(Here you can watch part of the video interview)
I have met Renzo at the celebration for the 70th anniversary of Spearfishing association of Barcelona last year and I decided to start the interview’s section of Spearfishing Lab with the opinion. Renzo is three times (1987, 1989, 1992) world champion of Spearfishing. I went to meet him at the Elba Island in Tuscany (Italy).
Spearfishing Lab: Hi Renzo, I go directly at the point, how do you imagine spearfishing in 30 years?
Renzo: Recreational spearfishing will never end. The Sea has always fascinated the man with its mysteries and power and it will be the same in future. Man will never stop dreaming about underwater adventures. Unfortunately, I don’t think the same about spearfishing championships.
Spearfishing Lab: Why?
Renzo: I am sure that spearfishing competitions will not survive in the future. When I started my sportive career, all the spearfishing competitions were followed by many people and I have memories of a cheer like in a small stadium. This is over now! The reduction of preys has reduced the interest of people to competitions and also the change in the regulation by national and international federations reduced the appeal of these sportive events. Moreover, there is much more attention to the environment conservation now than 20 years ago, so many championships that have caused frictions with local environmentalist agency has been stopped. Finally, from a sportive perspective winning a championship with by catching few and very small fish has no sense. I think that spearfishing championships will not have a long life.
Spearfishing Lab: What is the most important thing that Spearfishing Lab should do to increase the interaction between spearfishing and science?
Renzo: I think that Spearfishing Lab could become an important tool to create the missing bridge between these two worlds, spearfishing and science. I would like to participate to a permanent discussion table to share all my knowledge with researchers, and learn all the things they have to offer. Researchers have a unique opportunity in interacting with people like me that have spent their entire life under the sea. On the other hand spearfishers have a unique opportunity to learn more about fish behavior from researchers.
Spearfishing Lab: What is the most important thing that applied research should provide to spearfishers?
Renzo: I think I partially answered to this question before, however the most important thing is to increase the ecological knowledge of spearfishers regarding behavior, reproductive period, feeding strategies and movement patterns of all the fishes that are commonly hunted. For example I would be very curious to increase my knowledge regarding the ecology and biology of the common dentex (Dentex dentex).
Spearfishing Lab: Pep Amengual (three times world championships: 1973, 1981, 1985) is still going underwater mostly every day, but without catching any fish. He is now collecting leads lost at sea by anglers or divers around Mallorca. I was impressed from the fact that he said that he receives the same satisfaction in finding a small lead that a big grouper. What have changed in your relationship with the preys? Do you think you can end as Pep Amengual looking for leads around Elba?
Renzo: No, absolutely NO! I am an immovable fisherman. I am not interested in the quantity of fish I can catch, but to the satisfaction I receive when I can get one. The dimension of the prey is also not important, what satisfy me is the difficulty of the hunting strategy, a long apnea, deep and clear water and use a series of tricks that I have learned during my life to trigger curiosity in my favorite preys. I am a versatile fisherman (spearfishing is my favorite technique) but I am also a good angler. Fishing is something that comes from my deep inside…you should know that when during the summer I go with my friend on my boats to enjoy the warm water and have a bath, I cannot resist in bringing with me a small speargun to catch some delicious mullets to fry for dinner with them.
Spearfishing Lab: what is the suggestion you would gave to a beginner? And to whom is already expert?
Renzo: At the beginners (in particula if he/she is young) I suggest to take part to a course of free diving or better spearfishing where he/she can learn the basic principles about security during underwater activities. The next step is then to find a friend that has more experience and go with him as frequently as possible. NEVER GO SPEARFISHING ALONE. At the beginning it is hard to get satisfaction but if you are patient you will soon discover all the magic about spearfishing.
What I suggest to an experienced spearfisher is the following one:
– Do not emulate the people that are obsessed in going deeper and deeper. Respect your own limit.
– Even if you have a lot of experience, it is always better to avoid situations of danger. Be able to give up before reaching your limit is the best victory. There is always another chance.
– Do not look for quantity of preys. Focus on the difficulty of the capture…these are the best memories you will remember forever independently from all other factors.
A big hug