DEMA Show 2004: Report 1

“Mr DeeperBlue”

I hear the call standing by the Press Room first thing in the morning. I turn around to see Carlos Coste, the first man to officially break the 100m Constant Weight World Record, standing there grinning from ear-to-ear.

Carlos is one of a number of FreeDiving orientated people i’ve met at the show today. I was surprised to see Carlos at the show as it is just over a week till he makes his 134m Variable Weight attempt in the Mochima National Park in Venezula. “I’m here to help seek sponsors” Carlos explains to me as I wait in line with him for registration. “Finding sponsorship in Venezula is becoming more and more difficult” continue Carlos, echoing many competitive FreeDivers complaints.

The whole diving industry has been depressed over the last year, and whilst many people are being optimistic there has definately been a feeling of lower attendance at the show this year, although that may also be part of the fact DEMA has been stricter on attendance rules as well.

Carlos & Tanya @ DEMA

As I snake my way through the various aisles, I spot Tanya Streeter sitting signing autographs at the Turks and Caicos stand. As per usual we fall into the 100mph race to catch up on all the gossip and happenings around the FreeDiving world (unfortunately there are no real scoops to be had!). It’s a slightly surreal experience to be chatting with Tanya surrounded by huge posters of her. In any case we head off to grab some lunch and Carlos joins us to make a great hour.

Despite the seemingly lower attendance at the show there are some genuine efforts being made by DEMA to make the show more focused and useful to the dive industry. Beyond the normal networking and buying that goes on at the show DEMA has introduced the following to the show:

  • PowerUp Your Morning sessions. Each morning the PowerUp sessions will tackle important industry issues, featuring presentations by renowned speakers and expert panels. will precede the opening ceremony. Today, it’s the Travel Channel’s Peter Greenberg with a presentation entitled “Travel Trends Affecting the Dive Industry.” Thusday, it’s “Selling to the Retailer” panel discussion. Friday, “Seeing Through the Eyes of Your Customer: Uncovering Hidden Profits and Missed Opportunity with Product Inventory & Brand Marketing” is the topic, presented by Brian Dyches of the Atmospheric Group, Inc. The final day of the Show, Saturday, will focus on electronic marketing with a program entitled, “Selling Diving Over the Internet: A Look into the Future.”
  • Dive Retailer’s Resource Center, an innovative, interactive display area with the latest in retail technology, tools and practices. Designed specifically to help retailers attending the Show maximize product sales and boost business through proven merchandising tactics, the Center will apply what DEMA has branded as the S.M.A.R.T. initiative (Successful Merchandising And Retail Technology), to demonstrate innovative ways for dive retailer to present their products. Center will feature 15- minuted mini-seminars covering lighting, flooring, marketing, selling and store design.

The usual areas such as the New Product Showcase, Art Innovation Center, and DEMA Fashion Show return to the show floor.

Walking around the show i’ve met many new and old faces (including, i’m pleased to say several DeeperBlue.net Staff, all working hard!!). A few notable companies i’d like to mention:

  • DiveNewsWire makes a welcome return. Scott D Jones is a resource not to be missed, often seen walking around the show making introductions or networking. Scott provides an invaluable service to the diving industry and people can sign up for his Diving News Service at his booth # 3528 or at http://www.divenewswire.com
  • Buddy Sportwear is a new diving Apparel company with a small, yet hip range of Mens and Womens T-Shirts. Head over to booth #3526 and speak to Zoe Koonce or check out their website http://www.buddysportswear.com/
  • SeaWave are a service you should be looking out for on your next LiveAboard trip. A complete communications service for boats, it allows for voice and data services from the ship and is accessible to all parties on the boat. Perfect for sending back your photos or keeping in touch with loved ones whilst on the latest dive trip. It is currently available on the Aggressor Fleet, although if your current favourite liveaboard doesn’t have the service tell them to get over to booth #3917 or http://www.seawave.com
  • The Women Divers Hall of Fame are here at DEMA and promoting their Duck Derby in aid of their Scholarship Programs. Simply by adopting a duck you can win prizes and get tickets to their Ducktail Party. Head over to booth #1360 or adopt a duck at http://www.wdhof.org/

Overall it’s been a good day at the show. Join me tomorrow for a round-up of the days activities.

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