ton of structure and beauty.”  

 

“This was such a fantastic moment.  Mermaid Linnea is a natural talent underwater, and so calm that all the garibaldi came in to check her out.”  

“Nestled into an underwater cave, this sweet mermaid glances out into the world above.  Mermaid Elisa brought this creature to life and is an extraordinary underwater talent.  She was able to work the rather difficult costuming with ease.”

“A little behind the scenes captured while we were on location for two weeks shooting in multiple locations throughout the Yucatan peninsula.  Best crew, and best models, best team.”  

-BRENDA STUMPF



Photo Details:

Header Image Credits: Location: Simi Valley, CA Model: Traci Hines Safety Diver: Virginia Hankins. “Mermaid Traci was an absolute delight to work with.  This was her first underwater mermaid photoshoot and I’m thrilled at how well it came out. “

Alissa Photo Credits; Location: Roatan, Honduras; Model: Alissa Quon; Safety Diver: Virginia Hankins

Virginia Photo Credits: Image 1; Location: Simi Valley, CA; Model: Virginia Hankins; Hair/makeup: Chrystina Yu Makeup & Natasha Johnson; Image 2; Location: Catalina Island, CA; Model: Virginia Hankins; Safety Diver: Jon Council; Image 3; Location: Catalina Island, CA; Models: Virginia Hankins, Paul Suda; Safety: Mike Varga

Jessica Photo Credits: Image 1; Location: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico; Model: Jessica Dru Johnson; Safety Diver: Mike Varga; Image 2; Location: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico; Model: Jessica Dru Johnson; Safety: Mike Varga

Linnea Photo Credits: Image 1; Location: Catalina Island, CA; Model: Linnea Snyderman; Safety: Jon Council; Image 2; Location: Catalina Island, CA; Model: Linnea Snyderman; Safety: Jon Council

Elisa Photo Credits: Location: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico; Model: Elisa Buller; Safety: Mike Varga

Virginia & Jessica Photo Credits: Location: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico; Models: Virginia Hankins, Jessica Dru Johnson; Safety: Mike Varga


Brenda Stumpf has been diving and making photos for the past 12 years in both closed and open water environments.  She specializes in fine art and portraiture and can be found passport in hand, ready to head out to another great adventure. You can find more on her website: Brenda Stumpf. For more mermaids, check out her book: The Mermaid Project.

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