Paul de Gelder

Navy Diver, Shark Attack Survivor

Improvise - Adapt - Overcome

These three words - a mantra Paul learnt in the Australian Army as a young Paratrooper - resonated with him the first time he heard them.

Paul chased adventure wherever he could find it, from his wild ride as a hoodlum teen and his life on the edge, to hauling his way up to the elite echelons of Australia's defence forces.

But trouble hunted him down in the form of a brutal shark in February 2009. Paul lost two limbs, and his career as a daredevil Navy Clearance Diver was flung into jeopardy.

Drawing on everything his eventful life had taught him, Paul left nothing to chance in his recovery. He fought through excruciating pain, smashing challenge after challenge, and amazing the medical staff with his will to succeed. His inspiring story takes 'never say die' to a whole new level.

In the five years since the shark attack, Paul's life has changed in every aspect. Having left full time Navy Service in August 2012, after continuing to instruct Navy Divers for a further 3.5 years, Paul has travelled the world as a top motivational speaker, passionate environmentalist, adventurer and mentor to school kids.

He has spoken at venues all around the world, from the United Nations in New York and the US Navy in San Diego, to Anzac Day military celebrations in front of thousands, and keynotes for multimillion dollar corporations and charity organizations around Australia and New Zealand.

He has also been a guest on every major Australian TV talk show. Just recently, he starred as a guest trainer on the Biggest Loser Australia, and he will soon be co-hosting a program for Discovery Channel's 2014 Shark Week...Great White Matrix.

An amazing man, an amazing story. Paul will simply inspire you.

Client testimonials

His strength and will, only just out shine his humour and light heartedness, qualities that undoubtedly carried him through his darkest times. The impact and lasting impression he has made upon my groups and me personally is remarkable and I am blessed to call him friend.

Freshstart Australia

Paul’s presentation was definitely the highlight of our conference. He spoke very well and the feedback I have from the staff was fantastic, they were very inspired and touched by his story. Some of the staff wouldn’t let him leave as they had so many questions. He did a fantastic job and I only hope he continues to share his story.

AMP Limited

I wish to thank you for your attendance at today’s successful 2011 Salvation Army breakfast. Your speech was inspirational and motivating and I believe contributed to the record number of attendees. Your story is inspirational and it is a reminder to al that nothing is insurmountable; congratulations on your achievements to date, I’m sure you’ll continue to achieve success.

Brilliant Logic Pty Ltd

Paul was given a huge standing ovation. This was the best speaker I have heard in my career. The message was clear and the team laughed and cried as the story unfolded…. Mostly they laughed. The queue to talk with Paul after his presentation was quite long and Paul gave of himself freely. Untoppable!

Zimmer Bionet

Paul was excellent….I don’t think I have ever seen a group of boys aged 7-12 engaged for that length of time. The content was perfect and targeted the audience. I have had a lot of positive feedback from the staff and boys. I actually had 2 sons in the audience (8yrs old and 11 yrs old) and Paul was definitely the topic of conversation in our house all weekend!!! Thanks

The Scots College

Paul was a standout keynote speaker at our conference. He used his story powerfully to communicate the key messages aligned to the focus of our conference. More importantly, it was obvious he was aware of his audience and successfully related well with them. It was great to see him interact with the audience after his talk. Quite a lot of speakers leave once they have completed their talk but he stuck around and we couldn’t been more grateful. Paul is a great guy and I sincerely recommend him.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance

Our school community has been raving about how good Paul’s presentation was at our Speech Night last week. His manner and presentation of his amazing story was well received by the entire school community. He was excellent.

Geraldton Grammar School

Just a short e-mail to pass on our sincere thanks for Paul’s time in presenting to our people. We know that it’s a big ask to come all this way for a relatively small company. He did a fantastic job and the feedback from our people constantly describes him as inspirational.

Newcastle Coal

Paul was the perfect key note speaker for our conference. His amazing story touched the hearts of all our delegates. It also has motivated them personally and professionally. The delegates are still talking about his presentation weeks later. Paul is also an excellent presenter and has loads of charisma to engage the audience. I would definitely recommend him for any event.

Professional Investment Services Ltd

Paul’s presentation inspired everyone in the room from the (BASDN Group) Bosch Authorised Service Dealer Network for his achievements before and after his shark attack, this gave us so much more courage that people need not to give up a goal in your life.

Bosch Authorised Service Dealer Network