The day after the DEMA Show, PADI hosted an event called Tec Xplor Day. This event begun last year to allow anyone to try technical diving equipment and rebreathers from participating manufacturers in the pool, and attend talks on a wide variety of technical diving presentations. To be expected following directly after the DEMA Show, this event was the best attended to date.
There were talks ranging from sidemount diving to Antarctic research diving under six feet of ice to cave research of the Cambrian Foundation in Central Florida to rebreather concepts. The event brought together manufacturers from all segments of the technical diving industry and most of the rebreather manufacturers. Participants were able to sign up for times to try all the units present by appointment. Sidemount as well as back mount open circuit kits were also available from Scubapro, Hollis, IST, and Dive Rite for demonstration. It was an ideal venue for anyone that wanted to try before they buy. Several computer manufacturers were on hand to lend computers as well.
Early in the morning PADI staff collecting liability releases and medicals for those that would be diving greeted participants. Over hundred people made their way through the line to be greeted by Drew Richardson with opening remarks. The scramble was on for signups for the choice spots in the pool. In the end, everyone had more than enough time to sample all that they were interested in diving. It was like watching kids during their first pool day of the summer. Most participants just did not want to get out of the pool even if they were cold.
Lunch was included and served to refuel most for more rounds in the pool. Most of the presentations were standing room only. The day concluded with prize giveaways and an enthusiastic crowd. The event put a nice cap on a week of diving business that was not all roses.