All nuances aside, there are really two distinct types of spearfishing out there. First, there’s spearfishing in Hawaii. Then, there’s spearfishing everywhere else. Don’t mistake one for the other: Do so and you might find yourself off the coast of Hawaii exhausted, cut up, and frustrated with the fish.
The waters around Hawaii are so tough to navigate because the surf is significantly stronger than in many other parts of the world. It’s really easy to get caught in the swell and find yourself tossed up onto some rough rocks, like you may have seen happen to Steven Rinella on MeatEater Season 10 Part 2. I’m also convinced the fish here are smarter than they are everywhere else, but I might be biased. Here are a few pieces of gear I use that help me get the upper hand below the surf.
Riffe Euro 110 Speargun Riffe is a pioneering name in the spearfishing world. Jay Riffe started making his own spearguns at a young age, more than 40 years ago, and eventually set several world records with them. The Euro 110 is a super versatile gun that works for any spearfisher, novice or pro. The long stock is made of teak wood, so it’s super lightweight, and the expert construction will stand up to anything you can put it through.
All Riffe spearguns also come with pre-threaded holes for attaching a Riffe horizontal reel. This versatility allows you to switch between a reel rig and a float line rig, so you can go from shallow reefs and medium-sized fish to deep blue water and the monsters that call it home. This gun is arguably the most crucial part of my kit.
Riffe Digi-tek 3.5mm 2-Piece Women’s Wetsuit It’s a pretty recent phenomenon for a dive company to make a female-specific wetsuit. For a long time, female divers were stuck with squeezing into men’s wetsuits, and many still do. But men’s styles can be too tight in some places and too loose in others. Any discomfort is annoying at best and a hindrance to performance at worst.
The Riffe Women’s Digi-tek 3.5 mm couldn’t possibly be a better solution to this problem. The fit is super comfortable, and the camo is beautiful and seems to blend with every environment I find myself in. At a medium thickness of 3.5 mm, the neoprene material is flexible and holds heat really well, too. The knees and elbows are reinforced, so you’re extra protected from rips if you get launched onto the rocks.
Riffe by DiveR Digi-Tek Composite Fiberglass Fins Riffe worked with fin blade manufacturer DiveR to create these medium-flexibility fiberglass fins, and they are arguably one of the most versatile models on the market. Medium flexibility fiberglass is perfect for spearfishers and divers of any level, so you can buy these once and use them from day one until you’re raking in records like Jay.
This model comes with foot pockets, but you can also buy the blades without foot pockets if you’re already comfortable with or committed to a different brand like Omer, Mares, or Salvimar. The ability to glide smoothly through the water is crucial for a successful underwater hunt, and these fins keep me stealthy and quick whether I’m moving through kelp, clinging to rocky ground cover, or surfacing with a fresh catch.