What will happen in Laredo?

The XXXIII° World Spearfishing Championship 2023 by CMAS, which will be held in Laredo, Spain, is approaching fast. The dates are from the 7th till the 10th of September, with competition days on the 9 and 10, and the teams are already registered. 25 men’s and 13 female’s team will participate to this amazing event. For the women, it will be the II° World Championship. The organization will, be brought forward by Spanish Federation of Underwater Activities, the FEDAS, and the Cantabrian Federation of Underwater activities, the FCDAS.

(By Valentina Prokic)

The men’s competition will have athletes from Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, France, Finland, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Portugal, San Marino, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Tahiti, and Spain. For the second world title of the best female athlete team will be from Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Finland, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Ukraine, USA, and Spain.
Interestingly, some teams are already in the zones for preparation, athletes from Spain, Tahiti, New Zealand, Chile, USA, Italy, with the actual World Champion, Giacomo De Mola (Pathos) and his support spearo Roberto Poggioli (Apneapassion Team), Luigi Puretti (Lowrance, Seagang, Seawolf) and Alfonso Cubicciotto (Sigalsub), and the legend of the sport Ukrainian spearo Andrii Lagutin. For Lagutin this will be the 14th WC in his long career. His first one was Puerto de Ilo in Peru in 1994. Even though he is still active military with 10 years on the war field, wounded 3 times, he found the way to come and once again participate and meet with his friends from the spearfishing world.

  • “We had some strong wind, so we needed to skip scouting. But then we did some preparation for a few days and the visibility was of 2, 3 meters in waves, and of 5 to 7 meters diving deeper. Not much fish, but better then when I competed in Croatia (he laughs). Anyway, I am not well prepared, as I spent three years without going to sea”, said Lagutin from Ahedo, a village close to Laredo.
    More and more athletes will be coming to Laredo as the end of August approaches.
  • “For us will be a difficult championship because conditions probably will be very different from what we are used to”, comments Giacomo De Mola. “We have time here to get used to the Ocean conditions and, hopefully, we will try to be in the top positions. As always, we will put all our effort into doing it”, concludes De Mola.
    If we exclude the Spanish team, as the home team and most favorite, with the Spanish national champion Jacobo Garcia Fernandez, the shallow fishing legend Santiago Lopez Cid and Angel Cruz, all of them Cressi ,the Italians are jusrt as strong, but evidently not at home. It is not only the Italians whio will challenge the home team, there will be the French team, with the great news of them back to the international competitions since the WC in Venezuela 2008. Other extremely strong teams are the Portuguese, Croatian, and Greek, as the challenge is coming from all around the world. South America with Chilean and Brazilian legends Miguel Soto and Paulo Pacheco, then USA with a team that is an ideal mix of experienced and young very strong spearfishermen.
  • Justin Lee, Hawaiian superstar, and experienced Mikhail Kuznetsov with the rising stars Mirco Zanella and Matt Warner and freshwater star Mike Kennedy will try to „mess up the bills“ to the athletes from European countries. Nevertheless, we can’t forget all the other European teams such as Turkey, Denmark, Finland, Norway or Great Britain… as all of them have some tricks „in their sleeves“. Big effort and quite a long preparation also will do teams from New Zealand, Tahiti, and Australia, and even if it is not „their“ ocean, some things don’t change. From Africa, Algeria and Tunisia will be present in Laredo. Both countries confirmed many times that they can adapt to the Oceanic conditions, but good preparation will play a big role as always.
    For the Women, this will be the second World Championship. After Sardinia two years ago, when all the podiums were won by Spanish athletes, the home female team will definitely fight to repeat the great result. Experienced Malen Sart (Spetton), the actual World Champion will lead Spain, but this year in the team will be Isabel Arroyo and Yaiza Romero (Cressi). The record of participants has been beaten as there were only 7 countries with female athletes two years ago, while for Laredo the registered teams are almost doubled, 13. From this list, athletes from France and Portugal will find conditions in Laredo well-known, but for sure all the other women teams will give their best through the preparations and then during championship to reach the podium.
  • The USA team comes with really experienced and good athletes. Rosibel Molina won the Silver medal at last year’s Panamerican Champs. Hanna Lamar conquered the Gold medal in the PA, and she will be the only Brazilian female athlete in Spain. Nicole Burko also competed in Panamerican and World Championship in Italy, while two new athletes, Julie Higgs and Shelby Peterson, gained a lot of good results in many competitions across the USA. But no matter from which country, the women athletes always make a big effort to prove themselves on a stage that was mostly reserved for men in the history of championships. In recent years things are slowly changing, as the number of registered women also shows, and that’s what gives good reasons to celebrate.
    The competition will be very interesting, just as for the men, with sea conditions playing a big role and adaptation by the athletes an even bigger one. But it is always like that, and uncertainty is the main thing that makes spearfishing competitions so exciting!