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Sodwana 2008

Posted by Silverback on 06 November 2007 at 01:49 PM

National Championship Dates 18-23 May 2008

The 2007 Bluewater Gamefish Classic held at Sodwana earlier this year served to introduce the approximate circumstances likely to be faced at the Nationals next year.

Unfortunately several divers did not enjoy the conditions and expressed their dissatisfaction with the venue. The major bone of contention is that the National Championships will be a gamefish only event.

I support the choice of venue for several reasons:

1. The argument is made that Sodwana cannot accurately reflect the quality of the divers because hunting gamefish is a hit and miss affair based largely on luck.
This represents a glib response because the International Champs are held in different venues, each with their own set of rules and regulations.
In addition, there are serious moves afoot in SAUFF to alter the point ranking of different species based on ORI’s recommendations, the Natal guys do this already. Gamefish would comprise a higher point ranking because they are not resident. Therefore a 1kg Bluefin Kingfish/Trevally could represent the same or even a higher score when compared with a 5kg Yellowbelly Rockcod. It appears that in the very near future, gamefish are likely to throw a spanner in the works in any case.

2. The additional comment was made that results in a gamefish tournament would unfairly advantage a lucky diver and the results on the Spearfishing Ranking System would be slanted unfairly.
If one looks over the selection of divers for the South African Team Trials, there can be little doubt that the top ten divers are represented amongst the group selected.
Bear in mind that the selectors used the ranking system as an indicator not a means of selection. It is impossible and unfair to rely on a single arbitrary system to select trialists and I believe that the selectors have succeeded in spite of the charged and difficult environment.

3. Many Spearo’s compete in the Nationals with the full knowledge that they stand no chance of making it into the top ten. I think that the rest of the competitive Spearo’s deserve an opportunity to compete at their respective levels in many different environments in South Africa and not have to compete in circumstances that approximate the International scene at every National Champs.
For me, the Nationals represent a new area to explore and get to know. I firmly believe that a gamefish only Champs, held infrequently will not make any significant inroads in the rankings. It is important to understand that to compete, you cannot afford to be a fair weather competitor.
For the system to work, every diver must be prepared to make concessions. In all fairness, I would be extremely upset if the decision was made to compete in Struisbaai next year and divers pulled out because of a perceived threat of Great White Sharks.
If you are prepared to compete at the Champs in Sodwana, you should be prepared to compete in Struisbaai or some similar venue.

4. The format of the Championships is also going to be different to that found in previous Champs. The competition is scheduled to take place over 4 days with two days set aside for individual competition and 2 days for team competition. This promises to be an exciting 4 days of spearfishing. Hope the weather plays along.

I have it on good authority that Gauteng South are getting themselves organised to hold trials next year. The idea is to hold several trials at Sodwana to get divers accustomed to the area and the species. I understand that previous participation is likely to be a factor in team selection, this to favour the actively participating competitor over the fair weather competitor.

I am eager to get back into the water after my trip to the States, hopefully the weather and conditions off the Natal South Coast will allow a trip toward the end of this month.

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