(Text Bernat Castell Pallicer – photos Eneko Fernández)
I met Eder back in 2011 at an under 23 championship held in Euskadi (Basque country), which would ultimately be the start of the under 23 national championships that are currently widely accepted, but this is a story that would deserve a dedicated and detailed article. On that occasion, when I attended as a technician for the Balearic team, Eder gained the victory among a group of young boys, all enthusiasts of underwater fishing, already demonstrating great sporting and human quality.
Eder García was born in 1990 in Bilbao and started spearfishing in 2005, at the age of 15.
Bernat Castell: Eder, you made several sub-23 Euskadi championships and even a national one in this category. What is your opinion about the sub-23 championships? Do you recommend the young boys to be encouraged to participate in this type of championships?
Eder García: I believe that it is the essence, the key, the password for sustaining the future of spearfishing in competition. My world in competition began with the typical club socials, where I could see how the system works, the pros and cons of this modality. Later I entered the official U-23 championships, where I obtained my first triumphs in competition, 3 Euskadi championships and a national one, mixing through some more podiums at the national level.
Without a doubt, I recommend to all who enter this category that they sign up for everything they can, and then assess if they like it and if it is worth continuing, but I would focus more on national coaches and all the people who have the power to promote the pillars of our sport (young people), and do everything possible to make them visible; accompany them, make them feel part of the team, something that seems to be being achieved lately, since, in my early days, despite having national selectors in my own autonomous community, no one showed the interest that this category should have (a simple call, go to see the competitions, interest …), except Javier Mendoza and Jose Luis Arriola, who were the absolute promoters of this category.
These beginnings also helped me to get sponsors and to appear in the media such as magazines, Internet pages … a way for people to get to know us.
BC. In addition to the under 23s, you have won several absolute Euskadi championships, and you are the holder of several records.
EG: Yes, while I was participating in the U-23s, I was already facing the biggest players, at an absolute level, I am the youngest Basque participant to win an absolute.
At just 22 years of age, after finishing 2nd in the Basque Country and winning the Gran Joseba Kerejeta, I participated in my first national championship, in Asturias, where, in that and in several other national championships, I was the youngest competitor to participate.
On a personal level, it should be noted that, in addition to being the youngest Basque competitor to win an absolute, I am the only competitor with all possible underwater fishing titles in the Basque Country: CHAMPION OF EUSKADI, BIZKAIA, AND GIPUZKOA.
BC. You have participated several times in the absolute National Championship, even in some of them being the youngest spearo in the edition. How was the experience?
EG: The experience in this type of championships is different from the regional ones, since when you arrive at the place of preparation and surround yourself with all those friends that you see once a year and that you are united by the same passion, the main objective stops being winning, and it happens to be having fun, being with them and generating a lot of memories. In the end, from the national championships, I have a lot of friends all over the country and a lot of experiences, since at a sporting level I have not achieved great results.
BC. You are still young and you have a long way to go in the competition. In which aspects do you think you are stronger and in which do you think you have to improve?
EG: Starting so young to compete and especially to win, has forced me to have to evolve very quickly (mentally and physically), skipping all the tables that I should be getting over the years, so it has formed a highly developed mind at a competitive level; knowing how to organize my ideas and strategies very well, but it is true that this drastic step causes that from time to time I notice a lack of experience to face certain new obstacles.
BC. Have you set a goal for yourself in this sport?
EG: To tell you the truth, a few years ago I set myself the goal of winning the absolute in Euskadi, and then being the first competitor to win all the Basque titles. Once that has been achieved, I do not have a goal in my mind, I am at a time when I aspire more to travel, learn and value what I have achieved. I am 30 years old and I think that now my best time for competition is beginning, but I am also aware that I have been competing for many years, with what this entails (a lot of physical and psychological preparation) about my age, so I am not clear about when to stop, whether to continue… I will do what I want at the moment.
BC. Now putting competition aside, what type of fishing do you like the most to practice?
EG: Undoubtedly, due to the type of sea in which I fish, ambush is the type of fishing that I get the fruits of, where more mischief and experience is needed to achieve the best catches, where I feel most comfortable. It is also true that I do not leave aside the rest of the techniques, including variable weight spearfishing, something that few people practice in this sea.
BC. You have fished in other seas apart from the Cantabrian Sea. How was the experience? Where have you enjoyed the most?
EG: I have fished in practically all the seas of our country, and without a doubt it is something that must be tried, to value and see how different the attitudes of the fish are in each place, and above all, what different attitudes the fishermen have to catch them.
Without a doubt, the place par excellence for my spearfishing trips is the Strait of Gibraltar. It seems to me extreme fishing, where in each descent you can be surprised by the fish of your life, where the current makes you take your body to the limit, where the depths, the color of the water, the conditions are extreme, pure life!
BC. Spearfishing … What does it mean to you?
EG: I want to be realistic and sincere in this answer: it is a way of life that complements real life, let me explain. We must not forget that our life is our family, our work, our friends … and that if that does not work well, fishing becomes less meaningful. But it is true that fishing is a necessary complement, essential in that life, something that gives meaning to every free afternoon, something that brings excitement every night that we know that we will go to sea the next day, the plus to achieve happiness.
Achieved titles by the champion Eder García
- Champion of Spain under 23
- Third in Spain by teams
- 2 times individual champion of the Basque Country
- Gipuzkoa absolute champion
- Absolute champion of Bizkaia
- Three times champion of the Basque Country under 23
- Runner-up of the Basque Country
- Euskadi under 23 runner-up
- Two more podiums in the absolute Euskadi competition
- Third in the Euskadi under 23 championship
- Two sub-championships of the Basque Country by teams
- Two runners-up from Vizcaya