Edward C. Cargile
Copyrighted © 2003
Paul J. Tzimoulis is one of the true pioneers in sport diving. He has encouraged photography, diving research and safety, and conservation in the underwater world by writing hundreds of articles to the public about diving.
His management skills were very evident in the 34 years that he was the guiding force in dramatically building the granddaddy of diving magazines, Skin Diver Magazine.
He is an excellent writer and underwater photographer. One of his great skills as a very productive manager is drawing out the very best of people that work with him. Paul’s class and character come shinning through as a lecturer and Master of Ceremonies. He is a gifted leader.
Tzimoulis has devoted over 45 years to diving and campaigning to preserve the world beneath the waves.
He has an exceptionally wide range of experiences and is extremely knowledgeable. His significant influence in the world-wide diving community has made a major impact on the advancement of diving.
Paul Tzimoulis was born November 16, 1936 in New York, NY. He grew up in New York and Connecticut.
In 1951, Tzimoulis began free diving to explore the lakes of Connecticut. He bought a gum rubber facemask and a pair of fins from a sporting good store.
Being an avid fisherman, his natural curiosity lead to asking where bass were hiding in his neighborhood lake. He began his search to answer this question by free diving. Soon he wanted to stay underwater longer.
As an early adventurer scuba diving in 1953, Tzimoulis experimented with homemade scuba. Over the next few years, he used a converted Air Force oxygen rebreather to expand his underwater exploration. This diving rig provided him the underwater capabilities to find out about bass … and a lot of other marine life.
His first real interest in diving was the result of a two-month trip to Miami, Florida, in the fall of 1954. He was very impressed with the sport diving equipment there.
Wanting to stay underwater with less trouble, he bought his first manufactured scuba rig in 1956, an AquaLung.
In 1957, Tzimoulis opened a scuba training school. Tzimoulis trained more than 5,000 diving students throughout Connecticut (New Haven, Bridgeport and Stamford).
Expanding his diving even further, in 1957 he began professional sponge diving in Tarpon Springs, FL.
Tzimoulis started and operated one of the first East Coast retail dive stores in 1958, called the East Haven Diving Center.
He also worked with retailers throughout the U.S. by developing diving promotional activities – including underwater film festivals, dive seminars and dive events.
Tzimoulis began exploring the waters of the entire east coast, from Bar Harbor in Maine, to Key West in Florida. He quickly became a nationally- recognized authority on wreck diving, underwater photography, treasure hunting and underwater natural history.
Soon Tzimoulis was diving in Bermuda, Bimini, Nassau, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Grand Cayman. He also worked a salvage inspector in the Long Island Sound.
He became a Certified Scuba Instructor at the first YMCA Diving Institute, conducted in Boston (1960). Shortly thereafter, he was appointed to the YMCA Board of Examiners for YMCA Diving Instructor Certification.
Tzimoulis was the Customer Service Manager for U.S. Divers Company at their Stamford, Connecticut facility from 1959 to 1961. He subsequently served as East Coast Sales Manager for Sportsways, Inc. (1961 to 1963) – calling on retail dive stores from Maine to Key West.
In 1962, Tzimoulis received his NAUI Instructor Certification (#347) and soon joined the Eastern NAUI Board of Instructor Examiners. He became a PADI Instructor (#125) during their first year of existence, 1966. He also served on the teaching faculty of these organizations – training and certifying instructors.
For many years, Paul Tzimoulis has been keenly aware of the need for marine ecological study and underwater conservation. He joined the American Littoral Society in 1961 when it first started. In December 1962, Skin Diver Magazine published an article by Tzimoulis, "Our Vanishing Wrecks." By early 1963, he organized the Committee For The Preservation Of undersea Wrecks.
As Chairman of the Marine Preserves Committee of the American Littoral Society, Tzimoulis led a campaign to save the wreck of the U.S.S. San Diego, which lies off the South Shore of Long Island. The campaign Tzimoulis started gained national recognition with an article in the August 16, 1963 issue of Life Magazine and a television interview by Hugh Downs on the Today Show.
His serious involvement in scuba training included him serving on the Board of Advisors of NAUI, PADI and YMCA.
Of all professional underwater photographers, few are as widely known and as easily recognized as Paul Tzimoulis. Beginning in 1957 with just an Argus C-3 in a plastic bag, the superb underwater photography of Tzimoulis has developed to a very high level of perfection.
He won his first underwater photo competition in 1959. He was a five-time winner of the Connecticut Underwater Photography Competitions.
Tzimoulis founded one of the first underwater photography schools, located in San Salvador, Bahamas. He developed many of the teaching techniques still used today. Tzimoulis conducted additional underwater photo courses in Hawaii, Bonaire, Florida Keys, Stella Maris and Chub Cay, Bahamas.
His first article, “Sponge Diving -- Scuba Style,” appeared in the August 1959 Skin Diver.
Paul Tzimoulis was chosen Chief Photographer for the December 1962 world record dive of Hannes Keller to 1,000 feet off Santa Catalina Island, California. His documentary photos of this historic event were published in magazines and scientific journals all over the world.
In 1964, the International Underwater Film Festival held in Santa Monica, California acclaimed Tzimoulis as, "the brightest young meteor on the horizons of diving's future." At this prestigious Film Festival, Tzimoulis was awarded a "Special Tribute" for his documentary filming of the Hannes Keller 1,000-foot deep dive.
He founded and was Executive Director of the first International Underwater Film Festival held in New York City, held in February 1965. Tzimoulis helped organize similar events in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston and Chicago.
One of the early staff members on Skin Diver Magazine, Paul Tzimoulis joined the Magazine as Assistant Sales Manager in 1963, with primary responsibility being sales and promotion in the eastern portion of the United States. For some time, Tzimoulis continued to supervise the Sportsways warehouse facility in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Tzimoulis was with Skin Diver Magazine for 34 years (1964-1998). In 1966, at the young age of 29 years old, Paul Tzimoulis was named Editor/Publisher of Skin Diver. Since then, he served in various capacities … Editor, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher and Group Vice President (over several magazines at the parent company of Skin Diver, Petersen Publishing).
During his tenure at Skin Diver, he provided the dynamic leadership of development of such industry milestones as the certification care (C-Card), dive travel, dive computers and buoyancy compensators.
For many years he guided Skin Diver during its largest growth period, with many publishing innovations and contributions to diving. After a distinguished career with Skin Diver, Tzimoulis retired as Vice President, Executive Publisher and Group Publisher for the Photography/Marine Division of Petersen Magazine Network.
Not one for sitting on his laurels, Tzimoulis returned from retirement to become Executive Consultant of Sport Diver Magazine and Online Publisher of the Sport Diver Website.
He has greatly helped protect the legal rights of sport divers and preservation of the ocean environment.
Within just a few years he had accumulated a tremendous amount of diving, writing, photography, knowledge about the diving industry and an admirable ability in business management.
Tzimoulis is one of the founding fathers of dive travel. He devoted 42 years to the development of dive travel as a sub-industry. He made his first live-aboard dive cruise of the Bahamas in 1960. Over the next 40 years, Tzimoulis helped to create many of today’s most popular dive destinations, including: the Bahamas, Bonaire, Roatan, Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Truk Lagoon, Palau, Yap and many others.
For many years Tzimoulis has conducted seminars, lectures and presentations on such topics as: dive tourism marketing, dive destination development, dive resort operation and dive travel promotion. His most recent seminars have been to audiences such as ScubaBowl 2000 (200 dive retailers), the Dominican Republic Hotel Association, the Manta Ray Bay resort staff (Yap) and the Cayman Tourism Association.
His excellent underwater photography has appeared in numerous magazines, including Skin Diver, U.S. Camera, Underwater Naturalist, Leisure, Carte Blanche, Argosy, Sea Venture and several other leading publications. He has won many honors and tributes for his underwater photography work at film festivals. He has one of the country's most complete photographic and research files on diving.
One of his true gifts is the class he shows as Master of Ceremonies for countless underwater film festivals, award ceremonies and other formal functions.
As a very knowledgeable and polished speaker, he has conducted Underwater Photography Seminars and courses in many parts of the world. He has also shared his tremendous first-hand experience in writing numerous articles on photography.
Tzimoulis co-authored a classic book on underwater photography with Hank Frey, entitled Camera Below (Association Press, 1968). This is one of the first books published on underwater photography. Camera Below includes everything from the properties of the underwater environment, to still and movie equipment and techniques, to photo competitions and film festivals. The book remains one of the most complete guides to the art and science of underwater photography.
He is a prolific writer on many other ocean subjects, including marine life, ocean technology, diving equipment, underwater operations and many other aspects of the oceans and lakes of the world.
In addition to his wide range of other professional activities, Tzimoulis has been an active participant in the diving community, including: Chairman, Leonard Greenstone Diving Safety Award Selection Committee, and several others.
He has been an active member of the Underwater Photographic Society, National Oceanography Association, National Association of Underwater Instructors, Cannon Hunters of Seattle, Professional Association of Diving Instructors, CEDAM International, International Oceanographic Foundation and the American Littoral Society.
During his almost five decades of involvement in diving, Tzimoulis has been involved in numerous historical milestones:
Early development of the YMCA diver and scuba instructor certification program.
Creation and development of NAUI.
Creation and development of PADI.
Still photographer for the Hannes Keller 1,000-foot ocean dive.
Discovery and filming of the lost Japanese submarine I-169 in Truk Lagoon.
Discovery and development of Manta Ray diving in Yap, Micronesia.
Early development and promotion of dive tourism to Palau, Micronesia.
Creation of the Paul Tzimoulis Underwater Photo School at San Salvador, Bahamas.
Development of early shark diving at Stella Maris, Bahamas.
Development of dive tourism to Bonaire.
Development of dive tourism to the Cayman Islands
Discovery and naming of Stingray City, Grand Cayman
His leadership and tremendous knowledge of the diving industry has resulted in Tzimoulis being members of several Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards, including NAUI, the NAUI Diving Association, the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences (Chairman), and many others.
In 2002, Tzimoulis was elected Chairman of The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. Under his leadership, the Academy has made great strides in expansion and operational improvement.
Since 1957, Paul Tzimoulis has received more than 50 awards from the diving industry. These include: the Diver Of The Year Award presented by the Boston Sea Rovers (1966); Honored Photographer from the International Underwater Film Festival (1968); the NOGI Award For Sports & Education from the Underwater Society of America (now presented by The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences) (1969); Hall of Fame Undersea Photography Award, Hawaii (1971); Oceanus Award – Our Future In Depths Arts Award (1977); Underwater Photographic Society Outstanding Achievement Award (1978); Sir Turtle Award from the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (1983); Reaching Out Award and induction into the DEMA Hall of Fame (1997); PADI Outstanding Achievement Award (1998); induction into the Cayman Islands International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (2001); Interspace Pacifica; Boston Underwater Club; the Sir Turtle Award of the Cayman Islands;
and many others.
Paul Tzimoulis and Geri Murphy have worked together since 1975. They were married in 1987.
Contact: Paul J. Tzimoulis, P.O. Box 33039, Las Vegas, NV 89133-3039, USA. Tel: (702) 656-5596. Fax: (702) 839-9576. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This biography is from the book Pioneers In Diving by Edward C. Cargile. For more information on Pioneers In Diving, contact Ed Cargile at email@example.com.)