Well, the big scuba event of the year is over. Becky (my wife) and I visited Las Vegas to attend DEMA 2008 (Dive Equipment and Manufactures Association). I recently posted lots of pictures with some of my favorite companies that exhibited at the show (View My Photos
So what did I think of the show this year? I felt the attendance was a bit lower than expected and it was not a shock to see some exhibitor booths completely empty (given the economy and all). A great video about surfing and diving was released that targets Gen Y. It should help improve the appeal of scuba diving. PADI and some other agencies got together to create it. I didn’t expect to see so many Chinese manufactures (including new regs, wetsuits, knives, etc.)...should be interesting to see what affect that has on our future gear selection and price. Many booths and attendees helped us to spread the word about DiveBuddy.com and UnderwaterAds.org (a free scuba banner advertising exchange for scuba companies).
My personal opinion is that DEMA and all it’s members would have been better served by spending all that money on advertising to the main stream. Rather than fight over the last piece of pie, they should all work together to make the pie bigger. The video mentioned above is a great start...now put it in the hands of 25 million people and we’re all good. Instead of spending money on booths, awards, parties and advertising to one another...they should have spent the money on TV/radio ads, online advertising and water sports related tradeshows like Boating...anything to get the scuba diving message in front of non-divers. We need more people interested in our industry and the best organization we have right now to do that is DEMA. Again, this is just my personal opinion...I’m not privy to all information out there and my opinion may change from time to time :) I’m agnostic in that way.
Overall, my time at DEMA 2008 was successfull. I met a lot of great people and learned quite a bit more about our industry. I’m looking forward to BTS (Beneath The Sea) next year.