It dawned a dark, rainy day on the morning of the competition and then The Gap was checked to see the conditions outside the seas looked like a washing machine!
But as the divers gathered the safety boat went out and came back the competition was on! The safety talk was conducted and the roll call and the divers went out for the days diving. The harbour turned out to be surprisingly clear with a lot of fish about. Both Shark Island and Sow & Pigs Reef had excellent conditions. But outside the harbour the conditions were rough and sloppy and challenging to spearfish in.
The competition finished at 1:15pm and all competitors were back in time, some interesting fish came in like Parry Gryllis’s blue bar parrotfish, Phil Sheppard’s spinefoot. Phil also got a huge silver drummer of over nine kilograms. The weigh in went smoothly and some of the tourists that hung about were rewarded with a fish or two, good public relations!
When the score were done it was SSD Derrick Cruz who took out the day with 699pts and Matt Poulton coming fourth with 419pts which has them level pegging at first going into the final round. The last competition is on December the 3 rd at Gunnamatta Bay, Cronulla. A BBQ and drinks will be on after the competition and all are welcome.
Metropolitan Spearfishing Zone
Scores are missing October results and will be updated soon.
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.
This year the 2017 individual State Titles were held by the Central Coast Sealions.
The weekend started at the North end of the Central Coast at Norah Head.
Day 1 - Norah Head
Day 1, started with sign on from 7am which saw 33 divers including 5 female divers from all over including the Far South Coast, Sydney District, Newcastle, Central Coast Region and even Victoria sign on to compete.
Once all safety protocols were checked and species on/off were announced we gave recognition to the first Australians, service men and women & Day 1 commenced.
Divers ran off in all directions from South of Norah to pellows all the way to north of lakes reef... some even made the venture out to the bull!
We had reports from divers swimming back and forth, running from one end to the other of viz between 2 and 15m. Those who had the opportunity to enjoy the 15m had luckily made the right choice in to where to dive. With hours passing we had divers begin to return, some carrying kings over their backs with stories a plenty including the first king taken for Irene a female South Coast Diver.
The great team of the Central Coast Sealions who had chosen not to dive or return early began weigh in and prepare for lunch. Once the fish were weighed divers were given the opportunity to donate any fish which were then filleted, crumbed and put into a wok.
As sign off approached at 1 o'clock all divers had returned and the fish burgers station was in full swing. Fresh bread rolls, salads and fresh crumbed fish fillets were frying away.The burgers went down a treat and were a great hit with several divers returning for seconds and even thirds.
As the day closed and the scores where tallied the leaders and scores for day one were complete.
Day 2 - Bateu Bay
Bateau Bay was chosen as the location for Day 2 with conditions looking good and the final day set to excite.
Day 2 had 34 divers sign on and another beautiful day on the central coast was in store.
Bateau Bay set a challenge to the divers as it was a new adventure and new spot to dive for most. It offered plenty of ground to cover with multiple species to come accross.
All divers returned to the ring on time many with some great fish to show including a decent size king from a Sydney Junior.
After a good BBQ feed with home made fried rice and pad thai kindly made by some lovely family members of the USFA and Central coast sealions all the scores where tallied and winners ready to be announced to the eagerly awaiting divers.
With a massive thank you to ADRENO SPEARFISHING, DIVER AUSTRALIA & ACE SPEARGUNS the central coast sealions had the opportunity to give away over $2500 worth of prizes awarded to promote participation along with the tropheys & prizes awarded to the rightful and well deserved winners of each category.
Please enjoy some pictures of the event and place holders throughout the day also attached final score sheets
Sunday the 12th Of February saw the 65th running of the Canada Cup. An amazing turnout of 67 divers signed on with an impressive turnout of 21 boats . After a quick briefing the divers hit the water and the boats slowly made their way out of the Haven ready for the start. The flag dropped and the boats were off racing. Almost all of the boats headed north to dive the 2 and 3 mile reefs with some venturing as far as Norah Head and the Bull. The weather gods were really in our favor today with almost glass out conditions for most of the day. The divers had plenty of time as the weigh in was not until 2:30 PM that afternoon. Was great to see every category filled including an amazing 13 juniors, 3 ladies and 3 sub Juniors. The predicted forecast for the day was for temperatures to reach upwards of 35 degrees with a late southerly change late in the afternoon. Continue reading Canada Cup 2017→
It was a good looking day as the boats gathered in the bay below the historic fishermen’s hut at Long Reef. The fifteen odd boats and nearly fifty divers signed on listened to the safety talk, and waited impatiently for the start. North Shore meant business with a roll up of twenty six divers! After the roll call the divers went to their respective boats and motored out a few hundred yards off shore where the flag start was done from big Maccas boat and boats raced north and south to their dive spots.
Well it wasn’t a good forecast for the Sunday of the Alliman with gale force winds and a big swell running all week not helping. But the brave sport secretaries of each club voted for the comp to be on and on the dawning of the day a dozen boats and nearly forty divers turned up to compete on what turned out to be a pretty good day.
After the safety talk the boats motored slowly down the four knot channel to Pittwater and the open ocean. Weigh in was at 1:30pm sharp and luckily all divers were back in the ring well before the cut off time. The weighing and scoring commenced and as we were next to the huge dog park we had a lot of interested persons and their canine friends to see the fish that came in. One cute pooch modelled the Aussie spearfishing team cap (available from me for $25, please support your team!) and another cute little Maltese helped Gordy with the scores! (See pics).
The ‘Adreno’ Most Meritorious Fish winners for this competition are Ben’s (STG) big bream for the senior category and young Eddie Sherb (SSD) with a 48pt Reef Leatherjacket, prizes will be presented before the competition at Long Reef. Remember anyone can win win one of these prizes but only if you compete!
The annual state spearfishing titles was hosted the Metro Zone and there were a number of locations earmarked in Sydney for this two day competition on both sides of the Harbour. Divers came from all over from Coffs Harbour (Cheers Brian) and up from Kiama (Max).
Sunday dawned with heavy overcast conditions and rain as the divers gathered in Robertson Park next to the historic Watsons Bay hotel. The safety talk was conducted and the divers jumped into the boats and headed out slowly to outside the moorings where the event start was made from Matt Poulton’s boat.
The rain was a dampener but as the forecast promised sunny conditions later in the day the fifty brave divers headed out into Sydney Harbour hoping for good conditions. As it turned out the conditions were great slight sea light winds, 15 – 20m visibility outside and up to 10m even in the Harbour even though it was low tide.
All the boats and divers made it back by the 1:15pm finish time and the fish were lined up at the weigh in table ready for the scoring. At this stage a crowd gathered to see the fish and ask plenty of questions. There was also some fish donated to the onlookers which made us very popular! Continue reading Alliman Shield 2016 – 1st May – Watsons Bay→
The week leading up to the comp saw perfect diving conditions flat calm crystal clear warm water. Wazza took full advantage of these conditions leading up to the comp doing a lot of home work and having a serious game plan for the day , Ellis for boaty and list of spots as long as your arm. It certainly paid off, finishing a country mile ahead of some serious competition . The St George boys took out the next 3 spots ( Merv must be smiling as he looks down )
Then a well deserved 6th to Troy fishing with 5 up in the "Haines" then Oly who has won this comp more then any one else And Pete Baker just edging Joe Out. Good to see the captain win. Joey placed 10 th and won the intermediates, Conner Elliot had a blinder finishing 11th out right and winning the Juniors convincingly, followed by Zeb and Darcy in 3rd . Christian won the Sub Juniors and Zac Merlo on his first ever comp, runner up Sub Junior. Living up to the Merlo family tradition. And almost forgot Eddy won the Grand masters again beating Ben Allan by a few fish scales. Thats a fair range of age, from 13 to 70 all competing on the day.
There was over 40 people sign on and all weighed in . There would have been a few more but the weather forecast was bit "how you going" so we lost a few who pulled the plug and cancelled. Sorry you missed out on a great weekend guys. But that's what comp diving is about, diving the conditions on the day. The comp was well run , there was plenty of BBQ chicken to eat , and great prizes to be won , I was wrapped , won a wet suit that's perfect for the youngest son. Special thanks to Lee Dalli for doing a run down at the last minute with some great prizes from Adreno. Lee deserves a special mention for all the work he puts in with no fuss or carry on , Thanks Lee. Ray Powell DiveR Australia donated a pair of the worlds greatest Fins DiverR , this time won by Conner Elliot for a thumper of a Boar fish and for such a good overall performance.
Roy from Agro-dive supplied at lot of great prizes and a special thank you to Adreno for there donated prizes. And thanks to Joey Conner for doing the scores a job well done. For two young guys there do so much work. Great stuff.
Due to the current weather forecast for strong winds the Far South Championships has been changed to be held on the Sunday 24th April. Same location being the Narooma boat ramp for 7.00am sign-on
The forecast looks better for the Sunday with little wind and a reduced swell.
The South Coast Champs held at Ulladulla was an outstanding success for the Southern Zone. Great weather, well run with a record sign on - 20 boats ranging from Alby’s refurbished 6 meter Haines down to vintage 1960’s Tinnies and the proverbial rubber duck. The SCC was run in conjunction with the Taylor Shield. 55 signed on for the SCC and all divers weighed in. There was a good representation from the Neptune’s, the Sea Lions, Barracudas and of course the Workers. It was the traditional 2 day format, with a quality fish format. 5 hours on Saturday and 6 hours on Sunday. The seas were virtually flat with only a small ground swell to give a bit of white water. Not a puff of wind for the 2 days. Visibility was a varied feast, from plankton rich cool 3 meters to a much warmer 15 meters or more. Spoilt for choice at Ulladulla some boats travelled North and South, near and far while others stayed put and fished the local bommies to great success ( if you could dive the murk.)
The 64th hosting of the Canada Cup was held on Saturday the 13th of February at Terrigal on the beautiful Central Coast. The comp was held on the Saturday due to Sunday being Valentine’s Day. This gave divers a chance to spend the day diving with their mates freeing up Sunday to spend with the other half and stay in the good books.
Another new year has come around and therefore timely that I make mention of some good things that will continue on benefitting all spearos. In the USFA we are fortunate to have many talented members who willingly volunteer their time to assist in the running of the Association.
A touching presentation speech for the Wally Gibbins Trophy read by David Birch at the 2015 USFA Awards night.
Walter Hammond Gibbins was born January 16th 1930 in Sydney. In the early 1940s he harpooned leatherjackets from the jetties of Sydney Harbour to feed his family before entering the water with his homemade mask, snorkel, belts, a scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) system and speargun to chase bigger game so successfully that most speargun manufacturers use his speargun design even today.
Wally’s adventurous aquatic life was often compared to the leading French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau. He was a pioneer diver who spent thousands of hours exploring fish, shells and underwater salvage sites. He filmed many of this exploits for TV or films along with a team of high-profile names, including Ben Cropp and Ron and Valerie Taylor. Wally pioneered the trigger mechanism still used today in many guns.
He caught his first shark, a wobbegong, at Middle Head in 1947, and shot and landed the first man-eating shark in Australia - a bronze whaler in 1950. The capture of a shark by a skindiver (rather than a man being caught and eaten by a shark) created headline news. He also caught with a spear a 400-kilogram tiger shark at Sykes Reef near Heron Island in 1963.
In 1948 he helped form the Underwater Skindivers and Fishermen's Association at Long Reef , winning spearfishing competitions for the next 10 years, as well as the 1952 contest between anglers and spearmen. Wally single handedly caught more fish than all 37 anglers who had fished from the shore or boats. The rest of the spearos that turned up that day, may as well have stayed at home! Continue reading Wally Gibbins→
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.
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→