I guess when I first heard about this massive, huge, big money fishing comp I was a bit ““oh yeah” line fishing, so what?!?” I was surprised that there was going to be a spearfishing event, I pricked my ears and I liked the phrases I was hearing “great for the community…educate the growing spearfishing community on safety…getting all kinds of rec fishers together…family weekend away during school holidays…. the council is right behind this…Fisheries love it….” then Adam Martin who seems to run the beautiful township of Tomakin on one hours sleep a week, contacts the USFA and asks if they would be interested in “running” the spearing side of the event on the Tomakin Fishing Clubs behalf. How could you say no!
After a couple of months of brain storming back and forth between many spearos and fishos it was decided to run a true pairs event, that is, two divers spearfishing together that sees one spearfisher diving while his pair dive buddy remains on the surface, this is really putting into practice what the now well coined term “One Up One Down” is all about, it’s great spearfishing safety. TO explain a little further each pair partner can use one gun and has one rig cord connected to their gun, one of these cords is only 4m long, generally the partner on the surface has the short cord hence the diving partner in the pair has the longer rig cord, both cords are connected to one float only, thus ensuring the float is generally immediately in their dive zone, as east coast southern water spearos can attest to the huge boat traffic we can encounter a dive float and flag is the start of our safe diving checklist.
So this is the lucky spearo, Rob Crawford, who won the awesome Ray Powell DiveR fins designed by one of Ray's many hot artists, Naomi Gittoes, that were raffled at the Sydney Adreno opening day by the USFA.
Rob enjoys his spearing and loves a day out on the water in his boat.
Thanks goes to DiveR Australia for his continued loyalty to the USFA, Adreno for their wonderful support, and to all spearos on the day who purchased a ticket. Please look at www.usfa.org for dive and safety tips and to see the work USFA is doing for spearos along the coast.
The inaugural State Championship was held at that great, usually fishy, accessible location on the Central Coast, Norah Head. A rock hop event, the location was chosen as it offers a variety of depths and fishing ground and safe leeway depending upon the prevailing wind at the time.
As I arrived at the sign on location early I had time to check out the area and was pleased that the event was safe enough to hold with just a light SE wind puffing away. I begin setting up the area when the Montgomery “brothers” arrive on the scene, talk about keen! Still 90 minutes until swim off. Steve Montgomery had just come back from a USFA members trip to NW Island and had embraced the calm, warm and clear waters of the tropics spearing some great fish while Hayden Montgomery (no actual relation) is a frothing young spearo who at 15 has already captured an abundance of great species that many spearos even three times his age are in envy of. The two lads ripped in and helped me set up which was greatly appreciated.
With half an hour to swim off many more “Sea Lions”, members of the local spearo club, had rocked up Bailey Ives, Zac and Pat with a mix of the usual suspects from the Sans Souci Dolphins – Mudcrab Marsh, Paz, Cohan and the Alliman and Canada Cup champion the Handsome Mexican Cruz; good to see some Neptunes from Newcastle (the Green clan) and South Coast Barracudas Joe Hyzdal, and the current NSW champion and king of the south coast Jack Lavender. Jack had really enjoyed the previous social pair event the USFA had run where he had keenly offered to swim with a young newcomer to offer many tips and techniques.
A briefing of the regulations was given – such as the 4 metre rope the surface diver needed to be connected to, while his dive buddy (the one under) uses a standard length rig cord, swapping to the shorter cord when it was his turn to remain on the surface, that one diver in the pair must always remain on the surface. The restricted species sheet discussed, where only 1 only of some basic species, such as red morwong, were to be weighed in between a pair. The scoring today was 100points a fish and 10 points per kilogram, Simon Horvath very kindly took two juniors with him as we did have an odd number of divers sign on.
By 0800 the safety boat with pilot Joe Brennan and co-pilot Nathan Gradidge had launched Al Cooke’s beautiful Haines 600r (a big thanks for lending your tub for the day Al), and we had twenty three of the keenest spearos in NSW signed on, briefed and ready to brave very difficult diving conditions. There was an unusually strong current mixed with cool, dirty water that belied the calm surface conditions and thus for the first time in my memory in a comp every competitor was back well before finishing time.
The hard luck stories are always worth listening to, for a laugh, though I did feel sorry for young Jay Bain and his early exit from the competition due to losing a fin in swimming through some surf attempting to spear a huge Bream that was on dry land, I know, you will have to ask him yourself.
Lachy Green towed his dad Phil around all day, or was it the other way around? Depended on which Green was telling the story. The father and son team came across a nest of bugs and had 4 splendid specimens in their keeper bag. Another father and son team was Rabbit Kyle and his 10 year old son Max, Max is beyond keen and they brought in some nice fish, Max landing two great Red Rockies himself and they looked likely to take out the Grommet section until another Green member, the youngest, Malakai and his mentor buddy Simon Ross brought in the same amount of fish with just a slightly heavier total bag.
Aaron Puckeridge and his float towing partner himself a former NSW champion like Aaron, Ben Bayfield, had an indifferent day and they brought in 5 fish as well, they were both pleased to see an esky and hot meat pies at the weigh in. Josh Green the biggest and probably the ugliest of the Green siblings, and his great mate Zane Hutchison weighed a good swag with 8 fish and they looked the winners as the last group to weigh in arrived, Jack and Joe from the ‘Cudas, they presented a smaller weight though with 9 fish to edge ahead of the Newcastle juniors to be crowned the inaugural NSW One Up One Down Pairs champions.
Josh Green & Zach Hutchison
Jack Lavender & Joe Hysdal
Josh Green & Zane Hutchison
Aaron Puckeridge & Benny Bayfield
Rock Blackfish - Cohan Jones
Bream - Hayden Montgomery
This event will continue, as will its more social format where the younger and new USFA members are teamed up with experienced spearfishers who pass on valuable expertise to their allotted partner.
The overwhelming feedback form the divers repeat several key points:
“It’s definitely safer”
“I relax so much more knowing my buddy is over me, my diving just naturally improves”
“Far more enjoyable way of spearfishing a comp”
“So relaxing having someone right there with you”
“I love it when I see my partner stuff up”
It is a given that when you are relaxed and confident you are going dive better, it’s a given if your buddy is slightly at higher level than you that you will be drawn up to his level by diving with him it’s a given that diving one up one down with your surface buddy right there watching your every dive is safer, it’s also a given that it is great to share experiences with your mates who are right there to witness what you saw.
Looking forward to diving in the next one. Date out soon, keep January open.
After conquering a few mental fears equalisation is normally the biggest obstacle that most spearfishers will encounter.
The reason we need to equalise is because it bloody hurts you if you don’t. How’s that for a good enough reason?
Seriously, hydrostatic pressure (10m ocean depth is equivalent to 1 mile high in the sky. We take approximately 10 seconds to arrive at 10m). That’s why we need to equalise. As you descend the water pressure increases hence the pressure increases inside your ear canal, hurting your tympanic membrane (ear drum) – you have to “equalise” this outside pressure by matching it with air pressure that you have inside you. Equalising maintains pressure balance between the middle ear space, the rest of the body and surrounding water. The Eustachian tube comes into play here, this tube runs from the back of your nose to the air space of the middle ear. The tube is generally collapsed, opening when the “clearing” (equalising) process eventuates. When you experience the “crackle, pop” sounds you are equalising, relieving the pressure on the Tympanic membrane and sinus cavities. Correct technique and equalising before you experience discomfort is the key to comfortable spearfishing, and ensuring there is no chronic damage to your eardrums.
The origin of this seminar was brought about due to the World Wide Web continually being under estimated by spear fishermen , that’s us!
Where many praise a Billfish capture; a large fish say a Mulloway that is happened upon while spearing Bream for tea; catching your bag limit of just legal (maximum) lobsters, there are the people who will taunt you for doing this. There are several errors of judgement we can make as a hunter and gatherer when using social media. Continue reading An evening discussion of Spear Fishing Ethics & Sustainability→
What a great day was had! Twenty eight divers, of all ages, and locations along the coast rocked up to the Dolphin’s club house to sign on for the first USFA One Up One Down Pairs meet. No one left disappointed, the diving saw to that, yet even before a fin was dipped in the water spearos were showing obvious signs of stoke. Passing over their fifteen bucks to register for the event and being handed a trucker cap, T -shirt and Stubby cooler all embossed with great sponsor Adreno’s logo on them, spearos were incredulously asking “…What, we are given these, and we get a beer and are fed for fifteen bucks?!? Awesome!!” Hell yeah!
The current Dive Safe campaign by Roads and Maritime Services NSW “LOOK OUT Divers About” is to be applauded. The confusion surrounding the role of the alpha flag in Australia is slowly unravelling and now a distinct message is being sent to all skippers in NSW on what to look out for – Divers – on the surface – can be up to 100m from their float/flag. Steer clear.
Let’s jump back to the old argument of the “red and white diver flag” v “Alpha” flag and what they really mean. The traditional diver-down red and white flag was developed by divers (overseas) in 1957. Yet for many people in
Australia the “Alpha” flag means “diver below” yet this is what the red and white diver down flag means. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that the traditional red & white diver-down flag is intended to protect divers themselves, while the blue & white alpha flag is intended to protect vessels from collision. Continue reading LOOK OUT Divers About→