NSP:170 Brian Fern | Hawaii’s Unkolearnuhow

NSP:170 Brian Fern | Hawaii’s Unkolearnuhow

Interview with Brian Fern

Today’s interview is with Brian Fern, aka @Unkolearnuhow from Hawaii! He has a genuine wealth of knowledge on gear and diving from his almost 40 years of spearfishing with a particular mindset towards sustainability and safety. In Hawaii, spearfishing is seen as more of a lifestyle than a sport – that shows in the way he speaks about spearfishing and guides others into it. He is a big advocate for buddy diving and gives us some actionable tips on how to dive safely and more effectively, how to handle Noob Spearos that don’t know much about safety and how to confront experienced spearos that have unsafe dive practices. He even has some advice on avoiding and treating ciguatera poisoning! Have a listen and let us know what you think! We need to get Brian back for a 2nd episode, we didn’t have time to get through everything we wanted to speak about!

Important times:

  • 00:13 Intro
  • 01:50 Spencer Allen on 99 Spearo Recipes
  • 04:53 Hello and welcome Brian!
  • 06:24 Spearfishing in Hawaii is more of a lifestyle than a sport
  • 08:08 Hawaiians seem very connected to their environment, is this true or just the tourists view?
  • 10:40 Invasive species
  • 12:25 Ciguatera poisoning
  • 13:34 What was your experience of that and how did you treat it?
  • 16:11 Alcohol and coffee making the symptoms worse

  • 17:11 When did you start spearfishing?
  • 19:12 Pole spears
  • 21:42 There’s no such thing as a shit fish, only a shit cook – do you agree?
  • 22:17 Staple fish species
  • 23:40 You have super clear water which presents it’s own challenges
  • 25:40 How did you develop your freediving to be able to hunt those fish and be safe?
  • 28:50 “I want to dive like Ryan Myers – how long will that take me to learn?”
  • 33:10 Learning to be patient
  • 36:15 Diving with better divers

  • 38:37 What about diving with someone that doesn’t listen to good advice?
  • 40:32 Learning through time and observation – how to not suck at spearfishing
  • 41:30 Diving with bad buddies – have a game plan on the shore
  • 42:54 How do you dive with people who can’t dive as deep as you can?
  • 44:10 How do you confront experienced divers that have bad dive practices? The dangers of experience and ego
  • 47:40 Wrapping up buddy diving –  have a partner that’s at or just above your skill level
  • 49:18 Struggling to do one up and one down? Dive with 1 gun!

  • 51:51 Understanding variable conditions – what do spearos need to understand about reading conditions?
  • 54:03 How do people find spearing mentors in Hawaii?
  • 55:59 Spearfishing clubs
  • 57:27 How do you confront people that have decided that they know enough?
  • 58:16 Conditions: you need to learn from local divers – talk to life guards
  • 01:00:03 Online weather resources

  • 01:00:56 How do you know when you are too deep?
  • 01:03:22 The right equipment for the right job
  • 01:05:19 Financial barrier to entry – if you have the wrong gear, you are risking your life
  • 01:08:21 Mannysub –  what do you like about his gear? Premium gear that’s been well designed with great customer service
  • 01:11:14 Rollerguns
  • 01:14:57 Before hunting with a new gun – DO SOME TARGET PRACTICE – properly powering your gun
  • 01:18:16 Pipe guns vs wood guns
  • 01:20:00 Price is a big influence – rigging and using your speargun is a big thing to learn. Mannysub gives you instruction manuals with their spearguns
  • 01:21:32 Mannysub roller conversion kit – Brian is the US and Hawaii rep
  • 01:23:04 How do people reach out and find you and your gear? Rollerspearguns.com and unkolearnuhow.com
  • 01:23:56 We are out of time –  thanks for being on the show!
  • 01:24:44 Outro

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NSP:169 Lisa Ferrier Rafkin | Badass and Frothing past 50

NSP:169 Lisa Ferrier Rafkin | Badass and Frothing past 50

Interview with Lisa Ferrier Rafkin

Today’s interview is with Lisa Ferrier Rafkin, a badass and frothing speara that holds 15 women’s world records! Join us as we chat about her journey in spearfishing, her struggles, memorable fish and some great tips for hunting pelagic fish species and staying safe! She is part of the Sea of Love Foundation where she teaches children to spearfish! She is clearly exceptionally talented at spearfishing and although she hasn’t been doing it for very long, she has a lot that you can learn from when it comes to technique, overcoming challenges and caring for your catch. The species on her list are things like Bluefin Tuna, Roosterfish and big yellow tail to name a few, if you are interested in hunting bigger game fish this is a great episode to listen to!

lisa next to roosterfish

Important times:

  • 00:13 Intro
  • 05:12 Hello and welcome! Tell us about the Sea Of Love Foundation
  • 06:19 You are softhearted in the day and a badass spearfisher at night! You have 15x women’s world records!
  • 08:12 What draws you to the ocean?
  • 08:57 Your work takes a toll on you, is spearfishing a type of therapy for you?
  • 10:28 What’s your earliest spearfishing memory?

lisa holding a fish on a boat

  • 12:24 You started a new sport at a late age, how did you find the process of starting new?
  • 14:21 Starting with very competent people can be intimidating
  • 15:56 I got my first blue water gun in 2016 after a lot of diving
  • 17:41 What is a “paddy”? If there’s a bird on it, it’s a good sign!
  • 18:46 What size are we talking?
  • 20:10 How do you approach a paddy?
  • 21:23 Explain the hunting around a paddy
  • 22:23 Undersized yellowtail “rats”

lisa and a big tuna

  • 23:17 What does ethical spearfishing mean to you?
  • 24:30 Your awareness of the ethics become nuanced as you develop in your spearfishing
  • 28:05 What was it like learning to freedive at 52?
  • 29:32 Duck dive technique is a huge thing
  • 30:23 What’s the first hunt that stands out in your memory?
  • 32:17 Have you had a problem with shot placement with bigger yellowtail?
  • 33:45 Loading a speargun
  • 35:31 Sometimes you need to struggle

lisa and a hai mahi

  • 37:44 Dealing with excitement when you find a great fish
  • 39:42 The missed opportunities keep you coming back
  • 40:27 Pulling fish in on your shooting line, it takes practice
  • 42:14 Dorado/mahi mahi really test you and your team
  • 43:14 As a novice hunting Bluefin Tuna, what advice do you have?

lisa and 2 yellowtail

  • 46:31 Watch where your line is!
  • 47:08 Are you using a clutch setup? Yes!
  • 48:53 Do Bluefin dive deep when they get scared?
  • 52:42 What tough/scary situations have you had? Getting wrapped in line
  • 54:56 Sharks!
  • 59:05 Black Sea Bass

lisa and 2 mahi mahi

  • 59:57 People wonder how we can love animals so much and still hunt and eat them
  • 01:03:06 Equipment: Riffe speargun and wetsuit
  • 01:04:23 I don’t use a low volume mask, my scuba mask just fits perfectly and I have problems with all the low volume makes I’ve used
  • 01:07:00 Do you do any pool training?
  • 01:08:10 Getting a little extra depth opens up bigger fish and the problem with comparison in spearfishing
  • 01:10:06 Dive within your limits and shallow water blackouts
  • 0:11:24 When I take people to hunt bigger fish I make sure they keep there surface to diving ratio good
  • 01:14:37 Funny stuff!
  • 01:16:53 Lessons learned for drift diving
  • 01:17:41 Shooting a 56lb Roosterfish and almost losing all my gear
  • 01:19:08 What do they taste like?
  • 01:19:53 Bluefin tuna: caring and processing is different than for other fish
  • 01:22:02 Dry aging fish
  • 01:24:49 Treating fish well is an important thing

lisa in the water

  • 01:26:37 Spearo Q&A
    • Single best tip: using pink bands, seriously! It attracts fish!
    • Who’s been the most influential person in your spearfishing?
    • If you had to start spearfishing all over again, what would you do differently?
    • Describe what the spearfishing experience means to you.
  • 01:30:30 Where can people find you on social media?
  • 01:31:58 Outro

lisa NSP instagram

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NSP:168 Fully Rad Oregon Freediving Company | Daniel Semrad

NSP:168 Fully Rad Oregon Freediving Company | Daniel Semrad

Interview with Daniel Semrad

Today’s interview is with Daniel Semrad of the Oregon Freediving Company! He is a world record holding spearfishing and freediving instructor that is also be an award winning teacher! He now runs the Oregon Freediving Company with his wife Talya who also holds spearfishing world records and is a competitive freediver representing South Africa! They train in some great conditions, we’re talking about dirty and 6-10 degree water! Listen in as we chat about spearfishing in Oregon, running a freediving shop and teaching students, hunting techniques, exercises and dry training to benefit your diving and a whole lot more. Dan is an awesome guy and a great diver, let us know what you think of this episode!

Oregon Freediving Company Logo

Important times:

  • 00:13 Intro
  • 04:03 Hello and welcome Daniel Semrad! Tell us about the freediving/spearfishing community in Oregon
  • 06:08 You’re a freedive instructor, how did you get there?
  • 07:47 You won the Excite Award from MIT for being an exciting teacher
  • 10:30 Water conditions in Oregon
  • 11:38 What suit do you wear in your 6-10 degree water?
  • 13:23 You probably spend a lot of time in the pool with conditions like that. How do you run your courses?
  • 15:14 Buddy protocols in dirty water, what are you teaching your students?
  • 17:56 What role do static exercises play in spearfishing?
  • 19:25 When you feel you need to speed up, slow down. How did this become a reality to you?
  • 22:22 My Octopus Teacher – has that impacted the amount of your customers?
  • 24:09 Talya Davidoff is your wife, she is an accomplished spearo (3x world records) and competitive freediver too
  • 25:10 Tell us about your recordsDaniel Semrad and some fish
  • 28:38 What does your spearfishing consist of these days?
  • 30:08 Walk us through a great day spearfishing for you
  • 32:22 Purple urchins, are they bad over there?
  • 33:48 Are they good eating?
  • 34:50 Fisheries management
  • 37:16 Hunting in Oregon: what species and how do you hunt them?
  • 39:42 What are the telltale signs of the species you look for? Type of rock, seaweed, coral or animals.
  • 42:17 You are covering a lot of ground looking for fish
  • 43:03 I don’t like statics or aspetto spearfishing: hunting in Hawaii and Alaska
  • 45:58 Gear: what do you use? You mentioned using a pole spear
  • 47:19 Do you guys like smoking fish up there?
  • 49:20 Scary stuff: have you had any close calls?
  • 52:08 Spearfishing off a kayak: lessons learned from bad situations
  • 55:22 What obstacles did you find in your spearfishing?
  • 56:46 The delicate balance of doing freediving/spearfishing as a job, how do you balance it?
  • 01:01:04 Understanding weather conditions and making predictions: how to predict visibility
  • 01:03:45 Have you kept a dive log for spearfishing?Daniel Semrad and a blue Lingcod
  • 01:04:53 You have some back health issues? What do you do in the gym?
  • 01:06:44 What cross training has been relevant for spearfishing and freediving?
  • 01:08:30 Dry training can be hard to maintain, have you found the same?
  • 01:09:22 Training resources for dry training
  • 01:10:35 What yoga do you do?
  • 01:11:34 Hate for spearfishing: what criticisms have you got for spearfishing and how do you respond?
  • 01:13:39 Spearfishing on scuba vs freediving
  • 01:14:44 Funny stuff
  • 01:16:38 What’s in your dive bag? Wetsuit, gloves, fins, dive computer, weights, speargun and pole spear, shooting line, buoys/floats and lines, etc.
  • 01:24:08 Do you teach spearo etiquette?Daniel Semrad and a fish
  • 01:25:19 Spearo Q&A
    • Single best spearfishing tip: slow down!
    • What does the spearfishing experience mean to you? Hit the reset button
    • Who’s been the most influential people in your community? My local community
    • Where in the world would you like to go spearfishing? South Africa and Australia
  • 01:27:30 Where can people find you and where is your shop?
  • 01:29:23 Are you running courses again?
  • 01:30:15 Outro and last notes that Daniel didn’t mention
  • Daniel Semrad Instagram
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NSP:167 Sharkshield Technology | Ocean Guardian with Lindsay Lyon

NSP:167 Sharkshield Technology | Ocean Guardian with Lindsay Lyon

Interview with Lindsay Lyon from Ocean Guardian

Today’s interview is with Lyndsay Lyon from Ocean Guardian, originally and probably better known as Shark Shield! They make a range of products that are designed to make ocean activities safer and to decrease the amount of shark attacks on humans. It works by creating an electrical field that surrounds the diver or surfer that causes a distinct and noticeable reaction in certain types of sharks (namely the ones we humans have trouble with, Great White, Bull Shark, Tiger Shark) and causes them to turn away. Now, making a product that aims to stop shark attacks is a big claim and needs to be backed up by solid evidence and rigorous testing. We had a ton of questions from our community asking the questions that everyone wants to know: Will this stop a Great White from biting me? How close do the sharks need to get for these products to work? Can I trust my life to this?
If you are wondering at all about any of these questions, have a listen to this episode and it will answer all these and more! In the links below are several videos of these products being tested and you can see for yourself just how effective they are.

How the Freedom 7 works

Important times:

  • 00:14 Intro
  • 05:00 Hello Lyndsay! Where did the name change come from?
  • 06:42 How did you get involved with Terra Australis and Andre Rerekura?
  • 07:50 Terra Australis did a test with the surf board product
  • 09:00 Tell us about how sharks sense the world and how Ocean Guardian affects sharks
  • 10:47 Do they see in colour?
  • 12:12 What scientific studies have been done? Many marine animals use electrical fields
  • 15:14 What is the effective range?
  • 17:44 What is the shark’s physiological reaction to the electrical field?
  • 18:35 Has anyone been bitten while wearing one? What guarantee is there?
  • 21:15 National Geographic has a good video on this with Chris Hemsworth
  • 23:15 Use this as a risk mitigation strategy
  • 24:07 What species are they most effective on? Only 3 main sharks that are a real concern to humans, Great Whites, Bull and Tiger sharks
  • 25:41 Oceanic White Tips and Reef sharks and Mako’s, are they effective against them?
  • 27:04 Installing the device into your fins
  • 28:33 Have you thought about partnering with fin companies? Why a fin isn’t the best option
  • 30:10 Sharkbanz
  • 31:00 Handheld device for spearos
  • 32:14 Problems with the first handheld Sharkshield

ocean guardian barrier

  • 33:53 We are in a very small industry
  • 37:06 Version 2.0 of the eSPEAR
  • 38:15 Surfers are the highest risk
  • 38:45 Bubbles also scare sharks
  • 39:24 Shark barrier to replace shark nets
  • 39:56 Does this interfere with other animals?
  • 41:01 Government perspective on drum lines and shark nets
  • 43:00 WA government actually gives you money to buy shark deterrents
  • 43:58 Shark Eyes
  • 46:20 Is there a maximum size shark it will work on?
GWS by @sharkyaerials

Image by @sharkyaerials – The Ampullae of Lorenzini

  • 48:00 Does 1 diver wearing this device put the others at a higher risk?
  • 50:26 Hanging the device on your float or stringer
  • 51:32 What are the long term effects on humans at depth?
  • 53:21 Sharks seem to be more aggressive on the surface
  • 54:52 I see more sharks with my shield on than without
  • 56:40 The inverse square law and how far the field can be detected
  • 57:39 Sharks can only sense electrical fields about 50cm away
  • 01:00: Does the device emit a vibration?
  • 01:00:55 Can these devices aggravate the sharks more?
  • 01:02:46 Practicalities of using this in kelp or on coral reefs
  • 01:04:44 Floating the device
  • 01:06:45 How has Covid affected your business?
  • 01:08:33 Adding an interchangeable battery
  • 01:09:47 Shock protection?
  • 01:11:23 Helping shark attack survivors get back into the water: The Bite Club on Facebook
  • 01:15:13 How do you store the device?

ocean guadian fishing

  • 01:16:00 How do you check the charge?
  • 01:17:23 Auto-inflating vest for black out protection
  • 01:18:30 What reduces the effectiveness?
  • 01:20:09 How does it attach to you?
  • 01:20:58 When will you have stock again and where can I buy them + servicing
  • 01:22:57 Warranty
  • 01:25:08 What is the future for Ocean Guardian?

Shark barrier

  • 01:26:26 What’s your ultimate vision for Ocean Guardian?
  • 01:28:32 Outro
  • 01:29:51 Noober Stories

Lyndsay Lyon and Surf board

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NSP:166 Speargun Accurizing with the Coatesman | Chris Coates

NSP:166 Speargun Accurizing with the Coatesman | Chris Coates

Interview with Chris Coatesman

How to upgrade your speargun and miss less fish! Today’s episode is with the Coatesman, Chris Coates! He and Shrek talk about accurizing, it is a word, the process of making your speargun accurate. They go through common speargun problems, shooting line, choice of brand, aiming techniques and much more. We rely heavily on our gear when spearfishing, this episode is all about making sure your hardware is working as best as it can. Roller guns vs traditional spearguns, barbs, bent shafts, mono vs dyneema and everything you need to know to upgrade your speargun, aim better and miss less fish!

Interested in roller guns? He has been the authority on roller’s for a while now and has released a great video series on Youtube and his website called Unrolling The Roller, it’s everything you need to know about roller guns!

Coatesman Youtube 8 tips

What accuracy issues have you experienced? How did you solve them? Let us know in the comments!

Important times:

  • 00:14 Welcome to the show
  • 05:15 Welcome back Chris Coatesman!
  • 06:09 Spearfishing equipment cannot come back through the door
  • 08:28 Every spearo has accuracy issues
  • 09:53 The difference between weekend warriors and competitive spearos
  • 11:02 First place to look, is your shaft straight?
  • 12:15 I dive with at least 2 guns

chris and a tuna

  • 14:20 Using the correct shaft
  • 16:39 Why I use Rob Allen gear
  • 19:08 Bro science vs engineering, practicality trumps the science
  • 24:15 When buying a gun, make sure the shaft is aligned
  • 25:11 I don’t make shafts and I don’t have handles
  • 27:10 The downsides of homemade gear, don’t just make things cheaper, make them better
  • 30:57 Next thing to look at is tuning your barb

Chris and a fwahoo

  • 33:20 There is a reason you work through troubleshooting in a specific order
  • 35:30 Wishbones and shooting line, dyneema vs mono
  • 44:42 Keep your guns the same
  • 46:39 You can’t compare speargun prices to other sports. A speargun will last you 10 years if you do it right
  • 48:27 Remove all doubt, have gear you can rely on. Carry spare parts
  • 53:20 Fail fast and move on. Know where the issue is
  • 55:22 Aiming tips and techniques

Chris and a fish 1

  • 57:10 “Bad spearfishing shoot small fish”
  • 58:19 Barret Harvey has a great aiming video 
  • 01:00:34 What aiming style do you use?
  • 01:05:22 Different techniques for different situations
  • 01:07:44 Pool shooting for confidence

chris and a kob

  • 01:01:32 Don’t wait for your gear to fail for you to take maintenance seriously
  • 01:16:38 Thank you for being on the show Chris!
  • 01:19:43 Outro and final thoughts


nsp166 instagram
Podchaser - Noob Spearo Podcast | Spearfishing Tips, Stories and Interviews
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