An elite Australian Navy diver who lost two limbs in a horrific shark attack that changed his life, Paul de Gelder now inspires others to overcome obstacles and champions shark conservation. He has been a long-time co-host on the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. He has also been tapped to help promote The Meg, an action-horror film about a 95-foot prehistoric shark starring Jason Stratham. Triumphing over tragedy by relying on the mantra that he learned as a young paratrooper in the Australian Army, “Improvise… Adapt… Overcome,” Paul has enthralled and motivated audiences around the world.
In his earlier days, Paul chased adventure wherever he could find it, from his wild ride as a hoodlum teen to his whirlwind lifestyle working in strip clubs and the music industry. In 2000, he joined the military, rising to the elite echelons of the Australian Defence Forces as an Army paratrooper and Navy bomb disposal diver. But in February 2009, trouble hunted him down in the form of a giant bull shark. Attacked while diving for the Navy in Sydney Harbor, Paul was pulled out of the water barely alive. He lost an arm and a leg and embarked on an extraordinary journey of healing, rehabilitation and renewal. Taking the saying “never say die” to a whole new level, Paul fought through excruciating pain, smashing challenge after challenge. His grit, determination and will to succeed amazed both the medical staff and the Australian public. He later told his story and shared the life-changing lessons gained from his experience in his inspiring autobiography, No Time for Fear.
In the years since the shark attack, Paul's life has changed in every aspect. After leaving the navy, he has traveled the world as a top motivational speaker, passionate environmentalist, adventurer, and mentor to school kids. Touted as one of the top 15 Inspirational Australians and top 10 speakers, he has spoken at venues around the globe, from the United Nations in New York and the U.S. Navy in San Diego to military celebrations in front of thousands. He has also presented keynotes to multi-million dollar corporations and charity organizations across Australia and S.E Asia. A celebrity in Australia, he has been a guest on every major Australian TV talk show and many in the U.S. Since 2014, he has been a star of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, co-hosting nine documentaries. He also hosted the NatGeo special Fearless, embedding with an anti-poaching team in Zimbabwe. In his first acting role, Paul also appears in Foxtel’s Fighting Season, an Australian drama series about soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
Sharing an adventurous life journey where he “faced pretty much the worst that life can throw at me, and survived and thrived,” Paul de Gelder enthralls, captivates, and leaves audiences motivated to overcome any challenge. Paul speaks from the heart about overcoming adversity, to beat the odds through the combination of physical strength, mental toughness, and the sheer will to live.
Embracing The Power of Change
Paul’s presentation isn’t a shark attack story nor is it a military story. It’s a journey of discovery and triumph that can relate to us all. It encapsulates aspects of our private, professional, mental and emotional strength and well being to make you understand how much we are truly capable of. Paul takes his audience on an emotional rollercoaster of dizzying highs and tearful lows strengthening their resolve and reinforcing their belief in themselves that they can and should live their own impossible dreams.
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