Across the ocean from Europe preparations for new challenges in spearfishing competitions are taking place: Team USA has a new Captain, great spearo Francisco Loffredi! He has caught huge fish all around the world and won prizes for biggest fish in countless competitions. Some examples: 3 times he won the biggest fish trophy at the Blue Water World Cup. In 2013 he won all 3 trophies of the World Cup; individual, team and biggest fish. Nobody has ever done that! In 2015 he was Pan-American champion with Brasil. This year Francisco finished 2º at the Kuwait Championship and won the Iate Club Open in Rio, and past June he shot the biggest fish of the CMAS World Championship for Clubs, a 26 kg amberjack. He was the only non Mediterranean athlete at the competition.
Apneapassion: You are a great champion with excellent experience, but also guys in Team USA are really strong and experienced spearos, what could you bring to them more?
Francisco Loffredi: USA has a very talented group, well experienced for their age, but still a young team. I will bring international competitive experience and background in a multitude of diving scenarios. It will also be my job to create the conditions so that divers can focus 100% of their attention in shooting fish, not having to deviate their focus towards logistics, politics and finance.
AP: Which are your strong characteristics and which, to be sincere, your weakest?
FL: Easy question! I’m a good hunter but a primitive freediver, a “caveman” with fins! hahaha! I have always put my attention on the hunting part of the sport and neglected freediving. So for sure the apnea component of my spearfishing is my weak point. Working to improve it!!!
AP: Technical hints, strategy, physical performance: which of these three aspects are key in competitions and which ones will you work on more?
FL: They are all important but, depending on the destination, some of these aspects can have more importance than others. At the World Championship in Greece physical aspect played a bigger role than this year in Sagres. At the WC in Perù strategy played an even bigger role. I believe the winning talent is to be able to identify the demands of each fishing ground and adapt to the situation, exploring the individual talents of your athletes.
AP: Describe “your” team that has participated to World Champ in Sagres, Portugal. Strengths of each diver?
FL: Our athletes come from Florida and Hawaii, places with good visibility and deep spearfishing, so they are obviously very good at that. But I see their focus and professional approach to competitive spearfishing as their biggest asset. You got to want it more than anybody else. They want it! So fare they have also showed great skill to adapt to spearfishing conditions different from their home dive. That is essential for an international athlete. Ryan and Justin won the US nationals in California in cold, poor visibility waters on a kayak only a few months after finishing top 10 in Greece in completely opposite conditions. Can’t imagine more versatility than that!
AP: A comment on the great, enthusiast and strong USA women team that has competed also in Sagres?
FL: The girls killed it in Sagres! Everyone was sure a European team would win. Female spearfishing has grown so much, it’s great for the sport! Having the USA women’s team spearfishing World Champion will only add to this trend.
AP: Which are the next steps to start with your work as new USA Captain and which the next important appointments?
FL: Our goal is to compete internationally at least twice a year. The next competition will be the 2019 Panamerican in Chile. Until then our focus is to get the huge USA spearfishing market backing our efforts. We want to make USA world champions again after 60 years! Lot’s of work ahead of us!