By Capt. Chad Carney:
In 2016, Freediving Instructors International (FII) presented their new spearfishing course at The Blue Wild Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 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.
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, Florida just days before The Blue Wild. Jonathan became an FII Spearfishing Instructor in September and taught the course to most of his staff and several customers since.
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 a 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 upon completion of the classroom, pool session, and 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-pound amberjack!
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 southeast Florida and can be reached at 727-423-7775 or firstname.lastname@example.org.