Paul de Gelder
Shark Attack Survivor, Environmentalist, Adventurer & Speaker
Paul de Gelder was born for adventure and survival. Following a wild youth, he spent his teenage years doing drugs and alcohol while working in a strip club, then he joined the Australian Defence Forces, first as an Army Paratrooper and later as a Navy Clearance Diver. However it was a brutal shark attack in 2009 while on a Navy exercise in Sydney Harbour that presented the biggest challenge of all and shaped the rest of his life.
Despite the despair of losing two limbs, and his career as a daredevil diver, Paul left nothing to chance when it came to his recovery. He fought through excruciating pain, smashing challenge after challenge while amazing the medical staff with his will to succeed.
Today, Paul travels the world as a top motivational speaker, passionate environmentalist, adventurer and mentor to school kids. He has spoken to diverse audiences that range from the United Nations in New York and the US Navy in San Diego, to Anzac Day military celebrations, multimillion dollar corporations and charity organisations.
More about Paul de Gelder:
Prior to being attacked by a shark, Paul de Gelder’s two major fears were sharks and public speaking. However since that day in 2009, Paul has become a fierce advocate for sharks and an internationally renowned keynote speaker.
Stepping away from full time Navy Service in August 2012, after continuing to instruct Navy Divers for a further three and a half years, Paul has also been a guest on every major Australian TV talk show and many in the U.S. He starred as a guest trainer on the Biggest Loser Australia, and has co-hosted six documentaries for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week including swimming with bull sharks – the species that attacked him – and catching crocodiles. Paul also became part of an anti-poaching team in Africa to hunt poachers and film the amazing work done by the Rangers there for Fearless, aired on NatGeo.
Paul’s inspiring story, as detailed in his autobiography No Time for Fear takes the saying “never say die” to a whole new level. His story has the power to mesmerise audiences in a way few other speakers can.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.