After 13 years with the company that made the history of spearfishing, Omer, the Italian Champion, Stefano Claut, has decided to make an important transition to the Greek company that today is making important steps in the world of spearfishing, Pathos. Reasons, motivations, curiosities of this choice by a much-loved athlete.
Apnea Passion: A passage from Omer to Pathos, from an Italian company that made the spearfishing history, to a Greek company that is making it. What are your feelings?
Stefano Claut: Surely every change in life is stimulating, for this reason, I feel ready to give my contribution as a tester and as an athlete. Besides, I have several friends in Pathos. Giacomo De Mola, with whom I have already shared several competitions, Igor Bisulli, with whom I have experienced the most disparate marine adventures, and David Croselli, with whom I fish all Summer around Croatia. In short, I already feel at home.
AP: Let’s talk about you, your passion for fishing and sport in general. What sports do you practice and what is really special for you about spearfishing?
SC: I am a sportsman who always likes to try a little bit of everything, but also to seriously engage in my secondary sports. For years I have been doing sport climbing which gave me strong emotions, then for reasons of time I switched to mountain biking and in recent years to running, which is a very simple sport that does not require great organization. I started on the road in the various distances, 10 km, half marathon and to finish with the marathon, with good results. Then I moved on to the trail, where my search for contact with nature and the adrenaline of descents on technical terrain emerged. I participated in several ultramarathons up to a maximum of 57 km with a lot of altitude that goes well with my determination and stubbornness. These are competitions where the head, as well as the body, matters a lot. I must say, however, that the emotions that spearfishing gives me are not found in any other sport; I seem to always experience new adventures every time I dive, and it gives me a priceless sense of freedom and inner peace, especially in deep fishing, where the sensation of flying underwater is unrivaled.
AP: When did you start spearfishing, where and when did you start competing? Are there any anecdotes of your first spearfishing experiences?
SC: I started very simply by catching cuttlefish on a camping trip with a hand spear. At the beginning I was not very attracted to competitions, but once I tried it and entered the competitive mode I was passionate and committed with determination. I started with the selections in Trieste at the age of 22, qualifying almost immediately, but then I received several blows to the Italian championships. However, I was not disheartened, but rather I realized that I had to have as many experiences as possible around Italy, and I started traveling to understand more and more about the various depths and types of fishing. It has been a long journey that has enriched me technically more and more. As a Trieste born spearo, I was certainly at a disadvantage, because I didn’t have training grounds available, so this was the only solution. A good memory of my beginnings was a team match in Croatia where we won with a fairytale game bag, beating various veterans who were certainly much more popular than us. I think it was there that the agonistic spring started which pushed me to improve more and more.
AP: You certainly have an important experience in spearfishing. Where did you fish and which places impressed you the most, which are your favorites? Anecdotes?
SC: I am very lucky because I have been able to have fishing experiences in various areas of the world, both traveling with my family and thanks to the national team that I have been part of since 2010. I have fished in Peru, Australia, Portugal, Greece, South Africa, Croatia, Spain, Denmark, Finland and I have fond memories of every trip. In particular, I remember Peru, where we prepared for the World Championship by fishing in the ocean undertow in the turbid with the sea lions that circled around us and often took the opportunity to steal our newly harpooned fish. From Australia, on the other hand, I remember an almost embarrassing abundance of fish, ease of catching on unsophisticated fish and the numerous sharks that infested those waters. They were fishing in burley, that is, by pasturing, this attracted the Spanish Mackerel, but also giant groupers and sharks. The fish caught had to be electrocuted and immediately taken on the boat, otherwise it was a lost fish among groupers as big as a Fiat 500 and voracious sharks. I remember a tiger shark of about 4 meters that passed me in the murky area making me almost have a heart attack 🙂
AP: Let’s move on to competitions. Which do you remember most? What events with a capital E did you participate in? What would you change today to improve competitions?
SC: I have really done many competitions and in different categories. I have wonderful memories of both international competitions and simple selective ones and it is therefore very difficult to choose.
For example, I remember a selective in Livorno on the Meloria shoals, where I ranked first without preparation. I had been out for more than 2 months due to a bad surgery, it was the second time I entered the water, training equal to zero and despite this I got the first place. After the race with fins, I was recovered by a member of the club with his boat who immediately told me that I had played an excellent competition, but I was skeptical having not seen catches from other competitors. I then discovered by talking with him that he was Bacci (Spearfishing champion from Livorno, ed.). So I started to give more credit to his assumptions, in fact, he was right!
I really like team competitions and I absolutely cannot forget our three consecutive victories at the Rovinj race (Settimi, Smeraldi, Mastromauro).
In the edition of the first victory, there was an incredible abundance of fish. We made a perfect competition tactic and brought to the weight a monstrous game bag, which I think rarely will be seen in competitions in our area: 29 fish, including three snappers taken in burrows, the largest of which was 7.3kg! Having won that edition with 60 teams from all over Europe was memorable.
I felt the same emotions with the national team at the international competition in Zara, where together with De Mola, Ascione and Ominetti we succeeded in a titanic undertaking, winning with a super game bag and ending the dominance of Gospic and his team, who always won each edition.
The most important international competitions in which I participated were the European in Finland (13), the European in Cadiz (8), the European in Lošinj in Croatia (4), the world championship in Syros as a reserve (2 teams) and lastly the European Championship in Denmark, where we won in teams and got the second place in the individual classification.
As for competitions at the national level, I think we are on the right track, especially with free preparation, a factor that in the past facilitated the premises too much, and the introduction of white and golden groupers. The Federation (FIPSAS) and the coach (Marco Bardi) are working very well in my opinion.
Internationally, we hope to resume as soon as possible. In 2020 I had to participate together with De Mola and Croselli in the team world championship in Zadar then postponed. Even the World Championship in Italy is a great opportunity for us, let’s hope so…
AP: From Omer to Pathos products. We don’t want to know which ones are better, but certainly which Pathos products impressed you the most in this first test period?
SC: I immediately had a great feeling with the spearguns, which are very precise and of excellent workmanship, the reels that unlock themselves I find them very important for safety.
I used the Supreme carbon fins and immediately appreciated the excellent thrust that goes well with my type of kicking.
But what impressed me the most is the winter Team wetsuit, really warm and comfortable, and the 3mm internal metalite gloves, with which I am fishing instead of the 5mm mittens I used before.
In the Gulf of Trieste, the water temperature drops to even 5° C on the surface and outside there are often days with temperatures just above zero, good thermal insulation is very important to avoid freezing :).