#Spearo’s = A gender-less term for people who participate in spearfishing
1. Self awareness
Spearo’s as a rule-of-thumb generally have a high level of physical self awareness in order to have developed the composite skills to freedive and spear fish successfully. What many people are unaware of, is that many spearo’s have a deep level of understanding of the marine ecosystem and their place within it. Just like Freedivers and SCUBA divers, people who spend lots of time in the water spearfishing, often experience moments of deep insight. From spearo’s in Northern Queensland understanding the impact flood events have on the Great Barrier Reef marine ecosystem, to guys like Anvar Mufazalov with his understanding and research with shifting baseline phenomena and its application to Grouper populations in the Mediterranean. Hunting, spearing, and preparing your own food from the ocean most assuredly positions us as spearo’s to better understand and appreciate nature and its bounty.
2. Indian not the Arrow
Improvement for spearo’s always has a cost. Whether its time or money, it must be accounted for. Aspiring spearo’s often make the mistake of spending too much money on equipment, such as the latest camouflage wetsuit’s or the latest in speargun technology. Six-time New Zealand Spearfishing champion Darren Shields recommends spending your money on good trips over courses and other stuff. Lots of spearo’s agree, with many advising spending more time in the water to get better faster. Every spearo seems to be different though, for some their biggest weakness is breath-hold and relaxing, for others its hunting techniques. Either way though, the smart spearo locates their weakness’s and makes efforts to develop themselves. In the words of Luke Potts and Rob Allen – two guests on the Noob Spearo Podcast, “Its the Indian and not the Arrow that make the spearo”.
3. Social Media Savvy
Spearos like David Ochoa, Valentine Thomas and Perrin James use their online influence to show the world the lifestyle side of spearfishing. Most people have no clue what a day out spearfishing looks like. They dont see the sun come up over the water the same way you and your 3 mates do as you boost out to your local spearfishing spot pulling 30 knots in the Haines over an ocean that appears asleep. Modern spearo’s share their stories on social media and are slowly helping to change perception’s.
Much of the mainstream media coverage of spearfishing (in my experience) fits in at least one of these 3 categories.
Category 1; Shark sensationalism.
Category 2; People spearfishing doing the wrong thing (wrong place, protected species, hotel fish-tank barramundi slaying etc)
and my personal least favorite
Category 3; Spearfishing deaths due to drowning, boat accidents, going missing etc.
And then out of the blue and diverting completely from normal spearfishing reports in the media, came this very becoming brunette who really shoots, fillets and eats the fish that she hunts. I call her an ambassador. In a traditionally male dominated sport Valentine Thomas has lit up the media with the stories and photos of her attractive self engaged in our age-old past time, spearfishing. What many may have missed in this situation is the positive impact that these articles have had on the sport, particularly as Valentine has been articulate in both her defense and promotion of spearfishing as an active and healthy lifestyle sport.
Modern-day spearo’s are aware of the negative stigma that media has played (due to its sensationalist nature) and they are trying to change the public’s perception by sharing the real spearfishing experience.
4. Team oriented
Things are changing and its for the better. The sharing of stories about the deaths of many young and talented spearo’s due to shallow water blackout is helping to change attitudes throughout the global spearfishing community.
The sharing of stories is a big part of this dawning awareness, but spearo’s are also becoming aware of the benefits to the team based spearfishing approach. Benefits such as;
- Having your mate handy for a second shot when you need it
- Keeping watch for boat traffic while your buddy is underwater
- Managing sharks together so that you get more fish onto the boat
- Having one buddy work the flasher while the other dives
- The added security that you have in case of blackout, entanglement, other accidents.
- and a mate to share the experiences with firsthand and maybe take some photos like Jose Debasa’s photo below?
Modern day spearo’s are aware of and are involved in the global spearfishing lifestyle and community.
There are huge online spearfishing groups, forums and communities such as DeeperBlue.com and the ‘Spearfishing’ Facebook group with over 85,000 members. These groups have opened up communication between what were once very exclusive and geographically bound groups of spearo’s and connected them across the globe. The advantages of this are many, such as;
- Already having contacts you can reach out to when you are visiting other parts of the world
- Finding and applying best practice to everything from spearfishing technique to equipment maintenance
- Sharing powerful stories that spearo’s everywhere can relate to
- Problems and issues common to all spearo’s can be discussed and a variety of perspectives can be applied allowing everyone to learn.