Anyone who has followed Spearfishing Today is familiar with one of our most team’s most colorful personalities and Playa del Carmen spearfishing guide, Diego.
“Everybody calls me Atun (tuna fish),” he explains.
As part of our series, “Spearo Hall of Fame,” we’re interviewing the talented men and women that make Spearfishing Today the 5-star company that it is today.
We continue our in-depth investigation with the man, the legend, the spearo himself: Mr. Atun.
Spearfishing in Playa del Carmen
Diego has been the face of our Playa del Carmen spearfishing operations for the last several years.
His passion for the sport is notable as is his sense of humor and receding hairline.
Recently, we sat down with Diego to get to know the man behind the myth.
Mr. Atun, how long have you been working for Spearfishing Today?
I have been working with Spearfishing Today for around five years.
And how did you get started?
I started as a client. I used to pay for the trip because I was interested in spearfishing, and then after a short time I became friends with Spearo Leo and one thing led to the other.
Where are you from?
I come from Guadalajara on the west coast.
Arpon Spearfishing Playa del Carmen
Did you move to the Riviera Maya just to work as a Playa del Carmen spearfishing guide?
No, I came to Playa del Carmen because I was interested in the area but not specifically because of spearfishing.
Do you remember the first fish you ever speared?
Yes. It was a very decent Spanish mackerel and I was still in training. It was the first fish that I caught by myself.
How would you describe your relationship with the sea?
Close. I love it. I feel really comfortable in the sea. It’s hard to find words to describe it, but to give you an idea I dream about being underwater. Sometimes I catch myself dreaming that I am in the sea practicing apnea. That tells me a lot.
You’ve been spearfishing for five years now?
A little longer, but professionally around five years.
What attracts you to the sport?
The sustainability of spearfishing. It’s a really demanding sport physically, but it also provides you the opportunity to feed yourself. So for me, having a background as a biologist, that’s something that was important to learn in a way to be independent, to be able to catch my own food. That was really important to me.
The Spearfishing Today slogan is “From Sea to Table.” What does that mean to you personally?
That’s my way of life, my lifestyle. I eat everything that I catch. It’s important to me that I don’t go out looking for a trophy; I am going out looking for my next meal. And if my next meal is big enough I want to invite everybody and I want to share it.
What life lessons can we take away from spearfishing?
There’s definitely a lot that can be taken from spearfishing which you can apply to your life. One of the main things that I learned from spearfishing is to be patient, to think twice, and to definitely be a little more cautious. Now I always try to anticipate and prevent for everything, and that is something that I have taken from spearfishing and applied to my everyday life.
Spearfishing for Beginners
What would you say to somebody who would like to start practicing the sport but who maybe doubts as to whether or not they should?
To be honest with themselves. It’s really important that if you really like it, go out and do it with all you got. But you have to be honest with yourself if you are not a water person you might need to think twice. If you are not a person who can handle uncomfortable situations or improvised tasks, you might need to look for something different.
What were you like in high school?
(Laughs). Girls and parties.
The Future of Spearfishing
How do you see the future of spearfishing?
The future of the sport is something we should all consider. The sport is becoming popular. The balance is very delicate between doing it right and doing it wrong. So I think it’s really important for all of us involved in the sport to put more responsibility in it to make sure we are all doing things right in such a way that all newcomers have a clear idea about what to do and how to do it. Otherwise, we are all going to pay the price.
What can we most learn about you from these questions?
I feel really passionate about the sport that I practice.
Next year we celebrate ten years of Spearfishing Today. What would you say we have achieved together?
I think as a company we have grown a lot. Especially in terms of the experience that we provide to people. Because it’s not just the spearfishing but also transmitting the morality of it, the responsibility of doing things right. Because we are talking about the environment; we are talking about an eco-system that we all enjoy, and I think at Spearfishing Today we are doing a great job taking care of that and like passing that along to other people. I’m really proud of that.
If you could have dinner with anyone you wanted, who would it be?
Valentine Thomas. She is a professional spearo. I would love to ask her a few questions about being a woman and spearfishing professionally. I would definitely love to hear her insights about how she sees the sport.