2018 – Ritchie Zacker (Florida)

Ritchie was born and raised in Tampa Florida into a family that fished and dove. Being born on a lake he was always in the water. At the age of 4 his mother taught him how to freedive in the Florida Keys on one of their annual visits down there and a few years later his father taught him how to spearfish after watching him spear in the shallows for a few years. His first fish speared was a 20 inch red grouper in the keys at the age of 6 and it was game on from there! Over the next many years diving out of the Tampa Bay area Ritchie freedove the Gulf of Mexico with his parents and also learned the art of scuba diving. Even after being certified to scuba dive at a young age he never lost his passion to hunt fish freediving. He learned he could spend more time in the water spearing fish holding his breath than on scuba. During his high school and college years he got into commercial spearfishing and to this day has made a career out of spearing and selling fish. He got into spearfishing tournaments in 1999 and in his second spearfishing tournament ever entered he won the St.Pete Open which is the largest spearfishing tournament in the world entries wise up to 360 shooters. After that he started entering more local and state tournaments. In his late teen’s he met at the time a young GR Tarr and they were always spearing fish together and decided to team up in many tournaments and it was off to the race’s at that point!! Diving together they always pushed each other to be better and always never to let the competition ruin their friendship. Many cases of beers, fish fry parties and laughs have been shared over the years with them and along the way. Ritchie has traveled the world spearing fish and doing tournaments. During his journeys he has landed yellowfin tuna up to 200 lbs, won the La Paz World Bluewater meet, competed in 6 U.S Nationals and a freshwater World tournament. In those years he has won 3 U.S National first place team titles and a 3rd place team placing all with different teammates. He has taken Vice-Champion twice in 2015 and 2018. He has won 10 Florida State freedive championships and speared 4 I.U.S.A World Records in his career. He has won just about every tournament in Florida and holds many tournament records but at the end of the day winning with his friends new and old are what makes it all worth the while. He has meet, dove with and dove against some of the legends of our great sport and has been able to call so many of them friends. If you are looking for him look for the guy with a beer in hand, big smile and laughing telling the days stories with everyone. He is excited to see so many new young divers coming into the sport and the drive they have. One thing he will never do is not talk to someone new or old starting in the sport because we all started at that same spot at one point in our lifes!