DUI Celebrates 50th Anniversary
DUI Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Written by Susan Long
First printed in North American Dive News
Necessity is the mother of invention. Dick Long, DUI’s founder, started diving in the late 50’s because he lost his favorite fishing lure in a lake in Northern California. With a plastic mask with a built in snorkel and a pair of fins, he jumped into the water and not only found his lure, he found a bunch of others which he sold to pay for the $4 he spent on his gear. That is when his love affair with everything underwater began.
Skin Diving Unlimited was opened in 1963 in San Diego with $1500 and a second-hand air compressor. Mostly because Dick, at 6’2” and 150 pounds, was virtually freezing to death. He started making custom wetsuits and quickly garnered a reputation as “The Guy” to help keep divers warm.
In the late 60’s, DUI invented hot water suits and systems for commercial and military divers. This allowed divers to go to deeper depths and for longer periods than ever before. DUI’s designs were used in the frigid waters of the North Sea for the Offshore Oil Industry and in SeaLab I and II.
Later in the 70’s the DUI Team had the foresight to look to the future as wetsuit manufacturing was moving off-shore. Drysuits while not completely foreign were bulky, uncomfortable and cumbersome and used mostly by commercial and only the most dedicated cold water recreational divers.
DUI brought new materials like crushed neoprene and trilaminate fabrics to the market, innovative designs like the self-donning zipper and telescoping torso (one of the most copied designs in drysuits today), and truly brought drysuits and high performance insulating materials to the broad market. Drysuits were no longer for technical divers … drysuits were for everybody.
DUI continued to innovate by introducing ZipSeals – field replaceable seals, RockBoots, Weight & Trim Systems, ZipGloves and more. But they are probably best known for their fit. After making over 150,000 drysuits, they’ve learned a few things about how a drysuit should fit for maximum performance. And their quality is second to none with a 7-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship and, more importantly, 50 years of standing behind that warranty.
DUI is also well known for their Team of people. They are as dedicated to the art of diving and to their customers today as they have ever been. With the average employee being at DUI over 13 ½ years, the real “secret sauce” at DUI is their people. Dick’s daughter, Susan Long, has lead the charge for the last 10 years and sees this landmark anniversary as only the beginning. “Dad had the first 40 years and I have the second 40 so we still have lots of great things to do!”
All of this wrapped up is why DUI has such a loyal following. These divers are called DOGs; aka the DUI Owners Group. The pride of ownership can be seen on any dive boat or shoreline around the world. Nothing allows a diver to do what they love best than their DUI. It keeps them warm and comfortable no matter the conditions.
Congratulations DUI on a job well done. We, too, are looking forward to the next 50 years!