by Emma Milne
Gold Coast International Marine Expo - Do not try this at home! That’s right – this guy has set himself on fire and jumped from a 25m tower. His plan is to land in a pool of just three metres of water … and survive.
High-Diver Steve Black is back doing what he loves at Gold Coast International Marine Expo
A bit extreme? Perhaps … but it should be noted that Steve Black is a professional, and he is very well prepared.
He’s also very well credentialed – the 47-year-old Gold Coaster is a two-time world champion high-diver whose career in aerial acrobatics … and antics … still takes him right around the globe.
He has even competed – in fact for 15 years – in the highly competitive Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.
Yep – Steve Black is one of the best in the business.
'I’ve been an entertainer since day one … but my hands still shake before a dive, even after all these years,' he admits.
'I’ve always got to have my fire suit well-prepared before I take the dive – you don’t have much time so you have to make sure you don’t panic, otherwise the first reaction is to jump when you are not ready.'
A director of EX HD Entertainment, the Canadian-born Steve and his team of expert high-divers will perform three adrenalin-packed shows daily at the 2014 Gold Coast International Marine Expo from October 17-19.
'We'll also do comedy diving, where we dress up as clowns and the kids get involved, as well as synchro dives involving up to five divers at one time,' says Steve, who now lives in Surfers Paradise.
'I think it’s great that I can perform in front of my home crowd … my family will be watching me along with all my friends.'
Speaking during a break between a 'cowboy dive show' in Denmark, Steve said one of his most memorable moments in diving was winning the world title in front of his Dad in Mexico in 2008.
'That was also the year my daughter was born,' he said. 'A great year!'
Steve has suffered a few injuries over the years but always returns to what he loves doing, diving into a pool eight metres wide and three metres deep, and hitting the water at speeds of up to 85kph.
'I got hurt (but not from high-diving) in 2011 … took my tibia plateau off. I was back doing shows in four months and got invited to do the finale of the Red Bull Cliff Diving series in September in Ukraine about eight months after
surgery. It was a great feeling to high-dive again … it was hard work but I got there.
'I got injured again in 2012 …old age,' he laughs, although it was a total disc replacement. 'I’m back doing what I love doing – high-diving at 25m.
'This is something I have done my whole life and it’s what I love to do – I’ve just opened my own company … so it will be great to show all of Australia what we do and the Gold Coast International Marine Expo will be a great opportunity.
'And we love audience involvement … it adds to the show!'
The Gold Coast International Marine Expo is Australia’s only working boat show and showcases 'all things aquatic'.
The extreme high-diving is just one of a range of live demonstrations at the 2014 Gold Coast International Marine Expo from October 17-19, which last year drew more than 21,000 visitors.
Event and Marketing Manager Emma Milne said Expo showcases everything from kayaks to superyachts, fishing equipment to jet skis … and everything else in between.
'It’s an exhibition of everything marine … and gives enthusiasts the best chance to get afloat before the summer and Christmas seasons,' she said.
'The high-diving is a part of our three km-long display circuit at the Gold Coast Marine Precinct in Coomera, located just behind Dreamworld.
'Our 2014 event program offers a wide range of attractions and demonstrations including factory tours, fishing and cooking demonstrations, on-water performances including Jetpack, Jetovator, Flyboard and Hoverboard devices.
'We also have a number of products making their world premiere at the Expo so it’s not just going to be a lot of fun, it will be very educational too.'
A not-for-profit event run by the marine industry for the marine industry, Expo also raises much-needed funds for worthy charities, to date providing over $50,000 to the Rotary Club of Coomera River, Paradise Kids, Sailability Gold Coast and the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Rescue Service.
The 2014 Expo will again offer free on-site parking and there will be a nominal entry fee of $8 per adult, $5 for seniors while children under the age of 15 years will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
For more information on the 2014 Gold Coast International Marine Expo, visit the new website.