International Underwater Spearfishing Association

Competition Spearfishing Historical Timeline 1947-2004

The following describes the efforts of Ralph Davis (USA, Jacques Yves Cousteau (France), Cosimo de Medeci (Italy), Bill Schroeder (Helms Athletic Foundation), Fred Beitz (Amateur Athletic Union), and Ernesto Zaragosa (Mexico).

1947-1948 Standardized rules for the taking of record fish by under water spearfishing among Pacific coast dive clubs in California and Washington headed by Ralph Davis and the LA Fire Department Neptune’s fish records committee, working with Jack Prodanovich.

1948-1949 Distributed basic rules for world records to Spain, France, Italy, and Australia and applied to the International Game Fish Association for the Maintenance of world records under these rules..

1950 Founded the International Underwater Spearfishing Association in May and obtained written representation for the I.U.S.A. of Cosimo de Medeci in Italy, Jacques Yves Cousteau in France and Luis Puyo in Spain in addition to representation in seventeen other countries.

1950-1954 Established Underwater Spearfishing Championships in Algeria, New Caledonia, Ceylon (Shrilanka) and the U.S. First International Rules of the I.U.S.A. were used as a basis for National Championships by most countries.

1950 With the cooperation and envaluable assistance of Bill Schroeder of the Helms Athletic Foundation and Fred Beitz of the A.A.U.( Amateur Athletic Union), established the 1st U.S. National Underwater Spearfishing Championships (Oct. 15, 1950).

1952 With the cooperation of the Helms Athletic Foundation, established the U.S. National Underwater Spearfishing Athlete of The Year Award.

1952 Cooperated with Ernesto Zaragosa of Mexico in the establishment of the 1st Inter-America Underwater Spearfishing Championships.

1953 With the cooperation of the Boys Clubs of America, established the 1st U.S. Jr. Underwater Spearfishing Championships in Laguna Beach, Ca.

1954 Established Underwater spearfishing as a National A.A.U. sport in the United States.

1955 Served as first National A.A.U. chairman for underwater spearfishing.

1956 Brought the A.A.U. of the U.S. into membership with the (CIPS) Confederation International Peche Sportive.

1955-1958 Chairman of the Champions to Europe Committee.

1958-1959 Chairman, Public Relations Committee, National A.A.U. Competitive Skin Diving Committee.

1960-1964 Olympic planning 3rd Inter-America Championships in Guaymas, Mexico.

1965-1968 Olympic planning 4th Inter-America Championships. In 1968 the international Olympic committee voted on many new water sport events to include in Olympic competition. Unfortunately synchronized swimming was favored over underwater spearfishing by that Olympic committee. As a result of the above decision Ralph Davis would never realize his dream of establishing the sport of spearfishing as an Olympic event.

The IUSA has awarded the largest world spearfishing record, (now protected in most waters around the world) an 804 lb. Atlantic Spotted Bass, Jewfish, (Maru), (Epinepnelus itajara) speared in Crandan Park by Art Pinder in 1949 with an Hawaiian Sling. The IUSA also awarded the largest world spearfishing record Tuna, a 398 lb. Bluefin speared at Guadalupe Island by Terry Maas in 1982, a record that has been broken since.

1968-1996 Ralph Davis continued to register a number of world records like the Terry Maas 398 lb. Bluefin Tuna, and 225 lb. Yellowfin Tuna, the 84 lb. Wahoo and 104 lb. Stripped Marlin by Ron Mullins, Peter McGonagale’s 70 lb. Dolphin-fish, and of course the magic 80 lb. White Sea Bass by yours truly Skip Hellen.

In 1996, the IUSA began a reorganization to revive an institution that had lost most of it’s original board members after well over 50 years of service in some cases. Ralph Davis as the original IUSA founder blessed and participated in the new reorganization.

On January 1, 1997 the IUSA started a new era, the IUSA 21st century.

2001 Ralph Davis died on June 13, after giving over 60 years of dedicated service to the sport of spearfishing. He was the grandfather of organized competition spearfishing. His vision to have competition spearfishing become an Olympic event drove him for many decades. All of us who enjoy the competitive test of man and the sea will continue to enjoy the benefits of Ralph’s hard work and dedication for his entire life.

After eulogizing a small funeral ceremony where he lived, myself and one other long time underwater hunter took a privet boat ride out to Ralph’s favorite diving place, Abalone Pt. Laguna Beach, and deposited his ashes back from where we originally came, Gods ocean.

Ralph was an inspiration, a role model and a great friend to me and the sport of spear fishing, we will miss his unwavering ethics, principles and leadership.

God bless our sports grandfather Ralph Davis