Picture: Copyright Christian Vizl

The former diving instructor became the first photographer to take gold, silver and bronze awards in the same year in a contest hosted by website underwaterphotography.com.

Vizl used a Canon 5D Mark II, with Aquatica-made underwater housing, to also clinch honours in the competition’s sharks and wideangle categories.

Organisers said: ‘He demonstrated such a wide range of skills and mastery of a broad spectrum of subjects. He stood out head and shoulders…’

To view this year’s competition entries visit www.underwaterphotography.com

Underwaterphotography.com was set up in 1996 by British underwater photographer Benny Sutton.

The site claims to have ‘broken underwater photography on the internet’, having been founded two years before search engine giant Google.

At the time, it was a largely static website.