Hollis has come a long way since its first launch of ATS, a back inflate single tank BCD, in 2007. With a worldwide cult following, Hollis has become the Harley Davidson of the dive community. It’s easy to spot a group of Hollis fanatics gathered along the coast or in a cave entrance – the black and red trim is worn proudly like a badge of honour, rebreather casings offering acknowledging nods to Darth Vader and Iron Man.

Forever striving to push the limits and lead by example, Hollis values customer feedback as its driving force of innovation. From being the first manufacturer to embrace sidemount for open water diving, to the release of Explorer Rebreather for the recreational market last year, Hollis is not content just following the market.

Nick Hollis is the driving force behind Hollis International. He has been involved in many aspects of the development of Hollis, from production, product testing to answering facebook messages. I was able to squeeze into Nick’s busy schedule and learn more about the story behind Hollis.


Quick Q & A with Nick Hollis

Nick, can you share a little background with us? Where did you
grow up?

I was born and raised in the Bay Area, California, in the small town of Castro Valley. I grew up in a diving family, traveling and enjoying the outdoors and the water.

By the age of 8, my twin brother Zach and I were introduced to the ocean at a local dive site, called Breakwater in Monterey. Over the next several years we joined our father on trips to Grand Cayman, Mexico, Australia, PNG and others.
Growing up I spent summer breaks at Oceanic, working in various departments from customer service to shipping and production and learning how the business perated.

I attended college in Chico, CA, and returned home to work full time in 2006.
We started Hollis in 2007.

Nick Hollis Diving
Nick Hollis Riding Bike
Nick Hollis Surfing

Being the president of Hollis must come with a lot of pressure. What do you do to relax?

I spend my free time on the boat, diving and wake surfing, or riding motorcycles. I am also a gun collector and enjoy target shooting.

Most of your family work in the scuba diving industry under the umbrella of American Underwater Products. What is the dynamics between you all? Do you work well together? Does it get very competitive?

Yes! The umbrella of AUP includes sister companies which are managed by other family members including my twin brother Zach and older brother Mike. This creates an interesting dynamic.

While it gets competitive having 3 brothers and dad in the same building, I think it’s very normal. We all share common goals and work side by side.

We are a family-owned manufacturer, and from birth, we have also been divers. This background has allowed us to understand our customer’s needs and build some great products that we ourselves use.

Nick Hollis Family Dive

What makes Hollis different from other tech brands out there?

Before starting the Hollis brand, my experience in “technical diving” was limited. I had been diving recreationally for 15 years but hadn’t developed as a technical diver. 7 years later I have extensive OC and CCR training and teach in my spare time.

I believe this is the biggest difference between Hollis and other dive manufacturers. We are a family-owned manufacturer, and from birth, we have also been divers. This background has allowed us to understand our customer’s needs and build some great products that we ourselves use.

Nick Hollis Cave

Where do you see the future of Tech Diving?

I believe that technical diving is slowly becoming the new recreational. Equipment is getting easier to use, simplified, and there is more dive training available today than ever before. This is allowing longer, safer dives and more interaction with marine life.

But to benefit from this, I see a desperate need to maintain our oceans, to encourage younger generations to dive and to teach about conservation. This will help ensure that what we see today is still there tomorrow and will allow a solid future for the sport.

Read more about Nick Hollis and other exciting things on diving

Submerged Magazine

Issue 3

Out Now!