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The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners


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International Underwater Competition, The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners Announced  

The organisers of the Underwater Tour Awards announced the winners of its second annual, prestigious international competition in the livestreamed Underwater Tour Show broadcast this evening.

The annual competition encourages and inspires passion for photography, exploration and discovery from behind the lens and helps raise awareness of the world’s incredible, fragile marine and aquatic inhabitants and their environments.

The Guru Awards – Photographic Competition

The only international photography competition of its kind to incorporate a systematic Ethical Review for images submitted, the Underwater Tour Awards Team is committed to ensuring the natural world is depicted both creatively and honestly, with due regard shown to the welfare of all marine life and habitats.   All images entered were subject to the competition’s Ethics Review process, conducted by renowned Marine biologist and author, Dr Richard Smith, before moving to the first round of judging.

Led by Convenor Darren Jew, Canon Master and six-time winner of the AIPP’s Professional Nature Photographer of the Year, the international judging panel: Juergen Freund, Alex Kydd, Rachael Talibart and Y-Zin Kim reviewed several hundred images submitted by photographers from all over the world.

“We are delighted with the high calibre of submissions received” said Darren Jew.  “The competition gallery takes us on a remarkable underwater tour, showcasing the fine work of competing underwater wildlife photographers and celebrating the natural wonders of the underwater world”.

The Guru Grand Prize 

The competition’s Guru Grand Prize celebrates an underwater photographer with talent, skill and creativity who can deliver with more than one high calibre image – an award for an excellent photographer, not simply an excellent photograph. The winner is chosen from a pool of the highest scoring entrants who entered one image in each of the five different categories of the Awards.

The Guru Grand Prize Winner:  Amanda Blanksby, Wembley, Western Australia

Category Winners:

Underwater Characters

Winner:   Luc Rooman, Kieldrecht, Belgium

Underwater Scenes

Winner:  Wayne Osborn, Applecross, Western Australia

Aquatic Abstract

Winner:  Richard Condlyffe, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA

Topside Scenes

Winner: Pavlos Evangelidis, Nea Arithrea, Greece

Underwater Black and White

Winner:  Kristian Laine, Mermaid Waters, Queensland, Australia

The People’s Choice 

Winner: Craig Lambert, Baulkham Hills, NSW, Australia

All finalists’ images can be seen on

We introduced two new awards in 2021.

The Eco-Hero Award

We invited nominations for individuals going above and beyond to consistently share and encourage positive ecological change within their community environment.

Winner:  Louise Hardman, Coffs Harbour, News South Wales, Australia

From the Heart to the Ocean

This Award category was open to all creatives working in any medium – we called out for the community to inspire us with their work.

Winner:  Natasha Waller, Old Beach, Tasmania, Australia

“Congratulations to all winners and well done to all entrants” Darren Jew encouraged.

“The Underwater Tour Awards are a natural community extension of the annual Underwater Tour nationwide speaker series, scheduled each May in Australia.  This year we have rolled out a virtual broadcast show which has enabled us to engage with an audience around the world” said co-founder Juliette Myers.   “We’d like to thank all our valued Partners. SEACAM, Paradise Taveuni, Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, Momento Pro, CameraPro, Heron Island, Christmas Island, Wakatobi, Nautilus Liveaboards, Walindi Plantation Resort, MV Febrina, MV Oceania, Lady Elliot Island, and Scubapro.  Without their support the Underwater Tour Show and Awards would not be possible”.

Co-founder Tim Hochgrebe added “Thank you to everyone who has watched the show and taken part this year.  Planning for the Underwater Tour Awards 2022 is already in full swing and we are looking forward to seeing you next year”.

More information on the Judging Panel can be found here

Underwater Tour social media handles:

Instagram @underwatertour

About the Underwater Tour and Underwater Tour Awards:  Promoting inspiration, discovery and adventure and celebrating the best of our oceans, The Underwater Tour is an annual collaboration between Juliette Myers of IlluminOcean and Tim Hochgrebe of, joined in 2020 by creative partners Darren Jew and Jasmine Carey and Greg Crow from Finslap.

The Guru Awards Images

The Guru Grand Prize winner Amanda Blanksby has won a Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless Camera courtesy of CameraPro and $5000 worth of SEACAM Underwater Housing products, a total prize value of $10,000.

In addition $20,000 in cash and partner product prizes were awarded across all streams of The Underwater Tour Awards.

Grand Guru Award Winner Amanda Blanksby’s Portfolio

The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners

Busselton Jetty, Busselton, WA


On this particular dive under Busselton Jetty, the Old Wives were hanging around one of the pylons.

The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners

Busselton Jetty, Busselton, WA


Who doesn’t love a smiley fish!! These porcupine fish seem to be content with their life swimming round in the ocean.

The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners

The Lena Wreck, Bunbury, WA


This is looking into the engine room of the Lena wreck at around 15m deep, with a school of snooks swimming around.

The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners

BHP Steelworks Jetty, Cockburn Sound, WA


Fan worm swaying with the water movement.  Playing with a slower shutter speed and 2nd curtain flash to create a more abstract feel.

The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners

Salmon Holes Beach, Albany, WA


This is based on practicing intentional movement with ND filters, whilst photographing post sunrise, on a deserted beach.


Underwater Characters

The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners


Caption: Mating toads catch by a sunbeam

De Melle Turnhout Belgium

 Topside Scenes

The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners


Caption: Catch of the Day. Traditional stilt fishermen try their luck at sunset in Koggala, Sri Lanka. This is a single take at 10s shutter speed with an ND filter for that dreamy water texture.

Koggala, Sri Lanka

Aquatic Abstract

The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners


Caption: I lit this open Giant Basket Star at night using directional pink light to combine color with its beautifully shaped and textured branches.

Exumas, Bahama

Underwater Black and White

The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners


Caption:  Black & White Ghosts – These spins and slow shutter speed shots are so much fun to do and I love the creative and artistic vibes they give

Lady Elliot Island, QLD, Australia

Underwater Scenes

The Underwater Tour Awards 2021 Winners


Caption: The healthy, lush and biodiverse marine micro-environment of a tropical coral reef outcrop.

Wakatobi Reefs, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Click here for Scuba Diver ANZ issue 33

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Picture of Adrian Stacey
Adrian Stacey
Scuba Diver ANZ Editor, Adrian Stacey, first learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef over 24 years ago. Since then he has worked as a dive instructor and underwater photographer in various locations around the world including, Egypt, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Saba. He has now settled in Australia, back to where his love of diving first began.
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