The annual Tobago Freedive Spearfishing Challenge (TFSC) organized by Phillip Almandoz and his wife Natania Mack took place in Castara, Tobago, this past weekend 27 & 28 June 2015. There were 29 participants from around the country, some regular competitors and some new faces as well.
In this competition, all spearos must catch their fish while freediving only (breath-holding), no scuba equipment is allowed on board any boat. They are given a list of eligible species to choose from (a maximum of three individuals can be caught per species), each one with a minimum weight to respect. They also receive another list of species they must avoid shooting (such as endangered animals).
The weather conditions were challenging on both days of the competition: the wind was around 20 knots and the currents were very strong on the south side of the island according to the freedivers that speared in the shallows of Tobago. These factors made it hard for most competitors to catch the fish they could have speared under normal conditions. In spite of that, there was a decent amount of fish brought to scale and everyone had a great time.
The total results for each category are the following:
Best up and coming new diver:
- Elvaughn Williams
- Abraham Balkaran
- Danielle Bachew
-4th Christian Reece - 16.2 pound barracuda
-3rd Marc Andre Jaikeran - 16.4 pound crevalle jack
This is the fourth time Josh Lewis wins first place at the Tobago Freedive Spearfishing Challenge. Josh has only been beaten by Richard Parkinson in 2010 and Brett Thompson in 2012. This year Christian Reece came very close with his catch of the second day, but Josh's impressive catch from the first day was very hard to beat, making him once more the TFSC champion.
There was also a video competiton for the first time in the Tobago Spearfishing Challenge. The videos needed to have at least one fish being speared and landed and the footage had to be from Trinidad and Tobago waters and an original creation. The judging criteria to decide which was the best overall video where: -Good quality footage, -Clear shots (the shot on the fish is clearly visible)-Size and species shot, -Underwater scenery, -Well edited.
The results of the video competiton where the following:
-3rd Kevin Chan
-2nd Edmund Alley
-1st Josh Lewis
On the evening of the second day everyone gathered for the prize-giving at the local bar, to share their stories of adventure and receive some amazing prizes including Rob Allen and Riffe spearguns, DiveR blades, wetsuits, Suunto watch, GoPro cameras, etc. Another successful event organized by Phillip and his wife Natania this year, to promote freedive spearfishing as a safe and environmentaly friendly sport.