Report: CMAS World Underwater Photography Championship

Competition Day 1

The pace of the CMAS World has hotted up significantly with the first of the two competition days. Yesterday’s practice day helped iron out any administrative wrinkles, and the process of getting the contestant’s memory cards into the housings and sealed up was efficient. Each contestant also has to shoot an image of one of the CMAS judges before setting out, and a further image when they return. This provides a logical start and endpoint.

As mentioned earlier, each team gets four ninety-minute dives on each of the four designated dive sites over the next two days. Once their housings had been sealed up, the teams got into their assigned boats. Before the boats left the port, the CMAS staff carried out a random check, investigating what was on the boats. The contest has stringent rules about environmental interaction, and any use of food or bait will result in immediate disqualification. Hence bags were inspected to ensure that no food was being carried. During the dives, CMAS judges also make random dives, to physically ensure that the rules are being adhered to.

This may appear excessive, but it should be born in mind that this competition is as close as possible to an Olympic event. Some of the local federations actually get funding from national Olympic committees, so this is perhaps closer to the truth than might seem obvious.

There is no doubt that there is rigorous enforcement of the rules. The CMAS and FEDAS staff do so in an even-handed fashion, so the rules apply equally to everyone. The rules themselves are quite restrictive, but this structure is designed to give each participant as equal an opportunity as possible to shoot winning images.

The teams all set out for their respective first dive sites. While they did so, Kay Burn Lin and I headed out for a dive. We started out by checking out the divers at Yellow Mountain.

The sites are officially closed to everyone except the contestants, so we were somewhat surprised to see someone snorkeling over the site. Upon further investigation (and while asking him to move) we found out that he was naked! Cue many jokes about morays and not using artificial elements in images! He was gently asked to leave by the CMAS team.

Kay and I went to dive a site called Los Chuchos, located close to the harbor. It is also one of the sites being used by the contest, but we timed our arrival when they were not there. The main attraction is a resident school of roughtail stingrays (Dasyatis centroura) that visit the site regularly. The themed image category for the Championship is the stingray.

The site did not disappoint, with lots of rays, along with trumpetfish and a school of bream.

We returned to port as the contestants set out for their second dive.

When they returned the seals on the housings were broken (after taking a final picture of a CMAS official) and the cards removed. These were logged by the officials, and will be offloaded by them, before being formatted and returned for the contest tomorrow morning.

There was light late lunch of Canarian food served at the harbor.

The contestants are really focused. They are working really hard to shoot those winning images. Of course, none of them know what they have actually got yet, but their concentration is pronounced. Also, the CMAS/FEDAS team were like a well-oiled machine, but are also working really hard.

The final day of shooting tomorrow!

  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)