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

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