Oscar Cervantes: the man who wears fins instead of shoes

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He has a smile on his face as befits the Spaniards and especially those who are fortunate enough to live in a magical place called the Balearics. Real and sunny people, first of all in the eyes. For this reason you see him serene and happy, with a contagious happiness. A form of joy that confirms that life, the truly beautiful one, is there, at the sea.

It is a direct thread, a kind of umbilical cord, that connects Oscar Cervantes’ life to water. With a respectable curriculum and repeat victories both in European and world competitions from 2014 to 2019 in cold waters like those of Denmark or warmer ones like those of the Mediterranean, Oscar when he talks about his successes seems surprised. It does so with a certain amount of amazement. As if these results had been obtained without much effort. Unknowingly. His is the classic detached attitude of someone who has a natural talent, of a winner who (almost) does not know he is. And it does what it does very normally …

How did your passion for freediving come about?
My father was a fisherman and I was often on the boat with him and his friend Tomeu Salas. Already at 6 years old I was diving with them. Not without effort I reached the depth of 15 meters, then I saw them disappear in the deep blue. For the next 10 years I continued to train. I loved to go deep but at the same time I realized that I was missing the adrenaline. So at the age of 16, a period of life in which we live only with strong emotions, I decided that I would enter a competition. After the first race, I immediately understood that I had found what I was looking for.

What kind of fisherman are you?
I consider myself a multipurpose fisherman. Quiet and very tactical. But I think my strength is that of being able to adapt quickly to the situations and the environment I find at sea. This flexibility helped me a lot during my races.

How important is luck and how much experience?
Experience is essential because it allows you to understand in advance what is going to happen at sea. There are situations that are repeated cyclically not identically, but similarly. And therefore having already experienced them helps. When I talk about experience I am also referring to fishing technique. Because doing things in a technical way, in fact, allows you to improve and get good results. But to win you also need luck, being in the right place at the right time. If I have to give a percentage value to the question I would say 70% experience and 30% luck.

What is your favorite type of fishing?
I love fishing in constant trim on a bottom that goes from 10 to 30 meters. I really like to combine fishing with appearance with that in the den that can give great satisfaction.

How many days do you dive in a year?
I never thought about it, I never counted them. But I can tell you that I go fishing 3 times a week, therefore 150 days a year. If I add those that I do for work to these outputs, I can confidently say that I spend about 300 days a year at sea. My feet therefore wear fins longer than shoes.

What has been the most difficult success?
Definitely that of 2016 in Spain in Porto Colomm in Plama de Mallorca (victory in the Individual Championship). I had to dive in very deep waters and in that strangely cold period. I consider this my most satisfying victory, at least for now.

And the simplest one?
A Master in Spain in Palma de Majorca in 2017.

How much time do you spend in each dive during your dives?
About 6 hours as a minimum. But a lot depends on how the fishing went.

What are your favorite areas?
I usually fish between Ibiza and Formentera: “my home”. Here are really a lot of backdrops that I love. I also really like fishing near the Strait of Gibraltar or south of Cadiz especially in Conil and Ceuta. They are places that I love to attend at least 15/20 times a year. Difficult and very deep seabed with a lot of current, where fishing is very demanding. The effort, however, is satisfied by the type and size of the fish. Here, for example, there are large ravens, not easy to find in the warmer waters of the Mediterranean.

How do you keep in training?
I tried to run, to ride a bicycle to play football. But in the end the call of the sea was irresistible. I gave up everything and concentrated only on that. In the sea I fish, work and train!

Do you have other passions besides spearfishing?
I love cooking. Obviously I prefer my catch fish. And I love doing it for my family. I have two children, a 6 year old boy and an 8 year old girl.

Who was the strongest freediving fisherman ever?
The best in my opinion is Alberto March. Although he has not been very lucky in his career, I believe that the combination of technique, skill and endurance are very difficult to find. Then there is Pedro Carbonell, another incredible and very strong character. I have fished a lot with him and I must admit that his ability and strength are out of the ordinary.

How have you seen sea conditions change over the years?
This is a topic very dear to me. But I must say that fortunately here in Ibiza I have not noticed difficult conditions. The water is very clean and the presence of plastic is not at all as high as in other places in the Mediterranean and in the world. Ibiza is a very windy island and therefore everything passes quickly. But I want to believe that people are more careful here than in other places!

What do you do in life besides the fisherman?
I have a marine services company that deals with the maintenance of boats in the port and at sea. I like to think, however, that my real job is spearfishing.

How important is the technique in the clothing and accessories you use at sea?
The quality of materials and equipment are fundamental. I am very satisfied with the clothing I wear, I appreciated its attention to detail and finishes. These details demonstrate continuous product research and development. Since I wore Omer I realized the great quality that differentiates them from the competition.

Is there anything you would like to improve?
I’d like to have fins with harder blades. I feel the need for a stronger push and therefore working by increasing the thickness of the blades could be very useful.