In Arbatax, Sardinia, Italy, Giacomo De Mola, the official Pathos athlete, has conquered the world spearfishing title, with two amazing days of competition, when the Italian champion (indeed owning also the Italian title for 2021) has actually won in both days, with a great battle against another amazing champion, the Spanish Oscar Cervantes.

De Mola, in a dedicated video, the first of a series requested also by Apnea Passion, goes through feelings, mental approaches and strategies needed to succeed in spearfishing competitions… the secrets of a Champion!

“One trip into my emotions a few months later the World Championship living again those moments…

My friend DM Clauss in this beginning of winter, came to Evia, the island where I live, for just a couple of days, filming some of my reflexions and we had some fun in the water together.

We spoke generally about the scouting, the way I use all the information I get and how I make my strategy, the importance of evaluating a spot during those days and of organizing a good logistic .

We lived again the 3 moments and different moods of the preparation in Arbatax, and we went into the details of the problems in those days. We talked about the first day and second day of the competition and about my 2 spearguns technique, how I had the idea and for which reason, and some advices to apply it.

Imagine that during these 2 days we have been also so lucky to catch on the same dive 1 dentex and a brown meagre!

From the dream of a child to become a World Champion it took an entire life of training, competing and working on myself.

What I learned in the Master of Palma, in the Euro-African in Mali Losinj or in Zadar and especially what I learned from the World championship of 2016 in Syros.

In this documentary I put a lot of myself, and I hope you will enjoy my Italian accent in English… ;-)”, comments De Mola presenting the first video.

Below the key comments in the video of the great Italian Champion, Pathos team Captain and World Champion Giacomo De Mola.

“What is important is to follow correctly the program you have for the competition, even more than winning. The strategy is key not to lose all the work done during the preparation. I make the strategy a couple of days before the competition, with a good schedule. In day 1 in Arbatax (watch the live streaming video by Apnea Passion of the complete day 1 on Facebook) I started with a couple of spots for scorpionfish, then went in shallow but could not find fish. After I moved to the spot of the white grouper, which I caught with two shots. In day 1 I was not sure I was first, as Oscar (Cervantes) had caught many fish, and Stjepko Kesic had caucht a big grouper. Day 2 had less spots so many athletes were close together. Marco Bardi asked me how it would be to start together with another athlete in the same spot, and I replied I did not know but I felt strong mentally. When in day 2 me and Oscar were together in the same spot (watch the video of the complete day 2 live streaming by Apnea Passion on Facebook) I was confident and in the direct battle I managed to catch more fish and I was well motivated along the day. Diving with two guns in one and a half hours I had more than 15 fish. I finished the day with 22 fish and two species closed, so with Stefano Claut we were really happy. 

In these world championship I had three difficult moments. At the beginning I could not find simple and good fish to catch, like the white grouper. After this initial moment in a second phase I started to understand where to find them, but also that some species were not so important, while scorpionfish and brown meagres could be. A third phase found myself in difficulty as I had a situation of overtraining and could not be in the water more than a couple of days. My teammates helped me in this phase. A hard moment, as I invested a lot on this championship, and I knew I had the potential, but my physique did not support me in those days. Finally, some rest but also concentration permitted me to be back in good conditions in the last days of preparation. 

The use of the two spearguns technique helped me a lot. As you need to make a 10 to 15 minutes surface recovery after dives of 35-40 meters to avoid decompression sickness, so we all had few dives in the spearfishing day. I did around 20-22 dives in day 1 and 19 dives in day 2, when I actually caught 22 fish. This technique I developed in the last two years, as I was thinking on how to catch more fish compared to my competitors, but with the same number of dives. My days in the last years were not focused in catching big fish, but catching two in one dive. This I started to practice in the Italian Championship (won by De Mola – Ed.). I suggest young people, or even experts, to be well prepared as this technique is extremely difficult, and problems can come out from practicing it, and some delays can be generated on the bottom, so you need a lot of training and time on the bottom. If something goes wrong you need absolutely to leave the fish and go back to the surface. 

Planning a competition also needs good logistics: the boat near the competition field, where to sleep, where to eat. This looks easy, but it is not so. During preparation I am really focused and it is almost a meditation period. I don’t even talk to my family and have no distraction. I analyse the competition area and understand which fish, sea conditions, tides, winds can determine different spearfishing conditions. As all athletes are strong and well prepared, details can make the final difference.

Evaluating the spots is not easy. You can find spots with many fishes, but not easy to catch as the morphology of the sea floor does not permit to catch more than one fish. You want to find spots, especially for the first part of the competition, easy to catch fish so your motivation is good at the start of the day. 

You cannot expect to win important competitions without long planning. In Syros in 2016 I did not yet have enough experience to win, as I had only competed in some Spanish competitions or in Palma. I knew the place, but had no experience in the championship and the strategy. It took me one year to understand what I did wrong. With other competitions as in Palma and the Euro-African in Mali Losinj I learned how to make the most of rules and strategy. In Sardinia I was really focused and I actually had not so much pressure. The key to win this championship has been to think outside the box”.