In 1958, Sam Lecocq founded a new company, based on the Healthways model, called SPORTSWAYS, for the manufacture and distribution of recreational diving equipment. One of its first products was a revolutionary single hose
two-stage regulator called WATER LUNG. Sam Lecocq's career started as an employee of Rene Bussoz
who owned Rene Sports (importer of Aqualungs and founder of the U.S.
Divers company in Los Angeles, California).
Bussoz employed Dick Anderson to assemble Aqualung regulators, which were
initially imported in parts from Canada. Anderson trained Sam on the assembly of Aqualung
regulators and by 1955 Sam moved on to work for Richard Kline at his
This regulator's name did not please Cousteau and US Divers Co., who were actively promoting their AQUA LUNG. Consequently, Cousteau and US Divers sued Sam Lecocq and Sportways Co., insisting that they cease and desist from using the name WATERLUNG, which had previously been registered with the US Copyright Office.
A court decision ruled in favor of Sam Lecocq and Sportways. WATERLUNG was really a new name with its own identity for this new and revolutionary regulator.
In 1968 the company was sold to Pittmann Rubber, and renamed in 1969 to JILCO INDUSTRIES INC.
The equipment continued to be sold under the name SPORTWAYS until 1981. Then the name of the products changed to WATERLUNG in 1982, when a company was sold to Australia.
Sportsways offered several models of regulators, each with their own
different and unique features. In 1961, SPORTSWAYS introduced the Dual
Air, a double hose regulator, with a unique concept, to accompany the WATERLUNG, the popular single hose regulator.
Sportsways took the first stage, used for its single-hose models Master Diver,
Sport Diver and Navy Unit, and modified the main casting. sportsways
made it so it could be attached to a large second stage case that included a large diaphragm and the
second stage tilt valve mechanism, that was used in Sportsways's single hose regulators.
The Dual Air was manufactured for two years (1961-1962).
The first stage of the Dual Air was unbalanced. The low-pressure port, that was used for the
second-stage and hose assembly of a single-hose regulator, was now
available to be used as a hookah port. A second low-pressure port was used for the safety
pressure relief valve that was needed because the second-stage used an
upstream tilt valve system.
There is also a high-pressure port for attaching an optional submersible pressure
gauge called Sea-Vue.
The second-stage tilt valve assembly found inside the case had an elongated lever for a more sensitive
action, operated by an extra large flexible diaphragm.
The exhaust system was identical to the HEALTHWAYS SCUBA DELUXE regulator. Both regulators were designed by Sam Lecocq. Later, the sloped valve was replaced by a downstream and renamed
The exhaust was a one-inch mushroom valve located on a metal channel inside
the case cover. The cover was held in place by a clamp ring and the label
attached to the cover was made of metal foil, glued in place. The
label is a large bright red on a highly polished chrome case.
The mouth-piece assembly was custom made for Sportsways with the company name printed on both sides,
and the hoses were held in place with four plastic clamps.
The Waterlung Hydro Twin II was manufactured in 1963. The first stage for the HydroTwin
was the same as that of the Dual Air, with the exception of the safety pressure relief valve
that was no longer available. The second-stage portion of the regulator used a downstream
assembly rather than the up-stream tilt valve, therefore eliminating the need for the relief
valve. That low-pressure port now came with a removable plug, making it available for other
low-pressure service uses.
The case, exhaust valve, cover and clamp were the same as the fi rst model Dual Air. The hoses,
mouthpiece and clamps were also unchanged. The label was metal foil glued to the cover,
but now the color was dark blue and stated Waterlung Hydro Twin.
The Waterlung Hydro Twin II was manufactured from 1964 to 1968.
In 1963 Sportsways was already beginning to incorporate their new
designed balanced first stage into the two-hose regulator used
for his "Master Diver" single hose regulator. A balanced unit is when the high
pressure seat assembly operates in a space that is equal pressure on both ends of
the assembly allowing it to move smoothly back and forth at any tank
pressure. Sportsways eliminated one of the low pressure ports.
The catalog for the Hydro Twin II began in 1964. The second stage was
a down-stream lever with case body, diaphragm, exhaust system, hoses and mouthpiece all
remaining unchanged as installed on the other models. The label was now orange and black, and was
printed on a vinyl type material and glued to the case cover.
In the 1966 Sportsways catalog Sportsways included the Nautilus double hose regulator. It is a
Hydro Twin II with a communication cup mouthpiece assembly. Sportsways
claimed it was being used by the U.S. Navy with underwater communications equipment.
Sportsways Waterlung Dual Air
Sportsways Waterlung Hydro Twin
Sportsways Waterlung Hydro Twin II
Hydro Twin II
Picture: Ed La Rochelle
1968 was the last year that Sportsways would catalog their two hose
Some Hydro-Twin and Hydro-Twin II regulators were not labeled for Sportsways Waterlung but custom-labeled for
other companies (New England
Divers of Beverly, Massachusetts and MAR-VEL Products Co. from Camden, New Jersey).
4. Sportsways a Collector's review - By
Ed LaRochelle - The
Journal of Diving History - Volume
21, Issue 4, Number 77
6. Book BASIC SCUBA -