2013 – Harold Gibson (Florida)

Like many young boys in Hawaii, my spearfishing journey began with humble beginnings. There were no open-cell wetsuits, carbon fins, or finely tuned spearguns. I had an old mask that would leak constantly, paired with an equally ugly snorkel that our family dog had used as a chew toy. Stout body-board fins were appropriate as my max depth rarely exceeded 10ft. A plastic gallon jug from the local shave-ice store served as my dive float, tethered by my grandma’s old clothesline. Each trip would start with a silent prayer that the cracked rubber sling of my rusty 3-prong would last just one more dive.
There was no finesse. There was no technique. There was only chaos. My diving consisted of locating fish, slowly trying to get closer, then ultimately charging after them in an all-out sprint. My stubby fins would churn up a frothy wake as I chased fish all over the reefs with a not-so surprisingly low success rate. I loved every minute of it.
Fast forward several years and I began to dive with a good buddy Colin Chun, who actually knew how to spearfish. Watching him lie patiently on the sea floor surrounded by a vortex of curious fish… I realized how poor a spearfisherman I was and how much I had to learn. It was at that point that I truly began to appreciate the intricate beauty of freedive spearfishing. I immersed myself in all things related to spearfishing, tinkered with every speargun I could get my hands on, and was a general pest to anyone who I could learn from.
As time progressed, I ventured to enter my first tournament. Competition never came easy for me. In the beginning there was far more frustration than fun. I felt uneasy, never relaxed… the antithesis of what freediving is supposed to be. However, as much as I disliked the self-induced stress, it undoubtedly made me a better diver. Competition taught me to read the conditions, analyze the situation in that moment, and constantly be adapting.
At its core, diving is a personal challenge; constantly trying to find balance both physically and mentally. That challenge is what continues to draw me in. I enjoy being in a state of perpetual learning and discovery. However, above all the personal aspects, I most value the friendships, laughs, and memories created with my fellow divers over the years. Thank you all for being a part of this journey!

Nationals (Team)
• 2013 – 1st place Team
• 2012 – 1st place Team
• 2009 – 3rd place Team
• 2004 – 10th place Team
Nationals (Individual)
• 2013 – 2nd place Individual
• 2012 – 2nd place Individual
• 2009 – 2nd place Individual
• 2004 – 42nd place Individual
Regional (Pacific Coast Championships)
• 2009 – 1st place Team
• 2009 – 3rd place Individual, Top Rookie
Cencal
• 2011 – 1st place Individual (Fort Ross)
• 2011 – 1st place Team (Fort Ross)
• 2010 – 1st place Team (Black Butte)
• 2009 – 2nd place Team (Black Butte)
• 2009 – 3rd place Individual (Black Butte)