Hailing him as a passionate promoter of the Cayman Islands, a dynamic marketer, an inspiring leader and a good friend, Cayman dive pioneers remember Ron Kipp, who for two decades was at the helm of Bob Soto’s Diving in Grand Cayman. Mr. Kipp died July 22 at the age of 79.
Adrien Briggs, owner of Sunset House/Sunset Divers, and Rod McDowall, Operations Manager of Red Sail Sports remember when Ron Kipp arrived in 1980 to take over Bob Soto’s Diving. Using his corporate skills, Kipp infused energy and ideas into the local dive industry.
“Ron Kipp was great inspiration in his approach to marketing the Cayman Islands, resulting in many people visiting,” said Briggs. “He was a leader in new initiatives for the diving community and was the father of the well-loved Scuba Bowl. Ron will be sorely missed by myself and everyone in the Sunset House family.”
Rod McDowall echoes that. “Ron was a very dynamic and passionate man, particularly in the promotion of recreational scuba diving locally and internationally along with his love of the Cayman Islands.”
As a founding member of the Cayman Islands Watersports Operators Association (CIWOA), Ron Kipp helped bring Cayman’s operators together to set dive safety standards for Cayman, and eventually these standards were adopted across the Caribbean. The Cayman Islands was established as a leader, not just for setting the standards, but also being one of the world’s great dive destinations.
”Ron was great marketer who came up with many novel and imaginative promotions and packages for Ron Kipp’s Bob Soto’s Diving and the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism,” said McDowall. “On a personal note, he was a fun man with a great sense of humor and love for life. A good friend, competitor and partner.”
Owner of the Southern Cross Club in Little Cayman, Peter Hillenbrand, is another pioneer of Cayman’s dive industry.
“Ron Kipp was a legend in the dive industry. He knew how to promote and sell computers at IBM, and he really knew how to promote and sell something he truly loved - scuba diving the Cayman Islands,” he said. “Ron’s spirit and wisdom will be sorely missed.”