“It was a hobby that got out of hand.”
That’s how founder Kim Johns (aka Captain Kujo) describes the genesis of his company, UnderSea Industrial Apparel (USIA). It all started back in the early eighties, when Captain Kujo was but a young, adventurous soul looking for ways to feed his inner adrenaline monster. A small dive shop owner, his passions included scuba diving, hunting, fishing, boating, and more. It was all a part of a lifestyle that personified the phrase, “Work hard and play harder.”
It was live fast and die hard as the thrill seeking began hitting new peaks when Captain Kujo began to notice a frustrating trend: his equipment just didn’t hold up to his demanding way of life. Dry suits were leaking and falling apart, tote bags were inadequate and flimsy—everything was getting soaked. There had to be a better way.
Never one to back down from a challenge, Kujo decided to take it upon himself to make better, more durable gear. That’s when USIA was born. It was a perfect scenario: he could test his own suits in real world situations, exposing them to the harsh, cold waters of the Northern Pacific Ocean. Then he could bring the results back to the factory to design and implement improvements and new innovations. To keep warm in the frigid sea, Kujo developed a whole line of thermal undergarments to wear inside his suits. And to solve the problem of all of his essential gear getting wet all the time, he made a series of waterproof bags, many of which can be submerged to over 100 feet. Recently, Kujo has taken his incredibly durable products to the consumer market with USIA Waders, which are gaining cult status as some of the best waders a sportsman can buy.
Over the years of this constant real world quality control, Captain Kujo has developed USIA into an industry leader. The USIA headquarters and manufacturing facility are located in a state-of-the-art compound in Oregon. The facility includes administrative offices, shipping, production area, testing and quality assurance department, research and development department and training compound. USIA offices are open 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, Pacific Standard Time, Monday through Friday.
USIA dry suits and thermal wear protective undergarments are the result of extensive design and development. Captain Kujo and the USIA dive team have conducted hundreds of dives in every kind of environment and under extreme conditions. Almost every branch of the U.S. Military have purchased USIA dry suits, and most of these groups have re-ordered more products due to the integrity of the dry suit systems and the durability of the suit and undergarment.
The Military Defense Division of USIA is a leading innovator of surface and diving dry suits, waterproof weapons bags, waterproof backpack, and thermal protection undergarments. USIA’s customers include the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and the Department of Homeland Security. USIA holds a GSA contract and also sells to numerous foreign agencies.
USIA is a proud equipment supplier to Public Safety Dive teams and Swift Water Rescue teams from around the world. These agencies also protect their life support equipment by utilizing USIA’s vast line of waterproof bags. USIA is also one of the fastest growing manufacturers of Tactical gun bags, slings, and vests for dozens of SWAT teams in North America.
These days, Captain Kujo is still an avid fisherman, still dives (holding a PADI Master Dive Instructor Certificate) and is a US Department of Interior Motorboat Operator Instructor plus a US Coast Guard licensed inland master/operator of uninspected watercraft for over 20 yrs. with more than 1000 documentable hours in the North Pacific and over 100 Columbia Bar crossings. For Captain Kujo, truly, USIA is not just equipment, it’s a lifestyle.