When the waves are flat, this is probably the best way to spend your time. Photo: Shutterstock

When the waves are flat, this is probably the best way to spend your time. Photo: Shutterstock

The Inertia

When the waves are flat, the weather is beautiful, and you’re off from work or school, what do you do? Here’s a good idea: invest in a kayak and a few fishing rods or, even better, tap into your inner waterman and learn how to spearfish.

The surfing and spearifshing community have a lot in common. Both consider themselves to be watermen. A love for the deep blue ocean often defines who they are as a person. In this post, we are going to go over what you’ll need to get into spearfishing and how it might even benefit your surfing.

Step 1: Get the right training

When you’re dealing with sharp and pointy projectiles, you might want to learn a thing or two before firing away like John Wayne in an old Wild Wild West movie. The next time you go on a surfing trip, do some Googling for charters or look for a local spearfishing club.

Since spearfishing requires you to hold your breath for extended periods of time, you might want to consider taking some freediving lessons. Remember that time when you got smashed by a huge wave? The one that was immediately followed by another huge wave, which was followed by yet another huge wave? Then you reflect on the experience a few years later and realized you could have drowned. Well, this is where the freediving skills would come in handy. After just a few lessons, you’ll be able to hold your breath considerably longer than before.

Step 2: Make sure you have the right gear

For some, it’s likely that you have your own gear. You’ll have your own speargun or pole spear, low volume mask, freediving fins and wetsuit for colder weather. For newbies, here is a list of gear you’ll want for freediving and/or spearfishing.

Speargun: If you are just starting out, get a speargun that is around 50-120cm (1.5-3.3 feet) long. You’ll find it easier to manage and you can use it in most aquatic environments. Just like golf clubs, you’ll probably want to own a few different lengths. Each gun is used for different situations. For instance, the longer guns are mainly used for hunting bigger game and aren’t always practical to use.

Low Volume Mask & Snorkel: This is the mask preferred by freedivers and Spearos.  You’ll find it easier to see with this style of mask, and they are much cooler looking than anything you’ll get from Walmart.

Freediving Fins: These are usually longer than when you are used to seeing. The better quality fins are made from carbon fiber.The reason for this is that the long carbon fiber literally “snaps” back into its original shape as you swim, giving you extra forward momentum, allowing you to swim faster while expending less energy.


Wetsuit for colder weather: You should be pretty familiar with this one from surfing. Although you can certainly get away with using your surfing wetsuit, spearfishing wetsuits are constructed slightly differently. For starters, many spearfishing wetsuits actually come with different camo patterns, allowing you to blend in with the ocean environment.

Spearfishing wetsuits are also zipperless. Yes, you heard that right: no zippers. Some would argue they actually work better than your average surfing wetsuit. Because they have no zippers, they don’t allow as much water to flow though your suit. The water that gets in stays there and keeps you warmer for a longer period of time.

This is achieved by having a two-piece wetsuit.  First you put on the bottom part, which look like really tight overalls. Then you slip the top part over it. The only downside is that they are slightly harder to put on. Most spearos will first wet them with soapy water before even attempting to put it on.

These wetsuits always have a hood. When you have a mask wrapped around your head all day, a hood can make the experience more comfortable. Plus, you have to keep in mind you are not hanging out on the surface like you are when surfing. The deep you go, the colder it gets.

Step 3: Dive in and get hunting

Most, but not all, spearos prefer to only use a mask and snorkel to go spearfishing. As a surfer, I find this method resonates with me the best. You are the most active and you are trying to master a few different skill sets all at onc. Some will use scuba gear, but to me, it takes the fun out of it and I find it to be less challenging. Actually catching a fish will take some practice. Just keep it up and work on your underwater hunting skills. Don’t get discouraged!

Step 4: Feed those too weak to spearfish

I personally believe it is important that every man and woman fillets their own fish. I find it to be like painting a house. It is something everyone can do, but some people are just better at it.  It also adds to the experience of feeling like a “hunter.” Which is why I always recommend getting a decent quality fillet knife.  Don’t be cheap and expect to spend five bucks. One in the $20+ range will serve you well for a lot longer. The cheaper ones tend to be really poor quality steel and rust quickly. If you decide to spend a few bucks, they will also be sharper, making it much easier to fillet your fish. After that, just cook it any way you want.

That about wraps things up. If you are looking for something to do when the waves are flat, spearfishing is a strong alternative.  The surfing and spearfishing community have a lot in common. The next time you are looking for something to do, give it a try!


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.


Weekly. Free.
Just like a set wave.

Everything that matters in surf + outdoors
directly to you inbox.

We take your privacy very seriously.
Unsubscribe at any time.
Subject to Terms and Conditions.

No thanks