Renzo Mazzarri, three times world champion in spearfishing

Friends of Visit Elba, this week we met for you a very special guy, someone who loves the sea and the island that much that he dedicated his life to it.

We are talking about Renzo Mazzarri, three times world champion in spearfishing.

Renzo is known worldwide as the best in his discipline, the only one which has won three world championships fishing in a depth of more than 35 meters.

During his career, he collected a large number of prizes and awards, including the World Championships, the Euro African Championships, the European Cup, the Italian Championships as well as other various trophies.

Despite all these triumphs Renzo welcomed us with extreme kindness and modesty.

During the interview we have forgotten totally that we were talking to the famous world champion and simply enjoyed the chat with this man who enchants with his heartily smile (which reaches his eyes when he talks about his great passion).

His words are well selected and it is nice to hear how he describes the sea. We start to see Elba through his eyes and discover new sides of the island.  Thats why we avoided any corrections and decided to reproduce the following interview in authentical wording, without summaries and without cuttings.

What does the sea mean for you?

When people are used to live close to the sea it has a strong influence on their lifes … we Elbans are a great example. For me it means adventure, the fascination of the unknown. As a child I spent months on the beach of Margidore with a fork attached to a tube, a kind of lance, with which I chased redfish and gobies. But I was dreaming about growing up fastly in order to get a diver’s gear and be able to explore the wonderful underwater world. And after devoting  my entire life to the art of apnea I still keep this dream ….

Three words who describe immersion and spearfishing?

Peace, silence, adventure.

You are grown up on Elba?

Exactly, I was born in Elba, in Lacona.

Did you never have the impression that living on an island makes you to a kind of slave?

I’ve never stayed away from Elba for a long time and honestly, I could never live abroad!! Actually the question surprises me because I can not immagine how you could feel like a slave in this beautiful landscape. On the contrary, I think that I’m super lucky. At the end of the day I am a kind of a lone wolf and Elba gave me the perfect space for my passion. On nice autum evenings I go for fishing with arrows, when the sea is very calm I am practising apnea and in case of bad weather I am hunting sea urchins and prepare them with pasta.

The sea is all I need to forget my troubles because it offers you the most beautiful emotional moments.

Your first fishing experience? What was your age? Would you tell us about?

I guess I was about ten years old when my mother gave me as a present a small speargun (I couldnt immagine how precious it was) and during my first attempts on the beach of Margidore,  where I was born, I caught a gilthead seabream, more than 3 kg big.

I perfectly remeber all the adrenalin that went through my body in that moment. I was running over to my mum and dad and grand parents presenting them my great prey.

Which meaning had Elba for your career?

To win a Championship is of course the dream of every athlete. But the real beauty lays in sharing those rare moments with your best friends. Elba was always with me and gave me those impressions of friendship. When I turned back from my competitions the island always dedicated me beautiful celebrations. After the World Championship in Sardinia they even organised a party on a ship called Moby, with all my friends and important personalitis  of the world of sports. In those moments I really felt the sympathy of the whole island.

Your favourite beach / location for immersions?

I just can’t not answer with Lacona, because of my childhood memories, when even during summer the beach was like a desert. The most beautiful water depth offers the island of Montecristo. Nowadays diving isn’t allowed there but recently I had the possibility to do apnea there because we were filming a documentary. It was like travelling back to my childhood, I saw the sea (transparent, with magic colours and fish) like it was 40/50 years ago.

What is your advice for people who’d like to start spearfishing?

First of all they should enroll in a diving center and follow the instructions of the teachers to learn how to immerge. And you have to remember that every diver is just a guest in the sea so we have to respect its rules and laws. Spearfishing is a very healthy sport, you will be amazed of the silence and the quiteness in the depths. It is not important how deep you go, on the contrary… The first meters are the most beautiful ones because of the colours. And finally you should avoid to try to catch a  fish or octupus at any coast. Renunciation sometimes can be a great victory!

We would like to thank Renzo for those beautiful words taking with us the promise to accompagny us next year on an immerson… On discovery tour in the depths of the sea.

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