Hello from Washington State

  • Hello from Washington State,

    The spearfishing here is not great, but it's fun. In Puget Sound we have Ling Cod season from May 21st to June 15th, and that's about it. During the summer it's mostly about diving for crabs and I usually catch my limit every time.

    I've been snorkeling since I was a kid and scuba diving for almost 20 years. I'm a PADI Divemaster and I've worked in the dive industry. I've never taken a freediving class, but I've read every book on freediving that I could find.

    I have a couple of questions for you guys. I don't have a spearfishing buddy as a lot of the freedive spearfishing people around here won't dive with you unless you have a freediving certification. My question is what do people learn in a four day class that makes them a more qualified diver than someone with decades of diving experience?

    So I dive alone, a lot. My operating depth is about 30 feet and I only dive for about one minute. My surface intervals are always at least twice as long as my dives. Do you guys know if there is any actual data that shows that my dive profile could lead to shallow water blackout? Personally, I think that the risk is usually exagerrated and applies mostly to divers who are pushing their limits.

    I'm not trying to stir anything up. I would just like to know what experienced divers outside of the dive industry think about this as opposed to dive industry echo chamber.


  • I am in Washington state too, Mill Creek to be precise. I’ve never done any diving in this state nor have I taken any freediving certification class but I have 20 years freediving with the purpose of spearfishing. My experience is limited to warm water diving exclusively though. I’ve done lots of research but between the insane regulations, the water temperature and the poor visibility never really had the urge. Maybe I could tag along on one of your crabbing trips to see if I get hooked.

    From what I understand the freediving clases put a lot of emphasis on breathing techniques, stretching, diver etiquette and emergency protocols. All of it important and definitely conducive to a better experience/performance but not required IMHO. Good judgment and common sense are just as important.

  • Welcome mate. A freedive course does not make a skindiver or waterman, the man does, along with watermen skill sets, these come from Mother Ocean with time in the sea. Dive at your comfortable pace and have fun. Great divers of the 50's 60's and present have done it this way. Save yourself or dive with a friend to share the beautify.

    Cheers, Don

    "Great mother ocean brought forth all life, it is my eternal home'' Don Berry from Blue Water Hunters.

    Spearfishing Store the freediving and spearfishing equipment specialists.

  • Welcome to the forum.

    Spearfishing is fundamentally a solitary activity, unless done in a specific way like 2 divers one gun. So eliminate the unnecessary additional worry of "diving alone". Look at it as your time with yourself.

    Listen to your body and don't surpass your limits trying to match how you think you should be performing, because of what you read online or saw in a youtube video. Depth and time increases do happen when you push your limits, but you should push yourself for the right reasons. I don't want freediving course information clouding my judgement as I dive, nough said.

  • Thanks for the replies,

    Adrian, most of my dives have been in cold water and Puget Sound is where I learned to scuba dive and I love it here. My warm water dives were mostly in fresh water lakes. The restrictions aren't as bad on the coast and Neah Bay is great for spearfishing but it's a four hour drive. Puget Sound would be so much better if they would just open rockfish. Crabbing will be closed in the south sound this summer (Areas 11 and 13) which is where I usually hunt, but they will be open in Area 10. I'm planning on going to the west side around Port Orchard, anywhere north of the Southworth Ferry dock. The visibility is usually a lot better on that side of the sound. I think it will open in July if you want to try it. I have the manuals of a few freediving courses and I have practiced the dry tables. I agree there is useful information in the classes, especially for a beginner. I don't think that I need to sit in a class with an instructor to learn most of it though as I have no interest in line diving or competition.

    Don Paul, I agree. There is a long history of skin diving before freediving came along. I consider my diving as a part of that tradition more than a part of freediving. Although, freediving has helped to perfect the gear, people have been diving for food long before freediving became a sport.

    Dan, thanks for the input. I agree with you. I think it's an individual choice based on training, understanding, and accepting risk. I just don't want to see the freediving industry try to force its own standards on everyone the way the scuba industry does, like when they force you to have your gear serviced by a certified technician and won't sell you the parts to do it yourself. Or they try to tell you that you have to take a class to learn to dive in a drysuit. The whole industry is built on the premise that divers are incompetent, just so they can sell more training or services.

  • Your on your way Paniolo de mar, I've been in a spearfishing club for 30 + years called the Long Beach Neptunes. In the 50's we were skindivers that held our breath when we hunted . Somewhere along the line we were called freedivers ( 70's )even though we were not competing for depth.

    The first use of the term Freediver was the Navy depicting a tank diver versus a Hardhat or hose diver. I don't compete for depth or time in the pool although I'm still a freediver/

    Cheers, Don

    "Great mother ocean brought forth all life, it is my eternal home'' Don Berry from Blue Water Hunters.

    Spearfishing Store the freediving and spearfishing equipment specialists.

  • If the crux is the poor local conditions then I would teach myself to comfortably dive dirtier water and not focus on depth and duration. It could open up more areas to hunt and increase your overall water time.

  • If the crux is the poor local conditions then I would teach myself to comfortably dive dirtier water and not focus on depth and duration. It could open up more areas to hunt and increase your overall water time.

    I'm pretty comfortable in low viz, but it is more work when you can't spot fish or crabs from the surface. I dive conservatively for safety. If I could dive deeper that would open more areas, but I do ok. If I did dive with a buddy I might be inclined to push for more depth and time.


  • Last week I went to a spearfishing/freediving store and there was this fat guy, with cigarrette smell teaching me how to drop my weight belt and which fins should I wear.

    My son Alessandro was with me and he was laughting his shit out of him when we left the store.

    I was serious listening to all his advices...

    These courses probably are good for beginers, but I have my doubts. They put someone without any experience to dive to 70'-80' in one weekend if they are phisically fit. That's extremely dangerous.

    I remeber some time ago, I was interested in taking an "Advanced freediving level 3 or something course"- They didn't let me do so because I had to take the previous courses.

    After asking them to do me some tests to see if I was "elegible" for the advanced course as I can dive consistently to 80' and meven more, they didn't want to. Screw them!

    I only hope that it wont become mandatory to have a certification as you said. I know very few freedivers/spearfishermen with more experience/skills than me. Without any modesty. :)

    But you can always learn something. ;)

    Marco Melis

    A bad day fishing is ALWAYS better than a good day at work.

  • Haha, he sounds just like the manager/instructor of the dive shop I used to work at. But he only dove scuba and always referred to freediving as "snorkeling". He wasn't a good role model for the sport of diving either.

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