By Bob Rosemergy
The 2009 Picasso National Spearfishing Champs had one of its largest ever turn-outs of competitors with 90 participants coming from all over New Zealand to take part in the various events. The increased numbers from the South Island really made their presence felt with their high rankings and winning of individual categories. An additional feature amongst all those attending were the 10 first-time participants, most of whom had no affiliation to any spearfishing club, but were nevertheless keen to be part of the Spearfishing NZ competition scene. They can do that because this competition like all others around New Zealand, are open to anyone.
Diving conditions this year were not as good as they sometimes can be around the Mercury Islands but they improved when the offshore winds changed and onshore winds moved cleaner water in. However, competitors were able to find fish and often very good ones at that, whether they were spearing them or taking part in the photography disposable camera competition or the new New Zealand Underwater sponsored digital camera event. The latter proved very popular with quality photos entered in each of the categories, underwater, topside and any scene that epitomizes the National Spearfishing Champs. The winning entries were subsequently auctioned off, each photo realizing over $100 for the Inter Pacific travel fund.
While Picasso was the main sponsor ensuring every competitor received a free tee shirt, a great range of spot prizes donated by Lonely Bay Winery, Dive New Zealand, and Ocean Hunter meant that most competitors went home with suitable diving equipment or a âbottleâ to go with their next special fish dinner.
Following the completion of the National Champs, a second two-day event was used to select a New Zealand Team to compete at the end of April in the Inter Pacific Championships in Western Australia.
Next yearâs New Zealand National Championships will be held in the Far North, possibly from the Bay of Islands.
New Zealand team. Dwane Herbert, Julian Hansford, Colin Smith, Ian Warnock, Shane Fitzmaurice.
Final Open Competition Results:
1. Dwane Herbert/Julian Hansford 4,089 pts
2. Colin Smith/ Ian Warnock 3,403 pts
3. John Ross/ Paul Spence 3,156 pts
4. Kieran Andrews/James Kirkaldy 3,189 pts
5. Tim Barnett/Alan Drake 3,142 pts
6. Pat Swanson/Shane Fitzmaurice 2,861 pts
7. Andrew Macdonald/John Anderson 2,731 pt
8. Peter Herbert/Todd Herbert 2,669 pts
9.Gary Conway/Robbie Coman 2,621 pts
10. Spencer Hall/Karl Bottema 2,518 pts
Junior Competition Results
1. Karl Bottema 3,774 pts
2. Jackson Shields 3,248 pts
3. Robbie Coman 2,780 pts
4. Adam Crawford 2,692 pts
5. Todd Herbert 2,550 pts
6. Geoff Laing 2,364 pts
7. Arran Knight 1,770 pts
8. Dylan Wood 1,326 pts
9. Ryan Mackereth 934 pts
10. Aidan Conway 698 pts.