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Free diving methods and equipment

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Bottom Scratchers with spearguns

I started to get dizzy, started to see lights

San Diego spear fishermen of today come from a lineage that began in the ’30s, with the Bottom Scratchers of La Jolla. Today there are less fish but the equipment is superior. Nevertheless, it’s easy to drown when a big sea bass takes you for a ride through a kelp ball.

More Bottom Scratchers with spearguns

Free diving to Tombstones

A first-person view of free diving to Tombstones, an underwater memorial off the coast of La Jolla for free divers who have died.

Finishing a day of free diving

A first-person view of the end of a day spent free diving off the coast of San Diego, including the disarming process for a rubber-band speargun.

Talking about swimming with a blue whale

Ryan and Volker talk about watching a blue whale feed and free diving nearby.

Ryan's blue whale encounter

A first-person view as Ryan swims with a blue whale at a safe distance.

Spear fishing without air tanks

Ryan and Volker discuss the process of free dive spearfishing. Ryan relates the story of his largest catch, a 50-pound white sea bass, which was also his closest brush with death.

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