The Inception of Spearfishing Canada: The Very First Breath Hold

Spearfishing Canada believes in the concept that freediving and spearfishing is for everyone. Our dream is to share that idea and the sport which has given us so much with all Canadians through our online community. We launched Spearfishing Canada (SFC) in June 2020 though the inspiration and journey started way before SFC was live. 

Where it began…

SFC was founded by three friends who crossed paths in a variety of different ways. Via an interwoven path created by the freediving and spearfishing community we became friends, business partners and fellow Canadian freedivers. We hold these labels thanks to the ocean and everything within it including the surrounding community fuelled by the love of exploring and preserving our local liquid environment. 

Mick Sheinberg – Operations

The story really starts With Mick Sheinberg. Mick grew up in Australia diving and spearfishing with friends on the Sunshine Coast. His Passion for the sport grew as he travelled around the globe diving in various locations. Mick didn’t however get serious about diving until moving to Canada to live on Vancouver Island. This is when Mick Joined HTO Surf Shop which gave him a vessel to pursue diving and spearfishing as an occupation and as a lifestyle. HTO began stocking freediving and Spearfishing equipment which immediately attracted likeminded aquatic-enthusiasts and sustainable marine harvesters. After Exiting the retail game to pursue a career as a firefighter with the city of Victoria. Mick at this point endeavoured to continue supporting the local spearfishing community by supplying high quality gear to eager divers. Through his desire to educate divers on the importance of sustainability, safety and the best equipment to use, Mick founded the vision for Spearfishing Canada.    

Chris Adair – Freedive Pro

In 2013 Chris Adair found out HtO was carrying Spearfishing gear. He hadn’t been spearfishing since he was 16 in the Mediterranean, but it was something that had always captivated his interest. Chris has always thrived in a liquid environment. Growing up surrounded by the waters of Vancouver Island made his upbringing semi-aquatic. Taking the values instilled by his family throughout his childhood, he found himself enjoying the principles associated with hand harvesting and spearfishing in the local ocean environment. As his addiction grew, Chris took his first recreational freediving course through PFI international. Chris is now an Intermediate PFI Freediving Instructor and owner of Bottom Dwellers Freediving. Bottom Dwellers offers Freediving Courses teaching students to freedive up to depths of 40m/135’ as well as Sustainable and Ethical Harvesting Programs. With the retirement of HtO Surf Shop (RIP) in July 2019 there was a void in respects to the accessibility of freediving and spearfishing gear locally. Since that day Spearfishing Canada and this local online community has been in the works to facilitate the need. 

Iwan Williams – CFO

In 2013 Iwan Williams started snorkeling and diving with friends in the pursuit of hand-picking Dungeness Crabs. This quickly spiralled into Iwan buying his first Riffe speargun from HTO and Mick Sheinberg. This took Iwan on a 3-year adventure throughout Vancouver Islands coastal regions in the pursuit of underwater exploration. In 2017 he took his first freediving course with Bottom Dwellers where the passion only continued to grow. Later that same year with a few of his aquatic brethren Iwan started, “Whistle Buoy Brewing Company”, a brewery in Victoria BC. The brewery’s name itself coming from a reef that these friends would regularly dive in Bamfield known by the locals as “Whistle Buoy Rocks”. These experiences and relationships propelled Iwan towards being part of the SFC concept.   

Big things to come!

Through the years, the trips and the adventures together. From HTO to Bottom Dwellers, to Whistle Buoy Brewing Company, to the Canadian Spearfishing Association and now Spearfishing Canada, the part we’re playing in the freediving and spearfishing community continues to grow. As exciting as this is for us all it’s great to be part of something so inclusive and so much bigger than ourselves. We all feel incredibly lucky to be where we are right now and growing with the community we’re proud to call ourselves a part of. 

It’s a great time to dive! Just as the title implies, we were addicted from the very first breath hold. 

Author: Iwan Williams

@spearfishingcanada on Instagram #spearfishingcanada