The New Guy Manifesto

Welcome to San Diego Freedivers. The purpose of this manifesto is to get you pointed in the right direction when it comes to taking full advantage of the club and becoming a better and safer freediver. Each topic below will help in realizing these goals.

Safety is of paramount importance to SDF. We suggest that you always dive with a buddy and within your limits. Take things slowly. Enjoy the moment and always be prepared.

We suggest that you take a certification course through one of the many providers such as FII or PFI. They will not only instruct you on safety for yourself and your buddy, but your dive skills and confidence level. Your dive skills will improve so much that I cannot even express it to you. I would suggest putting your money into a good course even before making big gear purchases; It’s that important.

If you have the bug and see yourself sticking to the sport of spearfishing, you will need gear such as a wetsuit, mask/snorkel, fins, and a method of take (speargun/pole spear). My experience has taught me to buy the best I can afford the first time. Otherwise, you will end up with a ton of unimpressive extra gear that just sits in the garage.

If for example you buy a surf or scuba suit at first, you will eventually become uncomfortable and cold; buy a high quality open-cell wetsuit. Get quality long fins, a comfortable mask, efficient snorkel, and be properly weighted. Spearguns should be of high quality and matched with the targeted species and diving conditions. Inquire at the meetings for more information or search the Facegroup posts where you will find a wealth of knowledge. Always do a search first before posting questions.

To contribute to the club share your dive reports and conditions reports with the group on Facebook. They are always appreciated. If you make a solid catch, submit it for a Trophy Catch. Every year there are categories left with no submittals at all because people thought that their catch wasn’t worthy of submittal.

The Facebook group is a great place to find dive buddies. You will have more success finding buddies the more you are involved. Try to plan ahead before posting like when and where you are going to dive.

Many people new to the club will want to get on member boats. Most of the boaters already have a short list of dive buddies that they know and trust but many times you will see a post where a captain offers up a spot or two. Jump on the opportunity. Make sure to read and know The Boat Ho Manifesto, before going on any captain's boat. They will notice and you are more likely to get invited back. If you do not follow those suggestions, don’t expect another invite.

Start considering getting your own vessel. It doesn’t have to be a 40’ fishing boat. Start small for kelp. Maybe an inflatable or a small skiff. This is a sure way to get more dive buddies, to get More Fish and to increase your independence.

Many of you will be looking for good spots to go spearing. Honestly, people are not going to share their spots other than the typical places like Boomers or Children’s Pool- great places by the way. If you do get invited to a spot by a buddy, keep it to yourself - don’t blow their spot up. Search for kelp and reef on Google Earth or look from the shoreline. If there is reef or kelp, there are fish there.

Charters are a good way for a new guy to get started. We have many members that own spearfishing charter boats. They can put you on fish. Also, by observing and asking questions you can learn a lot.

Meetings are a place where a lot of connections are made. There are typically many old-timers there filled with knowledge and experience. Buy an old-timer a beer. Ask questions. Be humble. Listen more and speak less. I can’t overemphasize how important meeting attendance can help with your connectivity.

In conclusion, just get involved. Go to meetings. Go to as many of our events as you can. Volunteer for board functions and activities. Follow this short guide and you will get more out of the club and become a better and safer freediver.

P.s. Be sure to get connected with our most valuable resource- the private Facebook group. Search Facebook groups for San Diego Freedivers private group. Request to join. Make sure to answer the questions when prompted. An Admin will add you once payment and application has been verified. Happy hunting.

Yours Respectfully,

Mario Gattuso
Butch Batten