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ADEX: Devotion to the Ocean

With the first event of the season tucked nicely under the belt, it’s time for something new. In an unlikely change of scene, the KTA Media team swapped out the flip flops and boardshorts, brushed the sand out off and boarded a plane to Singapore. It’s not often you find us working off-beach, but with a new season comes new opportunities and we were certainly not going to miss this one. In keeping with our promise to branch out as a media team, we decided to get stuck into the world of dive.

Traditionally known quite well in the industry as Asia’s largest and longest standing expo of its kind, ADEX- Asia Dive Expo 2017 launched in the first weekend of April. This year they too were looking to broaden their horizons by inviting brands and organisations from the world of surf, SUP, windsurfing and kiting. Among the newcomer stalls this year was a scattering of familiar names: Naish, Starboards, Airush, Kitoons (Bintan based kiting school), Lieuwe Boards, and of course the KTA.

We didn’t really know what to expect before we showed up in Singapore. With only skeletal information about what the weekend would entail, there were a lot of blanks to fill in. Here’s what we know now: ADEX has been running for nearly 23 years, making it one of the most established conventions in the industry, and certainly in Asia. It’s far less a typical commercial expo- less wheeler dealer mentality- more of a think tank, more of a communal thing. Each year ADEX assigns a theme to the expo- this year was ‘Confronting Climate Change’.

We arrived a day early, and while everyone in the Suntec Convention Center was hurriedly erecting stalls, filling up swimming pools and stringing up banners, we took a stroll around to find out who we were going to be meeting over the course of the weekend. In total there was 148 scheduled speakers, that’s a lot of new faces to account for. The range of speakers was huge- there we freedivers, marine conservationists, underwater photographers, musicians, artists, adventurers and explorers, even mermaids (yes, mermaids…).

Among the seemingly endless list of speakers, one of the most notable was that of Sylvia Earle. Sylvia, when you first see her is a slip of a woman just shy of 82 years old, but despite her age she has incredible stage presence and a passion for her cause that simply can’t be ignored. Like many of those in attendance this year, Sylvia took the chance to educate and inspire the crowd at ADEX about all issues concerning climate change, marine conservation and what we can do about it. Echoing her words, and recounting his own stories and causes was Jose Ramos-Horta, the former President of Timor-Leste, who we managed to snag a private interview with after- a complete gentleman on top of all else.

On the kite side of things there were speeches from Kathrin Borgwardt and Paula Rosales, both KTA regulars, as well as a mega crowd pleasing talk from 11 year old Kacper Lepicki. Kacper gave us a rundown on how he managed to become a World Champion, by bringing us along for a look on his road to success and showing us exactly what goes into getting to his impressive level of kiteboarding skill.

But it wasn’t all speakers that weekend, on the floor of ADEX 2017 was basically a showcase of all of the latest cutting edge tech in the dive world- wetsuits and masks, rebreathers, underwater photo/video equipment, the list goes on. Also among the traders were tourism companies, resort reps from some seriously exotic locations (Fiji and Solomon Islands to name a few) and plenty of dive school owners.

It’s always nice to see different components of the water sports world come together, especially to contribute to a greater cause like confronting climate change. For us as a media team it was quite a special experience to witness this union from the outside, and to follow the stories of all of the inspirational folk who made the weekend what it was. These stories are being compiled as we speak into what will become our third full length broadcast documentary piece. In the meantime you can get a look at what went on in our daily video reports on the KTA Media Facebook page.