Popular speakers Monty Halls and Miranda Krestovnikoff make welcome returns to the UK diving event of the year, the ever-expanding GO Diving Show at the NAEC, Stoneleigh Park near Kenilworth in Warwickshire on 2/3 March. They are joined by other stars of the diving scene such as Kirk Krack, Jarrod Jablonski, Sarah Donohue, Alex Mustard and MC Andy Torbet – and that’s just the Main Stage…
The TV presenter, author and adventurer has been travelling around the coastline of the UK in his sailing boat, collecting tales for his web series Generation Sea Change, and plans to reveal some big upcoming projects focused on home waters.
Ex-Marines officer Monty worked for Nelson Mandela in the early 1990s before qualifying as a marine biologist and becoming a travel journalist. His degree was funded by running expeditions, including to India, where his team discovered a sunken city, and southern Africa, and from 2003 his expedition company circumnavigated the globe four times, seeking out great ocean encounters.
Monty’s TV career kicked off when, after winning the Superhumans contest, he went on to present series for Channel 4, National Geographic, the History Channel, Channel 5 and the BBC, including his three Great Escapes seasons and the award-winning Great Barrier Reef. He has written several books, many articles and is an ambassador for a number of conservation groups.
Fellow TV presenter, author and conservationist Miranda Krestovnikoff is also back on the Main Stage, in her case after a two-year hiatus. With the topic of “family diving” front and centre, she will be joined on stage by her teenage son and daughter Oliver and Amelie, representing youth diving.
Miranda was studying zoology at Bristol University when a placement assisting a wildlife cameraman on a Natural World project led to her working at the BBC Natural History Unit. Her break as a TV presenter came in 1998 and she became known to UK divers when she fronted the Wreck Detectives series in 2003/4.
She has since presented and contributed to many programmes, including The One Show and Coast, and recently become an ambassador for Project Seagrass.
Multi-disciplinary diver Kirk Krack plans to incorporate both freediving and technical diving into his presentation – along with underwater living and Hollywood movies.
Kirk reached the highest levels of mixed-gas diving in the 1990s before turning to breath-hold and forming Performance Freediving International (PFI), developing one of the earliest freedive-specific educational systems in 2000.
He has trained seven athletes to 23 world records, won the DAN-Rolex Diver of the Year Award in 2016 for work on freediving safety, continues to train nine military special operations groups from three countries, and developed the concept of Technical Freediving.
In 2017, film director James Cameron hired Kirk to train cast and crew for Avatar: The Way of Water. These days he works for DEEP, the UK-based ocean tech company that plans to build underwater habitats and submersibles, and is developing the Aquon Training programme for undersea explorers of the future.
Another leading technical diver, Jarrod Jablonski will bring to GO Diving his presentation “Past, Present, and Future”, detailing some of his team’s early challenges, tragic mis-steps and thrilling successes, and previewing exciting advances he envisions for the years to come.
Jarrod holds world records for the longest cave dive (18km at 90m, 30 hours under water), and the longest cave traverse (11km at 90m depth). He is managing director of Global Underwater Explorers (GUE), director at the Deep Dive Dubai complex and CEO of Extreme Exposure and Halcyon Manufacturing.
The writer of several books and many articles, he has won awards including DAN-Rolex Diver of the Year 2018 and a Lifetime Achievement Award at Eurotek 2016.
Long-time dive-show favourite Andy Torbet – adventurer, TV presenter and all-round action man – is giving a talk on Sunday afternoon as well as MCing the GO Diving Main Stage, for which he has been the ‘face' since its inception.
A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club, the former British forces veteran has presented series for the BBC, CBBC, Discovery and the History Channel, and is also a stunt performer, having been involved in the last Bond movie No Time To Die, Fast X, Andor and Netflix hit The Witcher.
Many show visitors will know marine stunt performer and all-round adventurer Sarah Donohue from her time presenting TV motorsport programmes, or her exploits as a powerboat-racing champion. But it was a near-fatal boating accident in 1999 that introduced her to scuba and freediving, leading to her becoming an HSE Media Diver and dedicated marine conservationist.
Sarah, who began powerboat racing in 1993, had her own extreme TV show with Granada’s Men & Motors in the 1990s, went on to present motorsport with Tiff Needell and Top Gear Waterworld with Jeremy Clarkson on the BBC, and co-hosted The H2O Show for Meridian TV.
These days she specialises in stunts on, in and under water, and recently finished filming for Back in Action as stunt double for Cameron Diaz.
A former track and field athlete into the bargain, Sarah has won the World Tri-Fitness Championships twice, and is qualified in diet and nutrition and as a strength and conditioning coach.
Alex Mustard, regarded as one of the world’s leading underwater photographers for the past 20 years, returns to the Main Stage on the Saturday afternoon to announce the winners of the prestigious Underwater Photographer of the Year awards, of which he is a founder and chair of the jury, as well as giving his own presentation the following day.
Alex, who has a PhD in marine ecology, started taking underwater photographs when he was nine and did so full-time from 2004. His work has won many awards, including regularly in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition – in no fewer than nine categories.
He was also a six-time category winner in the British Wildlife Photography Awards, and the first underwater photographer to win the GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
Alex’s 2007 book Reefs Revealed won the International Grand Prize for the best book of underwater photographs, while his 2016 instructional book Underwater Photography Masterclass remains the most sought-after title on the subject. He has also published more than 700 articles.
Having presented his work to Queen Elizabeth II in 2005, 13 years later he was made an MBE in her birthday honours for services to underwater photography.
As in previous years, the GO Diving Show will round out on the Sunday afternoon with an unmissable panel discussion in which many of these seven Main Stage speakers will take part.
And that’s just the start…
This year the GO Diving Show encompasses three halls at the NAEC, Stoneleigh Park on 2/3 March, expanding to cover a cool 10,000sq m of exhibition space. There is so much for visitors to see and do!
As well as the Main Stage, there are dedicated stages for UK diving, technical diving, underwater photography and inspirational tales, plus the ever-popular Cave, the giant Try-Dive Pool and, new for 2024, an Interactive Bouldering Wall and a Dual VR Diving Simulator so that you and a buddy can venture “under water” together.
All these attractions are scattered among an ever-increasing array of stands from tourist boards, manufacturers, training agencies, resorts, liveaboard operators, dive-centres, retailers and much more.
GO DIVING SHOW TICKETS, which are valid for the entire weekend and include complimentary parking, are available now, priced at £25.
Scuba Diver magazine subscribers receive a special discounted rate of just £11.68, and those who have completed a Discover Scuba Diver session, or an Open Water / Advanced Open Water (or equivalent – see website for full list of relevant courses from PADI, BSAC, NAUI, RAID, SAA, SSI and SDI) – since 1 April, 2023, are eligible for FREE tickets.
Verification of subscription or course-completion is required for these special offers.
If you’re a BSAC, PADI, SDI, NAUI, RAID, SAA or SSI diver, get in touch with your training agency for special member discounts on tickets that will save you ££££s!
The 2024 show also sees the Ocean Film Festival taking place on the Saturday evening – settle in and watch a host of award-winning films on our giant screen on the Main Stage.
Entrance to the Ocean Film Festival is included in a weekend show ticket, so it represents even better value for money! (A ticket solely for the Saturday evening film festival costs £14.94).