The Coffs Harbour Bluewater Freedivers will this year host the Australian Bluewater Freediving Classic for the 20th time, and Adreno Spearfishing will once again be a major sponsor. This is a proud achievement for what has become a prestigious spearfishing event on the Australian spearfishing calendar. The competition began as the brainchild of several locals in 1995 and from the beginning attracted competitors from throughout Australia and has had many international entrants from countries such as New Zealand, Japan, USA, France, and Italy. Past winners include several Australian champions and internationals.
The competition is based out of the beautiful village of Woolgoolga on the northern NSW coast just north of Coffs Harbour. It is generally a boat-based competition due to the many islands and reefs available in the competition zone, however is pen to rock-hoppers who have also done well in the past in the right conditions. It is run over two days and has a very selective species list that almost exclusively contains pelagic species such as mackerel, tuna and wahoo, the exceptions being snapper and mulloway. Diving can be challenging with water depths on the offshore islands often in excess of 20 m and fish can be very challenging to first locate let alone capture. Many over the years will attest to this having come back empty handed at the end of a hard days fishing.
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This year marks the 20th year and will be run from March 28 – 30, 2014. The competition zone spans much of the Solitary Islands Marine Park which also includes several sanctuary zones and is used by many other marine enthusiasts. The selective nature of the competition makes it not only popular among spearos but is also warmly received by locals especially when the days catch is presented to the gathered public. All the fish are iced down in front of the crowd before being auctioned off by Rotary. The competition will kick of this year in the usual fashion with the all important competition briefing on Friday afternoon followed by early starts over the two days of the weekend with all divers to be back by 2pm on each day. The weekend ends with a smorgasbord presentation dinner which will be a semi-formal affair so leave the boardies at home.
The competition organisers are extremely grateful to all competitors and to all sponsors who help make the event a great one. Adreno have been a consistent supporter of the Bluewater Freediving Classic and are once again a major sponsor. For further information and updates go to the competition facebook page get the info pack at http://www.spearfishingdownunder.com.au/tribe/bwc/
The entry fee for the competition is $250 for seniors and $125 for Juniors. Dave Welch explains how this money is used. "The arrangement is that any profit made goes to the local Rotary and Marine Rescue as donations and to cover their costs (Rotary do the fish auction while Marine rescue basically launch and retrieve all the boats and supply lunch for divers). The rest is split 50:50 between the local club and the AUF. Historically the AUF portion was to go towards the Aussie team and I believe that is still the intention."