LYDGATE — Cash, gear and bragging rights are up for grabs this weekend at the fourth annual Kauai Invasive Dive Tournament, an islandwide spearfishing tournament.
And while you’re locking down the spot for heaviest roi or aiming for the trifecta — the heaviest combination of three species — you’ll be actively cleaning up the island as well.
That’s because Hawaii’s three most aggressive invasive species are the tournament’s targets: roi, to’au and ta’ape. Trash is also on the list, and there are prizes for the top reef cleaners.
“Having the ocean accessible to us is a big part of our lifestyles. It’s part of this place we call home, and, like any home, you need some cleanup time,” said Krystl Apeles, of Puka Surf Co., which is hosting the event alongside many sponsors.
The tournament is a chance for spearfishermen and ocean lovers both to strut their skills, whether it is fishing for invasive species or for trash.
“When we first started, it was a lot of divers (that were involved),” Apeles said. “The second year we added the wild card division, which is pulling trash off of the reef, and that opened the doors for others to get involved.”
Divers can enter the Open Invasive Category, which offers prizes for most invasive species caught, biggest roi, biggest to’au, smallest invasive, biggest invasive with a 3-prong, and the trifecta which is the heaviest combination of roi, to’au and ta’ape, and the lightest combination of the three.
Prizes are up for grabs in the wahine and keiki categories.
There are two 2017 wildcard categories, which are the most trash collected on the dive and the best video of reef cleanup uploaded by the end of the weigh-in. More categories could be added by Saturday.
Registration is required. Cost is $50. Walk-ins are welcome on Saturday. Keiki 12 years old and under are free, and all keiki competing will receive a prize.
The tournament kicks off with a mandatory check-in at 6:30 a.m. at two locations: Lydgate Park and the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
Divers will have from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to hunt. Weigh-in opens at 4 p.m. at Kealia Farms and closes at 4:45 p.m. All contestants must be in line by 4:45 for their catches to count.
The Kauai Invasive Dive Tournament was created by Puka Surf Co. as a fun way to help eradicate invasive species from Kauai’s ecosystem while at the same time promoting local businesses, uniting the community and providing education for the next generation of spearfishers.
This year’s theme is, “2017 Battle Roi-ale” mantra is E hele me ka pu’olo — “always take an offering with you”.
“There are so many hands involved in this and I just want to say a big thank you, especially to the divers and our sponsors,” Apeles said. “It’s inspiring to see people jump in and want to be part of something. It’s something we feel serves a purpose and gives back to our home.”
For more info or to sign up: www.pukasurf.com/kauai-invasive-dive-tournament/