E. R. Cross Award
The Board of Directors are pleased to announce that long-time HDS member Ed Uditis is the recipient of the 2013 Historical Diving Society E.R. Cross Award. In announcing the award the Board noted Ed’s long-standing volunteer service to the Society.
Ed began diving in 1954 in Easton, Pennsylvania, became a NAUI instructor in 1966, and developed the initial scuba program at the University of Tampa. There he organized Diver’s Day, became a NAUI Instructor Training Course Director, and assisted Jacques Cousteau’s underwater photography team, testing new equipment. During the 1970’s Ed promoted fly and dive trips to the Cayman Islands and in the 1980’s formed a partnership with Martin Sutton of Grand Cayman’s Fisheye dive/photography operation. This led to Ed being the first ever to shoot under water video for guests, and he produced many videos and conducted video classes. While in Cayman he was among those who organized the now world-renown Sting Ray City dives and he is also credited with being a pioneer in the introduction of nitrox and rebreather diving to the islands.
Ed is a founding member of the HDS and worked closely with Leslie Leaney in the Society promoting at various regional consumer dive shows during its early days. Ed was responsible for recruiting numerous members and promoting the non-profit Society through his presentations at dive clubs in the USA and abroad. More recently he has been a volunteer at the HDS booths at DEMA and Beneath The Sea and has also promoted the Society at various museum presentations and non-diving shows.
Commenting on the award Leslie Leaney said, “I met Ed at the first dive show I ever attended representing the HDS. This was in 1993. I had a Miller Dunn style 2 helmet on display at the booth and Ed came over to talk to me about it during set up. I did not know anybody so Ed kind of adopted me and walked me round that show introducing me to every vendor he knew. And he knew lots of them and I handed out a lot of membership applications. He also knew a lot of divers in the HDS UK as he was often over there lecturing on diving destinations. He opened a lot of doors for HDS in those early years. But some of my favorite memories of Ed do not involve diving. All HDS expenses in those years came out of my pocket so when he offered to share his room with me at the next show, which was on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, I seized the opportunity. We had separate bunks and what I can clearly remember from that show was returning to the room and flopping down on a bunk and getting a good whack on the back of my head as it hit the pillow. I looked under the pillow and there was pretty big handgun that Ed had stowed there. He was always “carrying” in those days. At another show we did in Oakland there was some sort of problem with the promoters and a lot of the dive stores stayed away, so traffic was slow. With not a lot of customers coming through the door to sell to, Ed switched to his antique and collectible mode. Although he lived in Cayman he had managed to buy a huge stuffed grizzly bear that stood over 10 feet tall and he HAD to sell it before the show was over. Amazingly he did to vendor in a booth a few aisles over. I think he sold the guy a moose head too. It was amazing to listen to the pitch. If you can’t sell diving destinations then sell whatever you can. I make this point because Ed is a natural salesman and as such has “sold” the HDS since we first met. He is unique among the membership that I know, and I am very pleased that the Board has recognized his valuable contribution to the work of the Society. Working with Ed was so much of an adventure that I began calling it an Edventure. It still is!”
The Board of Directors congratulates Ed on this significant career recognition.