I’ve hunted along the California coast, Channel Islands, down in Baja and Hawaii. I’ve picked the brains of many local SoCal legends, been mentored by respected spearos on many occasions, and entered the water guided by books and lots of trail and error; on top of taking almost all the freediving classes FII offers…even becoming an instructor. I thought my spearing technique was pretty solid having landed many fish, both large and small, so I didn’t expect to grab much from the new FII spearfishing course… I couldn’t have been more surprised to find myself feverishly taking notes absorbing new safety tips, gear ideas and even a few hunting tricks I had never even considered. Take the course!
This class was co created by three brilliant minds:
- Cameron Kirkconnell: FII instructor, multiple record holder in all disciplines of spearfishing and master mariner.
- John Dornellas: Fii instructor, world record spearfisherman and all around waterman)
- Martin Stepanek: 13 time world record holder, world wide spearfisherman and the creator of the FII program
You really couldn’t ask for a better team to create the first standardized spearfishing course in the world!
It’s designed as a 1 day course split between the classroom (5 hours) and confined water (3 hours) with an optional add on day for open ocean spearfishing in some locations.
Who the class is for?
To take the class you need to be a FII level 1 certified or another agency equivalent.
You must provide your own basic freediving gear: Mask, fins, snorkel, weight-belt, wetsuit, spearfishing gloves, knife and a good pen.
Provided for you is a detailed 162 page text book you can write in to use as your reference for after the class.
What Does the class cover?
Ethics of spearfishing and how to practice sustainable fishing, Freedive safety while spearfishing (it builds upon safety covered in level one, also covers basic firearm safety), how to create a dive plan and safe practices when diving in various conditions, spearfishing gear (a very detailed topic in the class with more to offer in the textbook) and hunting techniques you can apply to all forms of hunting.
Those might seem like broad topics, but all are broken down with precision to make you a better hunter with the lecture alone.
What do you learn?
Much of what you learned in class you get to physically apply and master in a controlled environment. Non fireable, blunt tip banded spearguns are provided and were specially made by Riffe to allow the student to get familiar with: loading, unloading, swimming with and even pulling the trigger of the gun, while keeping everyone (including the pool) safe.
Not only will you refine your safety, form and technique diving with a speargun, but you’ll get to play with different underwater hunting techniques using a makeshift submersible reef to test your skills. Even hunting and attracting fish require good form and technique; If you don’t have good form, you don’t get to shoot your fake fish! This underwater practice helps you see all the small mistakes you might be making, letting fish get away. I definitely cleaned up a few.
At the end we were even able to apply the use of floats and float lines. We learned to deal with the nuisance of multiple rigs and the safety associated. I found me quickly adopting their techniques because they work REALLY well.
Overall you couldn’t ask for better experience in teachers to launch this class. As with any FII course, the lessons learned, I feel, not only made me a better spearo, but a safer one.
…Stay tuned! This class is hitting the road and is coming to Southern California in June 2016 with John Dornellas check it out: freedivinginstructors.com/fii/courses_by/john.dornellas
Sign up soon because spots are selling fast!
Good luck and happy hunting!
What You Need To Know
- Created by: Cameron Kirkconnell, John Dornellas and Martin Stepanek
- Prerequisites for the class: FII certified Level 1 freediver or outside agency equivalent
- Class duration: 8-10 hour day
- Class size: 6:1
- Price: $225-$275 depending on travel and rental fees
- More Information: Freedivinginstructors.com