As people, our forefathers started out as hunters on this planet, surviving and finding their way in the food chain. Throughout the years and years of evolution, they kept developing tools which is how the essence of hunting got subjected to changes also. Fast forward to today, hunting is more of a hobby that grew into a sport as is the case with spearfishing, known as underwater hunting as well, though there are instances where it’s still the means of getting food such as in the case with indigenous tribes.
Present since the dawn of time, spearfishing is now considered to be ecologically sustainable fishing considering there is low amount of by-catch. The earliest proof of this type of hunting was found in a cave in the south of France, Cosquer Cave near Cap Morgiou to be exact, dating back 16.000 years ago where people drew art revolving around spearfishing. Ancient Egypt as a rich historical source doesn’t disappoint either, giving us the spearfishing painting in a wall of the tomb of Usheret, the 18th dynasty, all the way back to the 1430 BC.
Though in its primary form it looked more like freediving, not requiring any equipment or particular skills other than mastering the skill of holding breath up to four minutes and reaching further underwater depths, ever since spearfishing started developing as a sport in the 1920s, the necessity for specialised equipment brought to the beginning of the production of specialised spearfishing bag, mask, fins, wetsuit and snorkel.
Of course, the spearfishing bag, mask, fins and the rest of the bits and pieces of equipment can be used for scubadiving as well so you can be sure purchasing this sort of equipment is a valuable investment. But remember, vice versa doesn’t count – you can’t use scuba diving equipment for spearfishing in Australia as there are many restrictions to this sport being only considered a recreational activity based on freediving, which is the opposite of what is allowed in Norway.
The spearfishing weapons underwent changes over the centuries as well, from hand spears, such as the trident, harpoon, and Hawaiian sling, to guns that can handle the largest of fish. It was in the mid 1930s when Alec Kramarenko, US inventor, came up with an underwater gun where a compressed spring propels the spear, followed by the invention of Maxime Forlot, the Frenchman who created the spring-propulsion gun.
Another Frenchman, Georges Beuchat, made his mark in spearfishing gun development, one that’s propelled by a rubber band. Not long after, the Spaniard Juan Vilarrubis, invented a compressed air gun that made it through due to its user friendliness and power. Since technology is advanced by the minute, we can expect to see more changes in the spearfishing equipment department, but the one thing that stays the same is the thrill this sport provides – targeting, sneaking onto and hunting the prey, leading to a hearty meal.