2008 – Justin Allen (East Coast)

I know the write up was thin, but that in itself tells a bit about who I am in truth, but fo-sho let me see if
these fill ins are good:

Work hard as a team and have fun…
Through each stage, evolution, or trip related to spearfishing- that would summarize the bio for me, but
to elaborate:
Growing up in Massachusetts, I started diving with my dad at eight, mostly for lobsters, but he was the
biggest influence in my earliest progression. As soon as I had my driver’s license, I never missed a local
tournament until winning 08 National Champion in RI, which opened further opportunities. I
participated in the North Atlantic Jr meets, but it was pushing myself commercial spearfishing and
competing with/learning from the best guys locally that provided a steel sharpening steel quality
necessary to improve at an early age. That, combined with plenty of luck, made all the difference in
winning the national tile 5 days past my 22 nd birthday.
As a kid I looked up to Murph, Hochman, and the Warnocks, particularly for their consistency in the
North Atlantic Series, which I didn’t win until 2011. After the 08 nationals, I was fortunate to dive with
an exceptional couple of “old guys,” as they called themselves, (Haussler and Humphrey) in Malibu
taking part in a National Team title in 09, followed in 2010 by representing USA at the Spearfishing
Worlds in Mali Losinj, Croatia with good friends… and Dan Silveria, haha, absolutely kidding. Those were
great times, people, and experiences, and it’s been a real privilege to know and dive with other AOY
recipients and many others in the sport.
Martin Stepanek, who sponsored the 2010 USA spearfishing team, aided in improving my freediving in
excess of 60 meters, and spearfishing with a lot of like-mined Californians abroad led to some of the
most memorable and successful spearfishing trips I’ve had, spearing an IUSA rusty job fish record along
the way and many other large or challenging fish.
The best fishing trips were in Central America or Asia, and usually based on some fortuitous
happenstance from persistence, like the time Brandon Wahlers and I had a hunch, left our gear in the
panga, and last second decided to go back on the very same trip, after completing the long-planned one,
and spent days amongst newly arrived giant yellow fin tuna vortexes without another diver or hardly
another boat in sight, or finding that one spot in “southeast Timor” that you are not supposed to talk
about, that produced other ungodly fishing and dives that are still burned into the memory banks.
When fishing conditions align, the best trips end up being about the company you keep. Your buddy
having a 150 lb doggie wrapped up at 100 feet in raging current and trusting each other enough to dive,
starting well up current, to safely retrieving the fish, makes for some of the more memorable dives to
add to the countless others, and have you feeling like superman in the moment- massively gratifying. It
doesn’t hurt to be in a beautiful location, girls on vacation, pushing tables together at the hostel to
invite everyone and slapping heaps of fresh tuna steaks and sashimi on the table amongst a crowd of
friends knowing you’re are going back after it all again tomorrow. I’m certainly not one for having all

successful trips, it’s an extremely humbling sport, but I find there is a natural essence to the sport that
provides innate enjoyment and experiences… the ultimate old school sport.
At the time of writing this, 10 years removed from the AOY award, I’m 32 and approaching 10 years
working in the offshore oil industry through which I have attained a merchant mariner’s Master
Unlimited license. Although I’m far from done spearfishing, I have enjoyed keeping a low profile.
I will always have a reverence for the sport along with the people I’ve dove with, and be grateful for the
experiences and feasts with friends and family provided by it. It’s an honor have been the 2008 AOY.