Freediving is something that takes most people a little bit of getting used to. Holding your breath, surrounded by nothing but water, you have to get used to being uncomfortable in a state of unpredictability. Yet, over time, it becomes something that just feels right – the fear, the excitement, it all starts to subside and evolve into something new. You become surrounded by a sense of overwhelming calmness, what was once discomfort is now soothing, and whatever was going through your mind before you went under the waves disappears. There are no more excessive thoughts racing through your head. It is now just you and the ocean.
Spearfishing is simply an extension of freediving, in which you further become part of the ocean and part of the greater ecosystem. When spearfishing, you are truly connected to the world around you and no longer exist as a spectator, a visitor, or as part of anything else that you may belong to when on the surface. When you slip beneath the water you are able to remove all ties to your life above it and you are able to return to your true nature. Welcome home.
The following list consists of ten things that will help you make the most of this entire experience.
1. Just get out there.
There’s always going to be some sort of excuse. Sure, you might be a little busy or there might be a little bit of swell. Just go get salty. You’ll be better for it.
2. Don’t stress about the gear.
There is always going to be some newer high end product out there. Forget about it. While they might impress your friends, those new carbon fins that are 0.000002 grams lighter than the ones you are currently using won’t improve your performance much. Leave all of that superficial “mine’s bigger than yours” stuff on shore – spearfishing is about you and the ocean.
3…although, having the right gear is important.
Make sure that you have the correct gear for what you are doing. If the water is going to be a little cold, make sure you have a wet suit to extend your time in the water. Low volume masks can increase your breath hold since they require less equalization. Long fins increase your efficiency. You get the picture. It doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest, it just has to work.
4. Lose that ego and open your mind.
Open your mind. While it’s great that you have a “X-minute breath hold,” there is no reason to feel intimidated by other divers or to boast. Freediving and spearing is about achieving your personal best within safe limits. Large egos lead to bigger risk. Keep it chill, stay relaxed, and you’ll be able to snag that grouper under the 50’ ledge in no time.
5. Every dive site has potential.
Just because it’s not Bimini doesn’t mean that it’s not a good spot. Whether it’s a shore dive or a shallow reef, you are going to have a good time and are more likely than not going to bring home some fish. Even if you don’t hit a reef loaded with hogs, you can still try to improve on every dive. You might just learn something about yourself in the process. So have a good time.
6. Push your limits.
Every time you head out, push your limits. You aren’t going to improve if you stay within your comfort zone. Try new techniques or go for an extra few seconds. 99% of spearfishing is mental. Just remember to stay within your limits (they will grow over time).
7. Let others enjoy the ocean too.
Just because another boat pulled up to your favorite spot doesn’t mean the day is ruined. You may have just found a great group of likeminded spearos and can hit up Monty’s later (if it’s still around). Anyway, sharing is caring, right?
8. Accept that every day is not going to be perfect.
Yeah, it might start raining, the clouds could roll in, your sinuses could be acting up, or the visibility could be complete junk, but at least you’re on the water – which is better than any day on land. Make the best out of it, you probably brought along a few beers anyway.
9. The shaka.
Someone in your dive group brought along their GoPro? Spread some of that Aloha Spirit around (it means friendship, understanding, compassion, and solidarity). Don’t lie, you’re going to do it anyway.
10. Earn your next meal.
Whether you caught a fish or not, you got up early, hit the salty waters, and were pretty active for a few hours. Hopefully you caught some fish, because there is nothing better than catching your own food and knowing that you can provide for yourself and your family, but if not, you deserve that next meal anyway.