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CMAS World Cup 1995

Les Kemp triumphs

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 55 (September

British underwater photographer and BSoUP member LES KEMP from East Grinstead won the Egyptian Underwater Sports Federation (EUSF) award for the best macro shot at the recent first World Cup of Underwater Photography organised by the World Underwater Federation (CMAS) and EUSF at Sharm El Sheikh in the Gulf of Aqaba.

The event was the largest underwater photographic competition ever staged. Competing against 52 other underwater photographers from 29 countries, Les' winning photograph of a sea slug and a second macro shot of the eye of a puffer fish also earned him third place overall in the macro category and a CMAS award.

The competition took place during the week beginning I I June and involved one day of practice followed by three days of competition. Each of the 53 competitors was allowed six films of his or her choice to be exposed during six dives at six different sites - Ras Mohammed, Ras Nasrani, Ras Um Sid, Amphoras, Near Garden and The Tower. Competitors and their models (if any) were split into groups of up to eight and each group assigned a boat for the duration of the event.

Conditions were hot and windy, with record temperatures of 450C in the shade in Cairo! Les Kemp and fellow British team members LINDA PITKIN (second photographer) and AMANDA LEVICK (model), shared a boat with Ireland's NIGEL MOTYER and PAT McCOOLE and Autralia's LANCE and LYN ADRIAN and their model KATHY. The competition dive sites were closed to all other boats during the morning and afternoon sessions, so that no more than 32 divers on four boats were in the water at one time. Although this may seem a large number it has to be remembered that about 200 hundred boats now operate out of Sharm!

Four boats departed from Naama Bay for each of the six dive sites at 15 minute intervals, those having farthest to go leaving earliest. This worked reasonably well, although the 6.30 departure to Ras Mohammed meant that competitors had to forego breakfast! There were also a few last minute substitutes for boats with engine failure. Competitors and their models were accommodated at the New Tiran, Cataract and Kahramana hotels with the jury and organisers staying at the Novotel Hilton.

Early on Friday morning each photographer had to submit six slides - two macro, two fish and two wide-angle - for judging by an international panel comprising WALTER TICHY, President of the CMAS Technical Committee, ADEL EL ABBOUDY (Egypt), HELMUT DEBELIUS (Germany), BYUNGDOO LEE (Korea), BRIAN PITKIN (Great Britain) and ROGER STEENE (Australia). During the six hour session each member of the jury allocated between I and 10 points to each of the submitted slides. All points awarded by any jury member to a fellow countryman or woman were replaced by an average of the points of the other five jury members.

The top ten slides in each category were projected and the results were announced prior to a late gala buffet dinner at the Tower Hotel on Friday evening. Awards were presented to the top ten photographers in each category, to all the members of the jury and the organisers.

The macro category was won by Carlos MINGUELL (Spain), with Milan CZAPAY (Germany) second, beating Britain's Les KEMP, in third place, by just 1.2 points!

The fish category was won by Milan CZAPAY (Germany), with Nigel MOTYER (Ireland) in second place and Lyn ADRIAN (Australia) in third place. Lyn ADRIAN also won the award for the best fish photograph. Britain's Linda PITKIN came tenth in the fish category.

The wide-angle category was won by Claudio BERTASINI, with Xavier SAFONT (SPAIN) in second place and Massimo SANFELICE (Italy) in third place. Claudio BERTASINI also won the award for the best wide-angle photograph.