Adreno's Wayne Judge is a world-renowned freediver and freediving coach who has been spearfishing for over 30 years. Here's his expert tips on how you can be a better and safer spearo and dive buddy. You can find a video of him talking about these tips is at the bottom of this blog.
Tip 1 - Always dive with a buddyThis is Wayne's number one tip for being a better and safer spearfisher. You can get away with making "some pretty dumb mistakes" and living to tell the tale as long as you're diving with a buddy. But diving with a dive buddy doesn't mean jumping in the water and going separate ways, it means one up and one down, with the person on top being responsible for the person below and then taking it in turns to dive. If your buddy is down you can't go off and spear another fish as they could get into trouble, and you won't be there to help. Spearfishing is very much a team sport.
Unfortunately, not diving in this buddy system can very quickly result in death. If a diver blacks out (passes out underwater from lack of oxygen) there is simply no way they can survive unless their dive buddy recovers them. Which brings us to the next tip...
Tip 2 - Learn what to do if there's a blackout or sambaThe actions to take when a dive buddy suffers from a blackout or samba are extremely simple, BUT if you don't know what they are and you don't drill them with your dive buddies to prepare for that moment then it could end tragically. Watch our video on sambas and blackouts to gain some useful tips, but we also recommend you do a freediving or spearfishing course. They will teach you invaluable skills that will improve your diving, and prepare you to handle a lot of scary situations.
Tip 3 - The most dangerous thing in the ocean...It's not sharks... It's boats! Boat drivers struggle to see spearfishers even if you have a float. If they're driving into the sun, talking, looking at a GPS, or on auto pilot, they may not even see you. If you've got a float and a flag tethered to your gun your chances of being noticed are much greater.
The other benefit of a float and flag is that when someone is diving with a float and flag and they're diving deep or in poor visibility you don't know where they are coming up. If they get into trouble or blackout then you won't know where they are to be able to help them. If they have a float and float line though, you'll be able to know where they have dived and where they are coming up.
Tip 4 - Get CPR trainingAs a dive buddy it's ideal to get CPR training in case of an emergency
Tip 5 - We have lost divers because fish were tethered to the diver...Don't tether fish to your body. This is a sure way to run into trouble. We have lost divers because they have had fish attached to their weigh belt or gun and the shark has come in for the fish and bitten the diver. Wayne tells us about a friend of his who had a fish close to him when a Grey Nurse Shark came in and grabbed him by the knee!
In summary...These are just a few of Wayne's quick tips that you can apply immediately to your spearfishing practices. Wayne says "We want you to dive safer. Out there it's random, you have no idea - freak waves, crazy boat drivers - there are stacks of things that can come your way. You just need to be prepared and have diving practices down that allow you to handle those emergency situations".
If you want to watch Wayne's talk, you can do that below: