Live Reports: Red Sea Diving Festival

The Red Sea Diving Festival had a rich variety of events, workshops and social gatherings planned, with a variety of local and international speakers. In an entirely unpredictable “double whammy,” the travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak prevented many of the international judges and speakers from traveling to Israel, and the resort suffered an incredible storm, that began on Thursday midday and blew through until Friday night.

Torrential rain on Thursday night produced flash floods and closed roads in and around the resort.

The wind strength and associated wave heights were unprecedented. Many long-time Eilat local residents had never seen a weather event like this.

What we obvious was that there was significant and serious damage to many of the businesses in the town, including some of the venues that were going to be used by the Festival. In addition, the storm had meant that diving was unsafe, due to the possibility of debris creating underwater hazards and reduced visibility.

Many of the contestants in The Red Sea Diving Festival Imaging Shootout contest were able to submit imagery that they had captured prior to storm’s arrival.

The deadline for entries was 10 am on Friday, and the judges moved to use a remote judging system, with the foreign judges viewing and scoring the images online. The judging panel consisted of Dany Weinberg, Ivana Orlovich, Janez Kranjc, Daniel Brinkman, with Wetpixel’s Adam Hanlon as the Head Judge.

Adam Hanlon with Eilat Tourism’s Adi Gur Arie

The judging process was concluded (with the usual jury disagreements!) and the results are now released.

Sadly, the venue for the planned awards ceremony (which had included a live band) was literally underwater, leaving no option but to cancel. Given restrictions on the number of people gathering in one place, it seems that canceling it, although disappointing, was the correct course of action.

Boaz and Noam observing the destruction brought by the storm

Reports: Day 1
Reports: Day 2
Reports: Day 3
Gallery: Red Sea Diving Festival Shootout Results
Reports: Day 4