Updated: Apr 6
Dive Expo 23 was hosted by Viking SAC in the Carlton Hotel Blanchardstown last weekend. The much-anticipated expo focused on the diving industry, showcasing the latest products, technologies, and services related to scuba diving, free diving, underwater photography, and other underwater activities.
Every year the expo gives an opportunity to professionals and enthusiasts to network and learn about innovations in the diving world, and this year was no exception to that rule. To the credit of the organizers, the entire bottom floor of the hotel was filled with stands and displays that celebrated the underwater world of Ireland and beyond. Scuba diving was at the heart of the expo but it also offered a welcome air of encouragement to anyone who was thinking about taking up some sort of water sport such as supping, snorkeling, or swimming. Other exhibitors celebrated the ocean in different ways using life itself in the form of photography, pottery, and even woodwork.
It's hard to know where to start, the whole setup was excellent! If I were to describe the downstairs of the hotel it was broken into 3 basic areas; talks, photography exhibits, and a product/travel stand along with a very large marquee at the back of the hotel for more talks. The whole setup made it very easy to find your way around the exhibit area. It was great to see new Irish resorts like the new Atlantic Scuba Adventures join the ever-growing list of providers showing the amazing diving and snorkeling locations on the west coast of Ireland. As part of the entryway, there was a photo expo from all types of clubs from so many different places around the world kindly sponsored by Fingal Co. Co., a wonderful showcase for an intro to the show.
The expo wouldn't have been the expo it was without the mix of equipment providers from both home and abroad that made up the bulk of the stands. All sorts of equipment that a professional recreational diver would need such as suits, rebreathers, and so on were on display from all types and levels of manufacturers. There were plenty of interesting exhibitors showing overseas sites and resorts for divers to travel to as part of destination packages. What really made this different was the stands that were not diving-related and simply showed that the people running the show had an innate love of the water. As I walked in the first 2 stands to hit me were Aquaholics and Paddleboards Ireland with a stand for pottery relating to all watersports nestled in between them, which added a smaller personal touch to the event.
It wasn't possible to get to all the speakers there were that many between the two days. On day one the first I attended was the annual talk given by the regional PADI representative who provided members with information on course updates and up-and-coming courses. Next on the agenda was the freediving forum and snorkeling forum where for the most part the new CFT training structure for these sports was discussed. It was very interesting to hear the point of view of the senior members of CFT on how both of these strands should be developed and grown in clubs. Day 2 brought one of the key speakers I went to see, Claire Walsh speaking about her new book, Underwater. Claire was frank, a great storyteller, and brilliant to listen to.
She started off her session with a breathing exercise to give the audience a glimpse into the world of freediving. I would highly recommend going to listen to her if she is in a location near you. I hear in the coming weeks she will be in Shells in Strandhill, something I intend to attend. Other speakers that I didn't make it to and heard good things about include Rory Golden speaking about his return to Titanic, the RNLI, and Clean Coasts. There were also a lot of speakers talking about different equipment and locations for underwater photography. I am sorry I missed them but by all accounts, very good talks.
Overall the show was brilliant for diving in Ireland. Viking SAC will be running the show again next year and we are really looking forward to seeing what they will have in store if their first year is anything to go by. Well done to all who organized the event. For more information on Viking SAC follow them on Instagram or Facebook or contact them on email@example.com
Many thanks to the social media manager for Viking for kindly providing some additional expo images.