The dream of many spearos and organizers who wanted an international competition open to everyone has come true with the 1° Spearfishing World Cup for CLubs which has taken place in Biserta, Tunisia, and who’s final results and happenings we have already published.
Giving strength and value to the event have been clubs coming from different continents like Africa, South America and Europe, the latter very well represented. Among the most skilled athletes George Vasiliou, World Champion 2016 in the abyssal waters of Syros, in Greece.
Spanish winning history and tradition has been well visible in this event. The abyssal spearfishing in variable weight so much loved by Spanish athletes has shown its best with Raul Astorga, a new talent, who has been captain of team TRAFALGAR. Astorga, already in the super strong Spanish National team and an expert in spearfishing in the strong current typical of Gibilterra strict, he has led his team in the North African abyssal waters catching a number of big groupers, mottled groupers and also 4 pagrus Auriga. Such last fish, very rare in the North of the Mediterranean, have been caught from – 42 to – 50 meters, using the variable weight up to 18 kg to reduce time of descent phase.
Team with Gabriele Delbene, Roberto Dell’Avanzato and Dario Maccioni, the latter athlete of Italian National Team and fourth in the Greeck World Champ in Greece in 2016, have been competing as team SUB CLUB BRESCIA. A second final position and a second placement in day 1 have been a great result in a race, as described by Delbene, led attacking all the time aiming for victory.
But the most titled team was the one made by 3 times World Champion Renzo Mazzarri, Riccardo Molteni and Nicola Riolo. Even though age is no more so green, will all to loose and little to gain, these Champions that continue to write the history of this discipline, both on the sportive and the ethical aspect, have tested themselves once more and where in good position for victory. They have found three amazing spots: “the wagon”, a rocky area with the shape of a parallelepiped orthogonal to the coast, where first day has been finally won by Cypriots of Vasiliou; a small part of a relic in deep water with great dentexes and mottled groupers that had never seen men before, and a hole at 30 meters full of giant mottled groupers. Unfortunately the total change of weather and sea conditions has reshuffled cards in a negative way for the most talented team.
Agonistic behaviour in evolution for the teams representing Tunisia, Lybia and Algeria, that have obtained better than expected results. The competition has confirmed the trend that international championships are indicating: the big preys that make the difference concentrate in deep waters, once not even taken into consideration. Team SUB CLUB Brescia has told us to have set dives between – 34 and – 40 meters. -35/-40 meters are now though not even considered so extreme and the athletes of the Italian team have not gone deeper to avoid complications in case of worthening of the weather.
Organization has shown many positive things and some negative. One among all the absence of protections around the weighing machine that did not permit precise indications, a problem unfortunately present also in some national Italian competitions.
We have interviewed Gabriele Delbene, of the team that has obtained, among the Italians, best result in this 1° World Cup for Clubs.
AP: Gabriele, tell us about days before competion. How did you act, what did you find?
We have had only 3 days of preparation due to the fact that in high level competitions last day nobody can even only cross competition field with or without spearguns on the boat. Tough wetaher conditions have stressed us a lot. I remeber in particular that to set a point of a big grouper found in the current in a master hole at – 39 meters we have spent almost an hour attempting to set the signal and finding-checking the spot.
AP: Tell su about first competition day: from getting up, breakfast, reaching the boat, checking equipment, palan for day 1 and how finally the day has turned out. Was there the fish you expected, and sea conditions?
During opening day of ceremony we have managed to find one and a half hours to preparare all spearguns. Half an hour to check the dinghy and plan the spots in the harbour before dinner. At breakfast Dario and Roberto with paistry and coffee, me only camomil and strawberry juice at a bar on the coast. On the first spot I let Dario dive with a 110 single rubber and he had immediately caught a mottled grouper of 4 kg. We have needed a couple of dives each and the help of ther little buowy for traction to manage though to take the fish out of the rocks. During a stop to extract the mottled grouper Dario has shot a grouper around 10 kg that was our main objective. While I was diving to take another shot I have managed to shoot a mottled grouper over 5 kg movign from one rock to another. In my following dive I have shot again the grouper perfectly shot the first time on the head by Dario and have managed to extract the fish from the deep and narrow duct it was hidden in. At that point Vincenzo Magnani and Bessem that were making videos have arrived. During a long glide at around – 37 m I have noticed a vertical dark and narrow crack in the rocks, where two groupers that seemed to me at weight limit (7 kg). In a couple of dives together with Dario I have caught the biggest one (10 kg). At that point half of competition day has passed and we moved to look for white fish.
AP: Tell su about second competition day, including bad happenings, as you anticipated, in the night.
During the night between first and second day of competion we have been robbed twice, speaguns and a tank of fuel, braking my car window. Fortunately a good friendship and sportive feeling has shown up and thanks to Valentina Prokic and to the Maltese and Croat teams we have managed to cover equipment needs. We have been attacking all day aiming to catch at least 2 of the 6 great groupers (some close to 20 kg) that we had signalled during preparation. Start was on an underwater cliff with around 40 croakers between 800 grams and 2 kg. Two groupers of around 8 and 12 kg where also there. Unfortunately in day 2 all had changed and no fish could be seen. Waves had grown , current changed, and water got colder, so fish had disappeared. In such conditions we have spent a lot of time to check all other signals.
AP: Which has been the prey that has given you most satisfaction? When did you find it? Where was it? Describe to us spearfishing action, from the dive, to when you saw the prey, how you got close to it and finally when you shot the fish and taken it to the surface. Which speargun did you use?
On the grouper of just a little less than 10 kg that I found during a glide without having seen her before I have forst of all acted putting a pedagno (signal) very precisely. Dario was not far putting the first big grouper on the boat. I have prepared the following dive very attently as I did not release all the weight but was using the technique of the mixed variable weight (3 kg always left on the jacket). I had decided not to shoot immediately to avoid catching an underweight fish. Once I was all the way inside the long tunnel in the rocks I have evaluated attently the dimensions of the biggest grouper. The fish was positioned frontally and I have shot it voluntarely with a oong 110 cm speargun with long shaft that made it more easy to take hold of it after the shot. After that, I put the fish in traction with a small buouy, we have together managed to shift the grouper to the entrance of the tunnel and finally shot it again once it was out of the hole, just as safety procedure.
So finally a very passionate event organized in an amazing location, but with small downsides from organization, mostly deriving from inexperience of the young Tunisian Federstion.
Some additional slightly negative comportamental aspect linked to an Italian team not present at any of the meetings and celebrations the day before start of competition. This team has instead gone in the sea to do some fishing outside of the competition fields. Since among behaviours punishable with TOTAL DISQUALIFICATION is “to be in the Competition Zone, with or without speargun, before the Official start time in the days of competition or precedent day”, meaning not even crossing the zones with the boat equipped or not with spearguns, we believe such actions should anyway be avoided by the teams, also to avoid official complaints, that have correctly been made, and that only after meeting of judges and check of GPS tracks, no disciplinary action has been taken. These behaviour can be partially justified by the fact that the specific team was a rookie for what concerns official competitons, and we hope to see them back in other events, but to also verify a new and more mature and respectful approach towards institutions, guests, and other athletes.