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Welcome to the Noob Spearo Podcast!

The Freedive Spearfishing podcast

Join Shrek as he interviews spearfishing experts, authorities and characters from around the world.

Improve your spearfishing and share in the stoke!

Find out more at the spearfishing blog and podcast

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Noob Spearo Podcast listeners are saying;

"This podcast has improved my diving dramatically. I binged listened to all the old episodes over a few weeks and I'm completely caught up now. I take notes on my phone to further research anything the guests or the hosts (Turbo and Shrek) talk about or suggest to do. Over the last 4 months I've gone from a 5 meter pot shot diver to a 12 meter+ diver with over 1:30 dive times and good fish to show for it. All thanks to the information these guys have put out in this podcast. Keep up the great work!" - Kurty

"This is the first podcast I've ever listened to, and I am averaging about 4 episodes a day since that first listen. These guys are awesome and so are there guests! Best motivation to do training! Only problem is I'll run out of episodes soon and have to wait a whole week for a new one..." Pete

"The amount of tip, ideas and laughs I've had from Shrek and Turbo and it has all improved my spearfishing 10 fold. Essential for any spearo, and highly recommend it, you won't regret it! Always hanging for the next episode! Keep it up boys! And while your at it get their book 99 tips to get better at spearfishing! Yew!!!" - Yupz

"Have been listening to Turbo and Shrek for a while now and those weirdos make me come back every time for more.... even though I'm located in Southern California. I guess I'm stoked to hear how people catch their fish all over the world!! Keep it coming boys." - Sebastian

"Guys, honestly, This podcast has been amazing fuel since my surf buddy and I started spearing just over three months ago on the southern california coast. We're pretty much just shore divers right now, but we've been hitting calico bass, yellowtail tuna, and sheepshead by just jumping off the beaches. We're starting to meet some people with boats so we're stoked. My pre-dive tradition is getting amped off a noob spearo podcast before I hop into the water after work. Keep them coming because I just finished listening to the 17th episode and I felt a little post partum depression coming on. I've learned loads from your show and need to keep soaking up the wisdom. Thanks!" - DippnDotts

"I recently got into spearfishing and couldn't believe my luck when I found this podcast after a random search. Not only are Shrek and Turbo incredibly funny and easy to listen too - but the way they have formatted the show is really engaging, informative and interesting. Hearing from Pros and veterans is invaluable to a newb like me and the information from these podcasts alone has made a world of difference to my diving and hunting. So if you're like me and your absolutely loving the sport and simply can't get enough info on and about spearfishing this is the podcast for you! Well done guys, you're keeping me well and truly stoked! sterling job!!" - Stu in Southern California

"Been an avid podcast listener for nearly a decade and this is my first review. This podcast is laid back, informative and absolutely essential for the new spearo. Great list of domestic and international guests. The most dangerous time for a spearo is in those first few months and It's good to know there is a easily accessible resource that I can point my mates to when they are starting out. Cheers shrek and turbo!" - CoxyADF



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Feb 2, 2020

Interview with Philip Van Zijl - Godfather of The "Spearfishing Mafia"!

This episode covers Philip’s spearfishing journey from the jump to competition diving starting in Cape Town, South Africa to New Zealand and plenty of places in between. He’s a champion of the sport, an absolute legend. He’s a major contributor to the spearfishing community, and a big proponent of paying it forward. Something he’s coined “The Spearfishing Mafia”. Our community, sport, and the hobby are niche. It’s even more niche than SCUBA diving. Take advantage of it, and build your network. 

Big thanks to Philip for taking the time to “pay it forward” on the Noob Spearo Podcast! This episode is provided to you through the support of Patron listeners! Thanks legends:)

Time Stamps! 

10:00 Introduction

Philip Van Zijl began diving in Cape Town in 1968 at the young age of 16, without wetsuits and just basic gear taking the train to get to where he needed to be. Yellow tail, crayfish, and other good species were some of his earliest accomplishments, always a good feed! A master of limiting out on crayfish during his years in school. He even paid for a year of his time at university from the fruits of his diving! A strong proponent of speargun awareness, make sure you listen to find out why… 

Philip personally procured one of his 120cm spearguns from the legendary Rob Allen, what a story! Think you’re bad about keeping old gear? Philip still has his first catch bag he bought in the 60’s. 

26:00 Early struggles spearfishing

  • Personally, rigging your own speargun was a bit more difficult without YouTube…
  • “If you give out kindness, it comes back to you.” – Pay it forward!
  • Learning new spots, on your own – pays dividends later on!
  • Sharing your expertise, and knowledge, doesn’t necessarily mean sharing your spots
  • Proper weighting, weight secure locations (Harness vs. Belt) 

31:35 Most memorable catch

His last dive in Tauranga, NZ with a mate who brought him to a secret honey hole. 15-20 meters visibility, perfect conditions. Kingfish, historically uncommon for the area but are making a comeback. He was diving with some friends, stomach started to sour, and then returned to the boat. After viewing a bait ball of Kahawai, he grabbed his gear and jumped back into the water. Viewing a school of Kingfish, he pulled the trigger and bagged a PB weighing in at approximately 27 kilos! To hear his second most memorable catch on a “popgun”, tune in to 35:43! 

38:50 Favorite species to hunt

Snapper, hands down. A challenging quarry, requiring a combination of burly and stealth. 3-4k tops, but no monsters like on the GBR. Slow movements, be calm, don’t look directly *at* them, and let them get within target range. Maintain gun awareness so that when the shot presents itself, it can easily be taken. Learned from losing a 6k Trevally years ago. Learn about the duality of the gun safety discussion here!

 42:50 Scariest moments in the ocean

While shooting a Blue Moki, the bugger got off the spear and high-tailed it into a crevice. Meanwhile, a surge came and pushed Philip into a crevice in which he was stuck. Every spearo’s nightmare. Trying to remain calm, he considered that a surge which can push you in, can also pull you out. Going for broke, he expelled the air in his lungs to reduce his physical profile and was able to get pulled out on the next surge out to sea. Probably the scariest moment of his life. Lesson learned – be very careful when working a crevice while fishing for crays or otherwise.

 48:00 Veterans Vault: The “Spearfishing Mafia”

  • Giving back to the spearfishing community is as important as the sport itself. Hospitality within the spearfishing community is unique to the sport – PAY IT FORWARD!
  • Bring your gear as often as possible when traveling so you never miss an opportunity!
  • Reaching out on social media prior to travel and networking can be an incredible asset
  • When traveling with spearfishing equipment, keep “gun” out of your vocabulary. Just refer to it as fishing equipment. It can save you valuable time
  • Cooler bags can be worth their weight in gold when traveling
  • Sharing spearfishing equipment when mates are traveling can not just save on cost but strengthen relationships
  • Be a good host – it comes back around; when you aren’t, well then it won’t will it?
  • How to avoid losing a knife - use some paracord or dyneema, tie it off to a pencil or other instrument, then tie that to the end of the knife. This way, when you drop the knife (not if, but when) it will stay secured

 75:00 Equipment Bag

Catch-bags are a must, saves you from going back to your plat “float boat”. Avoid harassment from sea lions, seals, or the tax man by simply using a catch-bag. Actually, saved a fishing competition by using one as the sea lions were going from float to float getting chubby on the hard work of humans. Carry two knives – one on thigh and one on arm. To avoid losing knives, use some paracord or dyneema, tie it off to a pencil or other instrument, then tie that to the end of the knife. This way, when you drop the knife (not if, but when) it will stay secured. 

1:06 Spearo Q&A

  • Describe what the spearfishing experience means to you?
    • “My Happy Place, oh and the food.”
  • Single best piece of advice ever given for spearfishing?
    • “Dive to your capabilities, don’t overdo it. Have fun, enjoy it, recharge yourself.”
  • Most influential person in spearfishing to you?
    • Jacques Cousteau, major influence.
  • Spearfishing/Freediving library?
    • 99 Tips to get Better at Spearfishing!
  • Had to start all over, what would you do differently?
    • Get a decent wetsuit, a lot earlier. It makes such a difference. A decent speargun too. OMER fins, good foot pockets. Being comfortable when diving is more important than you think! Carbon fins have made a huge difference, but hey back in the 60’s we didn’t have a choice. Don’t look at the brand, look at the fit, and you’ll appreciate it later. You don’t need to spend a fortune to have an effective dive kit.
  • Who is the best person to go spearfishing with now?
    • I’ve got a Band of Brothers here now. I tell my wife it’s my Portuguese adopted son. There’s a few spearos around here and we all go spearfishing together.  
  • Where can people connect with you?
    • Philip Van Zijl Sr. on Facebook, message me and let’s connect for a chat or a dive!
  • Any parting guidance or wisdom for the community?
    • Set the example. A lot of people have different perspectives of spearos, 90% of us are ethical and moral hunters. Don’t publish death piles. It just gives ammo to the greenies. Pay attention to the size of the fish. If there’s a doubt, don’t shoot. If it’s marginal, don’t shoot. If it’s huge, then its legal.

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