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DAN Member Profile: Evan Bozanic




At the age of 14, Evan Bozanic became the youngest person in the world to dive on all seven continents. His experiences included remote locations, high-tech equipment and environmental extremes.

On June 3, 2012, a few weeks before his 15th birthday, Evan Bozanic surfaced in Bushman's Cave (Boesmansgat), South Africa, having just become the youngest person to dive all seven continents. In less than four years Evan progressed from a Junior Open Water Diver to an experienced underwater explorer, using drysuits, full-face masks and rebreathers with well-trained ease. Evan's success can be attributed in part to his father's influence. A technical diving instructor, author and dive educator, Jeff Bozanic has provided opportunity and support for Evan's quest while encouraging his son to navigate a moderate path through some of diving's most extreme environments.

AD: Your diving career was launched, in a sense, because of a cancelled trip.
Evan: Because of my dad's involvement with diving, I've always been interested and wanted to go with him. In 2008 he took me on the first ecotourism trip he led to Antarctica. But because of the weather, we couldn't continue past South America. The group decided to cruise the Beagle Channel, and all the divers saw so many cool things, like dolphins and penguins. I was jealous and started dive training when we got back home to California. I wanted to dive in Antarctica when we went back in 2009.

AD: So Antarctica was your first attempt to dive all seven continents?
Evan: No, my training took place off Laguna Beach, Calif., so North America was my first continent. Then about four months later, on our return to Antarctica, I dived in Ushuaia, South America, my second continent. Five days later on March 13, 2009, I made a dive off Detaille Island, Antarctica. In 2010 I dived in Israel (Asia), in 2011 Norway (Europe) and Australia, and finally Africa in 2012.



AD: Those are some rather substantial environments for a young, relatively inexperienced diver. What precautions did you take?
Evan: One of our friends was bent in Antarctica, and that worried me. I only went to 40 feet, but I had over-weighted myself to avoid an uncontrolled ascent. Completing that dive gave me enough confidence to realize I didn't have to take unnecessary precautions like that because my training had prepared me to deal with emergencies.

AD: How did you overcome the significant certification challenges for diving with rebreathers, in caverns or in extreme temperatures?
Evan: I play premier soccer, so I'm pretty fit, but drysuit training was the most challenging. I had to complete a certain number of dives in a drysuit, and there was a period when it seemed like we were diving constantly on the weekends. Even though sea conditions were good, I was getting worn out just becoming familiar with the equipment.

Jeff: Evan may not have been totally concerned with the project's demanding aspects, especially in the realm of safety, but as his father, I certainly was and still am. Early on, especially, I kept him very shallow. There was no reason to go too deep, and I wasn't sure about the effects of inert-gas stress on his bone growth. I still don't allow him to go deeper than 80 feet, physiologically. His time at that depth is strictly limited. We try to stay at about 25 percent of the no-decompression limit. I walk a fine line between encouragement and trying not to push Evan.


AD: Evan, besides your dad and family, what are your other support groups?
Evan: Well, my school, Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School, because we've worked out a way for me to go on these expeditions even though I'm just a high-school sophomore. Also, lots of my friends have learned to dive, and we dive together now. And DAN, because we realize it's important to know what to do in case of an emergency and be prepared.

Jeff: We're DAN Family members. DAN is a major tool in terms of evacuation and consulting support no matter how remote the location, and we've been in some fairly remote places.

AD: Evan, your last dive for the record was in Bushman's Cave in South Africa where several experienced cave divers have died. How did you feel about attempting to set the record in Bushman's?
Evan: I was excited! My dad connected me with Don Shirley (a South Africa-based technical-diving instructor), and he was my buddy during four dives in the cavern zone. We didn't go deep, which was the main problem for the divers who had died. Plus, I had my dad, so staying relaxed was easy because he's been through a lot of sticky situations.

AD: Tell us about your most interesting dive during the record attempt.
Evan: That was probably in Israel. We dived in the Dead Sea. I just wore board shorts, and I still had to use 60 pounds of weight. It was cool because I saw these incredible salt formations and huge crystals everywhere.

AD: Besides school, what are you working on now?
Evan: My immediate project is finishing the book I'm writing about my record dives. Besides just setting the record I want to tell people about what I saw in each place, especially environmental changes.

AD: Can you give us some examples?
Evan: In South America we helicoptered over receding glaciers and forests totally destroyed by introduced beaver species. The amount of ice melting in Antarctica and Norway was scary.




AD: What about future dive projects?
Evan: After Africa we went to Albania, where I participated in a class conducted by the Albanian Center for Marine Research to American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) standards. I'm supposed to go back next year and help run a mapping project to survey shipwrecks; some date from the fifth century.

AD: Every path leads to another, Evan. Where is your future heading?
Evan: I'm hoping to use my experiences and the book to help me get into the U.S. Naval Academy. I want to be a naval aviator; I've wanted to fly since I was four years old

Hometown: Fountain Valley, Calif.
Age: 15
Years Diving: 4
Favorite Destination: "I love exploring; my favorite destination is somewhere no one has been before ... maybe some trench in the middle of the Pacific or the Bermuda Triangle!"
Why I'm a DAN Member: "I feel a lot safer being a part of DAN because if something ever goes wrong in a remote place, DAN would be able to help."

© Alert Diver —Winter 2013