Evelyn Bartram Dudas first breathed compressed air in the early 1960’s when the sport of scuba diving was newly born. After obtaining her certification at the University of Buffalo in 1964, she returned to West Chester and began diving off the Mid-Atlantic coast at every opportunity. During a dive trip in 1965 on the recently sunk tanker Stolt Dagali, she met John Dudas, and they became frequent diving partners. Evie was the first woman to dive the Andrea Doria. She and John retrieved the compass from the wheelhouse of this luxury liner. Her story has graced the pages of Skin Diver, Newsweek, National Geographic, Franklin Mint Magazine, and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few. She appears in the DEMA/Jack McKenney video Scuba Dive America. Check out her Andrea Doria story in a recently publsihed article for Scuba Diving Magazine, Making History
In 1967, Evie Bartram started making custom wetsuits primarily for herself since women’s wetsuits were not common yet. This segued into making custom wetsuits for divers and dive clubs up and down the East Coast. The 19th century stone barn on the Bartram family homestead served as a base for manufacturing her wetsuits, this location became the base for Dudas Diving Duds and is the same location that the store is located today, 40 years later! With her husband John, she taught classes and John repaired regulators. Dudas’ Diving Duds was officially opened in 1970 and has been growing ever since.
Dudas Diving Duds expanded throughout the 1980s to include a sizable wetsuit and regulator repair facility in addition to a dedicated sales showroom. While local diving on the New Jersey shipwrecks was popular, the Caribbean was becoming a reason to travel and dive as various islands accepted tourism. Dudas Diving Duds has been organizing trips to popular islands like Bonaire, Roatan, and Granc Cayman for over 25 years!
The 1990s saw changes in both the dive industry and Dudas Diving Duds. The introduction of Nitrox revolutionized the industry and Dudas Diving Duds was the first dive store in Pennsylvania to provide it. Our first Nitrox classes were taught by the legendary Billy Deans.
In 1993, Evelyn and her eldest son, Michael embarked on a journey to “Cave Country” in Northern Florida. That trip would alter Evelyn’s life dramatically and significantly change the way that wreck diving. An intense week of Cave Diver training by Tom Mount, one of the founders of IANTD inspired a new source of diving and ever since Evelyn makes several trips a year to dive in her favorite place in the world, Ginnie Springs.
Today, Dudas Diving Duds is a full service NAUI Technical Dive Center and PADI Dive Center. We continue to offer Scuba Diving classes with an emphasis on a quality education and a fun experience. We offer a full range of courses from Discover Scuba to Instructor. We carry several major Scuba Diving Manufacturers Lines, particularly Scubapro and Aqualung. Our technical gear is provided by Dive Rite. We exclusively sell DUI Drysuits as a Premier dealer. And gone are the days of custom wetsuits but today we promote the Henderson Wetsuit line.
Dudas Diving Duds continues to strive to provide complete services for the Scuba Diver at any stage of their diving interests. Thank you for 40 great years, here’s to 40 more!