London International Dive Show (LIDS) 2005

London International Dive Show 2005

The London International Dive Show (LIDS) is the first big dive show of the year in United Kingdom. However one would have thought that the near Artic conditions and inches of snowfall falling in London in recent days would have deterred all but the most hardy from attending. This was not however the case. The crowds gathered in large numbers at the Excel exhibition centre yet again to attend the largest LIDS show to date with over 250 exhibitors offering all manner of diving and diving related services.

LIDS 2005 - London
International Dive Show

There was no shortage of things to do and see at the show. The rebreather and scuba try-dive pools were very popular. We even had a celebrity, in the guise of Pat Cash (ex Grand Slam tennis champion) trying out scuba in the pool.

The numbers of stands offering dive fashion wear seem to grow from year to year. No longer content with black neoprene, many companies are offering numerous colourful options from hip "in your face" tiny tees from Diving Daisy to serious thermocline water and windproof explorer suits from Fourth Element. I guess you are what you wear.

Diving Daisy --
by and for Diving Women

T-shirts for sale

Inspiration & Evolution rebreathers

As usual amongst the busiest stands are those selling camera and video equipment.

However, somewhat disappointingly there was a significant absence this year of many of the large underwater camera and housing retailers and distributors from the show.

Nonetheless, Cameras Underwater from Devon were present with their largest stand to date debuting several items like the Olympus Mju 500 (and housing) and, my favourite, the extremely desirable Hugyfot HFN D70 Delrin housing. Delrin is not a metal but a type of plastic therefore the housing is much lighter than competitor Aluminium housings. In my opinion, this compact housing is easily the prettiest and coolest D70 housing in the market. All controls are easily reachable and intuitively placed. Overall build quality is as what you would expect from a Hugyfot: extremely high. My only gripe is that although it was designed for one hand operation, you would need quite large and strong hands to be able hold the housing as there are no natural grooves in the housing to place your fingers and thumbs in order to securely in firm handhold the housing. Regardless, I still would love to be able to own one, as it surely will become a classic.

Photos of the Hugyfot HFN D70 Housing:

Hugyfot HFN D70 Delrin Housing for Nikon D70

To inspire the taking of underwater pictures, there was a print exhibition of entries into Diver Magazines’ International Festival of Underwater Photography and Film held last in 2003. Notably many of the pictures displayed were taken from digital cameras. The British Society of Underwater Photographers stand also entertained numerous general and specific enquiries on underwater photography.

Diver Magazine Prints

BSOUP - British Society of Underwater Photographers

Away from the hustle and bustle of the exhibition floor LIDS also offered free-to enter seminars which boast many top name speakers like Loic Leferme (the world record holder for No Limits free diving), Mark Ellyatt (who holds the world record for the deepest dive on scuba -- 313m) and Jarrod Jablonski (founder of the GUE training agency) but to name a few. However speaking to a packed house was the South African, Mike Rutzen who some may know is one of only two people who frequently dive and interact with Great Whites outside the confines of a cage. He dazzled the audience with photos and film footage of how he rides the dorsal and tail fins of Great Whites. Footage of the Great Whites flying out of the water striking the decoy seal still sends a chill down my spine.

LIDS 2005 - London International Dive Show 2005

Mike Rutzen speaks about the dorsal fin riding of sharks

After a long weary day, one could also wonder to the Caribbean Village and enjoy the palm trees and serenading band -- inviting us to forget the cold London winterscape outside and set our sights on our next break in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Overall, it was an enjoyable show.

Author: Paul NG
Read Paul's coverage of the 2003 Birmingham show.