Del Wren - Del on GLACD
12 - 7 - 2001
The Reef - Trophies - Paddleboards
In the early fifties the GLACD was in the early stages of forming rules for our sport and I was constantly forging ahead with ideas and methods to gain all of the advantages possible within the existing rules. Well, I was scouting alone one day in an area where the GLACD held some of their meets. In this area you either went north or south. I had scouted to the north end and was heading south. It was a hot day so when I was straight out from the staging area I put on my mask and pushed off my four-foot surf mat to cool off. As I pushed along I suddenly heard a reef, wow! What was this? I started diving and after several deep dives I found this reef. Holy Cats!!! A reef just off the beach starting area. I took three fixes and dove again. I was off and it took several dives to find the reef again.
Hey! The fish were everywhere around the reef, seventy to the top, down to eighty plus to the bottom. Holes full of fish, it was an under water spearfisherman's dream. Well, I didn't want anyone to see my on flipper going up and down so I got the hell out of there. I came back the next day very late in the afternoon, took my fixes and spent about thirty to forty minutes finding the reef. Wow! Not a good situation, what to do? The meet was the next Saturday so I went down on Friday afternoon about two hours before dark, no suit or surf mat, found the reef and set a buoy. I tied it off about two feet underwater. The buoy was about five inches around.
Well, there I was five minutes before the start of the meet with a plan of just sitting there on the beach until all the divers went north or south. Looking both ways, all clear, so off I went looking for my shore markers in order to find my underwater buoy. Balls of fire! There was my buoy floating on the surface and worst of all here came Terry Lentz and the rest of the Neptune team who had gone north and doubled back because several teams were following them. As I grabbed the buoy Terry said, "what have you got here Del"?
Well, the tide, yes the tide! I forgot about the tide!!! I positioned the buoy at high tide so at low tide there was the buoy floating on the surface but luck was with me, the anchor line was at an angle, which put the buoy over the sand.
Terry made a dive, time passed very slowly and when he finally surfaced he said, "probably an illegal lobster trap". I said yes that what I thought and they left. Wee, I had been holding my breath for about three minutes. Individually, I beat every team, through third place. It was deep and I was beat up!
At the next GLACD meeting they outlawed buoying reefs. I remember back in the very early days of the GLACD, they wanted to give big fish trophies; well I was always against any trophies. I said why spend the money? It's the memory of our accomplishments that will stay with us. I was out voted, so trophies would be presented for first, second and third largest fish at all meets. The next meet was several months away.
Finally, thee we were, about to compete in our first elimination meet. We were all using tubes or four-foot surf mats. Four hours later about twenty teams of us started weighing our fish. He-he, I had first, second and third largest fish. There was a hush over the presentation but I had large, medium and small trophies, three of them. Well, you can guess what happened at the nest GLACD meeting; ONLY ONE big fish trophy per diver. Oh well!
As I said, we used tubes and surf mats in our early beach start competitions. Our GLACD elimination meets were held on a Saturday and Sunday. About twenty teams competed on Saturday and twenty teams on Sunday. Half of the teams from each day were eliminated; out, go home, see you next year.
The top fifty percent from each day went to the finals where the top teams went to the Pacific Coast Championships. Well, in my elimination meet with all the tubes and mats, I pulled out my 12-foot balsa wood paddleboard. Eyes popped out and off we went to the reef at Point Ferman, no other place to go. It took me about six or seven minutes to get there, where the tube and mat guys got to the reef in fifteen to twenty minutes. Guess what? At the next GLACD meeting they outlawed paddleboards!!!
There were several divers of the early fifties who were constantly pushing the envelope. Charlie Sturgill, Harley Chandler, Howard Patton, Johnny Carroll and Big Jim Christensen but nobody can give you the ability to go where the fish are. You have to be in tip top shape - example, Terry Lentz! His work-outs would kill the average diver. Hey, can you shoot a fish at thirty, forty, fifty feet plus, reload and shoot a second one, then reload and get the third one? Can you dive two days, six hours a day, pushing yourself down and down some more?
Terry Lentz did and became our only World Champion. He did the United States of America proud! You know the Neptunes for years asked me to join their club. Hell, they were the enemy. Someone had to beat their asses once in a while. Its difficult to get equal divers on the same team. Well, when you get to the 100th push-up, you probably have ninty eight percent of the divers beat. Fifteen more, 99.9% beaten and twenty more, well, your probably in the ball park.
12 - 7 - 2001