A Brief History

Initially our company was named "Flippers Scuba". A total capital investment of $8000 was used to purchase a van ($1200), equipment ($5000), advertising ($400) and misc. expenses. With this investment we anxiously waited for the phone to ring. Ring it did, but few and far between. It wasn't long before the other partners dropped out and I ran the company. The first 2 years I did nothing but read and focus on business. This was definitely not my first love, but I saw this investment in time as necessary. Every penny made was put back into the company.

I traveled to the other islands and dived with companies I knew had solid reputations, such as "Ed Robinson's" on Maui and "Bubbles Below" in Kauai.

To their credit they allowed me to dive at a cut rate while I was admittedly observing and documenting their way of doing business. I was then and am now impressed. Much of what we do now is based on the observations I made then. In the beginning, we had no retail shop and I was uninterested in having one. I felt that the time invested in retail would undermine the commitment I made to top rate service. After a year and a half the business began to show signs of success. Debts were being paid off and I was supporting myself, and one full time salaried instructor. Things were good and getting better. Then an opportunity arose to bring in an investor to fund the addition of a retail location. The way I looked at it, he would run the retail side under our name (which I controlled) and retain the retail profits. I would continue to run the service end of it and hold profits. The investor seemed quite serious and commissioned me to compile a budget, business plan and to find a retail location.

I was developing the business plan when I realized that my initial plan was not so different from any other dive operation. This really bothered me and I set out to develop a unique business concept that would reflect my outlook on life. Before I knew it, and with much advice, I had a plan that truly excited me and I knew would succeed. Ironically, the investor who was the catalyst for the retail side dropped out without even reviewing the business plan. This setback annoyed me initially. I quickly realized although the investment money was not there, the control over the business was 100% in my hands.

With our retail location in place, a massive cleanup and renovation occurred that was hugely done on donated materials and cheap labor. Neil and Chris, I thank you to this day. We managed to turn a run down neglected building into perhaps the cleanest, finest retail location on the North Shore. All this on a shoe string budget. As fate smiled on us over and over, it happened just when I needed it most. With most of the renovation completed, the money was quickly running out and we were on the verge of a total loss if new capital did not come in. It was at that time that my mother, Pat, was being given incentives to leave her job of over twenty years. Before you knew it a true family run business was is place and we opened our totally unique operation in May 1998, under our new name "North Shore Diving Headquarters" and soon that would change for the last time to our final name and the most fitting one possible, "Deep Ecology".

Coming up on 2004 I can only say that Deep Ecology is far more than a dive shop, it is a model for every dive operation and the future of diving. DE is an institution whose legacy is that of a legitimate marine sanctuary (created in 2002) on the North Shore despite the monumental challenges of getting anything done within Hawaii's notorious bureaucracy. The Pupukea Marine Life Conservation Area which encompasses Waimea Bay, Three Tables and Shark's Cove was an area in decline that allowed pole and line and spear fishing and even netting when Deep Ecology began business; no more. Nobody doubts that it was Deep Ecology that initiated, followed through and fought most for the day where "our backyard" was finally protected. And now it is, and all the thanks we need is that of the life coming back to this previously plundered area. And it is. Leading by example, the future of diving and in 2003 Deep Ecology has now been voted the 'Best Dive Operation' in the entire State of Hawaii. The first Oahu company to earn the CYBERLINX quarter of a million Scuba Poll Ratings.


Ken Nichols - Founder



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