Jim Ager died early June 2013.
I went to his burial on Monday. For those that don’t know who he is….started the Victorian Aqualung Centre in 1954, arguably the inventor of the single hose regulator, Sea Bee. (Probably at the same time as the Porpoise by Australian Divers) Owned Sea Bee wetsuits the largest wetsuit manufacturer in the world (per capita), co-inventor of the flow through balanced piston regulator now seen on ScubaPro, TUSA, Oceanic, Cressi, Atomic, Halcyon etc regulators. Introduced ScubaPro, Mares, Bauer, Gola and Converse shoes to Australia. Once employed 65 workers and made wetsuits exclusively with the best quality neoprene you could buy (Leggett’s rubber Australian made).
Manufactured and designed the Airdive demand valve the most popular hookah regulator ever sold. Jim believed that everything Australian was better and purchased only Australian made materials in business and private, often to his detriment. Jim was a driven man who would work until the small hours getting things right.
I remember him bringing in a machine that required its own air-conditioned room and everyone entering had to be very clean, no shoes and you could not make loud noises. The first computer I had ever seen and that was in about 1969. Jim wrote programs and then started teaching the suppliers how it worked plus gave demonstrations of its ability to prospective buyers.
ScubaPro tried to buy out Airdive in the 80’s but Jim could not allow his company to fall into foreign hands so stuck to his ways while ScubaPro and Mares and all of his different agencies went elsewhere over the years.
It was a sad end for someone who had given so much to the industry and sport, especially as he started the first diving school and club in Victoria (VSAG). A lonely graveside saw 20 odd people attend, who learnt a smidgin of his life in 10 minutes. My first employer in the Dive Industry in 1966. RIP.
This above article was written by Warrick McDonald and can be found on the Oceandivers Facebook sight.