THE AUSTRALIAN UNDERWATER FEDERATION (AUF)
The Australian Underwater Federation was founded in 1947 and underwent several name changes. Up until 1953 it was known as ‘The Underwater Spearfishermen’s Association of Australia’. In 1957 the name was changed to ‘Underwater Skindivers and Fishermen’s Association of Australia' and on the 26th December 1966, became the Australian Underwater Federation.
The first patron of the Federation was the then Prime Minister of Australia, Harold Holt until his presumed death in1967. The first life member of the Federation was H.R.H Prince Philip who was appointed in 1969.
Australia became a member of CMAS in 1959. At that time Australia’s main underwater activity was Spearfishing which was also the main competitive sport at the Australian Championships.
During the 1980’s Underwater Hockey was introduced to Australia and Australia quickly took on the challenge and showed that they could excel in this sport. Australia’s first coach was a Tasmanian, Michael Sugden who coached the first men’s team to win the World Championships. Since that time the Australian men’s and women’s teams have never finished worse than 2nd place. About 12 countries regularly compete at the world championships.
The Fin Swimming Commission was introduced in Australia in 1988. We were already behind the rest of the world with over 40 countries already competing internationally.
With the introduction of Fin Swimming as an Olympic recognized sport in 1987, many countries including USA raced to introduce the sport, whereas European countries and many Asian countries had been competing amongst themselves since the 1950’s
Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques (the World Underwater Federation) was established on the 10th January 1959 in Monaco with delegates from 15 Countries. It was formed with a Sport’s committee and a Technical committee. Its symbol being a mermaid with two tails, one for the sports committee and one for the technical committee. At that time the only activity of the sports committee was spearfishing.
In 1967 the first competitions were conducted with Fin Swimming and Underwater Orienteering. At this time Fin Swimmers were using duo fins. The first Mono fin was introduced in 1969 by the Russian diving club Altai. In 1970 special Commissions were formed for both Fin Swimming and Underwater Orienteering. Underwater Hockey and Underwater rugby were added in 1974. In 1988 there were 67 countries affiliated with CMAS. Since that time, with the freeing up of the Soviet Republic, many of the individual countries that were then under the Soviet banner, have affiliated under different nations.
CMAS headquarters were moved from Paris to Rome in 1990 and very much like the Australian structure is divided into Commissions but in this case, have their chair people situated in different countries around the world.
Fin swimming as a sport was assisted with the advancement in technology, not only in Fins, but also in masks and snorkels. Efficient sports masks were not available until around 1956 when several companies including the now famous Cressi and Mares produced a variety of masks. Today’s Fin Swimmers use a very plain fitting mask (moulded to the face shape) or the competitive swimmer's goggles. The Snorkel, perfected about the same time, has seen many changes also and competitive fin swimmers now use a unique front fitting snorkel to cut down on drag and allow the maximum speed through the water.