I learned a lot from two weeks scouting in Portugal. I shot 5 new fish species, hunted the surf zone, and learned how to navigate huge swells. But mostly I learned how much I still have to learn. This is a hard lesson I get before every competition. Fortunately this time I got this lesson a year before I'm to put these new techniques to use.
The coolest part of competing at the world level is how far out of your comfort zone it takes you. Last year it was 200 foot dives in Greece, next year it will be 6 foot dives in 6 foot swells. I grew up diving palm beach where if it wasn't at least 30 ft of vis we turn around and go to the sandbar. I remember how thrown I was at my first Pan Americans. Acapulco Mexico, the big cuberas were at 100 feet in 5-10 foot of vis. Normally encountering these situations we would go back to the hotel and lay on the beach. Instead I had to learn. After two weeks of leaving my comfort zone it wasn't so bad anymore. I was willing to push it just a bit farther then the competition and ended up being the only one to get my cubera on both days. Now I have that skill forever. Deep dirty water doesn't bother me anymore. Each and every one of these comps gives me new skills that I can implement again anywhere in the world.
If you want to be a better hunter there is nothing that will advance your skills like competition. Next years nationals is the first in the two year circuit. Meaning if you want in for 2020 worlds you must compete in the 2018 nationals. Compete see how you like it and see if you do well. If you're in the top ten or fifteen you have a shot at team USA. Then go to 2019 nationals and be ready to crush it. Be ready to adapt whether it's on a kayak in the northeast or in a lake in Arkansas. I can't promise you will get on the team but I can guarantee you will come out a far better diver. Combine those two scores and the top four divers will be Team USA.
Want to be a better diver now? Join Team USA as a scout. We will be on site in Portugal next year from August 15 - September 20. Come live with and help us as we scout every inch of a rugged 20 mile coast. Be there to help us train and strategize. I promise there is no class in the world that will teach you what you will learn from us as we prepare for the 2018 World Championship.