Report: CMAS World Underwater Photography Championship

For the past 34 years, CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques) has run the World Underwater Photography Championship. Taking place biannually, it gathers photographers and videographers from around the globe to compete for the coveted title of World Champion. As CMAS is an umbrella body that represents the interests of its affiliated federations, these are held and run by local diving federations. For 2019, the Championship is being held on Tenerife, Canary Islands and hence is administered by the Spanish diving federation, FEDAS (Federación Española de Actividades Subacuáticas) and Canarias Underwater Federation (FEDECAS) over 19 and 20 September, with registration on 17 and a practice day on 18 September.

Many clubs have a proud tradition of “Photosub” style imaging events. To a greater or lesser extent, these involve live shootouts, wherein image-makers are judged on images captured in-camera, over a fixed period and in a strictly defined location. There is typically no computer-based editing or processing allowed, so the winner of these types of event really is the best photographer (or filmmakers) on the day.

In many areas, these become regional challenges, which go on to be national contests, with national underwater bodies awarding an individual as a national champion. This can lead to these individuals then being sent by their national organizations to represent their country at the world championship. This process lends a great deal of prestige to these titles and results in the contests being closely fought.

CMAS Director of Visual Communication, Kerim Sabuncuoglu with the head of the 2019 judging panel, Kay Burn Lim

The 2019 World Championship is being hosted at the Gran Hotel Arona. All the contest’s administration and all the contestants are accommodated there. For the majority of those involved, the morning of 17 September meant getting settled in and then going through the registration process.

Volunteers from FEDAS checked their certifications, medicals and ensured that the paperwork is correctly completed. Perhaps most crucially, they also leave a memory card for each camera that they plan to use, which is formatted, labeled and sealed by the contest staff.

The 2019 Championship has 93 entrants from 20 countries (with 10 teams in the video category from 10 countries). Most teams consist of a photographer or videographer and an assistant.

Croatia’s Damir Zurub and Serbia’s Vladimir Mladenovic

After lunch, everyone assembled with their national flags for a parade. Accompanied by a drum band and a troupe of Canary Island Carnival dancers, the teams paraded around the hotel.

It was a vibrant, noisy, and colorful spectacle that was a fun way of emphasizing just how multinational the contest is.

The parade finished up back at the hotel where CMAS and FEDAS dignitaries welcomed them officially and declared the contest open.

A full day was finished off with the Technical briefing in the evening.

All the contestants met and were briefed by Rui Guerra, supported by Kerim Sabuncuoglu. This included the draw for the boats and which order that the dive sites will be conducted in.

The Draw!

These briefings are notoriously contentious as it is inevitable that some of the rules will curtail some planned activities. A new feature for 2019 is that contestants can edit images, as long as the editing is carried out in-camera, and while underwater. The technical briefing went on until 1.30 am!

Tomorrow will bring a full practice day or “dress rehearsal” which will see the teams go out on the boats from the Marina Sur Las Galletas. The rehearsal will include the precautions that are taken for ensuring images are secure and that the dives are carried out within the rules. It should be a great day!

  1. Day 1: Registration and competitors’ parade
  2. Day 2: Practice Day
  3. Day 3: Competition Day 1
  4. Day 4: Competition Day 2
  5. Day 5: Final day and Awards Ceremony
  6. [Day 5: The Winners]((https://wetpixel.com/articles/report-cmas-world-underwater-photography-championship1/P5)