Flew down to Ft. Lauderdale for the Blue wild expo, which brings together all of the best art, free diving and spearfishing gear in Florida and also all over the globe. Quite a few of the people I have met in the spearing community here in Florida as well as some of those I met in the Bahamas were all going to be there so wanted to catch up with them and tale the opportunity to meet some great people and have a look at some of the gear on offer. Was great to finally meet up with Cameron Kirconnel and Brad Thornborough, who were both really helpful in getting me in touch with spearos here in the states and getting me out spearing. Also caught up with a few of the crew I had met in the Bahamas and so many other good people.
The show was a great success on so many levels and I had a great weekend, even had some god luck and good vibes come my way, more on that later. The best part for me was getting to sped time with people that love the ocean and use their various talents and creative outlets to share this with others. Some of the talks given were truly inspirational, and gave insights into a lives well spent while others made me rethink the way I approached hunting and interacting with the creatures I share the ocean with.
Listening to Stan Waterman and Dr. Euginie Clark talk was truly inspiring, they have both lead such amazing, full lives and continue to do so well into their eighties and nineties. What Stan shared about taking the time to do things you love, with those that you love really stuck with me and these are words I will strive to live by. Martin Stepanek’s talk on how body language is interpreted by the creatures we dive with and how that can be the best camouflage for hunting as well as great tool for having closer experiences with the many varied species we come across in the underwater world simply made perfect sense.
The level of artwork on display was truly amazing, from the sculptures by the boys at fishbone designs to the amazing paintings of Carey Chen and K.C. Scott as well as the awesome underwater photography on Craig Deitrich. All these showing the amazing and varied beauty of the ocean expressed through different creative outlets and talents.
There was an amazing amount of gear on offer as well and was great to get a chance to talk to the people who make quality spearing gear and to hear the reasoning behind why they do some of the things they do. There were some amazing guns on offer and I was truly impressed by the quality of the workmanship on some of the handmade wooden guns. The main difference I have noticed between the gun set ups in Australia and here in the US is size, we use euro style rail guns for most things back home, while here there is a tendency for bigger and heavier set ups. I have been wanting to get a blue water set up for the trip and spoke to the boys at Koah and also Predator guns and was very impressed with the level of work, quality and look of both of their guns. My plan was to go away for a few days and think about it before ordering one, a fair investment, as they were both around the thousand-dollar mark.
The other item that I was specifically chasing was a pair of carbon fins after trying a few on the course in the Bahamas. Again was awesome to be able to tap into a world of knowledge and information and to have a chat to those that make them and really get an understanding of the dynamics of the different designs out there. Narrowed it down to two, the deep-apnea and Moana fins, both really great fins. Decided to go with Moana in the end though after the time and explanation that J.D, who makes them, was able to share.
Another big draw for the expo was the great gear donated for the raffles, everything from guns to fins to watches to artwork, some amazing quality gear. Didn’t win anything for my efforts the first day but had high hopes on the second and few a few tickets into a few different entries. Was great fun as they ran through the prizes and seeing how stoked people were to win. I stood in the back chatting to Turner Dowling, of predator guns, and as they brought out the amazing blue water gun he donated to the raffle commented that I had put some tickets in for it and how much I wanted it. Must admit that when they called out my name the words that escaped from me turned a few heads, but it was such a cool set up. Here I am just talking to the guy who made this, telling him I wanted it, and the universe hands it to me. STOKED. So much for having to think about ordering one. Big thanks to the boys at predator for donating it and to all the crew that made the Blue Wild possible.
Was such a good weekend and I’m so glad I made the effort to come down. Got some amazing gear, made some great contacts and met some awesome people. What more do you want. Again, my luck and blessing at the moment are truly amazing and thanks in a huge way to all the great people along the way.
Below are links to some of the great gear and people I met while there, sorry if I missed anyone.
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