November is the month for the scuba industry trade show, DEMA Show, and I was down in Orlando last week to catch up on all the latest scuba diving developments. DEMA stands for Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, which is an international organization dedicated to the promotion and growth of the recreational scuba diving and snorkeling industry. The association has over 1,300 members and is responsible for producing the trade show each year, in addition to other goals such as promoting scuba diving and environmental awareness. The 2015 show was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida November 4-7.
While its always fun to wander the show floor checking out the new scuba gear, I always focus on opportunities for learning and education. Show seminars are a great way to update professional skills and find out the latest on what I need to know as a dive professional. This year I attended sessions on new digital learning products, training standards, risk management for scuba diving, the PADI ReActivate scuba review program, and business pricing strategies. Lots of good information to take back home and implement into the business.
Down on the show floor, one of the most interesting products was the Full Face Snorkeling mask by Ocean Reef. This new style mask with integrated snorkel claims to be easier to use than a traditional mask & snorkel set up. After chatting with John McKenzie of Scuba Gadget, I noticed that there were a number of other vendors were offering “clones”, some not as well made but others offering improvements such as GoPro camera attachments and children’s sizes. Another interesting new product was the ScubaPro Hydros Pro BCD featuring lots of Monprene and a modular fit. Another observation of the show was how rebreathers continue to come down in price and ease of use. Rebreathers in the $3k-$4K range are now not unusual, and I’m even hearing that open water certifications using rebreathers are not far down the road.
Next year, DEMA Show will be in Las Vegas November 16-19. I’ll be looking forward to attending and catching up all the most recent developments in scuba diving.