Paul de Gelder

$5,000-$10,000
Australia - NSW

Specialty Areas

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 de Gelder chased adventure wherever he could find it, from his wild ride as a hoodlum teen and his whirlwind lifestyle working in strip clubs & the music industry to hauling his way up to the elite echelons of the Australian Defence Forces as an Army paratrooper and then Navy bomb disposal diver.

But trouble hunted him down in the form of a 9ft bull shark in February 2009 while diving for the Navy. Paul lost two limbs, and his career as a daredevil 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 whilst amazing the medical staff and the Australian public with his will to succeed. His inspiring story as detailed in his autobiography “No Time for Fear” takes the saying “never say die” to a whole new level.

In the 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 three and a half years, Paul has travelled the world as a top motivational speaker, passionate environmentalist, adventurer and mentor to school kids. He has spoken at venues across the globe, from the United Nations in New York and the US Navy in San Diego to Military celebrations in front of thousands and keynotes for multimillion-dollar corporations and charity organisations around Australia and Asia. He 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 hosted 12 documentaries for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. Where he learnt to hand feed Bull Sharks, Hammerheads, Blue Sharks, dive with tiger sharks and even Great Whites without the protection of a cage.

Megastar Will Smith Featured Paul in his Facebook series “Bucket List” as his shark diving mentor and UFC hall of famer and now WWE star Ronda Rousey was taught how to hand-feed bull sharks by Paul for a Shark Week special.

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.

Testimonials

Paul de Gelder has an incredible story to tell. It is a story of overwhelming odds, brilliantly overcome through hard work, gutsy determination, and a great sense of humor. I knew in an instant that I needed Paul to tell his story to the Divers of the United States Navy. His effortless charm and engaging manner reels you in for the most motivating ride of your life. A man is not defined by what happens to him, he is defined by how he handles it. That makes Paul a most remarkable man!
Commander Michael Egan, United States Navy, Supervisor of Diving

From the moment I met Paul in his hospital bed, I knew I was privileged. Horrendously mauled and recovering from such drastic surgery ... I was overwhelmed by his aura, his positive outlook and his will to live. In eight years of reporting for 60 Minutes, Paul, without question is one of the most inspirational human beings I have met! Everyone, whoever they are, can learn so much from Paul... I know I have.
Peter Overton, Reporter, 60 Minutes

Paul is an inspiration for many reasons, his obvious tenancy to recover physically from such a horrific attack, through to his unswerving passion and commitment towards his profession coupled with his generous, warm, infectious persona. Paul shared openly in regards to his life as a clearance diver through to the day of the attack and the events that followed. But what really stood out for me personally was when Paul shared the very real and defining moment that carried with it a choice; the choice to succumb to the pain and severity of his situation or to fight for his much loved old life back. His strength and will, only just outshine his humour and lightheartedness, 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.
Meredith Julliard, Customer Co-ordinator, 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.
Lauren Taylor, EA to Acting Director Aligned Channels Business Development, AMP Limited

Paul de Gelder speaker

Speaker Video

Other speakers you might like:

Tim Gard

Tim’s down-to-earth style and real-life humor leaves a lasting impression that audiences will benefit from for years to come. His skillful use of ordinary items in extraordinary ways and extraordinary items in everyday ways make him one of the most popular main stage speakers on the platform today. Becoming more resilient is not about telling jokes or laughing at everything. Instead of making light of serious issues, Tim shines a light on unseen possibilities for solutions to difficult situations. He demonstrates how to be professional, yet light-hearted throughout all his programs.

John Waters

John Waters is one of Australia's most recognised and respected film and theatre actors. Son of Scottish actor Russell Waters, John’s childhood was spent around film studios and appearing in minor roles. Arriving in Australia in 1968 he was cast in the US film Adam's Woman, landed the lead role of Claude in the 1969 production of rock musical, Hair alongside Marcia Hines, and later the role of Judas in Godspell. This quickly led to a flourishing career on stage, film, and television with ABC TV's Rush in 1974 earning him a Logie Award for Best New Talent, and quickly followed by films such as End Play, Summerfield, Breaker Morant, All the Rivers Run, Nancy Wake and Alice to Nowhere. From 1972 he hosted the children’s ABC program Play School for a decade, and regularly appeared until 1991, endearing him to generations.

Inbal Rodnay

Inbal Rodnay is a former programmer, entrepreneur, and innovator who helps businesses create effective technology strategies and thriving cultures of innovation. She co-hosts the Agents of Change show and is the CEO of Theory and Motion.

Murray Altham

With relentless optimism, Murray's presentations are an exhilarating mix of expertise, empathy, humour and drive. He partners with organisations to inspire fresh thinking, lift energy and bring new potential to life.

He has worked in extreme scenarios of confronting challenge and change, bringing to life an uplifting, solution focussed skillset he shares with your audience to help bring their best to the surface. Murray empowers your team to ignite their A-game and contribute that to every room they're in, at work and at home.

Toni Powell

Renowned for her hilarious story-based talks, Toni is one of the most recognised & enjoyed relationship and wellbeing speakers in Australia. She’s recently won two international business awards for thought leadership, is the author of two books and her Goalcast talk has over 15 million views.

Back to Top