When your passion is the ocean, working behind a desk can be stifling. Joshua Fleming, owner of Meric Spearfishing and Free Dive Shop, developed a passion for the ocean as a kid while spending his summers in Oceanside. “I got my start in free diving, just snorkeling around the jetties here in Oceanside,” said Fleming.
Meric Spearfishing and Free Dive Shop has everything you need for the sport. “I carry everything for the beginner, to advanced diver. I try to help people out and give the best deal I can. I don’t have a ton of overhead. It’s just me in here. It’s my shop so I kinda get to make the rules too, to an extent,” Fleming said with a smile. “I’m not a salesman. I give people the facts…I give my opinion about different equipment, let them know what works for me. I also tell them about feedback I receive from other divers. I like to give people both sides of it. I don’t just try to sell them on one thing.”
If someone wants to get started in the sport of free dive/spearfishing, it can be a little difficult in the winter without the proper suit, gloves, and booties. “Unlike surfing, your whole body is submerged so you lose a lot of your body heat through your hands, head, and feet,” explained Fleming. “You can start with a surf wetsuit but things you will really need to get started are; a quality pair of fins, mask, snorkel, a waist weight belt so you can get down in the water. You need to get comfortable with free diving first and once you’re comfortable with that, you can get into spearfishing.”
Fleming offers a wide variety of items including several lines of high-speed swim fins, wetsuits, hoods, gloves and booties along with low volume masks. (Low volume refers to the amount of open space inside the mask which helps conserve oxygen when equalizing air pressure under water.) With warmer weather coming, Fleming is adding gear focused towards the beginner and tourists with inexpensive packages of masks, snorkels, and fins.
As you would expect Fleming also carries a wide range of Spearfishing guns with some of them made locally. “Eventually I want to dedicate one section to guns made by craftsmen here in North County,” said Fleming.
Great snorkeling, diving, and spearfishing experiences are easily accessible. “What I tell new people, without giving away my secret spots, is to look at Google Earth. The entire coast is lined with reefs you can just swim out to.”
To learn more about Meric Spearfishing and Free Dive Shop and the discounts available to clubs, law enforcement, firefighters and military, visit www.mericspearfishing.com, call 760-547-1587, or stop by the shop at 605 Mission Ave, Oceanside, CA 92054.