2017 Speakers / Authors / Workshop Leaders

Federico Mana
Freediving Champ, Yoga Instructor
Federico Mana is an Italian Freediving Champ and Founder of Moving Limits. He is the first Italian to ascend below 100 meters. Federico teaches freediving and is famous for his "Mana Maneuver," which is a hands free equalization method. He is also a PADI diving instructor and yoga teacher, and has written books as well as contributed to magazines about apnea training.


Sheri Daye
Event Host, Spearfishing World Record Holder
Sheri is a Freedive Spearfishing National Champ, multiple IUSA world record holder, and past host of "Speargun Hunter" on Outdoor Channel. She started the expo as a fundraiser for the developmentally disabled 10 years ago. She wishes to thank all the speakers, exhibitors, and volunteers that have turned it into what it is today - where we can all share, honor, and celebrate the ocean world.

Cameron KirkConnell
Spearfishing World Record Holder, FII Instructor
Cameron Kirkconnell is a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, Freedive Instructor with FII (Freedive Instructors International), and 13 time Spearfishing World Record Holder. His passion is deep reef hunting and Pelagic fish with Dogtooth Tuna, Wahoo, and Yellowfin Tunas being his favorites. He now runs spearfishing charters.


Frazier Nivens
Emmy Award Winning Filmmaker
Frazier is a PADI course director living in Key Largo and has been a PADI member for over 30 years. He opened his own business, Ocean Imaging Videography Productions, specializing in the finest in underwater and videography productions. He is a National Association of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy award winning film maker for excellence in programming for "Sharks, Killer's of the Caribbean."

Manny Puig
Shark Wrangler, Swamp Explorer, Adventurer
Manny continues to educate and entertain audiences. His approach is primitive - no cages, tanks, or armor protecting him from encounters with some of the most feared predators in the world. Manny interacts with sharks, faces down black bears, and dives in the swamp with the American alligator.


Chris Gillette
Underwater Photographer, TV GatorBoy
Chris has had a passion for animals, especially toothy ones, since a young age. Aside from being a devoted photographer, Chris’s passion has also fueled a career as an entertainer, television personality, and a researcher with a degree in Environmental Studies from FIU. Chris's unique skills allow him to bring the camera lens close to oceanic pelagics, swamp creatures, and more.

Jennifer Idol
Underwater photographer, Author
Jennifer is the first woman to dive 50 states and author of An American Immersion. She’s earned 28 certifications, and her photography and articles are widely published in periodicals that include DIVER, SCUBA Diving, Alert Diver, Sport Diver, and X-Ray Mag. Her work is featured in large-scale permanent installations, and she will be speaking about local diving treasures throughout the US.


Dr. Daryl Wong
Expert Spearo, Expert Speargun Builder
Dr. Daryl Wong is a dentist from Hawaii and is one of the premier builders of custom-made spearguns used around the world. He is also an accomplished spearo and world record holder, constantly experimenting with different designs and techniques. He enjoys reef and bluewater hunting and loves traveling to meet new friends. He is known for his generosity and for his kind spirit of aloha.

Valentine Thomas
Spearfisher, World Traveler
Valentine is a trained lawyer in Canada and worked in finance in London for 6 years. Freediving Instructor with PADI, professional traveller, accomplished chef, advocate of sustainable eating, she quit her well-paid job in London to live a simple life and to spread the word about eating responsibly. She travels the world to fish and hunt with locals in order to eat the best food, caught by herself, in an eco-friendly way.


United States Coast Guard
USCG Pilots, Rescue Swimmers
These Pilots and Rescue Swimmers are the elite of United States Coast Guard and called upon to respond in the most extreme rescue situations. High seas, medevacs, downed aviators, sinking vessels, and even hurricanes are just a few of the deadly scenarios that these pilots and rescue swimmers are trained to handle. This seminar is not only interesting; it could literally save your life!

Shana Phelan
PADI Staff Instructor, DAN Instructor
Shana, from Indiana, moved to Florida to pursue a career in diving. She has a degree in Marine Biology and Environmental Science as well as her Masters in Coastal Environmental Management. She's heavily involved with Sea Turtle research and is the co-owner of Pura Vida Divers. Shana is also a PADI staff instructor, DAN Instructor, EFR instructor, and TDI Instructor.


Charles "CJ" Duffie
Polespear World Record Holder, Founder of Neritic
Charles J. Duffie (CJ) is a two time Men's Polespear World Record Holder, Former President of the FGCU Spearfishing Club, and Fisheries Biologist with a passion for the ocean and all of the Neritic Zone's inhabitants. Him and his father founded Neritic Diving in September 2015.

Dan MacMahon
Professional Spearo, Tournament Champion
Dan MacMahon is one of the most respected spearfishermen in the state of Florida, due to his skill and character. He is an accomplished freediver, scuba diver, and technical diver, sometimes going to depths exceeding 400 feet. His passion for spearing comes through in his story-telling and he continues to be a role model and a guiding influence on many other spearos.


Ted Harty
Freediving Instructor, Safety Advocate
Ted started freediving professionally in 2009 when he became an instructor for Performance Freediving International (PFI). In 2010 he founded Immersion Freediving where he teaches PFI classes year round in Fort Lauderdale. Ted has won multiple freediving competitions and is a US Freediving national record holder.

Will Pearce
SUP Hunter, Doctor, Inventor
Dr. William Pearce is a resident physician at the University of South Florida. A student of safety, Dr. Pearce is the inventor of a patented medical device designed to improve patient outcomes. His true passion is the ocean, and his drive to innovate continues to push the limits of SUP design for long distance paddling, diving, and spearfishing.


Dick Schmidt
Author, Diver, Sailor
Dick Schmidt, a Boca Raton businessman, sailor, diver, pilot, and philanthropist published his first book late in life. “The Boy and the Dolphin,” is a novel about an orphaned 13-year old who befriends a dolphin and finds a companion in the finny aquatic creature. The author drew heavily from his own underwater experiences, including a run-in with JoJo who inhabit the waters of the Turks and Caicos. “He came up from behind me, started screeching and scared the hell out of me.” Dick's unique life experiences, varied background, active pursuits provide the perfect formula for a great writer.

Francisco Loffredi
Spearfishing Champion, Conservationist
Francisco is a commercial spearfisherman and journalist from Brazil who loves the sea and seafood. He is a spearfishing ambassador for Cressi Sub. As owner of Rio’s leading fish shop and having his own talk/cooking TV show, he believes in sustainable spearfishing and has pushed for stricter rules.  His diving skill have also been used in the film industry.


Robert Croft
Navy Diver, Father of Freediving
Researcher, Navy Instructor, and in 1967 the first person to freedive beyond 200 feet. Bob was a submariner in the US Navy and worked in submarine bailout training. He pioneered the technique "packing" now used by modern freedivers. He continued to serve as a Navy diver for many more years and is now an ambassador for the sport.