Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) 2015 runs from April 10th-12th 2015 at Suntec City (Halls 401-403). It is Asia’s longest running dive show and held in several countries around the region. The marine creature theme this year is Dolphins. Every year, the event will set and dedicate its theme to a particular animal/ focus point, raising awareness and encouraging conservation acts for the chosen them, this includes special exhibitions and special guests/speakers covering the topics of Dolphin conservation.
For the Singapore league this weekend, entrance fees to the event costs $5 for Dive Professionals & above, $8 for Open water/Advanced divers and $10 Non Divers. You get free admissions if you’re a student, under 16 years old, born in 1994, people with special needs, Navy personnel. You get to go in for free if you have a dolphin tattoo free and ladies get free entry from 10am- 12pm daily. The hall with ample crowds was still very manageable with plenty of walking spaces within the hall on my Saturday mid-afternoon visit. Visitor demographics comprise of divers (of all skill-levels) and non-divers of all ages and backgrounds.
There is also a very large expatriate audience, offering many avenues of networking and sharing of dive experiences and sites from globally. The event, organised by uw3some events, has grown to an event of size to clinch endorsements by the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore Underwater Federation (SUF).
The exhibition is laid out like a typical trade-show style, comprising of a mix of open-style and standard booths offering services or wares. PADI as usual, is pretty aggressive with their promotions, marketing and cost under-cutting for diving and qualification sessions, though largely shunned upon in the diving industry for “dumbing down” the standard of diving with their aggressive commercialization efforts. Their immediate competitor NAUI, seem to market themselves as as a more professional, safer and offering higher-quality diving experiences with more through curriculum and smaller trainee to instructor ratios. I am personally both NAUI and PADI trained and don’t really side with either as it’s after all your instructor proficiency which really matters. Whatever floats your boat I guess!
A thing I really dig about the dive expo are the technical panels. The organizers had in-place a back-to-back “convention-style” technical panels and discussion panels where experts get to share their technical diving knowledge and skills. As an underwater photographer, I particularly like a panel I attended conducted by Henry Jager on Underwater Marco photography, touching on topics such as proper lens selection, enclosures, focus and environmental lighting conditions. The TekDive Conference allows various Tek Divers to get together to share knowledge and experiences, and often involving challenging opportunities and ideas which can change the way you think about diving.
There are plenty of cool gear on display, neat stuff includes submarine exploration units form SUEX, sea bear dive watches and tons of gear on sale too. The SEAC ICAO BCDs for instance at going up to 30-40% off their usual retail prices. So even if a $3,000 underwater submarine kit doesn’t float your boat, you can make do with dive masks, fins or signal marker which can set you back under $30. There are goods to fit all budgets.
Considering both participant and organiser contributions, this exhibition is one of the few better ones you can experience in Singapore. Charging an entrance fee does help in toning down the crowd numbers which makes the exhibition experience more enjoyable. You get really serious people into diving attending this event, with genuine and useful knowledge exchanged in the panels, which what makes this exhibition really fun.
The diving community in Singapore is not that a big one yet and that what makes this exhibition alot more “homely”, as you will often chance upon several other divers you met on your past dive trips. You also see much less of the Ugly Singaporean side here as opposed to that in the notorious IT shows/Comdex/Comex and the freaky Anime fan-boys of Anime convention like STGCC similar held here in Suntec Convention center. Overall, the Dive convention experience is very enjoyable, this should how a proper exhibition to be like.