The dive community mourns the recent passing, on August 9, 2016 of Bill Hardy, the founder and long-time operator of San Diego Diver’s Supply in Southern California.
Founding the store together with Bill Johnson in 1954, San Diego Diver’s Supply grew to be one of the premiere dive operations in Southern California, with stores located throughout the San Diego area. Bill also operated and managed Denver Diver’s Supply in Denver for many years, and was involved in the founding, together with John Gaffney, of the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools (NASDS), which later was incorporated into SSI.
In establishing a state-of-the-art retail dive store in 1959, Bill introduced multiple innovations, including a purpose built swimming pool with a ten-foot depth for scuba training, and expanded the manufacture and sale of custom neoprene diving suits to both recreational divers and the military. He also operated the NASDS College, which formalized dive instructor training.
Bill was one of the founders of Sub-Aquatic Systems, a manufacturing company that provided a full line of scuba equipment. Though never one for self-promotion, Bill quietly provided many innovations to dive training and the dive equipment safes area that are used and commonplace today.