ScubaFest is a yearly gathering of divers from across the UK and abroad to socialise, meet manufacturers, try new equipment and more importantly; dive. Held in Anglesey, on a small island on the North coast of Wales ScubaFest attracts beginner and veteran divers for shore dives or RHIB dives. The main event happens on Porth Dafarch Beach which is a nice sheltered bay with parking so you can kit up and either simply walk into the water or hop on a RHIB to take you to one of the dive sites.
Just within swimming distance is the wreck of the SS Missouri, a four masted steamship that ran aground in 1880. At only about 13m depth and sheltered from strong currents the Missouri is an attraction for beginner divers and marine life too. Other wrecks and dive sites are accessible but the scheduled RHIB that drops you off and picks you up at the planned dive site.
A range of suppliers bring their equipment to look at and even use if you want to. Look through arctic expedition level under suits from Weezle UK, Dry suits, BCDs and fins from Apeks, masks regulators and fins from Atomic and BCDs, regs and torches from Mares. Some of the manufacturers use ScubaFest to show off their never before seen products and charities like Sea Shepherd raise awareness for their cause.
ScubaFest is not aimed directly at divers, but is also trying to encourage new divers who have never tried before. Many people think of scuba diving as unattainable or ridiculously expensive and don't even look to try it out and ScubaFest aims to fix this. PADI run free Try Dives at a local leisure centre and locals visiting the beach are invited to look at the equipment and watch the divers get in and out of the water. BSAC run a beach comber course for young families to get kids interested in marine life and Sea Search run marine life recognition courses to broaden diver's knowledge of what they're looking at under water which they can contribute to a larger database that counts towards marine conservation in the UK. Accomplished divers Steve Millard from AIDA and Garry Dallas from Simply Side mount run classes on free diving and side mount diving for divers who have never done it before or experienced divers who just want tips and advice on how to improve their techniques.
After the diving you all socialise at the nearby water sports centre and Paddlers Bar for food and drinks and accommodations. Pay for a room, hire a yurt or pitch a tent you can make the whole trip a great outdoor experience for the whole family. A hog roast with a live band and a raffle round up the social event on Saturday night to chat with other divers and representatives from some of the top diving brands in the UK. Dive manufacturers and suppliers offer prizes for the raffle and this year we put a £100 gift voucher in the prize draw for the lucky winner Mark Owens to spend at simplyscuba.com.
If you didn't make it to this year's ScubaFest in Anglesey or Cornwall keep an eye on the web page for next year's dates.