Santa Barbara- S County

Diving Industry Pioneers Celebrated in Santa Barbara with Presigious Honor

Lad Handelman and Bob Kirby were among the original designers and testers of deep ocean gear for commerical use

Diving Pioneers honored

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara diving industry legends Lad Handelman and Bob Kirby have been honored for their innovations and pioneering efforts in the underwater commercial fishing business.

They were inducted into the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences and ACDI Commercial Diving Hall of Fame Friday at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.   A standing room only crowd attended the special gala.

Both were presented with the prestigious NOGI award.

Handelman was one of the original testers of underwater commercial diving gear and was involved in some of the designs for business use in the Santa Barbara Channel.  

Kirby has been an acclaimed  innovator in diving gear including specialized helmets used for deep water dives, the military and motion picture use.  His work has been featured in the James Cameron movie "The Abyss."

The pictures of the men and some of the early divers in Santa Barbara waters along with some of the gear used over the years are on display in the Museum located at the Santa Barbara Harbor.

(more details and video will be added here later today)

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