So many of you
may be wondering what exactly is DEMA? DEMA
stands for the Divers Equipment & Marketing Association, a premier
trade exhibition for scuba diving, snorkeling, ocean sports, and
adventure dive travel products. It is one of the largest trade events
of its kind in the world.
is open to dive industry professionals (i.e. Divemasters and higher),
dive operators, centers, resorts, certifying agencies (i.e. PADI),
equipment manufacturers, exhibitors and people sponsored by such
organizations (i.e. retail staff). DEMA is not open to the
of who is in attendance at DEMA, it is the premier event that equipment
manufacturers wait for to reveal their newest products or new manufacturers
make their debut. It is also a place where dive professionals
get a chance to meet people face-to-face from their respective certifying
agencies, where dive professionals and centers have a chance to
gather travel information from dive resorts and live-a-boards, where
dive professionals have the opportunity to meet other industry professionals
(some even legendary), and so much more.
was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the DEMA Fall 2002
show held October 22-25, 2002 in Las Vegas, NV USA. I traveled
with Lance Hansen who recently joined the ranks of dive industry
professionals by completing his divemaster program with me shortly
before DEMA (Congratulations Lance!).
your amusement and interest, following is my trip report:
hopes of attending the PADI Member Social evening event, Lance and
I catch an
early evening flight. We arrive in Vegas and are greeted with
great weather. The sky is clear and the non-humid temperatures
are in the mid-to-low 80s. After collecting our luggage, we
boarded a downtown shuttle bus, destination: Circus Circus!
shuttle bus was packed so Lance sat right up front and I made my
way to an empty seat almost in the last row. When the driver
came on board he looked back in my direction and said, "I can
see you're going to be a troublemaker." Lance turned
and gave me this what-did-you-do-already look! The driver
wasn't talking to me. He was actually saying that in jest
to a woman behind me. Sheesh, can you believe he automatically
assumed the driver was talking to me!!?? Give me a little
credit. I'd only been in Vegas for 15 minutes. I need
at least twice that time to get myself labeled as the troublemaker.
Lance had spent time in Las Vegas before, this was my first Vegas
experience aside from layovers in the airport. I was excited
to see "the Strip" first hand instead of from the sky
and anything to get away from those tortuously repetitive WHEEL
*pause* OF *pause* FORTUNE *audience screams* slot
machines in the airport terminals. If you've even been stuck
in Vegas, you know what I am talking about.
Unfortunately due to
the numerous shuttle stops made we were not
able to make the social. So, we checked in.
I tried to hang out my hotel window as far as I could to see the
whole Strip. Lance stayed back a safe 10 feet and suggested the
we actually just walk down to the Strip. Hey, good idea (at
2 days later after we found our way out of the hotel (OK just kidding,
but the place
is monstrously huge), we were on the Strip, walking and walking
and walking and oh, then there was more walking. We walked
and took in the sights for over 4 hours. Hobbling back to
Circus Circus, we realized we had just done our feet in and we still
had 4 days of walking around DEMA ahead of us. Gee aren't
for us after our long night of walking, we didn't have to arrive
at the DEMA show until 10am. The remainder of the week we had seminars
starting at 9am, but today's plan just involved taking in the exhibits
at our own time frame. So Lance found a coffee shop in the hotel
(although I heard him muttering under his breath that it was no
Starbucks!) and we headed to the convention center....via WALKING!
The convention center was only a little over a mile from our hotel.
arrived, took care of our DEMA passes with Registration, and entered
the show. They weren't kidding about it being big. We spent our
day simply walking down every isle taking in all the various exhibits,
with dive operators from all over the world, and of course involving
ourselves in a little nonsense here and there. Hey Lance, who's
I also picked up marketing material from places I was interested
in diving and places I felt many of our divers might also be interested
in. Since returning, I have cataloged this marketing material by
region. All materials are available for our divers' use, so if you
are interested in planning a dive trip, just let me know where!
so I learned that 9am can come very quick in Vegas. So reaching
back into the recesses of my college memories, I pulled out a well
used skill: the art of rescheduling! Besides, this left us with
time to swing by the Starbucks we saw on our way to the convention
center yesterday. Two lattes later, the day began.
first seminar we attended was Diving the Three Cayman Islands. We
also attended similar seminars on Costa Rica, Fiji, and Belize.
In between these seminars we spent time at the PADI booth putting
faces to names and voices. To end the day we went to an incredibly
informative medical seminar hosted by DAN (Divers Alert Network).
The seminar focused on marine life injuries and the speaker, a British
DAN professional, was so knowledgeable and humorous. It certainly
reinforced for me just what a great organization DAN is.
capped off the end of the day listening to some live music in the
Hammerhead Lounge, discussed which casino buffet we would try out
later that evening and planned out our seminar schedule for the
can you guess by now what time our day started? That's right 10am.
The first seminar we attended was PADI Standards presented by PADI
professional Dave Wall. It was a special treat for me as Dave Wall
was one of the examiners at Janna's and my Instructor Exam. In fact,
one of my more distinct and humorous memories of Dave at our IE
was during one of our timed written exams. We were allotted 90 minutes
for the exam and 20 minutes into the exam, Dave hollers out, "Time's
up!" There was a collective gasp in our very tense room and
he started to giggle. Looking back, I appreciated his compassion
in trying to help relieve our tension.
I know what a great speaker Dave is, the room was packed for another
reason as well. One of the goals at DEMA for PADI professionals
is to attend a certain number of PADI seminars to receive Member
Forum credit. Among other annual requirements for instructors to
maintain current teaching status, Member Forum updates instructors
as to new teaching programs and materials available, changes in
standards and programs, and more.
next seminar I attended was the Course Director Training Course-
Questions and Answers. The day before, I had met Johnny Weinstein,
one of PADI's top Course Director trainers, at the PADI booth. From
he suggested I attend his course and I was happy that I did. I learned
a great deal about what it takes to become a Course Director and
it definitely gave me a new respect for the training and commitment
of current Course Directors. I met up with Lance afterwards for
lunch and we compared notes as Lance had attended a Florida reef
and wreck diving seminar.
then attended a great seminar hosted by Sporasub about removing
the myths and misconceptions of freediving and spearfishing. The
speaker was David Sipperly, a three time All American Freediving
Champion, author, and NAUI Instructor Trainer. After that we attended
a short seminar on diving the Yucatan. The last seminar we attended
for the day was another PADI seminar, No Risk - Risk Management.
Pat Fousek, the director of PADI Legal, appropriately lead the seminar.
we seminars were over, we made our rounds to the exhibitors, paying
particular attention to the gear exhibits plotting our purchases
for the final day of DEMA. We then left the convention center as
the sun was setting in search of a good prime rib dinner.
the final day of DEMA, we did arrive early to attend as many seminars
as possible and to pick up various pieces of gear we had been eyeing
the past few days. The first seminar was PADI New Teaching
Tools presented by PADI professional, Leslie Alexander. Leslie was
Janna's and my Examiner at our Instructor Exam, so it was great
to see her again and she is just a phenomenal speaker.
there we attended a Mock Trial presented by Rick Lesser & Associates,
a law firm well known for dealing with diving incidents. Then we
went to a really great shark seminar, The "Shark Whisperer":
Analyzing Shark Behavior - "What We Really Know About Sharks!"
We ended the day early with one last seminar, The Basics of Kayak
Diving. It proved to be interesting and something I might try next
with all the seminars out of the way, it was time to swing by the
exhibitors and pick up the last of the marketing materials
and of course all the gear we had been eyeing all week! We both
picked up some versatile dive knives and safety signaling devices.
Lance went his separate way to pick up some other things and I stopped
by a booth I had visited earlier in the week to pick up a beautiful
dive float and flag and a spare air unit! Now, just to figure out
how to get our loot back to the hotel!
DEMA WRAP UP
was quite the experience. I
met divers from all over the world and learned so many new things
about the dive industry. I also discovered many new places that
I look forward to visiting one day for dive trips. It
was also wonderful having the opportunity see Dave Wall and Leslie
Alexander again and to additionally meet many other PADI professionals
that I had only read about or talked to on the phone.
those of you interested in going pro,
I highly suggest planning on attending a DEMA show. I am already
planning on attending DEMA 2003 in Miami, Florida. Will I see you