Mares Ambassadors Dan Westerkamp

Dan Westerkamp

Biography

Growing up in New Zealand, Dan was drawn to the sea at a young age. He began snorkelling at the age of 5 and got his first spear gun when he turned 10.

He wanted to spend as much time under the water as possible, so at 16 enrolled in an Open Water Diver scuba course, became certified and has been diving ever since.

Spending more and more time underwater, Dan began to notice fish numbers quickly depleting, water quality decreasing and an increasing amount of rubbish in places he frequently dived in. He wanted to make people aware of what we are doing to the oceans, so he picked up an underwater camera and has never looked back.

By taking pictures underwater, Dan wants to share his incredible underwater experiences with others, hoping that in doing so, it extinguishes the hype and fear of less-loved species like sharks, and encourages people to help protect what is left of the incredibly unique marine environment.

Dan has been scuba diving and freediving all over New Zealand as well as the South Pacific. Some of his most memorable underwater experiences have included photographing humpback whales in the warm waters off Tahiti, freediving with humpbacks and spinner dolphins in Niue, Freediving with mako sharks in New Zealand and scuba diving with sea snakes in Niue and manta rays in Indonesia.

Dan is a self-taught photographer, taking inspiration from many world-class photographers including Paul Nicklen, Amos Nachoum, David Doubilet and Brian Skerry.

The majority of his photos are taken on one breath (free diving), using natural light. He particularly enjoys the challenge and adrenalin rush of photographing marine mega fauna such as whales and sharks.

His dream would be to photograph the Nile crocodiles in the Okavango Delta in Africa!

“I love the simplicity and ingenuity of my Mares products and that the gear is made to the highest standard. I think there is nothing more important than having gear that stands up to hostile environments such as the ocean, and the quality of Mares products are second to none!”