Words by Levi "Turbo" Brown.
“Went out for the first time spearing off a boat. Learned some good lessons.”
I recently saw a post by a complete novice on the Facebook page Southern Qld Spearfishing. He’d had a crack at spearfishing and basically failed like most of us do when starting.
I would firstly like to say well done to him for having the guts to say he has no idea what he’s doing. Even better he contacted a local group to ask for help and advice. Secondly, I would like to say well done to Southern QLD Spearfishing group who more than answered his questions.
His questions and hardships weren’t anything new. In fact, they were all of the same problems I had and probably most of us had in the beginning. I will break down and answer his questions here in the hope that someone else will get something out it as well.
“10m was too deep for me to spear, I could get down that far just couldn’t stay there for too long”
Ah yes, depth. We all want to dive deep and in the beginning, it’s very frustrating. I went to the bottom like a bull at a gate, finning hard, overweighted and generally I had no idea. Take it slow it will come. More importantly, make sure someone is watching your back. A dive buddy should be watching you at all times. Head along to Brisbane Bull Sharks to learn about improving your diving and buddy diving.
“Had a few problems with my goggles fogging up even after I used frog spit”
This one gets everyone when they get a new mask and it’s very frustrating. It’s a simple fix. Use a lighter to burn out the protective film on the inside of the mask. Be careful not to burn the silicon skirt. You can use toothpaste on your finger and rub it out as well. Before you dive spit in the mask and wash it out. Check out this video by Taylor Slattery at Adreno.
“A lot of trouble reloading my gun”
Another basic problem that gives novices headaches. I once put a 20mm rubber on a 1.4m Orca gun and it was a nightmare for me to load when I started. I went back to a 1.2m with two 16mm rubbers. The loading of a spear gun should be a two-step process done from the chest in an overhand position. I’ll let this video explain more.
Choosing the right gun is also a pain point. This video by Adreno's Taylor Slattery explains guns in depth.
“After a few hours of diving it became more and more difficult to pressurise and found my right ear in a lot of pain while diving down and couldn’t pressurise that ear at all”
Pressurising the ears known as equalising the ears is basically ensuring the pressure on inside of the ear drum is equal to that of the water pressure on the outside of the eardrum. As you dive deeper the pressure increases and causes pain on the eardrum as it becomes stressed and if not equalised will perforate the eardrum. Equalise on the surface and periodically equalise on the descent. You should never feel any pressure or pain if you are equalising often enough.
There is a lot of great information on the net about equalising, get Googling. Apart from that, I would recommend a freediving course or if in Brisbane head along to Brisbane Bull Sharks training nights. Wayne Judge runs the Bull Sharks and you’ll learn all about finning, equalising, freediving for spearfishing. It’s probably the single greatest resource for a novice spearo in Brisbane. Here’s the link to their Facebook page.
“Also my ankles were starting to kill from my fins”
You will get over sore ankles eventually. However if you are using a fin that is too stiff for you, you probably won’t. I used the grey Cressi Gara plastic blades for years and always had a little ankle pain. I moved to a soft carbon and the problem is gone. I find most of the plastic blades to be too rigid for me and that’s generally what a novice will buy because they’re cheap. If the pain persists it may be worth investing in some softer carbon fins.
“Need a lot more practice and would like to go out with someone who knows what they’re doing”
Don’t we all.
I hope this helps someone out. There are lots of tutorials on the Adreno YouTube page that are a great resource.
Add to that the local knowledge on Facebook and the training at the Brisbane Bull Sharks and you should be well on your way.