Ambassador Spotlight:  Paul Rodriguez

Ambassador Spotlight: Paul Rodriguez

1. What is your earliest memory of the ocean?
Growing up in Oahu, I was a military brat and we actually had our own private cove down the street. I was homeschooled and we would go to the beach every day after lunchtime. When my dad wasn’t working he would go dive out this cove every chance he got. My fondest early memories are looking out over the water from a bluff and looking for my dads red float, him and his buddies would come back up the beach with uhus, kumus, Omilu, and the odd mu. I would inspect all the fish, they intrigued me so much, and the fact that I could see my dad providing food for our family laid the baseline for me as a Spearo in the future.
2. I understand spearfishing is a family tradition? What role did your father and your siblings play in your journey into gun building and spear fishing?
I guess refer to question #1! My dad really was the one who got me into spearfishing and woodworking/ gun building from the beginning. In Hawaii he taught me how to use a 3 prong and later on he bought me my first gun, it was an old Aimrite. You wouldn’t believe how stoked I was when he showed me the gun. The first fish I ever killed with that gun was a little To’au, the stoke of killing that fish trumps any doggie, big uku, wahoo, mahi, etc that I have ever killed. I’m hoping to pass the passion to my son and daughter one day.
3. Do you have a favorite gun build of your own? Or a favorite innovation that you have created or that has inspired you along your journey? 
It’s hard to say which of my personal guns is my favorite, it’s a tie between 3 guns, and one I ended up selling to a friend because he loved it so much. I would say my personal 120 Travel Hybrid is my go to gun right now. For bluewater I built myself a water ballasted gun and I really love that for doggies and wahoo. As far as innovation goes right now the travel guns that I am building seem to be desirable and I think that whole realm of speargun making still has a lot of room to explore. I won’t get into too much detail but I am constantly innovating and searching for new ways and techniques to make travel guns better.
4. What do you think the future of Spearguns holds? More boutique manufacturers creating their own mark or higher quality mass produce products?
There is so much to say about this question but I will leave it relatively brief. I think in today’s world people have a lot of respect for small businesses and want to support them. The wait is longer and the price is generally higher but people want to know that their favorite gun was built by someone who cares and not built by a computer program and CNC. I think in the future we will see more spearos either making their own guns or going to a small business or friend to get their gun made, talk about accessible customer service.
5. Many of us have a passion for beautiful Wood Spearguns but for you personally why is Wood the choice? You make beautiful hybrid guns as well. What is the biggest advantage of combining the two main material choices for Spearguns?
If used correctly Teak, Padauk, or Purple Heart by themselves or in combo creates a beautiful pattern and the grains are always unique. Every single gun will look slightly different especially if you pick wood with the right grains. I prefer Teak to anything because it is the gold standard for wood in a marine environment. The teak and Carbon Fiber combo is also very beautiful to me. The Hybrid guns allow for better tracking but won’t handle recoil quite as well. The other thing about Carbon Fiber is that it is unaffected by weather and salt water so naturally it’s a great choice for a speargun. One thing about building spearguns is for every alteration you make there are going to be consequences when you put it in the water it’s all about finding that middle ground while making the gun beautiful. Ballast has to be right, handle and tigger placement, shaft and track alignment, and band power all have to work in unison to add up to a well balanced gun that shoots straight and long with minimum recoil.
6. Other than a quality speargun what would you recommend that spear fisherman out there invest in most heavily? What is the most essential gear that you have found for your personal style of hunting? 
I have had the pleasure over the last 4 years to introduce a lot of brand new divers to spearfishing. Aside from a good gun I would always recommend they buy a pair of good freediving fins and a low volume mask. The rest you can throw together but with a good gun fins and mask I think anyone can dive anywhere in the world. For my styles of hunting there are a few other essential items: in a reef environment a reel gun is a must have for me. For Bluewater you absolutely need a good float/line/ slip tip and flashers.
7. Without giving away any personal secrets what areas of innovation do you think are next for a future Spearguns?
I mentioned before the travel guns I’m working on have a lot of room for innovation. I am hoping to come out with some new stuff next year that should blow some minds.
8. Females are entering the spearfishing market more and more lately. What advice do you have for females getting their first custom build especially in a larger Bluewater weapon?
I recently sold a Bluewater gun to a smaller female client and I had to tailor the gun to her. There a lots of things a gun builder should consider for example, handle size and trigger spacing, rest tabs for band pull, separating the trigger from the chest to ease up loading, amount of bands/ shaft size ratio, ballast and balance to maneuver gun. There are certain species out there you cannot substitute a bluewater gun for. Bluefin tuna, in my opinion requires a large gun that has a ton of range. For a smaller female client how do you tailor the gun to shoot that far and her still be able to load/ maneuver it? A difficult problem but not impossible in my opinion.
9. If you could sum up your passion for spearfishing and building your own weapons crafted for that unique environment in a couple of sentences what would you share with the world?
The feeling of building your own gun and then going out from shore and getting dinner for your family and friends is deeply ingrained in some of us. Watching people do the same thing with a gun I have built for them is even better. That’s why I do it, I just love it, it’s an addiction for me to build guns and spearfish.
10. Above everything related to spearfishing we deeply appreciate your support to our country as an Air Force para rescue jumper. How has this unique profession played a role in your journey into spearfishing? Do you consider yourself an adrenaline junky? How do these unique rolls of soldier and entrepreneur shape your unique family life? Thank you very much for your service! 
Being a Pararescuman or PJ has given me the opportunity to travel around the world and spearfish in places I never thought I would go. I am not an adrenaline junky by any means, at this point all the things I do at work are just part of the job. These rolls keep me extremely busy, my work schedule is always changing and I am generally away half of the year. When I am home I hang out with my family during the day time. 7 nights a week I am in the garage working until about 12-1am on spearguns. I call being in the military my “day job,” and I would say I put about 30 hours a week into gun building and running the small business!  Thanks for the questions!