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Last Activity:
May 22, 2014
Nov 18, 2003
Likes Received:
Sep 11, 1956 (Age: 64)
Home Page:
Los Angeles
founder & president of HydroOptix LLC

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Manufacturer-Optics Guru, 64, from Los Angeles

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JonKranhouse was last seen:
May 22, 2014
    1. Texas Torpedo
      Texas Torpedo
      Hi Jon,

      It is not often that I post visitor messages here or in any other online community but I want to thank you for the many posts of yours that I have read on a variety of topics. What you have to say is always fact based and sensible... And much appreciated at least by this fairly new diver.

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  • About

    Sep 11, 1956 (Age: 64)
    Home Page:
    Los Angeles
    founder & president of HydroOptix LLC
    Dive History:
    Free diving since 1964 / Scuba since 1971

    FAVORITE DIVE: with astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the opening night of lobster season:

    NOT "OFFICIALLY" CERTIFIED until 1980, prior to a trip to S. Korea to shoot a documentary (that had nothing to do with diving). After we wrapped I headed down to Jeju Island for 5-days of diving. The only dive operator back then catered to Japanese; he spoke no English but had two beautiful boats + a brand new Poseidon compressor and new AL80's. I had a letter of introduction from a Korean dive instructor who lives in Los Angeles, with whom I had made my final checkout dive. He apologized that his boats were fully booked with Japanese customers -- they wouldn't want a Gaijin in their group -- so the dive operator arranged for a few high school kids to take me out each day on one of their dad's small fishing boats for solo diving - some very cool lava formations.
    Dive Classification:
    Dive Equipment Manufacturer Owner / Employee
    Years Certified:
    Ten Or More Years
    Rebreather Experience:
    Over 1,000 dives, mostly solo spearfishing at southern California islands. Also Florida, Fiji (Qamea), Jeju Do (S. Korean island), Sitka, Alaska, Baja-Sea of Cortez, Hawaiian Islands, Dalmatian coast at Split (now Croatia), Phuket.

    I've shot over 20 million feet of film as a Hollywood cinematographer for feature films & MOWs, sometimes collaborating with actor or writer first-time directors (1st-unit DP since I was 24), lots of FX sequences and 2,000+ commercials (many I directed). But I NEVER shot professionally underwater, just a few snapshots. For me, diving in nature's primordial soup is zen, but I ALWAYS hated how refraction magnification narrowed my vision through a flat mask. Knowing optics, I wanted panoramic razor-sharp TRUE vision (no size, shape and distance distortions).

    My first prototype mask was built in 1991; my design, made by the guy who built the eye-scan props for "Blade Runner." That first prototype worked great. Then my optical concepts were perfected by the engineers NASA relied on to help fix the once-fuzzy Hubble Space Telescope.

    Improving underwater vision, as a business, depends on good word of mouth. 9,000 HydroOptix masks have shipped to 87 countries, despite collusions by key dominant companies against HydroOptix. I'm no crybaby, just outraged when dive hazards are INTENTIONALLY unmitigated just to limit liability exposure. Huh? My posts from February-April 2010 reveal what nobody in the dive industry dares talk about. http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/basic-scuba-discussions/326791-protect-our-right-post-scubaboard-legal-defense-fund-34.html#post5140802

    Since 1959, safety innovations in diving share a history of being quashed. Collusions have been prosecuted by the FTC and DOJ, and some state Attorneys Generals. LINK to PASTE: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/scubar0.htm

    More to come?

    Most "innovation" from major dive gear companies is, I believe, about style; new gear is never advertised as "safer," as that would put liability underwriters at risk for the status-quo. Only when the industry's dominant companies could share safety innovations in lockstep were new "community standards" revised (e.g. SPG, weight-integrated BC, Nitrox, dive computer).

    Since 1992 the industry has promoted recreational diving to be, "AS SAFE AS BOWLING." DAN began this myth by what they published in '92, by IGNORING their own injury & fatality data! DAN mixed 2 separate and unreliable data sources to make the bowling comparison (e.g. ZERO deaths some years vs. DAN's own ~100 deaths).

    Thank God for the Internet and ScubaBoard to spread the TRUTH. For years other industries have quashed safety innovations that threaten "risk-management" strategies. Example? Hotels DO NOT purchase AEDs, fearing litigation: if one is truly needed, it might not be positioned within the hotel near the victim, or might not be functional. For hotels this is legal (i.e. you take no exceptional risk when you stay at a hotel); LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123543325221454001.html.

    But in the dive industry, customers are lured via collusions to hide the level of existing risks, while simultaneously, dominant companies collude to quash "outsiders" with proven means to mitigate physical harms. Is that criminal? You decide. I think a genuinely free market for training and gear will lure plenty of customers.

    To be clear of my agenda...I don't want a "nanny state" or a nation where kids grow up afraid to take risks. I'm no Chicken Little and have taken plenty of calculated risks in diving and aviation. I began flying hang gliders in 1973. Learning from tragedies I witnessed in that unregulated industry, I earned a reputation to safely choreograph and film dynamic actions of aircraft worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Hollywood and aerospace companies. As a director / cameraman I have ~2,000 hours filming from fixed-wing and helicopters - usually flying too low, too fast, too close and/or in locations too remote to survive the unexpected. I believe in planning for the worst and have had the great privilege to work with some of the best pilots and mechanics in the world. I've been consulted after movie aviation tragedies when "experts" cut corners. I wrote the aerial chapter of "The ASC Manual" at the ASC's request. New pilots are taught to analyze disasters, so they may better avoid being fodder for future students. WHY NOT IN DIVING?

    A dive accident is horrible for the victim's family - and terrible when instructors (some perhaps under-trained) are coerced to be apologists for the industry's systemic failures.

    OK - enough soapbox! "Thank you," to all who have praised what HydroOptix has done so far, and "THANK YOU" to those who give constructive criticism. I'm a perfectionist, and I know that perfection is a goal we'll never reach -- but sharing the path with lots of wonderful people along the way is a hoot.


    Best regards + Safe & FUN diving,
    Jon Kranhouse, founder & president
    HydroOptix ultra-wide-view masks
    We do not protect what we do not LOVE
    We do not love what we do not KNOW
    We do not know what we cannot SEE