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OZ Tek 2011 Review

David Rhea & Joey Pool at the Oztek Gala Dinner - the man is a LEGEND!

By Lee Johnson

Visiting OZ Tek for the first time, we didn’t know what to expect. We had been told that previous years it was quite small and that there wasn’t a lot there. I guess that when it all comes down to it – it really depends what you are there for.  OZ Tek is a dive show – similar to a boat show (only without the dive stores trying to sell 500 pairs of bright pink size 15 fins). It happens every 2 years and is more of a way for like minded divers to get to see what’s new and meet up with people who have at some point influenced the way their diving has gone and what the future in diving holds for them. I went over with Joey (Like she’d let me loose in a place like that alone!) and our first thought when we walked into the place… TOYS!!!

We made our way into the show wearing our Gold Pass Bands which were very kindly provided by Steve Wannell the General Manager for Scubapro  (Thanks Steve!). These passes allowed us to go into any of the exhibitions and see any of the many presentations on offer. There were divers and industry professionals from all over the world speaking and there were some great presentations. Joey and I made our way around the first area and found that within 5 minutes of our arrival – we were being dragged from one exhibitor’s stand to another. It was great to catch up with everyone who we knew there.  It was also great to hear from many of the people at the show – that they had all heard about Perth Scuba Tek and Oztek Gala Dinnerwe were told that stores in the east coast were glad we were in the west. It was good to know that we had made an impact in such an important area for us. Our Dive Log advert (showing photos of the new store) had been the discussion point at many booths and being introduced as being from Perth Scuba – was really cool… Celebrity status… From good old “Backwater Perth” We moved around the exhibition stopping to talk to our friends from Allways Dive Travel, Scubapro, Halcyon, PADI, TDI / SDI, Pro Diving Services, Sea & Sea,  Dive Centre Bondi and heaps more. The day went extremely quick and it was soon time to head back to the room for a couple of hours sleep before getting ready for a dinner date with Steve & Mick from Scubapro with their lovely partners Hazel & Emma. What an awesome night! great dinner, great company and great location… sipping cocktails while looking across the harbour at the Sydney Opera House was awesome!! The next day we were back into it with more people to see. This was the business part of the trip and we were on a mission to find new toys for the Perth Scuba. We weren’t disappointed. The first thing we were looking for was a new Helium Blending Panel. The guys at Pro Diving services were very quick to come up with the goods and we will be THE place to get Trimix once we get our new addition set up. The fully automated system will produce the most accurate of blends with just the push of a couple of buttons. The system slots straight into our existing Membrane Nitrox Compressor and will bring the price of Trimix fills into an area where you won’t have to sell the car to go for a dive!Lee Johnson & Marc van der Poel - Perth Scuba guru's

The next thing on the agenda was to secure a deal with a major rebreather supplier. The ranges of rebreathers on show were huge and there were a few very expensive toys to be had. We wanted something which we could sell exclusively in WA and we managed to land the best unit at the show! The range (which I will keep quiet for now) is awesome and has a few different levels of rebreathers from learner – intermediate to top level (very deep and very capable). We are very excited about being able to bring this range to WA and Marc – our NEWLY QUALIFIED TDI Instructor Trainer (Congrats Marc!) & is all set to fly out to New Zealand for the training on how to use and instruct the use of these fantastic units.  We can’t wait to get our hands on these new toys!! The next job on our list was to align ourselves with the GUE (Global Underwater Explorers) guys at Dive Centre Bondi. Liam – of DC Bondi is a very experienced Technical diver and comes with a resume’ most would only dream about. Liam has agreed to come over to Perth to teach a couple of GUE Fundamentals courses. Anyone who knows anything about technical diving knows and agrees that the Fundamentals course is THE best way to master buoyancy and movement control. We look forward to having such a highly regarded and accomplished Instructor work in our store for a week to assist our divers in becoming the best they can be in regards to control. More on that later… Our next  few drinks before the Gala Dinner with Frank & Jack (Dive Locker Mandurah)and final mission was to find any new toys that we could bring in to Perth Scuba to enhance our range. We came up with a few great lines and have managed to secure another couple of exclusives for WA. The next few months are going to be very exciting for us all. So Oz Tek 2011 was an amazing experience, I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in diving in general should go to this show. Despite it’s name – it’s not all about Technical Diving – there were exhibitors for Photography, Travel, Clothing, Scuba Gear, Scooters, Jewellery, Collectors, Dive Shops, Wet & Dry Suits, Brand Suppliers such as Scubapro – Halcyon – TUSA – Aquanaut – Dive Rite – Oceanic and heaps more. If you get a chance to go in 2013 – do it. You won’t be disappointed.The show was followed by a Gala Evening /dinner and presentation of the Technical Diver of the Year as well as recognizing some of the industry greats who have done so much for Diving in Australia. It was a very sobering experience to be in a room with so many people with so much experience. Every single one of them had a million stories to share and everyone shared the same passion – the love of diving. We were lucky enough to have been invited onto the Scubapro table (Once again Steve & Mick – THANK YOU!), We sat with David Rhea- who you all know is the amazing guy who came over to Perth Scuba to present to our Dive Club on the March Public holiday. His stories and experience is an inspiration to us all. He has even promised top join us on our Nullarbor Trip in 2012 to dive the caves. I’m not sure who is more excited about that either!! The night went way too fast but it was an experience I will never forget.

OZ Tek 2011 was a great success and a credit to the organizers. Congratulations to the exhibitors who put on a great show and to everyone who helped make it the show it was. You have won us over… Now… About 2013… We were thinking… Have you ever thought about running one in Perth??? :)

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