5 Tips to Improve Your Next Dive
Here are 5 tips to improve your next dive when you head out spearfishing.
It sounds cliché but lets be honest, losing that memorable Mackerel because you forgot to check the state of your shooting line the night before is a face palm moment for sure.
To avoid future pain here is a rule I try to follow
6P – Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
Develop your own system for checking everything, start at your head and work your way down or start on your inner layer and work your way out.
Here is a quick list (sign up for our email newsletter to get a printer friendly version);
- Mask & Snorkel
- Weight Belt
- Dive Knife
- Float, Flag and Floatline
- Spare parts
- First Aid Kit
- Water, Food, Money
Salt Water slowly ruins your gear, washing and storing it correctly helps but the night before checks will save your bacon.
One of the hardest things to do sometimes but its something to focus on if you want to become a better spearo.
Simon Trippe in our interview says “It took me years to learn to relax and even now I am still learning“. If Simon Trippe is still learning how to relax then the rest of us are too. Relaxation is hard when you are starting out because you are so excited. One of my mates Beau only gets 2 hours sleep the night before because hes so pumped. Poor old Turbo struggles to relax when the weather and swell are not ideal, you can read about overcoming that hurdle here. Everyone has their own battles with relaxation. My battle used to be thinking and talking up all the fish I was going to slay that day. Instead of that, I now try to take some full breaths (full breathing is something you are taught in a freediving course) and I try to be present in the moment and just enjoy the day for what it is. Which brings me neatly to my next point…
3. Have a Laugh
Have a good crew!
I tell people that even if I shoot no fish when I go out, I never fail to have a good time with the crew. From relentless ponytail and kiwi jokes to blasting the music (Katy Perry or something similarly masculine) to dressing someone down for their last dive-day performance, the boys provide awesome banter as we head out to our destinations. I have been out on a few boats with people who don’t even talk to you until you have ‘proven’ yourself in some way – don’t be these guys! What a shit way to do anything, stay humble and as our mate Richard ‘Snoek’ Leonard says
“Dont lose that frothing grom noob stoke, so many guys are too serious. Its only spearfishing, remember why you are out there!“
Make small improvements, often
Develop your awareness in the moment and reflect on each dive as you breathe up. For example, you might be lifting your head as you descend in your eagerness to see whats around before you reach the bottom. To improve that, next time you rest on the surface watching your buddy complete their dive, pre-plan mentally what you want to do on the next dive. Think about descending without lifting your head. This takes discipline initially, but if you stick to it you will be more relaxed on the bottom and fish will be a lot less flighty. Anvar Mufazalov a freediving instructor in Cyprus has a great video series on YouTube called Deep Spearfishing Encyclopedia, he talks all about Focus and spearfishing hunting technique in this video.
This learning habit takes time and self discipline to develop but I can guarantee you will quickly become a much better spearo and diver. If your buddy is aware of what you are focusing on they can also provide their opinion and advice. #A good mentor can help you develop even faster!
For actionable information to take your spearfishing to the next level, get your hands on 99 Tips To Get Better At Spearfishing here
5. Look after your mates
Often Spearfishing is such an individual experience. I sometimes get in the zone and forget about everything and everyone around me. I am so focused on myself, my immediate surroundings and internally relaxing that I forget about my dive buddy. When I realize, I look up and my ‘divebuddy’ may be 75 meters away! It happens less now as I consciously make an effort, but when I find myself in this position I either swim to my mate or yell out to him to come over to the good ground. I find that when I am being less self focused I will shoot more fish for some reason, possibly because I am letting go of the single minded predatory body language. Either way my dive buddy is safer and we can share the good and bad times together.
#Serious note, lots of people, particularly young guys die participating in this sport. We are so geared to hunt that we turn off our own internal safety checks – Dive with a buddy, for real. Check out this podcast episode to learn more about being a good dive buddy.
Spearfishing Gear Checks
- Wetsuit, upper, lower, hood, booties, gloves. Washed, clean, no holes? (most of my stuff has holes in it but you get the point)
- Mask & Snorkel. Strap, silicon and mouthpiece OK?
- Weightbelt, Knife, enough weights? Spares,sharp, clean, straps & holster all good?
- Fins, screws, glue, foot pockets, blades OK?
- Float, floatline, diveflag, fish-keeper, float safety gear (some smart spearos keep a reflective mirror and whistle on their float, flares even!)
- Speargun, mech and trigger, safety, shooting line!, shooting rail, shaft, flopper, sharp tip, crimps and rubbers. Pay attention for any weaknesses. Some start at the tip and work backwards checking all the points that are prone to failure and corrosion. If you have a reel you need to check the drag and make sure it freespools.
- Spare Parts and Miscellaneous, spare shaft, shooting line, dynema, bridles, tools, rubbers etc. Video Camera, Dive Watches etc these involve their own checks and spares.
- Water, Food, money and phone
- First Aid Kit, fully stocked and ready to use.
For a good source of continuous information subscribe to the Noob Spearo Podcast here (Stitcher Radio link here). Interviews with spearfishing experts, authorities and characters from around the world as well our 101 episodes – deep dives into specific areas of spearfishing.
We have boiled down actionable takeaways into a practical guide to help you improve your spearfishing. 99 Tips to Get Better at Spearfishing is available right now here