Thousands of sport diving enthusiasts traveled from all over California and surrounding states to Long Beach, California, May 14-15 for the 35th consumer scuba diving exposition, the largest dive-specific show in the U.S.
“The dive business has come up for air after two Covid years,” says Mark Young, show director.
“Show attendance in 2022 was comparable to our pre-pandemic numbers, which is a testament to divers’ pent-up demand to resume exploring the wonders of the underwater world.”
First to welcome Scuba Show back were Chris and Katie Seay of San Diego, husband and wife divers who lined up three hours early on day one, then were first in line for day two. “We didn’t want to miss out, especially with fun prizes for early arrivals being offered,” Chris said.
Rewarded a pair of dive lights, Chris added, “We’re so happy the show has returned.”
Showgoers were treated to 260 product and destination exhibitors; 72 informative seminars focused on safety, photography, destination travel, and gear maintenance; and show specials offering savings on land and liveaboard dive yacht packages.
In an effort to attract the next generation of divers, kids were invited to pose for green screen photos and inside a shark cage; learn about becoming scuba certified; participate in dive-related arts and crafts; and meet live mermaids and Miss Scuba Queen USA.
“The Scuba Show is an outstanding way to welcome so many new divers and that’s what we’re here for,” says exhibitor Sven E. Harms, vice president of SeaLife based in Moorestown, N.J., whose products include waterproof underwater cases for smartphones.
EMMY award-winning cinematographer Marty Snyderman won the Covid-postponed 2020 California Scuba Service Award; Leslie Leaney, executive director of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, was honored with the 2022 award.
Scuba Show 2022 Highlights
Attendees learned practically everything they needed to know about scuba diving all under one roof. Highlights include:
- Dive for Free – The Aquarium of the Pacific was recruiting volunteers to hand feed their fish, sharks and eels, and clean tanks while they dived for free. (http://www.aquariumvolunteers.org)
- Adaptive Scuba – The Dive Heart Foundation, based in Downers Grove, Illinois, was promoting the premiere of Adapting to Dive, by Los Angeles filmmaker David Marsh who embarked on a life-changing journey with a group of adaptive scuba divers while they experienced zero gravity. (Watch the trailer: http://www.diveheart.org).
- Looking for Scuba Queens – Scuba Queen USA, considered the Miss America of scuba diving, was recruiting women ages 18 to 35 to become ambassadors for the ocean. (http://www.scubaqueenusa.com)
- Mermaid Tails – CapeCali, Laguna Beach, California, launched its new mermaid tail and divewear styles. “These garments are not just for mermaids sitting pretty on a rock – they are functional mermaid tails for the sport of mermaiding,” says Kim Deichmann, co-founder. (http://www.capecali.com)
- Polar Expeditions – Experienced divers were invited to dive the Arctic or Antarctic by Henrik Enckell of Oceanwide Expeditions. On the Antarctic peninsula, he explained, “There are no waves, no current, no wind when we go out, but the weather can change in an instant.” (http://www.oceanwide-expeditions.com)
- The Four Ps – Diving safety consultant Dan Orr, former president of Divers Alert Network (DAN), reminded his seminar audience of the four Ps of diving safety: Plan, Prepare, Practice, and Perform. He advises divers over age 45 to take care of their health and schedule annual physicals from physicians familiar with diving. “Safe divers never waste learning from a mistake,” he says. (http://www.wisedivers.com)
- Why Divers Die – Captain John Kades of the L.A. County Coroner’s Office, echoed Orr’s advice. Describing local dive fatalities from 2021, Kades said, “forty percent of scuba fatalities are due to medical complications while diving.”
- Marine life and interactions – Seminars focused on kelp restoration, getting close to marine life, tracking giant sea bass, cephalopods, and more.
The next Scuba Show will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center on June 3 to 4, 2023.
View the Scuba Show website for scenes of the 2022 expo at: https://www.scubashow.com
Scuba Show 2022, celebrating its 35th year, is organized by the publishers of California Diving News (https://www.cadivingnews.com)