The Asian Dive Exposition celebrated its 18th birthday this year in a brand new venue, the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center on April 13th to the 15th, 2012. Normally a 4 day event, this year was shortened to a 3 day event, which meant a lot more rushing around for those trying to cover the event. Fortunately for this reporter, there weren’t too many new photo products on show despite the recent surge of cameras released during the first 3.5 months of 2012. It became more of a social event as the usual suspects (and quite a few new ones) all showed up during the show.
The show began with the opening ceremony and the presentation of the invited speakers. Our own Shawn Heinrichs, braved UAL service and considerable discomfort from his injuries in a skiing accident, to arrive in Singapore for the show. Reinforced with a back brace, spasm modulator and a left wrist cast, Shawn bravely took the stage to tell people about the plight of Mantas worldwide, working in conjunction with Shark Saver’s Manta Ray of Hope and Manta Trust. His message was clear, Mantas were being slaughtered for their gill rakers and faced a dire fate if nothing is done. His investigation into the Manta market illuminated the issue to many, and even “old hands” who were conservationists did not know the seriousness of the issue. So while I still think Shawn has brain damage for flying over, his message set more action into the conservation of Mantas than all combined in the last year, so Shawn does deserve to be applauded for his single minded passion for conservation! He also won best speaker at ADEX for his presentation for Mantas and shark conservation.
Shawn Heinrichs in body brace braved the 20+ hours of travel to deliver his
message for manta and shark conservation
A new face to ADEX was Stephen Frink, who surprisingly had never been to ADEX in its 18 year history. He did several talks on underwater photography, including shark and wide angle photography. Stephen also did double duty as the US distributor for Seacam by manning the Seacam booth occasionally with Seacam’s Harald Hordosch and Aaron Wong.
Stephen Frink takes the main stage on his first visit as a speaker to ADEX
Other imagery speakers included David Doubilet, Amanda Cotton, William Tan and Leandro Blanco among other fine photographers/videographers. There was also a rather large push for technical diving, including rebreathers for recreational divers. The show had quite a bit to offer this year.
David Doubilet speaks at the opening ceremony for ADEX 2012
As mentioned before, our own Shawn Heinrichs endured a long travel schedule despite his injuries to spread the word on protecting Mantas, working with Manta Trust and Shark Saver’s Manta Ray of Hope program. Shawn was also active with the Shark Savers group which also had a booth.
The Shark Savers holding an auction to raise money and only sold 3 pictures of local celebrities
While the Miss Scuba pageant drew the biggest crowds and most media coverage.
Who said a pretty face can’t sell anything?!?
While Shawn’s message touched many people, the biggest crowds of the weekend was for the Miss Scuba contest and Miss Singapore photo shoots. Perhaps what is needed is a hotter person than Shawn doing the promoting? :)
I must add that the message of Manta and shark conservation did ring through to some people who never knew about the status of Manta populations and how big the market for gill rakers is. I just think it wouldn’t hurt if Jessica Alba fronted the cause! :)
Next up: The manufacturers: