For NAUI, diving isn’t just about exploring new depths; it’s about reaching new heights. Simon Lodge exemplifies this spirit, making him a perfect subject for our latest entry in the Dive Spotlight series
From Humble Beginnings to International Acclaim
Simon Lodge hails from the serene West Country of the United Kingdom, a land where the sea shapes lives and the busy tumult of city life feels like a distant echo. At 14, he began scuba diving under the tutelage of a military/police-based diving club, enduring a grueling training regimen that many would balk at. Despite the hardship, Simon persevered. This early experience would become the foundation for a lifetime of achievements that would take him to some of the most prestigious underwater events in the world.
Before he donned the wetsuit full-time, Simon took on an apprenticeship as an electrician, following his father’s old-school ethos to gain a trade skill. It was a time of both personal and professional growth; he also excelled in track, particularly in the 5000 and 10000-meter events. But his passion for diving never waned. At 21, he became a scuba instructor while simultaneously pursuing a degree in sports science. During this time, Simon was also presented with the prestigious accomplishment of the Queen’s Scout Award, which is conferred by Royal Warrant, and where he met many lifelong friends.
Simon then moved into teaching which included several years at a tough inner-city school in London which was both challenging and rewarding!
Such was his love of diving he also managed to find the energy to set up a diving club, providing instruction and dive trips, which he ran alongside his teaching. In 2001 he left teaching to focus on the dive club and it gradually became one of the largest diving clubs in London and one of the only UK clubs to specialize in cave diving as well.
Pioneering Underwater Media in Sports
In 2004, Simon’s life would intersect with sports history. A project to place cameras underwater for the Athens Olympics led to the iconic photograph of Michael Phelps touching the wall. This project kickstarted a revolution in underwater media at sports events, a revolution led by Simon.
In 2008 he was asked to work at the Beijing Olympics where he had to co-ordinate 28 divers to manage 14 underwater cameras for the leading news agencies. During this period, he realized there was a need to introduce formal protocols to improve the safety and efficiency in relation to underwater cameras and photography at future aquatics events. So, liaising with the various key governing bodies, he set about creating the protocols. They were first implemented at the 2012 London Olympics and are now the standard for all aquatics events and Simon, having worked on most of them, has become the authoritative figure in the installation and management of underwater cameras.
Underwater Studio for the Stars and Students
In 2012, Simon once again realized there was a need for something. This time it was for an underwater studio and consultancy in central London. The ‘Under the Water Media’ studio has now been host to a variety of leading productions and celebrity names spanning film, TV, theatre and photographic shoots. Simon continues to build his reputation in this area, also being called out to work on location, and is especially well known as an underwater lighting specialist. Simon has also returned to teaching, inspiring the next generation of underwater media professionals, at a nearby school.
The Cutting Edge of Technology
As for the future, Simon sees untethered drones and advancements in AI as game-changers in underwater media. He remains on the lookout for the next big innovation, exemplifying his life’s philosophy: “Look at what you can do and not what you have done.”
Simon’s most cherished memories aren’t just of the international events he’s attended or the celebrities he’s met. As a NAUI member, what brings him the greatest joy is the success of those he has taught and inspired. Whether they are high-profile media professionals or successful dive instructors, Simon takes immense pride in having helped others realize their potential.
Simon Lodge is not just a diver or an entrepreneur. He is a visionary who has opened new vistas in underwater media, and in doing so, has elevated the entire industry. He continues to educate the next generation through his underwater media courses and remains an active NAUI member, sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience.
For those interested in following Simon’s incredible journey, you can find him on Instagram @underthewatermedia or you can visit the Under The Water Media website at: https://www.underthewatermedia.com