Tradition meets modern
Get 20% off on all items until today at Aquasmith, which is the No. 1 place when it comes to up-to-date gear for spearfishing, a sport that is loved by many locals on island. Aquasmith was established in 1999 by general manager Morito Asai, a spearfishing enthusiast himself, who saw the need to let the tradition of spearfishing flourish by bringing in modern gear and equipment.
“I am originally from Japan and I feel fortunate that I have learned under the hands of experienced fishermen—Mr. Ed Aguon and Mr.Felix Sasamoto Jr.—and I fell in love with the sport. Later on, I realized perhaps I can support local fishermen by carrying this great traditional sport by bringing modern gear to catch up with the world,” he said.
“Back then, we needed to fly to Guam to get long fins and factory-made spear guns. But now, people don’t have to because it is conveniently right here at Aquasmith when they need it. This greatly helps with self-sufficiency when it comes to food which is important for the island,” he added.
Aquasmith provides world-class spearfishing gear from all over the world that includes Italy, Spain, France, Greece, South-Africa, and the U.S. “As much as possible we like to support local fishermen and that is one reason why we accept regular food stamp, because we know it’s hard time for everyone so you can buy spearfishing gear to catch fish to eat. We are planning to start home or office delivery service beginning of 2021 to make shopping more convenient and we’re looking at starting skin-diving lessons again soon,”Asai said.
“We carry Cressi, OMER, Rob Allen, Salvimar, Spetton, Beuchat, Picasso, Hammerhead, C4, Pathos, Meandros, and Riffe. Spearfishers from abroad are surprised when they visit our store and see the wide selection and the latest models such as roller spear guns with reasonable prices for the such tiny islands in the middle of pacific,” Asai added.
He believes that spearfishing as a sport and a source of livelihood is here to stay. “I believe that it is in the local’s DNA… spearfishing is still a source of livelihood for Chamorro and Carolinian people, a deep part of their culture and tradition and is passed down from generation to generation. They say it is difficult to inherit traditional culture all over the world but fortunately spearfishing is now popular with the young people,” Asai said.
“I hope we will pass it on to future local generations. Saipan has dive spots in the north, south, east, and west. When the east side is rough, the west side is calm. The water is warm and mostly clear all throughout the year. For beginners, I suggest Pau Pau Beach to start with. The area is surrounded by the reef so it’s protected and way more safe compared to other spots. I started to teach my son with Hawaiian sling there when he was 5 or 6 and I see some kids starting around that age too,” Asai added.
Spearfishing is a tradition of strength and skill but at the end of the day, it is the community that benefits. “Most spearfishers share with their family or friends and don’t catch more than we need and it’s not that easy anyway. Actually, the better you get, you become more picky on the species and size of the target fish,” Asai said.
“Some fishermen sell to fish markets if they have some extra catch, it’s important because spearfishing is not for everybody but most people love to eat fresh local fish,” Asai added.
Aquasmith is located at the 2nd floor of Western Union near Sarah Fashion and Maganda Utang along Garapan Street in Garapan. They are open Monday -Friday from 10am to 5pm. For more information, call (670) 233-5055 or go to their website :https://aquasmith.com FaceBook :https://www.facebook.com/aquasmith670/?ref=page_internal and Instagam:https://www.instagram.com/aquasmith_1/.