by Tobias Esdar, Health & Safety Partner at Kames Fish Farm
While I should be outside enjoying the start of summer; covid has unfortunately caught up with me and I have been forced to pack away my spearguns for some much-needed rest. This forced downtime has given me opportunity to dig out my pens and focus on my mission to help others with their mental health by sharing some more insights into some of my personal experiences and the tools that I have adopted along the way that help me live life to the fullest.
My passion for spearfishing was first ignited 21 years ago on a wild reef in the tropical Mozambique waters. Yes, it’s an extreme sport with many risks, but it is also a deep motivator to keep my body and mind healthy so that I can enjoy my time in the sea for many more years to come. Before I digress too much… I was 11 years old on that fateful day in Mozambique and along with shooting my first fish, I also established my first big life goal of hunting every edible species of fish that inhabit our seas. It was also the start of learning to apply a principle that I hold very close to my heart – Simplify!!
Like a lot of things in life, it is too easy to get caught up in complexity and noise. Unfortunately, this only serves a destructive purpose. Our energy levels drain exponentially; the goals we set out to achieve become a distant mirage and I think most importantly, we lose touch with the things in our lives that truly matter.
Simple does not equate to Easy.
What it does equate to is an efficient, optimised and focused approached i.e., noise and complexity cancelling.
Let me explain within the context of spearfishing. Spearfishing is a mental game, which means that if your mind is not healthy you won’t be successful. To be a successful hunter in the sea you have to be 100% relaxed. Apart from not being able to hold your breath on a free dive; fish have an acute sensory system, which can sense stress and anxiety from miles away and they won’t come near you.
Like I said, simple does not equate to easy and it took me more than 10 years of learning, failing and adapting to reach the point where I can sum up my spearfishing strategy in one sentence… I almost exclusively use the Italian hunting techniques of Aspetto and Agguato in combination with my trusted Rob Allen spearguns and the support of my dive partners. This simplified strategy keeps my mind calm so that I can enjoy my time in the sea and get lucky with a fish or two for the braai.
Simplifying has since evolved to become a principal that I use in all aspects of my life (except for my fiancé’s tea mug collection… for the sake of my well-being I think I will let that one rest in peace!).
Stay healthy, keep safe and simplify!