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    2018 Australian Bluewater Freediving Classic

    March 21, 2018 2 min read

    2018 Australian Bluewater Freediving Classic

    Words by Mark Kallman.

    Predicting the future is a futile and impossible task. Threatening cyclones and muddy rivers disgorging their filthy contents made the Classic difficult this year. Add the logistics of getting your boat to Coffs and then where to launch? It was a tough weekend and will be remembered as the weekend of the White Shark.

    Sharks are a given and an occasional white is seen during the Classic. With upwards of 30 spearos spread over a wide area, one should expect the odd white. This weekend proved very different. Diving off North Rock in dirty water, while lying on sand, a white estimated at 4m casually swam into view. Later off the Lighthouse, Tony Heugh saw a white in the deep dirty water. The shark appeared to be using the dirty cold thermocline to make its way in. Later Joe Martindale also bumped into a white. However, Warren Carter’s interaction at Black Rock near the Lighthouse was troubling. Several sharks were seen, whalers and the odd bull shark. Spearos had been casually knocking off cobia swimming with the bulls.

    Wazza saw a large shark: a thick set whaler. Something alerted to him to its demeanour, it was not a whaler but a white! It shot off the bottom at him, intimidating him enough to expect a bite. It had intent and circled him. Being prudent, he sought refuge on his boat as quick as he could. Was it the cold water pushing in under the warm clear surface water? We can only speculate but 4 great white sightings require future competitors make sure they have nerves of steel and ice in their veins.

    When all was said and done, the results of the 2018 Australian Bluewater Freediving Classic were as follows: Derrick Cruz open CHAMPION and Senior champion, Brett Vercoe Master champion, Jarrod McKenzie Junior champion, Neil Armour veteran champion, Jason Stevens Intermediate champion and Rachel Vercoe Lady champion.

    2018 Australian Bluewater Freediving Classic

    2018 Australian Bluewater Freediving Classic

    Specific highly prized fish species are also recognised with Josh Stevens Spanish mackerel 23.2kg also the largest fish of the competition, Derrick Cruz mulloway 16.4kg, Angus McCook cobia 12.8kg, Brad McKenzie kingfish 12.3kg, Neil Armour Wahoo 10.95kg, Brett Vercoe samsonfish 4.9kg and Jason Stevens dolphinfish 2.65kg. Special mention is made of Brad McKenzie who was awarded Committees’ Choice: 4.95kg dog-tooth tuna. This fish represented a very unusual visitor from warmer climes north of our area.