Up until last week it didn't occurred to us that Dema is so much more than just a trade show. It's certainly the arena where industry players meet to do business but also the place where the future of diving is shaped.
For our little team it was a dream come true to be here.
As divers we rely massively on the industry. We need a tonne of reliable equipment, we need support from dive centres, resorts and liveaboards all around the world, we need training agencies to guide us, media to keep us informed and we need the community too, the media and all those people who dedicate their lives to diving.
If we just put market competition aside for a moment, the show made me realise that the industry and the sangha of divers are actually one. One large, possibly extremely dysfunctional family, but still a family. Maybe we feel like this because we're newcomers but hey, it's a good feeling.
We started from the Deeper Blue stand, our little base at Dema. We meet Stephan Whelan, who kindly invited us as unofficial part of his team (thank you Stephan!)
and immediately get introduced to Carla Hanson, first non European president of AIDA. I had an awesome chat with Carla about our equally awesome freediving GB Team...what a small world.
Later the Deeper Blue stand revealed more surprises for us, as we meet US Freediving champion Mandy Sumner, epic polar freediver and Breathology expert Stig Severinsen, the legend that is Alexey Molchanov and finally our own, endlessly amazing ambassador Cristina Zenato. I literally had to pinch myself (and take a photo) to make sure it wasn't a dream.
So, what's new in the world of diving?
This is what impressed us the most...
Out first point of call was Light & Motion, a company we've been admiring for years.
It was great to meet Daniel Emerson, their CEO, and feel his endless passion and commitment. I believe you can see that in their awesome and extremely reliable products.
As we walked the show in a zig zag, we then stopped at Deepblue, the Taiwan based company behind an innovative computer called Cosmiq. The Cosmiq is not only an attractive product with its large screen and Velcro based wrist strap, its most innovative feature is a delightfully designed app that allows divers to be record their diving activities, be connected and of course share it all. Goodbye log books and uploading heavy photos and videos on social media platforms, the Cosmiq does it all from their app. Our guess is that it will appeal to a younger audience and since the diving industry has been trying to do that for years, there's no doubt it will have a super positive impact.
We then get stopped by a very enthusiastic guy who shows us a torch that doesn't need battery...what, how's that possible?!
No power needed, no recharging, no environmental impact, hundreds of hours of light. He introduces to Attila Szaloki, the Hungarian scientist behind Swes Technology and their SDL 600 underwater light. This light harnesses the power of electrolysis to create light from seawater. It looks like pure magic, except it's not. It’s pure scientifical genius! This is a truly innovative product that has the potential to revolutionise underwater lighting and not just for the diving industry.
We were very impressed by Lenzo from Vals Tech, a super functional housing for iPhones. We love the fact they have been meticulously thinking about usability (it allows to use all the iPhone photo features) and the fact that this product looks like a serious, trustworthy piece of kit. Compared to similar products on offer this was certainly the most interesting one.
Another favourite was Ocean Reef, with a beautifully designed stand...no surprise they're Italian and definitely know a thing or two about stylish design (we’re just a bit biased here).
Their full face mask is a stunning piece of equipment and to us, still designers at heart, it does look and feel like a great product. It looks and feels solid, comfortable, reliable.
No more biting through rubber, no more dry mouth and snotty nose. If you then add the possibility to communicate underwater you truly have the future. The system is still a bit costly but it's a no brainer. Communication is ultimately the key to increase safety, not to mention the obvious advantages when teaching scuba diving.
What we definitely saw was an amazing emphasis on photography equipment.
Housings, action cameras, accessories and an amazing choice in terms of lighting. There's no doubt we will all soon be diving with some form of photo equipment, from beginners to pros, which is a great thing. The more we report and share about the wonders of the ocean the better.
Moving away from products, it was great to shake hands with Peter Hughes. To us, converted to liveaboard on board the original Dancer fleet, he's still a legend.
It was also wonderful to meet Mark and Rina, founders of the Kungkungan Bay Resort in Lembeh and one of our favourite places on Earth. So inspiring to hear their story of total devotion and so touching to see tears in Rina's eyes when we spoke about her beloved North Sulawesi.
Wonderful to meet our friends Ana and Miguel from Siladen Resort in Manado, another little paradise in North Sulawesi...yes, we love it there!
Last but not least, great to meet Mairin from the Nautilus team. Not only they have they have a new boat in the incredible waters of Socorro island but they also redesigned the Nautilus radio (still a must have for every diver with a bit of brain) to be a much smaller and lighter EPIRB.
It was a quick visit for us but we enjoyed every minute of it...including being in the craziness that is Las Vegas!
Will Divesangha exhibit at Dema one day? Well, it would be another dream come true and we’re working on it.
Never stop dreaming,