Cave diving isn’t a male-only pursuit, and a new short film featuring two top female cave divers was released this week, aiming to show just that.
Five of scuba diving’s leading brands — Apeks, Fourth Element, IQSub, Paralenz, and Shearwater have launched a collaboration to promote exploration, ocean awareness, and inclusivity within the sport of diving. The first outcome of this partnership, a short film, “Unexplored,” shatters the misconception that cave diving, often referred to as the most dangerous sport in the world, is reserved for men.
As the first-ever collaboration of this scope in the diving industry, the project brings together innovators in the field of imaging, instrumentation, equipment, and clothing to present a progressive approach to some of the challenges faced by the sport and the environment. Increasing “ocean awareness” is understood by the participating brands to be one of the industry’s most essential responsibilities. Consequently, the mission is to initiate and catalyze stronger collaborations within the industry, and greater inclusivity of the diving community to become ambassadors of the ocean.
At the core of the partnership is exploration. The oceans remain relatively unexplored: an estimated 80% of the underwater realm and 90% of underwater caves remain undocumented. However, while the fiscal year 2019 budget of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) stands at US$21.5 billion (~19.5 billion Euros), the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) receives only $42 million (~38.1 million Euros) for ocean exploration and research.
According to Jacob Dalhoff Steensen, Partnership Manager at Paralenz and a key partnership initiator:
“Growing a general interest in underwater exploration, for example through the promotion of cave diving, will increase the amount of ocean ambassadors to address pressing issues. Technical divers are a great asset to marine research, as they access some of the deepest and darkest water-filled parts of our planet.”
The short film “Unexplored” follows two technical divers exploring the Tortuga Cave in Tulum, Mexico. It sheds light on myths and stereotypes about technical diving, presenting cave diving as a pursuit of something more spiritual than dangerous, with a positive message about inclusivity.
Maria Bollerup, who was joined by long-time diving partner Rannvá Jørmundsson in the film, said:
“I wanted to challenge the stereotype that technical divers are usually men. The diving industry and technical diving is very open. I see more and more women and female teams at the technical dive sites. It’s refreshing. However, away from these sites, the external image of the sport is much different.”
When Bollerup and Jørmundsson told Steensen about their ambition, he was thrilled:
“It’s great to hear the community speak up. The idea for the film emerged directly from the community. Their enthusiasm to get people interested in technical diving is contagious.”
The partnership will continue working together to increase awareness for our ocean through future projects.
Jim Standing, co-founder of Fourth Element, said:
“It’s exciting to be part of this project. Initiatives like this show that together our organizations can achieve more than they can working in isolation. We’re looking forward to the next project.”
Check out the movie below.