A love for the ocean, exceptional swimming skills and a keen eye is taking Bundaberg-raised Keiren Limpus to the depths of the Spearfishing World Championship.
The competition brings together the most skilled and determined spearfishing competitors from around the globe, each vying for the ultimate glory of spearing a “shopping list” of fish varieties to be crowned winner.
Keiren is one of two Aussies to represent the nation in the Spain event on 7-10 September, with the overseas trip to be the first Keiren has ever taken.
While he might be a fish out of water on new land, the sixth generation Bundaberg man hopes to excel in the competition, with the ocean flowing through the blood of his family.
His grandfather is turtle crusader Col Limpus, who has dedicated more than 50 years to marine turtle research, and his father is turtle researcher Duncan Limpus who Keiren said was the reason he started spearfishing in the first place.
“It was back in 2008 when my old man took me out spearfishing as it was a pastime for him when he was a kid and he wanted to get back into it,” he said.
“My family is very conscious about conservation and spearfishing actually works well with that.
“It’s amazing getting out there in the water, no dive is ever the same and every location is different, so you don’t know what to expect.”
Growing up in close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef in the Bundaberg Region, Keiren developed a deep connection with the ocean and a profound understanding of its marine ecosystem.
This connection fostered his passion for spearfishing and the desire to excel in the sport.
Soon he will be in unknown territory off the coast of Spain surrounded by new fish species, an unfamiliar environment and the need for new hunting techniques in order to succeed in the Spearfishing World Championship.
Keiren will face stiff competition from athletes who possess a wealth of experience in various underwater conditions.
“In the competition we are given a set shopping list of species that act as points for each one we catch,” Keiren said.
“We’re limited to one catch per species as spearfishing is also very sustainable and as selective as possible.
“I’m now learning about all the different fish species and taking it all in.”
Competitive underwater fishing is defined as the hunting and capture of fish underwater without the aid of artificial breathing devices, using equipment which depends entirely on the physical strength of the competitor.
Keiren aims to make his mark on the international stage and he said it was fortuitous he was one of two Australians selected to compete.
“It was only announced in March this year that Australia could enter a team in the competition,” he said.
“The absolute pinnacles of the sport couldn’t go, so that was lucky for me.
“It will be my first time overseas and I am so excited to represent Australia.”
As Keiren prepares to represent Australia in Laredo, he recognises the magnitude of the challenge that lies ahead. To help Keiren get to Spain, click here.