Paul de Gelder still enjoys a dive when he is not travelling the world as a top-flite motivational speaker.
Paul de Gelder still enjoys a dive when he is not travelling the world as a top-flite motivational speaker. Contributed

Winning the fight against adversity

FROM rebel, drug dealer and strip club worker to adventurer, soldier, fitness enthusiast, Navy diver, shark attack survivor, top motivational speaker and mentor to school kids across Australia, Paul de Gelder is an exceptional young man.

He is now determined to carve out the best future for himself he could possibly imagine.

Paul is a true survivor and an incredible inspiration.

Paul was raised around the water. His dad was a police officer and a swimming coach.

He trained in the pool until his mid-teens, but got bored with it when he discovered girls and going out.

He joined the Army's Parachute Battalion when he was 23, and at 28 transferred to the Navy and became a clearance diver.

Paul has been deployed to East Timor, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and all around Australia.

As a Navy clearance diver, Paul de Gelder routinely swam long distances in the middle of the night, often in shark-infested waters.

In February 2009, as he was testing new sonar equipment in Sydney Harbour, he was attacked by a shark, losing his arm and leg.

The first time back in the water there was absolutely no fear.

None at all.

It's not something Paul worries about; being taken again.

With the controversy over sharks, Paul believes if you're going to enter their domain, then of course, you take the risk.

It's their place, it's where they live, it's where they hunt, and if you're going to enter that area then you're basically signing a waiver. Anything could happen.

Paul's incredible story of survival and his ability to come back against the odds, has been featured with 60 Minutes, Men's Fitness, Australian Story, The Circle, 7PM Project, Fox News USA, Kerry Anne Today, and Discovery Channel Shark week.

Paul now works as a motivational speaker, allowing him to travel the world and share the lessons he has learnt on overcoming adversity and remaining positive.

He loves his friends, family and having a laugh, especially at himself.

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