Plymouth Calling !

Maxime, can you introduce yourself ?

My name is Maxime Blondel, and I grew up in the south of France, near Toulon.

I started spearfishing at that time, and in 2003, I discovered underwater hockey. I was a French elite player from 2009 to 2017 and won two world championship titles with the French team (2009 and 2013). No spearfishing competition as such.

I am a state-certified nurse with extensive experience in intensive care and emergency. I am also a qualified professional diver and have worked on oil platforms and various fisheries around the world (Scallops in the Orkney Islands, abalones in Western Australia).

I live in the southwest of England near the English Channel and opened a spearfishing school in Plymouth in 2018.

How did you launch your own school?

I opened my school in 2018. The project started with a series of personal and non-personal events.

I lost two of my best friends at sea, and since I've been in England, a few spearfishermen have also lost their lives. I believe education is the key to preventing accidents despite the sea being stronger than all of us.

The UK has a very small federation that has so far focused only on competitors. Last season, we moved to proper facilities near our 6-meter inflatable boat and set up the first graduated spearfishing course in the UK (SF Level 1,2&3).

What do you think about the development of spearfishing in the UK ?

The sport has grown significantly since I arrived (2014), and more and more people are concerned about the origin of their food.

The weather in the UK keeps most hunters out of the water from November to May. Sea conditions (visibility and swell) are a real challenge.

Otherwise, British waters are rich in fish and other crustaceans, and it's really nice when the weather plays along. No need to dive deep to hunt fish weighing 3 to 4 kg. 10m is enough.

What advice would you give to a beginner to improve ?

My favorite spots are cliffs because you never know what you might find in these radical depth changes, as well as some shallows that rise from very deep areas to a few meters below the surface.

One piece of advice I would give to young beginners in this sport is not to be guided by freediving times or depths reached by some athletes.

Each person has their own level and progression in this sport, which should not be forced.

"A fish is not worth a life".


Your future projects ?

Training more coaches to educate a broader part of the spearfishing community and hopefully make the sea a "safer" place.

And some spearfishing trips in warmer or non-warm waters!

If you want Maxime's good advice, visit:

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