My son Zephyr is now 8 years old and just the other day he did and 8 m dive comfortably and came up proclaiming that it was easy - I wished it was deeper as he would surely have reached 12 m. He also did a breathhold of 1 min 50 sec which is very good for his age - at age 18 I could not even do 30 sec!! I am being careful not to push him "to please dad" and have no passion of his own - this is a delicate learning curve for me.
I will sacrifice many of my own dives this year to teach Zeph to spearfish - the reward of him taking a 300 g fish is like me getting a 10 kg one. He will focus on staying on the bottom and waiting there, plus seeking good positions on the seafloor.
I also joined Gully Jumpers Spearo Club last year and applied to the lottery for funds for the club - if successful we can make good progress with getting equipment and training. My main focus will be on freediving. Techniques I plan to work on are monofin constant weight dives and variable weight dives. I also plan to do more no-fins speafishing and film the dives - this is exciting to me as it's a new angle on the spearfishing.
Progress so far:
Obtained a monofin from Trevor Hutton - Thanks Trev - it takes me places I want to go. I think we should meet and exchange some more skills again.
I have made up a freedive rope secured with a tuna float, marked depths on it and tried using a safety lanyard in the shallows (10m). I even connected my echo sounders transducer for surface crew to be able to ID the depth a diver is at - current and wind could interfere here.
I have tested the rope system in deeper water in mild and tough conditions, current, poor viz on top and a delightful 8-9 degrees below, 13 on top. I coped fine in the tough conditions - better than expected. Monofinning is so efficient compared to bifinning - at Gunners Rock I visited the sand bottom a few times at 43 m with surprising ease. I have taken a speargun down with the monofiin a few times and that should prove to be fun too - it's not a shallow water game though - surge could wreck the fin in shallows. Deep spearing with the mono will require long rests between though to avoid decompression sickness from N2 bubbles.
I have lots of work to do though:
- Train monofinning technique - I am very green and there is lots of room to improve in technique and muscle capability. My back took sever strain at first - even had a few visits to the chiro but I got through that.
- Nofins swims - lots of work to be done there too - I speared an bank steenbras at 28 m last year without fins - though the dive was short it worked my arms hard - they were distinctly lactic at the end. I need to strengthen those muscles.
- SAFETY - to offer freediving opportunities I have to ensure adequate safety for the divers and safety divers. Sharks could be a wild variable here but with a low probability. I have a "short sword" for my belt in case I ever have to duel a white on a freedive - bare hands will not do. I can also explore using a POD... There is my own safety too - at present I hold back and never push hard through fear of blacking out. I would love to take the mono for a ride to 60 m, and I believe I can do it, but I will not risk it without safety. I plan to make a counterweight system that can haul a diver back up after not surfacing after the required time.
- Equalizing at depth is also a possible barrier - from the mid fourties I need a low/ultralow volume mask, and I must perfect the mouthfill equalizing technique at depth. Shallow water exhale dives have helped but these can be risky if pushed too long or deep - I buffer for safety here too.
- I made a shock cord harness to train in the pool at home - so far so good except the solar heated pool is too warm. I dread overheating while training especially on breathhold. Perhaps that is just what I must do face my dreaded activity (weakest link) and expand my comfort zone bit by bit - advice from William Trubridge - see http://williamtrubridge.com/writings/
I post all my training on twitter so look there is you want to see what I do.