Spearfishing Course for Freedivers

by Capt. Chad Carney, Contributing Writer

There has never been a spearfishing certification course from any international freediving training agency. In 2016 Freediving Instructors International (FII), presented their new spearfishing course at The Blue Wild Expo in Fort Lauderdale. FII founder Martin Stepanek, and freediving instructors John Dornellas and Cameron Kirkconnell wrote the textbook for the course, called FII Spearfishing. The first course was taught by Martin and John at Florida Freedivers, Jonathan and Kelsey Dickinson’s dive shop in North Palm Beach, FL, just days before The Blue Wild. Jonathan became a FII Spearfishing Instructor in September and taught the course to most of his staff, including myself, and several customers since.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Sultenfuss

If you’re new to spearfishing or a veteran, this wealth of knowledge course, from many of the world’s best spearfishermen and freedivers will be invaluable. All students must already have a Level 1 freediving certification from an internationally recognized agency.

The classroom section of the course runs a half day, and is packed with great content including spearfishing ethics, freediving safety, location safety about dive planning, site obstructions, currents, marine animals, divers and boats. Information about spearfishing gear, it’s handling and use is covered thoroughly along with underwater hunting skills and techniques. The second half of the day is the pool training where speargun handling and float line training is hands-on. The provided spearguns are unique in that they can be loaded in the water with total safety, because their shafts are completely stationary, as they are permanently bolted to the muzzles and mechanisms. Otherwise the spearguns are fully functional and allow the best practice for pool or confined water training. Hunting styles and tricks are also taught and practiced in the pool around a portable artificial reef at the pool bottom where students will stalk a foam fish.

Certification is completed with the classroom and pool session, along with a written test. A day of real ocean spearfishing is an option and may vary from location to location, but in the Palm Beaches, Jonathan says they plan for a day of spearfishing in moderate depths where water entries with gear can be polished, and also float lines can be used in currents. Reefs with low structure are available for stalking with, aspetto and agguatto techniques. The photo is Jonathan Dickinson with a recent 70 lbs. AJ!

Check out www.floridafreedivers.com and www.freedivinginstructors.com  for more information about the course and spearfishing and freediving equipment.

Capt. Chad Carney runs diving and spearfishing charters in SE Florida and can be reached at 727-423-7775 or chad.carney@yahoo.com