‘Old school’ could mean ‘no fu­ture’

Sport Diver - - Editor’s Letter - Mark Evans, ED­I­TOR

As I write this, I have just landed af­ter re­turn­ing from the an­nual DEMA trade show in Las Ve­gas. This mon­ster event pro­vides a show­case for man­u­fac­tur­ers, train­ing agen­cies, coun­tries, dive cen­tres, re­sorts and live­aboards to dis­play their wares in front of thou­sands of dive cen­tre own­ers and other scuba pro­fes­sion­als. How­ever, in end­lessly wan­der­ing the mas­sive hall en­route to meet­ings, I no­ticed a prob­lem. A big prob­lem. The av­er­age age of those at­tend­ing seemed to have risen sharply, to such an ex­tent that I was be­gin­ning to lose count of the num­ber of mo­bil­ity scoot­ers zoom­ing the gang­ways. Where were all the young, dy­namic dive pros we see in the pro­mo­tional videos? Okay, so you could ar­gue that those visit­ing were the own­ers/up­per man­age­ment of dive cen­tres and re­sorts, but isn’t it vi­tally im­por­tant that we di­rectly ex­pose these vi­brant 20-some­things to these events as well? Don’t get me wrong, I am not say­ing there is no place for the old guard in div­ing (I am creep­ing closer to my mid-40s, so I am slowly tee­ter­ing in that gen­eral di­rec­tion). We need these stal­warts of the in­dus­try to be a lead­ing light in re­cruit­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of free­d­ivers, scuba divers and tech­ni­cal divers, both at recre­ational and pro­fes­sional lev­els, but we des­per­ately re­quire all these highly ex­pe­ri­enced vet­er­ans to un­der­stand this has never been more im­por­tant. We need to feed the ad­dic­tion in the younger crowd so they are as hooked on this fab­u­lous ac­tiv­ity as we are, and are not tempted to stray to other sports like kite-surf­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, wake­board­ing or ski­ing, to name but a few. I am not quite ready to grab the keys for a scooter just yet, but by the time I am in that sit­u­a­tion, I am con­fi­dent that there will be a plethora of cool young divers to help me out of it and into the near­est bar for those im­por­tant post-dema even­ing ‘meet­ings’...

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