NSP:128 The Path Of The Jedi – Mike Pooler & Joe D’Agostino

NSP:128 The Path Of The Jedi – Mike Pooler & Joe D’Agostino

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The Path Of The Jedi – The Benthic Boys – Mike Pooler & Joe D’Agostino

The Path Of The Jedi – The Benthic Boys – Mike Pooler & Joe D’Agostino | Mike Pooler is the owner/operator of Benthic Ocean Sports in Destin, Florida; and Joe D’Agostino is his chief Freediving Instructor International (FII) Instructor there. Additionally, Benthic Ocean Sports services all freediving Spearo needs for the Florida Panhandle and South-East US with the highest quality hardware from all over the world. These guys are an FII-accredited institution and are absolute legends! They instruct Levels 1 & 2, a Waterman Survival Course, and a Spearfishing Course, among many others that they do privately for some of the military folks in the FL panhandle.

Mike and Joe are seasoned Spearos and have had some *seriously* impressive Pelagics on the other end of their spearguns! These guys shoot some of the largest and most epic fish available in Gulf of Mexico waters, and his Chief Instructor Joe D’Agostino instructs and travels throughout the freediving and spearfishing community worldwide. We’re sure you’re going to enjoy this conversation!

 

Benthic Ocean Sports


 

Important Times

11:00 Early Obstacles

14:00 What is “Benthic”?

15:00 How did you get involved and put together as a Freediving Shop?

16:00 The Path Of The Jedi

22:00 Favorite species to hunt…tune in for the Panhandle’s most desirable species

27:00 FL Panhandle’s Freedive Spearo Club – Agua Verdes

30:00 Tough situations out in Blue Water

44:00 Veterans Vault: Dyneema vs Mono | Timber vs Pipe | Equipment Discussion

  • Americans with wood guns and mono…what are you guys doing?
  • The Benthic Boys think Dyneema is the right stuff – why?
  • Line memory – what is it?
  • Critical knots to use and why.
  • “Game Changer” – what’s a quick-disconnect knot and why’s it important?
  • Line management and tangles
  • Reels vs. Floatlines
  • Reel Gun safety – Tension, tension, tension!
  • Don’t be married to your equipment – “You can buy a new gun, you can’t buy a new Mike!”
  • The importance of education and safety within the freedive spearfishing community
  • Best Buddy Practices – “Finality is Reality”
  • Minimum safety requirements – One up-One down, learn your buddy’s “dive profile”
  • Courses offered at Benthic Ocean Sports (FII Levels 1 and 2, Waterman Course, Spearfishing Course
  • The mental and physical benefits to spearfishing

80:00 Spearo Q&A

  • What separates you from other spearos?
  • What is the spearfishing destination you’d most like to visit?
  • Most influential person in your spearfishing journey?

Connect with Mike Pooler & Joe D’Agostino at Benthic Ocean Sports @

Check out Joe's official FII Instructor Profile

 

 

 

Links Mentioned

Noob Spearo Partners + Promotions

NSP:118 Ricardo Raposo |  The BrasiloSpearo

NSP:118 Ricardo Raposo | The BrasiloSpearo

The Noob Spearo Podcast – Interview with Ricardo Raposo | The BrasiloSpearo

This episode covers Ricardo’s spearfishing experience from soup to nuts. Ranging from his Father teaching him some original spearo concepts to tossing his children a mask and snorkel, you’ll have to listen to learn about everything in-between!

Big thanks to Ricardo for sharing his spearfishing experience with the NS community!

Important Moments

05:00 Introduction

Rio De Janeiro, and what being a spear there implicates. His father is a prominent figure in his early spearfishing experiences! Ricardo has been spearing since about 10 years old! He’s currently passing on the talent to his daughter starting with a snorkeling trip to Mexico in Playa Del Carmen! If we could all be so lucky to have a Pops like that!

10:00 Early struggles spearfishing

  • Learning hunting techniques – practice, trial, and error
  • Diving in an informed location – marine conservation in Brazil is relatively new
  • Learned early on to look for groups of spearos – a tip from Noob Spearo!
  • Learning how to hunt Parrotfish!
  • Learning how to deal with sharks…!

26:00 Memorable catches

The fish I’m most proud of, a hunt in Indonesia, staying at a Surf Resort. Giant Trevally, no reel, no buoy, the fish was pulling me down. It was an absolutely epic fight! Ricardo also enjoys hunting (and eating) Grouper; they’re a big target species in Brazil.

35:00 Veterans Vault: The Importance of Being Safe

  • “I never knew about the risks involved when I started, but listening to other spearos and spearo communities has really informed me about how unsafe my diving actually was.”
    • Keeping the snorkel out of mouth during dives
  • Tips
    • Concentration and rest – “When it’s too easy, it’s time to stop”
    • Meditate/relax prior to, and during dives. Lower your heart rate.
    • Proper knife positioning is important – you never know when you’ll have difficulty accessing your tools during a dive
  • Always dive with safety-conscious buddies! Even though we always know we are supposed to do so, we often slip into bad habits
  • Pay attention to your bottom times, and always, *always* exercise proper top time
  • Sustainability – a proper code of ethics is always a good idea. Look after your environment, pick up after yourself, and above all be a good steward of wildlife and natural resources
  • Be selective about hunting, follow your instincts and only shoot what’s legal and proper
  • Use the whole fish (Whole fish cookbook made by some blokes in AUS)

52:00 Equipment Bag

New Hammerhead Mask w/GoPro mount on the top. Had some issues initially, but I finally got it working properly. Composite OMER fins, generic dive knives, and recently got a new gun. RIFFE travel gun that deconstruct with a threaded shaft that also comes apart.

57:00 Connecting with Ricardo

Find me on Instagram!

Noob Spearo Partners + Promotions

Immersion Online freediving classes @ www.onlineclasses.ImmersionFreediving.com

  • 28-day Freediving Transformation – Want to increase your bottom time? Want to lower your comfortable operating depth?  Want to increase your breath hold? In 4 weeks, you can transform your physiology to improve your performance as a free diver.  Additionally, learn the proven strategies competitive free divers use to strengthen their performance.
  • Equalization Masterclass – If you are free diver who struggles to equalize your ears in the 15-30 ft range this course is the answer. 14 videos discuss every equalizing problem and coach you through the difficulty. Say goodbye to Valsalva and hello to Frenzel and make equalizing easy.
  • Tuesday Ted Talks Freediving – 19 one-hour live Instagram episodes where I discuss a variety of freediving topics and answer peoples question live on Instagram.
  • Free online courses – How to take a 20-30% bigger breath and how to make the mammalian dive reflex work for you. www.FreedivingSafety.com – Free online safety resource.
  • View all of Ted’s online freediving classes @ www.onlineclasses.ImmersionFreediving.com
NSP:115 Philip Van Zijl | “The Spearfishing Mafia”

NSP:115 Philip Van Zijl | “The Spearfishing Mafia”

The Noob Spearo Podcast – Interview with Philip Van Zijl

This episode of the Noob Spearo Podcast – Interview with Philip Van Zijl covers this legend’s spearfishing journey from the jump to competition diving starting in Cape Town, South Africa to New Zealand and plenty of places in between. He’s a champion of the sport, an absolute legend. He’s a major contributor to the spearfishing community, and a big proponent of paying it forward. Something he’s coined “The Spearfishing Mafia”. Our community, sport, and the hobby are niche. It’s even more niche than SCUBA diving. Take advantage of it, and build your network. 

Big thanks to Philip for taking the time to “pay it forward” on the Noob Spearo Podcast! 

Download this episode on your Podcast app here!

Time Stamps! 

10:00 Introduction

Philip Van Zijl began diving in Cape Town in 1968 at the young age of 16, without wetsuits and just basic gear taking the train to get to where he needed to be. Yellow tail, crayfish, and other good species were some of his earliest accomplishments, always a good feed! A master of limiting out on crayfish during his years in school. He even paid for a year of his time at university from the fruits of his diving! A strong proponent of speargun awareness, make sure you listen to find out why… 

Philip personally procured one of his 120cm spearguns from the legendary Rob Allen, what a story! Think you’re bad about keeping old gear? Philip still has his first catch bag he bought in the 60’s. 

26:00 Early struggles spearfishing

  • Personally, rigging your own speargun was a bit more difficult without YouTube…
  • “If you give out kindness, it comes back to you.” – Pay it forward!
  • Learning new spots, on your own – pays dividends later on!
  • Sharing your expertise, and knowledge, doesn’t necessarily mean sharing your spots
  • Proper weighting, weight secure locations (Harness vs. Belt)

31:35 Most memorable catch

His last dive in Tauranga, NZ with a mate who brought him to a secret honey hole. 15-20 meters visibility, perfect conditions. Kingfish, historically uncommon for the area but are making a comeback. He was diving with some friends, stomach started to sour, and then returned to the boat. After viewing a bait ball of Kahawai, he grabbed his gear and jumped back into the water. Viewing a school of Kingfish, he pulled the trigger and bagged a PB weighing in at approximately 27 kilos! To hear his second most memorable catch on a “popgun”, tune in to 35:43! 

38:50 Favorite species to hunt

Snapper, hands down. A challenging quarry, requiring a combination of burly and stealth. 3-4k tops, but no monsters like on the GBR. Additionally, slow movements, be calm, don’t look directly *at* them, and let them get within target range. Maintain gun awareness so that when the shot presents itself, it can easily be taken. Learned from losing a 6k Trevally years ago. Learn about the duality of the gun safety discussion here!

 42:50 Scariest moments in the ocean

While shooting a Blue Moki, the bugger got off the spear and high-tailed it into a crevice. Meanwhile, a surge came and pushed Philip into a crevice in which he was stuck. Every spearo’s nightmare. Trying to remain calm, he additionally considered that a surge which can push you in, can also pull you out. Going for broke, he expelled the air in his lungs to reduce his physical profile and was able to get pulled out on the next surge out to sea. Probably the scariest moment of his life. Lesson learned – be very careful when working a crevice while fishing for crays or otherwise.

 48:00 Veterans Vault: The “Spearfishing Mafia”

  • Giving back to the spearfishing community is as important as the sport itself. Hospitality within the spearfishing community is unique to the sport – PAY IT FORWARD!
  • Bring your gear as often as possible when traveling so you never miss an opportunity!
  • Reaching out on social media prior to travel and networking can be an incredible asset
  • When traveling with spearfishing equipment, keep “gun” out of your vocabulary. Just refer to it as fishing equipment. It can save you valuable time
  • Cooler bags can be worth their weight in gold when traveling
  • Sharing spearfishing equipment when mates are traveling can not just save on cost but strengthen relationships
  • Be a good host – it comes back around; when you aren’t, well then it won’t will it?
  • How to avoid losing a knife – use some paracord or dyneema, tie it off to a pencil or other instrument, then tie that to the end of the knife. This way, when you drop the knife (not if, but when) it will stay secured

 75:00 Equipment Bag

Additionally, catch-bags are a must, saves you from going back to your plat “float boat”. Avoid harassment from sea lions, seals, or the tax man by simply using a catch-bag. Actually, saved a fishing competition by using one as the sea lions were going from float to float getting chubby on the hard work of humans. Carry two knives – one on thigh and one on arm. To avoid losing knives, use some paracord or dyneema, tie it off to a pencil or other instrument, then tie that to the end of the knife. This way, when you drop the knife (not if, but when) it will stay secured. 

1:06 Spearo Q&A

  • Describe what the spearfishing experience means to you?
  • Single best piece of advice ever given for spearfishing?
  • Most influential person in spearfishing to you?
  • Spearfishing/Freediving library?
    • 99 Tips to get Better at Spearfishing!
  • Had to start all over, what would you do differently?
  • Who is the best person to go spearfishing with now?
  • Where can people connect with you?
  • Any parting guidance or wisdom for the community?

Noob Spearo Partners + Promotions

Immersion Online freediving classes @ www.onlineclasses.ImmersionFreediving.com

  • 28-day Freediving Transformation – Want to increase your bottom time? Want to lower your comfortable operating depth?  Want to increase your breath hold? In 4 weeks, you can transform your physiology to improve your performance as a free diver.  Additionally, learn the proven strategies competitive free divers use to strengthen their performance.
  • Equalization Masterclass – If you are free diver who struggles to equalize your ears in the 15-30 ft range this course is the answer. 14 videos discuss every equalizing problem and coach you through the difficulty. Say goodbye to Valsalva and hello to Frenzel and make equalizing easy.
  • Tuesday Ted Talks Freediving – 19 one-hour live Instagram episodes where I discuss a variety of freediving topics and answer peoples question live on Instagram.
  • Free online courses – How to take a 20-30% bigger breath and how to make the mammalian dive reflex work for you. www.FreedivingSafety.com – Free online safety resource.
  • View all of Ted’s online freediving classes @ www.onlineclasses.ImmersionFreediving.com