Border Open – October 2009 by Paul Toich

Big Fish at Hole-In-The-Wall

Border Open 2009This years Border open was held on the 3rd October, Saturday. It was the biggest field the comp has ever seen with 39 divers entered. Conditions were looking superb leading up to the competition with clean 19 degree water and best of all, large fish around. Spearo's were taking big leeri's, pignose grunter, large poensi's and my personal favourite, hoards of Cracker were around. My crew left for Hole in the Wall on the Wednesday before the comp to have a look around. We arrived to find conditions were far less favourable since we had been to the area a week before.

Not Looking Too Good

 We launched on Thursday only to find cold (about 16 degrees) dirty water, we scratched a few fish and returned to the hotel to find many other divers had arrived. The weather forecast for Friday was a hard east wind (not good in this area) and I knew I had hit a bad luck with the weather.

On Despite Poor Conditions

 No one launched on Friday despite a mounting presence of spearo's in the area. However some of the boys got together for some touch rugby on the beach. Although conditions were less than favourable and I have to admit that I was considering calling it off to save some guys the long drive. However I was clearly out voted and impressed with the enthusiasm of the divers as more and more arrived. Even main sponsors Rob Allen came through late on Friday despite warnings of a possible "no dive" situation. Deciding to go ahead we had the briefing on Friday night in the bar. I welcomed everyone and Martin Victor went through the rules as well as dedicated a minute silence to Greg North and Adam Lawson-Smith who although in different era's both succumbed to shallow water blackout in the area.

A break in the Weather 

Saturday morning looked more promising with mounting excitement over the launch and dive ahead. Everyone met at the backline at 6:30 with Chris Coates on the Rob Allen boat filming everyone’s launch, there was a good feeling in the air as we set everyone off at 7:00. Divers out the water by 1 o' clock.

Divers heading South get Lucky 

My team decided to take a gamble and head north, although none of us had ever dived there. Unfortunately no one else knew that and we were followed by a couple boats. As in gambling, sometimes or should I say most times the risk is greater than the reward. We were met by cold brown water with only about 1 and a half meters of viz on the bottom. My team stuck it out up north only shooting pink bankies and parrots, completely oblivious to the fact that divers who went south were finding up to 12m of viz in places.

Good Fish Shot

Returning to the launch site we heard of a large Poensie being shot by Greg Audi in 25m of water. A grand fish considering it is the area's most notorious. Even this years T-Shirts had a large poensie head logo on the back. Weigh in was at 3 o' clock and prize giving at 6 'o clock. There were a couple fines to get through, a couple thank you's and then the scores did the rest. Greg won a Rob Allen carbon reel gun worth R3000 and a Hole in The Wall hotel voucher for his 1st placing and largest fish of the day. Kurt Roberts managed to place second for his seventh time at the competition, winning a Pelaj gun. James Lawson-Smith came 3rd, diving off Rob Allen’s large boat they managed to dive North and South of the Hole. Lucky prizes also went to Mike Constantinou for his 9th place finish which won him the 2009 prize of a 5mm Rob Allen open cell wet suit. Pierre Scheepers also got lucky winning a Caranx Rob Allen Gun for his last place effort.

Thank you to all 39 entrants again for a great comp, to Bokkie for his help, aswell as to all East London Spearo's for their support particularly Kurt, Martin and Pete and most of all, to to all the sponsors:
 ROB ALLEN (Main Sponsors)