2014 Seminar Preview

SCUBA Show seminars are selected each year to be entertaining, educational and fascinating. Multiple seminars run during the show on the hour from 10 to 5 on Saturday and 10 to 4 on Sunday. The sessions include paid seminars by renowned speakers, free seminars that are put on by exhibitors about their products and services, and workshops for diving professionals.

As we put the finishing touches on the 2014 seminar lineup, here’s a peek at some of the seminar subjects and speakers. The full schedule with times and room numbers will be announced shortly.

Thank you.

Gee, I Never Knew That: A New Perspective on the Coral Reef Experience

Presented by Dr.Alex Brylske

New divers are typically blown away by their first coral reef experience, but have virtually no understanding of what they see. And, besides the name of some of the common critters, even divers with lots of experience often know little about what truly goes on in these spectacular ecosystems. This presentation will provide a more complete and integrated understanding of the seeming “chaos of the coral reef,” enabling you to more fully appreciate your next trip to paradise. Come gain a whole new understanding of what reefs are all about through the insights of coral reef ecologist and award-winning dive industry educator, Dr. Alex Brylske.


Alex Brylske is most published author in the field of recreational scuba diving, and one of the community’s most influential voices. He has served as Senior Editor of Dive Training magazine since its inception in 1991. In his position as Professor of Marine Science at Florida Keys Community College Alex teaches a full range of courses on coral reef ecology, restoration, conservation and management. He has presented his unique insights into coral reefs to audiences all over the world, and has worked or consulted for several environmental organizations including Project Aware, the Coral Reef Alliance, Reef Check, The South Florida Coral Reef Initiative and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. He has recently authored The Complete Diver, A Comprehensive Guide to Diving in the 21stCentury and is the 2012 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year.

Polar Diving Physiology and Operations

Presented By: Dr. Michael A. Lang and Dr. Karen B. Van Hoesen

Approximately five decades ago, diving scientists were first able to enter the undersea polar environment to make biological observations for a nominal period of time. The conduct of underwater diving operations in this type of extreme environment requires special consideration of diving physiology, equipment design, diver training, and operational procedures, all of which enable the under-ice approach. Since those first dives in wetsuits and double-hose regulators without buoyancy compensators or submersible pressure gauges, novel ice diving techniques have expanded the working envelope to include the use of dive computers, enriched air nitrox, rebreather units, blue-water diving and electrically heated drysuit systems. International polar diving recommendations on equipment, training and medicine will be reviewed, with an additional focus on cold as a contributing stress factor of decompression sickness and the unique physiological adaptations of polar marine life to cope with this fascinating extreme environment.


Michael A. Lang, D.Phil. is a marine biologist, environmental physiologist, author, and international lecturer with experience as a scientific, recreational and commercial diver trainer. He is Vice President of OxyHeal Health Group, UCSD Emergency Medicine Adjunct Faculty, Senior Research Fellow at The Ocean Foundation, director for nonprofit organizations, including the American Academy of Underwater Sciences and Divers Alert Network, served on Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society committees, and as expert consultant to the National Science Foundation, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Geological Survey, The Nature Conservancy, and Conservation International. Former Marine Collector/Curator at San Diego State University, Director of the Smithsonian Marine Science Network, Smithsonian Scientific Diving Officer, and National Science Foundation Polar Diving Safety Officer, Lang holds a B.Sc. in Marine Biology from San Diego State University, and a D.Phil. in Environmental Physiology from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. He is fluent in five languages, has published over 50 scientific papers and popular articles and presented over 300 seminars/papers on current marine science and diving topics. Lang is the chair and chief editor of 22 international, interdisciplinary symposia and workshop proceedings. His research concerns marine science with special reference to the development and use of new technologies for working safely under water in extreme and remote environments. Dr. Lang’s recent Smithsonian book (Oct. 2013) is “Research and Discoveries: The Revolution of Science through Scuba.” Honors include DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year, U.S. Antarctica Service Medal, NAUI Outstanding Instructor Award, Smithsonian Special Act Award, UHMS Craig Hoffmann Diving Award, AAUS Conrad Limbaugh Scientific Diving Leadership Award, DEMA Reaching Out Award, induction into Diving Hall of Fame, and the AUAS NOGI Award for Science.

Karen Van Hoesen, M.D. is one of the leading authorities on diving medicine and physiology.  Dr. Van Hoesen is a Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at UC San Diego and is board certified in both Emergency Medicine and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine.  She received her BS degree in Zoology from UC Davis and her MD degree from Duke University Medical School in 1988. She has been on faculty at UCSD in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Division of Hyperbaric Medicine for 21 years.  She has been the Director of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Fellowship at UCSD since 1998 – one of the first fellowships in diving medicine to train physicians how to recognize and treat diving injuries and fitness to dive exams. She is Director of the UCSD Diving Medicine Clinic working to improve diver health and fitness and keeping divers safe.  Since 2000, Dr. Van Hoesen has been a member of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Diving Control Board.  She has served on the board of director of the Divers Alert Network (DAN) and is currently an emergency on-call physician for DAN. She has served on Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society committees and held leadership positions at the local and national level.  Dr. Van Hoesen has over 30 original research papers, book chapters, and abstracts listed on her CV, and over 100 invitations as a requested speaker on diving medicine, physiology and diving safety to divers, instructors, scientific diving officers and physicians.  She has been a NAUI diving instructor since 1983 and has dove on all 7 continents. Honors include the 2014 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award, 1988 Our World Underwater Scholarship Recipient, and inaugural member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

Panel Discussion‐ Why Divers Die; Delving Into LA County Scuba Fatalities in 2012

Presented by Karl Huggins, Ken Kurtis and the L.A.Coroner, John Kades

Anytime there is a scuba fatality in LA County, the Coroner’s office is charged with trying to find out why. Sometimes it’s medically related, sometimes diver error, but all fatalities are thoroughly investigated to determine what went wrong. In this very popular 90‐minute panel discussion you will get an overview of the Coroner’s work. Actual cases will be presented covering the accident, the attempted treatment of the victim at the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber, and what the testing of the dive equipment and accident investigation covered.

Bios: See bios and photos in current web site listing

The Dark Side of Sunlight

Presented by Allison and Andy Sallmon

One of the most desirable secondary subjects in underwater photography is the sun – but getting sharp sunrays and sunballs is easier said than done!  How many times have you come home from a lovely, sunny dive day, only to discover a big white blob in all of your images? OUCH! This seminar will include key topics such as avoiding “white ball of death” syndrome, getting sharp sunrays in a variety of settings, and when it’s a better idea to shoot with the sunlight instead of against it.

Genesis: The red and white divers flag

By Dr. Sam Miller III

This seminar is an eye-opener because most divers have absolutely no knowledge of the short history of the divers flag; how, where and why it was developed.. From a solitary sentence in the September 1957 issue of Skin Diver Magazine, it has become the symbol of recreational diving throughout the world.

The speaker was a participant of dive flag history; in 1962 Dr. Miller was chosen as the only “expert witness” at the first ligation of a diver who was struck and seriously injured while flying the then new and untested divers flag. In 1988 a gentleman from the east coast declared he owned the rights to the diver flag and brought suit against a dive shop owner and Conn Bell Telephone Company. Dr. Miller provided the documentation that proved his claim was without merit.

In the early 90s Colleen Bondy, a young reporter for Dive Training magazine wrote two articles on the Divers flag. At that time it was discovered the father of the divers flag had passed away. A gentleman crawled out of his hole and declared he was the father of the divers flag, with absolutly no reference to him in Skin Diver Magazine, which was the document of that era. This and more is is covered in the presentation.

SEALAB and a Forgotten Quest

Presented by Ben Hellwarth

Back by Popular demand A very interesting seminar – SEALAB is like the underwater Right Stuff, and author Ben Hellwarth uses archival visuals and rare audio clips in a presentation based on his new book about the pioneering U.S. Navy divers and scientists – along with famed adventurers like Jacques Cousteau – who set out to achieve much longer, deeper dives than ever thought possible. Then they could create the marine equivalent of space stations. Two of the three SEALAB projects of the 1960s took place off the coast of Southern California. Each had very different results but forever changed diving, and their legacy lives on.


Ben Hellwarth, a veteran journalist, interviewed many surviving SEALAB participants and conducted extensive documentary research to write the first comprehensive account of a lesser-known U.S. venture and others that led to major breakthroughs in deep diving. As a staff writer in the 1990s for the Santa Barbara News-Press, Ben won a number of notable awards and got the seed of the idea for his first book, SEALAB: America’s Forgotten Quest to Live and Work on the Ocean Floor (Simon & Schuster, 2012). His writing has lately appeared in such publications as The New York Times and Discover magazine.

Legal Responsibilities of Recreational Scuba Divers

Presented by Rick Lesser

What are your legal responsibilities as a recreational diver, to yourself and those you are diving with?

This and other questions will be answered in depth at this groundbreaking seminar presented by Rick Lesser, one of the most experienced recreational dive litigators. Common misperceptions such as A dive release isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on” or that the leader of your dive group is somehow a guarantor of your safety as well as other legal issues will be addressed based on real world experience from over 3,000 dive incidents. Knowing your legal responsibilities as a diver will make you a better and safer scuba diver no matter what your level of training or experience.


Eight time Super Lawyer Rick Lesser brings over three decades of dive litigation experience to the seminar, based on his representation of some of the industry’s leading manufacturers and training agencies. Rick has lectured repeatedly at both the annual recreational dive industry trade show and the annual Commercial diving conference. A lifetime diver, he is also the author of multiple articles relating to dive safety, risk management and maritime law.

Coastal Flavor: Enjoy the Bounty of California Waters

Presented by Trevor Cook, the Scuba Chef

Back by Popular Demand. A fun and informative look at the bounty off our coast. Join Chef Trevor Cook, The Scuba Chef, as he educates you about what is edible, the seasonality of species, how to catch the right seafood and how to prepare your catch for cooking. Trevor will demonstrate with round fish such as calico bass, flat fish like halibut as well as shell fish and lobster. Come learn about our coastal bounty, responsible harvesting and the best way to preserve your catch including cooking tips and recipe ideas.

You recognize Trevor Cook in his role as the Scuba Chef for California Diving News.  His monthly recipe column is a celebration of the bounty of sustainable California seafood. After graduating from the Le Cordon Bleu, Trevor began his career in Foodservice as the Banquet Chef at the Omni Hotel in San Diego, CA. From there he created and ran a small catering company in San Diego, and after five years took his career on another path as the Executive Chef of 21 Ocean Front. In 2004 Trevor Cook joined the Culinary Services Team of U.S. Foodservice as territory manager and Division Executive Chef, where among other things he played a key role in the innovation and marketing of US Foodservice signature brands. Today he works with restaurants at SYSCO Foodservice.

Away from his day Job working with restaurants you can find Chef Trevor Cook diving the coastal waters off Southern California in search of delicious sea food and developing new and exciting ways for you to prepare and cook the bounty of our waters. His motto, ‘Stay safe, stay legal and never take more than you’ll eat.’

Golden Opportunity: Taking World-Class Images in Your Local Waters

Presented by Allison and Andy Sallmon

If you’ve ever thought, “How in the world did they take that image in these waters?” or “That must be Photoshopped!” then this seminar is for you.  Andy and Allison are among the most published North American underwater photographers today, and many of their most in-demand or award-winning images were taken within a few hundred miles of their So Cal home. In this talk, they’ll show some of their most successful images and discuss never-before –revealed details on how each image was achieved.

Diving for the Greater Good… Become an ocean ambassador and bring passion and purpose to your dive experience

Presented by By Sue Chen

The purpose of this session is to inspire and inform divers to dive for a purpose…for the greater good of our ocean, people and planet.There is very significant drop off for new divers and one powerful way to keep divers engaged it so inspire them to become more than just divers, but ambassadors for our oceans.  This generates a triple Bottom Line impact that is good for the dive industry, good for the planet and good for the individual.

The speaker is a living example of this Triple Bottom Line and has a very powerful story to share. In her talks she shares how “Sharks Saved me and my business. Come learn how divers came become great ocean ambassadors with take aways for every attendee.


As the founder and CEO of NOVA Medical Products, Sue Chen was named One of the Ten Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women issue. She was President of Reef Check from 2009 – 2012, is currently the Director of Shark, Helped to pass the Shark Fin ban in California, testifying to the Senate Appropriations Committee, lobbying and organizing rallies, Founder of Operation Blue Pride and Executive Producer of the Operation Blue Pride documentary.

State of the Sharks

Presented By Chris Huss and Mark Strickland

State of the Sharks, a program produced by veteran underwater photographers concerned by the dwindling numbers of sharks they have witnessed first-hand, seeks to change the public perception of sharks as man-eaters and raise awareness for the plight of sharks and the resulting damage to ocean ecosystems when these top predators are removed.  Stressors such as over-fishing for shark fins, ingredients for cosmetics and health supplements, by-catch, recreational fishing, and habitat loss are all threats that have brought sharks in view of extinction.  Without sharks, the marine ecosystem loses its balance.  It is time for a change. This seminar is for divers and non-divers, anyone who cares about the ocean


State of the Sharks is a collaboration between veteran underwater photographers Mark Strickland and Chris Huss.

Chris Huss, a professional photographer making images across many genres for over 30 years, has recently turned his camera into a tool to aid in the conservation and protection of the marine environment.  His underwater work has appeared in publications ranging from Time to the cover of National Geographic.

Mark Strickland’s connection with the sea includes 10,000+ dives and a wide range of ocean-related careers. An accomplished underwater photographer and passionate conservationist, his editorial credits include several books, periodicals like BBC Wildlife,National Geographic WorldNature’s BestNatural History and Outside, plus displays at the Smithsonian Institute and United Nations.

Discovering the George E. Billings – Channel Islands’ Lost Windjammer

Presented by Patrick Smith

A fascinating story, in early 1941 The George E. Billings was towed to an un-named Channel Island and burned. The location of this event was never recorded and for 70 years the final resting place of this 224-foot 5-masted schooner was a mystery. Come and hear about this vessel’s history, how she came to her blazing finish and where she was discovered by CMAE, National Park Service and NOAA personnel in 2011. This is a great sea story that is right at Southern California’s front door.


Patrick Smith is a NAUI Instructor, a USCG Licensed captain for vessels to 200 tons, maritime historian, underwater archaeologist, author and consultant to numerous private and government agencies. He has more than 6,500 dives in commercial, academic, scientific, and recreational fields. He works closely with NOAA and the National Park Service on submerged cultural resource projects locally and nationally. He is the author of numerous popular and academic articles and is coauthor of the popular Shipwrecks of Southern California.

U/W Camera Care & Maintenance: What All Photographers Should Know To Avoid Costly Mistakes

Presented By Devon Tomkins

Information important to both novice and experienced divers. Pre-dive and post-dive preparation is necessary to prevent flooding and damage commonly encountered when using underwater photographic equipment. This presentation will emphasize time-tested techniques to help make your photographic dives successful. Participants will be provided with a complimentary personal maintenance kit that enables an interactive approach to the seminar. This seminar will instill a positive approach to help eliminate the repetitive accidents and/or damage that have been an ever-increasing occurrence.

Topics include: O-rings – design and use, Silicon Lubricants, Sealing surfaces and their care,

Swab-Tech: Cotton vs. Sponge, Pre-Dive & Post-Dive Prep, Common Mistakes and why they exist, Care of Housing Ports both Acrylic and Glass, Housings, Strobes, and Sync Cables, and what the user manuals leave out, What To Do When Flooding Occurs, Field Repairs: MacGuyver or MacDesperate?, Helping Equipment Survive TSA Inspections


Devon Tompkins is the owner/operator of Pacific Housing Repair and began shooting underwater photos in 1979. His diving experience encompasses recreational, commercial, and scientific diving. For the past 16 years he has been the pre-eminent underwater housing service and repair technician. His company is the warranty repair facility for Aquatica and the Sea & Sea Service Center for North America., as well as being a repair facility for most u/w equipment both current production and vintage. Devon has concentrated his own u/w photographic endeavors to the realm of extreme light spectrum imaging; untra-violet and infrared.

Underwater Modeling II: An (updated) guide from both sides of the lens

Presented by Allison and Andy Sallmon

This is Andy and Allison’s most requested seminar. Although photographing divers is common in underwater imaging, very few photographers have spent significant time in front of the lens working as a model.  Andy and Allison have spent thousands of hours working together on both sides of the camera, and this entertaining seminar will provide a unique view on the subject from the perspective of both photographer and model.  Included are tips on working with other divers, learning to share, basics of communication, gear and other aesthetic considerations, incorporating a model into both reef and wreck scenes, and optimizing your images’ appeal to photo editors.

How, Where and When to Swim with and Photograph Large Marine Life

Presented by Ken Knezick

This program will take you on a watery journey that includes whale sharks in Isla Mujeres, sea lions and manta rays in the Sea of Cortez, humpback whales in Tonga, and a huge bait ball on the South Africa Sardine Run, tended by wild dolphins and sharks. You will gain insight on how to safely approach these fabulous creatures in the water, and how to successfully photograph them. The presenter’s shows strive to rely on good photography, extensive knowledge of the subject, wit, humor and his ability as a public speaker. Audience participation is always encouraged, for a more dynamic and effective learning experience.

Selecting the Indo-Pacific Dive Destination that Best Meets your Expectations

Presented by Ken Knezick

An audience participation presentation, this spirited and fast-paced talk will whisk the crowd around the Pacific Ocean, defining and comparing the best dive opportunities the region has to offer.  Participants are invited to share their own knowledge and experiences. Participants walk away with valuable knowledge…and a smile.

Ken Knezick
is owner of Island Dreams Travel in Houston, Texas. He has logged more than 3,500 scuba dives and many thousands of hours underwater, quite literally around the world.  From the Caribbean to the Pacific, his travels include most of the world’s great diving destinations. Ken served as Executive Director of Houston’s SEASPACE Exposition for 22 years. He is past President of Houston International Diver’s Club, and is a founding member of both the Houston Underwater Photographic Society (HUPS), and G.R.E.A.T., the Gulf Reef Environmental Action Team. Ken is recipient of the PADI Project Aware/SEASPACE Environmental Awareness Award, and at DEMA he was honored with induction into the SSI Platinum Pro 5000 Society. An accomplished underwater photographer, when not actually diving Ken enjoys writing short stories, travelogues, and presenting seminars and workshops at dive shows and dive clubs around the U.S.A.

The Ageless Diver

Presented by Dan Orr

This presentation is a review of how the normal aging process affects diver safety and what every diver should know about risk and risk mitigation to improve their safety, regardless of age.


Dan Orr is President of Dan Orr Consulting, providing a variety of services to the diving community.  Recently retired from the position of President of Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Chairman of the Board of International DAN, he has helped DAN focus on its worldwide diving safety mission. Prior to coming to DAN, he worked and taught recreational diving in a retail store, developed and implemented course curricula in the academic environment, collected data and supervised research efforts in the field of science diving, tested diving equipment for military contractors and worked for or served on the Boards of various not-for-profit organizations during his career including The Historical Diving Society (Chairman of the Board), Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA), Academy of Underwater Arts & Sciences (Chairman of the Board), The Our World Underwater Scholarship Society, The ADM Exploration Foundation, The Institute of Diving (Chairman of the Board), Deptherapy and others.

He has published and co-authored over 100 articles and a dozen books and manuals including:  Scuba Diving Safety, Pocket Guide to First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries; Pocket Guide for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries; and the DAN Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries Training Manual

He has also been honored by his peers by being the recipient of many prestigious awards and honors including the NOGI Award in Sports/Education, the Leonard Greenstone Award for Diving Safety, the Our World-Underwater Award, Beneath the Sea’s Diver of the Year, the Wyland Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement and the 2012 DEMA Reaching Out Award.

Hazardous Marine Life

Presented by Dr. Tabby Stone

When we interact with marine life, we risk coming into contact with their natural defense mechanisms. In this informative seminar you will learn what can hurt you and what do do if you are hurt.


Dr. Stone is a practicing pediatrician in the Los Angeles area. He has been an avid diver since his initial certification in 1979. Shortly after that, he developed an interest in diving medicine. He is a past president of the Pacific Chapter of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society and wrote the Medical Facts column for Discover Diving magazine from 1988 to 1999.

Diving With Mr. Big

Presented by Marty Snyderman

Encounters with sharks, whales, dolphins, manta rays, sea lions and other animals collectively referred to as Mr. Big have a special place in the hearts and minds of many divers. In this seminar I will share my experiences and thoughts regarding where, when and how to make the most out of your dives. While there are times when you get lucky and Mr. Big just shows up, our better encounters take place when we join expeditions and travel to destinations that “target” specific animals. No secrets withheld, I am happy to share what I have learned over the years.

Bio: Marty Snyderman is one of 63 people inducted into the Dive Equipment and Marketing’s (DEMA) SCUBA diving Hall of Fame, and a proud recipient of the DEMA Reaching Out Award. Marty is an EMMY Award winning cinematographer, still photographer, author and speaker specializing in the marine environment. He is the Marine Life Editor of Dive Training magazine, authoring at least three columns a month in every issue, including the Marine Life column entitled What’s That? Marty serves as the Senior Editor for California Diving News and writes extensively about California Diving. He teaches underwater photography seminars in dive centers in North America and at destinations around the globe

The Ears and Diving

Presented by Dr. Tabby Stone

The ears are the part of the body most susceptible to annoyance and injury during diving. In this seminar Dr. Stone will explain how ear problems occur, how to prevent them, and what to do if you have an ear injury.


…And much, much more!