Spearo clean up Malabar Beach

Attendees to yesterday’s clean up at Malabar were treated to glorious weather conditions and participating divers came through with some pretty spectacular rubbish hauls to match. Fantastic work being done by all, but special rubbish mentions for the large part of a boat hull retrieved, as well as a section of pipe so large you might have thought we were digging up infrastructure in the bay.

Pat Mullins and Derrick Cruz did the hard work salvaging this boat off the rocks at Malabar

A massive thanks to everyone involved in a great morning out, over thirty spearos assisted on the day. Thanks too to the invaluable boaty assistance provided by Ben, Shane, and Dan. A Malabar clean up definitely deserves to be a fixture on the calendar, perhaps Little Bay as well, it is a fantastic way for spearos to give something back to the local community.

Lastly a special thanks goes out to the legends at Adreno Sydney for both their physical help on the day, Pauli and Jake you were great, and the generous prizes donated for the event, vouchers being awarded for the best rubbish hauls. Thank you Adreno’s Craig Seadog, your enthusiasm to assist is always appreciated.

Some of the team involved on the day

The mystery lucky door prize is yet to be drawn and revealed. Stay tuned for that one!!!

Randwick Council sent a supportive message post clean up, aware that spearfishers care for their environment and community well being.

Alex Sehrig

Vale: Les Gleaves

Les Gleaves, Sans Souci Dolphin Life Member, NSW State spearfishing representative, UW hockey player, great all-round fisherman and man of the sea, an excellent pool player, and just an all-round gentleman and good guy.  

Appearing at the Dolphins in the late 60’s as a gangly, quiet teenager Les quickly made his mark spearfishing amongst his peers. 

Growing into phenomenal strength both physically and mentally, and possessing a freakish breath hold and a fantastic fish sense  Les had this unerring ability to usually spear the biggest fish of an outing. Les held the World and National Record for Dogtooth Tuna at 55kg, an amazing achievement at this time (speared in 1986 in the Coral Sea) the record lasting a decade.

Selfless and a good listener. he would be that guy who would often take the juniors and beginners on his boat, never worrying much if it affected his day; you could ask Les anything and he would tell you what he knew to help you progress; he would listen to everyone’s tales of woe (typical of all fishermen) yet I could bet after you spilled your misery he would have some quip, or his own experiences of the day to say  to brighten your own day. Les continually assisted on committees of his club, Zone and State and held positions as Sports Secretary and Records Officer amongst other roles.

Revered amongst the Spearfishing Association scene as a lovely bloke, who possessed a cracking sense of humour, Les was seldom seen without a beer in hand after a dive usually bare chested wearing his customary wetsuit shorts for all seasons and climes.  Les was a fount of knowledge on all things fish, superb at fish identification, and complemented this with knowing where best to find each species of fish.

Les with Maori Wrasse and sea snake adornment

Les,  myself and plenty of others were looking forward to catching up with you at the USFA’s coming 75th anniversary, those that had the good fortune to have met you will miss you, may the waters you dive be clear, the fish abundant, your spear flies true and forever cold is your beer.  Thank you for being so kind and patient with me, and for everything you gave to spearfishing, you never asked for anything in return. You were one of my heroes.

Simon

New-look USFA diving into speaking up for spearo’s

Brian Hackett, Hon Dugald Saunders MP and Michael Featherstone

As part of the new-look USFA, we recently met with the Director of Strategy for the Deputy Premier of New South Wales, to take our issues directly to Macquarie Street. As part of these positive discussions, the USFA arranged a face-to-face meeting with the NSW Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon Dugald Saunders MP. 

The meeting was held in Woopi, at Mick Featherstone’s place (Mick has been the spearfishing rep for Solitary Islands advisory committee for over 12 years). Brian Hackett, the President of the Coffs Harbour Blue Water Freedivers, was also in attendance.  Mick and Brian discussed the Government announcement to introduce a slot limit for the Dusky Flathead (and prosecute the USFA’s position on the matter), gauge the Ministers interest in introducing more marine parks while explaining the importance of our spatial needs in the parks.

Thanks for your time @Dugald Saunders @Paul Toole  @Gurmesh Singh 

We will be continuing our efforts to ensure that spearfishers voices are heard with decision makers here in NSW. Please reach out if you have any queries or comments!

USFA Chairman Simon Trippe with Director of Strategy, Hugh at the Deputy Premier’s Office

2017 South Coast Mighty Bonanza

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.

North Shore Underwater Club had a great Junior representation at the Tomakin Bonanza. Juniors made up one quarter of the sign on. A bright future for spearfishing.

Continue reading 2017 South Coast Mighty Bonanza

USFA DiveR prize winner – Adreno Sydney Opening

Good afternoon spearos

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 Crawford. Winner of the USFA prize at the Adreno Sydney opening.
Rob Crawford. Winner of the USFA prize at the Adreno Sydney opening.

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.

One Up One Down – USFA NSW Championships – 18 October 2015


One Up One Down

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.

Josh Green and Zane Hutchison Junior Champions

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.

NSW Open OUOD Champions Jack Lavender and Joe Hyzdal

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.

Mentor and Grommet Champion Simon Ross and Mal Green.

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.

OUOD537Lachy 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.

Class Diver Points
Golden Oldie Joe Hyzdal 980
Silver Oldie Phil Green 538
Junior Champion Josh Green & Zach Hutchison 887
Open Champion Jack Lavender & Joe Hysdal 980
2nd Open Josh Green & Zane Hutchison 887
3rd Open Aaron Puckeridge & Benny Bayfield 550
Largest Fish Rock Blackfish – Cohan Jones 3075gm
Convenor’s Choice Bream – Hayden Montgomery 1150gm
Sportsman’s Award Simon Horvath

Young blokes going hard on the dogs eyes

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.

Simon Trippe

You can find the Rules and check out what you need to know at http://usfa.org.au/one-up-one-down-pairs/

Equalisation when diving

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.

Middle Ear Pressure
Middle Ear Pressure

Continue reading Equalisation when diving

An evening discussion of Spear Fishing Ethics & Sustainability

Ian - Fisheries
Ian – Fisheries

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