Dr. Terry Maas
Terry Maas is a veteran freediver. He started diving when he was 14 years old and has been freediving steadily for the last 58 years. In his early years Terry won the individual U.S. National Spearfishing championships 4 times. His team won 10 championships. In 1982, his interests turned to blue water hunting. For the next 10 years he captured 3 world records for yellowfin and bluefin tuna. His 398-lb Pacific bluefin tuna record still stands. In 1995, Terry published his first book, BlueWater Hunting and Freediving. The landmark book has sold over 20,000 copies and is considered the “bible” for spearfishing. This book is richly illustrated with pictures and stories from Mexico. He is currently re-writing the book in digital format to include slides and videos to enhance the text.
Terry studied marine biology in his undergraduate work at the University of California. He holds 3 advanced degrees, Doctor of Dental Science from University of the Pacific, Resident in Oral Surgery from the University of Southern California and Masters of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He has been an instrumented pilot for 20 years and has logged over 7,500 hours as pilot in command.
His 1992 video, Bluewater Hunters for PBS has been viewed by over 25 million people and has helped introduce the sport of bluewater spearfishing to the world. His diving has been featured in such publications as Sports Illustrated, American Airlines magazine, The Miami Herald and the Los Angeles Times. He lectures nationally using his slides and video presentations to educate those interested in the adventure of bluewater hunting and marine resource conservation. Terry is the director of the International Blue Water Spearfishing Records Committee an organization that documents and maintains world records for blue water species taken freediving. It is affiliated with the Underwater Society of America.
Maas is an accomplished videographer. His rare footage of wild yellowfin tuna taken at Socorro Island is displayed in two sections of the Monterey Bay Aquarium open water exhibit. He has produced two commercial videos, The Joy of Freediving and Freediving Made Easy. November 08, Terry captured video of marlin, sea-lions and whales all attacking bait balls of sardines off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. The footage is available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2kQF7eWkIs . This production won the first place in the 2009 amature video competition at the Our World Underwater film expo 2009 and was featured at the Boston Sea Rovers Evening film exposition.
Terry loves to document the underwater world on still film and in magazine articles. His article documenting the natural history of manta rays was the featured as the front-cover exhibit in Mexico Desconocido (July 2002). His articles and photographs have been featured in such US magazines as Sport Diver, Skin Diver, Scuba Times, Western Diver and California Diving News. Internationally, his articles appear in Sterne (Germany), Focus (Italy), Dive New Zealand and Australian Freediving and Spearfishing News. In 2000, he was inducted as a fellow into the Explorers’ Club of New York.
Terry was the principal under water videographer and co-host for the TV series SPEARGUN HUNTER on the Outdoor Channel where he filmed 23 consecutive episodes.
Terry’s most recent documentation project is a recreation of the marine environment off the Channel Islands of California. He was commissioned by the National Parks Service to create a mural demonstrating biodiversity at the islands. Using his painting of white seabass in a kelp forest, Terry incorporated many other photographs of reef and pelagic animals frequenting the islands.
While Terry remains an avid hunter, he is very selective in his take and is deeply concerned with conservation of the ocean’s bounty. He shares his underwater images of sea creatures captured in commercial poaching nets and on hooks with many environmental organizations. He is an active supporter of Sea Watch an organization dedicated to the preservation of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. In California, he served on the committee to fashion marine reserves. He remains active in preserving the rights of spearfishers through his work on the Watermens Alliance. He is an active participant and trip leader for Diving for a Cause, an organization that spends effort in improving the local coastal communities they visit for spearfishing.
Terry is an expert witness for speargun and blackout related injuries.
Having lost too many close to him from freediver blackout, Terry’s mission is to create a safer diving environment through his teachings and by the development of the Freedivers Recovery Vest (FRV.)Maas is currently working with a broad coalition of national and international freedivers to develop a vest for the management of freediver blackout. This device is analogous to a biker’s helmet, a skydiver’s back-up safety chute, and the car driver’s airbag. Visit FRV site here: www.oceanicss.com. The Navy SEALS are currently testing a military adaptation to protect their troops in over-water operations.
The divers who have impacted him to most are: Jerry Stugen, his first teacher and Carl Krupansky, and Don Barthman, his first Cen-Cal teammates. Later he joined John and Bill Ernst who together won 12 national spearfishing titles. Bill, who he has been diving with for over half-a-century remains a close friend and dive buddy. Al Schenppershoff ignited his interest in blue water hunting and was an excellent teacher. Terry’s ever-present Ventura buddy diver Jim Mabry joined him in the ground breaking trips to Guadalupe Island and the Revillagigedo Islands.
Besides the birth of his three children, some of his most memorable events were winning the indivinduvidual National Spearfishing Championships in Miami beach at the age of 21, and the landilanding of his 398-pound bluefin tuna at Guadalupe Island at age 38.
Dr. Terry Maas