HONOLULU – Maui native and now Oahu resident, Kimi Werner, the 2008 women’s national spearfishing champion, is set to defend her title in Malibu, California tomorrow, August 6 as she competes in the 2009 U.S. Spearfishing Championships. Werner clinched the title last year by spearing a 33-pound striped bass, the largest fish caught in the woman’s division. It would have ranked second in the men’s division.
Primo Beer, a Hawaiian mainstay since 1897, is proud to support Werner at this year’s championships, as both spearfishing and Primo have deep Hawaiian roots.
In a primarily male-dominated sport, Werner has managed to stand out in both team and individual competitions. Despite only taking up the sport four years ago, she was also named rookie of the year last year after her title win.
The sport of spearfishing involves shooting a fish with a spear at close range calling on incredible strategy and skill. While Werner makes it look like underwater ballet, spearfishing can be dangerous if correct technique is not applied.
Tanks are not used in free-diving spearfishing. Spearfishers hold their breath underwater anywhere from two to four minutes. Typically Werner settles around 70 feet and surfaces after around two minutes.
“One of the best tricks a spearfisher can take advantage of is a fish’s curiosity. Fish see their world with their eyes and with vibrations picked up by their lateral line. By moving very slowly you can move in and approach them,” said Werner.
Growing up on Maui has meant that the 29 year-old’s life has revolved around the ocean. As a child, if Werner wasn’t swimming or playing in the water, she was enjoying family barbeques at the beach. “Barbeques are such a huge part of our culture here in Hawaii. I have fond memories of the laidback afternoons where family and friends would gather to barbecue, drink Primo and listen to Hawaiian music,” said Werner.
Spearfishing allows Werner to truly appreciate and respect the magnificence of the ocean. Werner recognizes that spearfishing is an ecologically sustainable form of fishing and a way of utilizing the ocean as a resource. “We basically have one breath and one shot to catch our prey. This is the challenge that draws me to the sport. I like the fact that there’s no bycatch in this style of fishing. To me, spearfishing and conservation go hand in hand. I like to think of the ocean as my refrigerator or grocery store. I only take what I need and always enjoy eating fresh fish.
“Sometimes we spearfishers hold meets to hunt only invasive species, such as ta’ape, toau, and roi. These are fish that destroy the reef and kill native fish. Invasive species tournaments save countless numbers of reef fish,” said Werner.
Werner follows an intense training schedule that begins at 5am. In addition to spearfishing, Werner practices different techniques and positions using a foam target anchored to the ocean floor. It’s not uncommon for Werner to spend more than 10 hours in the ocean on a single day.
Werner also manages to squeeze in the time to be an artist, known for her ocean-themed paintings, as well as a culinary school-trained chef. Her diving excursions are often the inspiration for her beautiful paintings of the wildlife and scenery, as well as the source of gourmet meals. In the past two years, after participating in the spearfishing championships, she has gone on to win the event’s Iron Chef-style cooking competition the same day.
Werner is very grateful of the support of Primo as she prepares to defend her title. “Primo has always been synonymous with the lifestyles of Hawaii’s watermen and women and I am happy that they continue to recognize this tradition by supporting me at the 2009 championships. Primo is Hawaii’s beer and I would love nothing more than to celebrate victory again this year by enjoying a Primo,” said Werner.
“Spearfishing has been a part of island culture for generations and we’re excited to be able to support Kimi,” said Kyle Wortham, Director of Marketing for Primo Brewing & Malting. “She is truly a renaissance woman and the perfect representative for both Hawaii and Primo.”
Primo is proud to be one of the sponsors of this year’s championships. For more information on the 2009 U.S. National Spearfishing Championships, visit: http://www.nationals09.com
Primo dates back to 1897 when it was first brewed by Hawaiian Brewing and Malting Company. Today, Primo is a craft-brewed beer with a flavor developed specifically in Hawaii for Hawaii. Created by award-winning brewmasters Phil Markowski and Bob Newman, Primo has the smoothness and drinkability of a light lager with a satisfying taste for today’s beer drinkers.
Primo is also proud to support its surrounding communities by donating a portion of the proceeds from each case of Primo to nonprofit organizations that help preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian culture and environment.
For more information about Primo, visit www.primobeer.com.
About Primo Brewing & Malting Co.
Primo Brewing & Malting Co. is a division of Pabst Brewing Company. For more information about Primo beer, visit www.primobeer.com.