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 drug-and-alcohol-fueled stint working in a strip club to hauling his way up to the elite echelons of the Australian Defence Forces first as an Army Paratrooper and then as a Navy Clearance Diver.
But trouble hunted him down in the form of a brutal shark attack. In February 2009 while on Navy exercise in Sydney Harbor, 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 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 nine years since the shark attack, Paul's life has changed in every aspect. His two major fears up until then had been sharks and public speaking. Since that day in 2009, Paul has become a fierce advocate for sharks. Stepping away from 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 all around the world, from the United Nations in New York and the US Navy in San Diego, to Anzac Day military celebrations in front of thousands, to keynotes for multimillion dollar corporations and charity organizations around the world.
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 co-hosted 9 documentaries for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week including learning to hand feed bull sharks – the species that attacked him – and catching and tagging crocodiles. 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.
Paul’s acting debut will be aired late 2018 in Foxtel’s flagship series ‘Fighting Season’, the complex stories of a squad of Australian Army Afghanistan war veterans. His story has the power to mesmerise audiences in a way few other speakers can.