The GO Diving Show (GODS) is back this weekend, bigger and better than ever, with more big-name speakers, more exhibitors, more activities plus the Great British Pub! Here’s a guide to what’s on offer on 4/5 March – prepare to see in the UK diving season in style
The highlight of the UK diving calendar is back. There are more exhibitors than previous shows, so much so that the event has expanded into a second hall – and the British Isles Experience and the traditional Great British Pub make a welcome return.
The GO Diving Show, this year partnered with Seiko Prospex, is the only UK consumer and trade event dedicated to scuba diving and dive travel. Launched in 2019, GODS looks both to serve the established UK diving market and to inspire new students and non-divers into our beautiful underwater world.
The event is once again located at the NAEC Stoneleigh, in Stoneleigh Park, handily located slap-bang in the middle of England within easy reach of the M40, M6 and M1. There are 11,000 complimentary car parking spaces, so plenty of room for all-comers.
For visitors coming by train, Stoneleigh Park is about five miles from Warwick Parkway and Coventry stations, so a short Uber- or taxi-ride.
At the core of the show are interactive and inclusive activities designed to keep the whole family entertained all day long. Throughout the weekend, the three stages will host a plethora of speakers from around the world covering a wide range of topics.
The Main Stage
The Main Stage is headlined by none other than actor, TV presenter and award-winning documentary maker ROSS KEMP, who showcased British wreck-diving on mainstream TV with his recent Sky History series Shipwreck Treasure Hunter (he is taking time out from filming season two). As he revealed in a Q&A in Scuba Diver magazine last year, although he was already a certified scuba diver, preparing for this series was among the most challenging experiences of his life – but it has enthused him for more diving in the future.
Austrian PATRICK WIDMANN is one of the world’s most experienced underwater explorers, having been involved in countless expeditions around the world. Now based in the heart of Mexican cave country, he teaches cave-diving courses both there and around the planet. He is also heavily involved in research & development of many products for well-known manufacturer XDeep, and was co-creator of the Stealth 2.0 sidemount rig.
CRISTINA ZENATO is a PADI Course Director, NSS-CDS Advanced Cave Diving Instructor, and a TDI Technical Instructor. She is globally renowned for her cave-diving expeditions and for the work with various species of sharks that earned her the epithet “Mother of Sharks”. Given that she was the initiator of the movement that resulted in the full protection of sharks throughout the Bahamas, it’s safe to say that she deserves that moniker!
PADI IDC Staff Instructor, freediving guru and shark wrangler extraordinaire LIZ PARKINSON is rapidly becoming the go-to person for Hollywood and TV companies when it comes to teaching their talent to scuba or freedive, or when they need a stunt performer who can excel in either discipline. She has been involved in recent major movies including Avatar: The Way of Water, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and F9: The Fast Saga.
Documentary-maker NATALIE HEWIT has been lauded for her work across several subject areas, but her latest expedition, the hunt to find the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s legendary ship Endurance – has thrust her deep into the psyche of divers. This documentary promises to be truly gripping stuff.
Cave-diver CHRIS JEWELL shot into the limelight for his part in the epic Thai Tham Luang cave rescue, but he is steadily building a solid reputation for pioneering pushes into new and existing cave systems, most recently in Spain.
All-round action man, stuntman, cave-diver, wreck-diver and extreme explorer ANDY TORBET is no stranger to the GO Diving Show, having graced the Main Stage since its inception. In 2023 he is once again hosting on the Main Stage, as well as teaming up with Chris Jewell for a presentation on cave diving.
MAIN STAGE SPEAKER SCHEDULE
Sat, 4 March
10.30-11.15am: Patrick Widmann (Expeditions around the world)
11.30-12.15pm: Andy Torbet & Chris Jewell (Cave diving and exploration)
12.30-1.15pm: Liz Parkinson (Hollywood stunt performer, freediver and shark-wrangler)
1.30-2.15pm: Ross Kemp (TV presenter, film-maker, actor)
2.30-3.15pm: Cristina Zenato (‘Mother of Sharks‘ and cave-explorer)
3.30-5pm: Alex Mustard (Underwater Photographer of the Year winners presentation)
Sun, 5 March
10.30-11.15am: Liz Parkinson (Hollywood stunt performer, freediver and shark-wrangler)
11.30-12.15pm: Ross Kemp (TV presenter, film-maker, actor)
12.30-1.15pm: Cristina Zenato (‘Mother of Sharks‘ and cave-explorer)
1.30-2.15pm: Patrick Widmann (Expeditions Around the World)
2.30-3.15pm: Natalie Hewit (Finding Shackleton’s Endurance)
3.30-4pm: Dan ‘Wheelsdan’ Metcalfe (1 Man, 2 Accidents and 3 World Records)
The Secondary Stages
The two secondary stages have been pressed into double duty for 2023. One will rotate between talks on UK diving and technical diving, while the other will be the Inspiration Stage along with covering underwater photography. These stages will see many well-known faces from the diving fraternity alongside newcomers giving their first talks, and will cover so many topics that, whatever your interests, there will be something for you.
UK / TECH STAGE SPEAKER SCHEDULE
Sat, 4 March
10.45-11.30am: TECH – John Kendall (Archaeology in the Dark – Digital Mapping in Flooded Caves)
11.45-12.30pm: UK – Tim Clements (Where did Easter Go?’ – What Happened to Early-Season Diving in Scotland?)
12.45-1.30pm: TECH – Vic Verlinden (The Lusitania)
1.45-2.30pm: UK – Sally Cartwright (Denial and Decompression Sickness)
2.45-3.30pm: TECH – Lanny Vogel (HMS Bounty – the Challenge of Remote Diving Expeditions)
3.45-4.30pm: UK – Clare Dutton (Building a Dive Empire in North Wales)
Sun, 5 March
10.45-11.30am: UK – Leigh Bishop (Great British Wrecks)
11.45-12.30pm: TECH – Rannva Torfrio Jormundsson / Maria Bollerup (Expedition Buteng)
12.45-1.30pm: UK – Oli van Overbeek (Life after Covid – the Changing Face of UK Diving)
1.45-2.30pm: TECH – Tiffany Norberg (Mine-Diving in Sweden)
2.45-3.30pm: UK – Roisin Maddison (The Challenges of Shooting Photographs in UK Waters)
iNSPIRATION / UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY SPEAKER SCHEDULE
Sat, 4 March
10.30-11.15am: PHOTO – Byron Conroy (Underwater Photography in Iceland – It’s not just Silfra!}
11.30-12.15pm: INSPIRATION – Madison Bowden-Parry (Society and the Sea)
12.30-1.15pm: PHOTO – Stuart Philpott (Underwater Photography in the Maldives)
1.30-2.15pm: INSPIRATION – Tiffany Geer (Grenada – Wreck-Diving Capital of the Caribbean)
2.30-3.15pm: PHOTO – Lawson Wood (Starting Out – and When Should I Edit?)
3.30-4.15pm: INSPIRATION – Nick Lyon (The Hannah Brookes Lecture – Celebrating the Fun in Diving)
Sun, 5 March
10.30-11.15am: INSPIRATION – Paul Toomer (What to Look For in a Dive-Centre)
11.30-12.15pm: PHOTO – Anne & Phil Medcalf (The Peaks and Pitfalls of Learning Underwater Photography)
12.30-1.15pm: INSPIRATION – Jake Davies (Sharks off the Welsh Coast)
1.30-2.15pm: PHOTO (Stuart Philpott – Shooting Wrecks in Cyprus)
2.30-3.15pm: INSPIRATION – Grace Westgarth & Rada Pandeva (World Ocean Day)
Interactive elements for all the family
The ever-popular virtual-reality DIVING POD is back, taking you deep on a technical dive on an ancient shipwreck, and so is THE CAVE – whatever your age, if you have ever hankered to give caving or cave-diving a try, then prepare to don a helmet and kneepads and venture into the darkness of our 30m cave-system.
Bruce the bucking RODEO SHARK is also back for 2023, and is handily located next door to our rustic GREAT BRITISH PUB (sponsored by the Philippines Department of Tourism), so you can meet up with friends for a beverage or two, and challenge one another as to who can stay on the longest. Or you can just enjoy a drink while watching other people give it a go.
Our massive POOL is returning, and is the perfect place for non-diving visitors to give it a go for the first time, or for experienced divers to try a new discipline, such as sidemount or closed-circuit rebreather diving.
The Exhibition Hall
All of these activities and interactive elements are surrounded by an ever-increasing list of exhibitors, ranging from training agencies, manufacturers and distributors to tourist boards, travel agents, dive-centres, liveaboards, resorts and much more.
The BRITISH ISLES EXPERIENCE is back in 2023, with dive-centres, liveaboards and charter-boat companies showcasing some of the best diving hotspots around our coastline.
Food & Drink
There is an expanded range of food options this year – STROLLERS RESTAURANT has a selection of meals on offer, with a host of catering vans on site covering a smorgasbord of culinary delights. There are also several coffee pods scattered around the halls and in Strollers for those all-important cuppas during the day. Plus the Great British Pub, serving up refreshing beverages all weekend.
FOR THE TRADE
GODS once again has a trade-only element in 2023, in association with the Scuba Industry Trade Association (SITA). Those who meet the criteria will be allowed into the exhibition halls from 8.30-10am before general admission begins.
This is the perfect time to discuss group trips, check out the latest gear, and see what’s new in dive education – and you are then free to enjoy the rest of the day once the doors open to everyone else. Find more information and to register here – trade tickets, valid all day, cost £15 each.
OPENING TIMES & TICKETS
Sat, 4 March – 10am-5pm, Sun 5 March – 10am-4pm
Day tickets are priced at £15pp, and under-14s go free with a paying adult. And remember, parking at the GO Diving Show is complimentary!
Get your tickets here now!
ARRIVING BY CAR?
Using satnav? Use this postcode – CV8 2LZ – and make sure you follow the AA road signs to find the main entrance to Stoneleigh Park. The exhibition hall is well signposted from the entrance, and with 11,000 complimentary car parking spaces, you won’t have to worry about finding a spot!
Photography by Jason Brown