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Captain Blackbeard goes behind the lens with YouTube sensations Youngbloods Spearfishing

The Youngbloods have brought a new kinda cool to freediving. Sharing their underwater exploits in seductive GoPro clips they call “liquid cinema”. Captain Blackbeard jumped in with Youngblood Brodie Moss to find out just what happened when a pod of orcas swam into the frame!

Captain Blackbeard: Hey lads, I love my fishing rods, but your vids are so cool, I’m thinking of putting them on eBay, cashing in and buying a speargun. Tell me, who are the Youngbloods?

Brodie Moss: We’re just a group of mates who love the ocean and live in a beautiful part of the world (Western Australia). We love nothing more than strapping on a GoPro and sharing the adventure with the frothers out there, as well as those who don’t often get the chance to get under the sea. There’s about seven of us, plus friends, family and fans that help out – that’s what makes it so rad

I haven’t heard the word “rad” for a while. Sure you’re not the “Middle-aged-bloods”? How did that name, Youngbloods, come about?

We called ourselves Youngbloods Spearfishing after a song by one of my favourite bands, The Amity Affliction.

Rad. So, how and when did all this start?

About 10 years ago. We’d run out in a beaten-up Quinnie centre console with old- school GoPros strapped on. We’d surf, spear and have fun ’til the sun went down – and then some. I had a bunch of cool footage, so we shared it on YouTube and Facebook. The first one was horrible, but thankfully the vids got better and better.

They sure did. One of your YouTube vids has more than 2.6m views (Submerged with a Breath). That’s pretty impressive. Then what happened?

I did an edit called The Cut Up that got us some attention. Then a few of the local boys took us out and showed us the ropes in deep water where the big fish hang out. Then we did another edit called Breathless Adventures. After that, we picked up our first sponsors, Rob Allen and Ocean Hunter. From there we were pumped. We wanted to make the best spearfishing videos out there. Now we have The Mad Hueys backing us and even have a drone, which has captured some amazing whale footage.

Epic. Do you guys have day jobs?

Most of us are tradies. I’m a sparkie and Sam is my apprentice. Lyndal, the only girl in the group, is a teacher.

I’ve noticed Lyndal in your vids. What do your followers froth over?

Most of them froth over Lyndal (laughs). Seriously though, sharks, the blue water, big beautiful fish and the lifestyle we try to live! We’re just stoked if people watch a video, pump up the volume, fuel up the boat and get out there and do it for themselves!

Where is home for you guys?

We’re based in West Oz, but we’re spread out nowadays, so it takes lots of kilometres and fuel to get all the team together. But we’ve travelled, too. Some of our favourite places are Indo, the East Coast, the Coral Sea and Fiji.

Tell us about your best trip.

Ah, every trip is a good trip, BlackBeard! You can’t have a bad one when you’re on the boat with your best mates. I’ve gotta say though, Squiddy’s stories of big dogtooth tuna and blue water from the Coral Sea trips sound hard to beat!

Should we all head to WA for a dive with you then?

Hah! Sure. So long as you can handle the huge sharks, sea snakes, jellyfish and everything else that can kill you. You also need to put in the time, do the kilometres, pay some silly prices for food and fuel, take on the rugged terrain and put up with the ridiculously unpredictable weather. But then, shit yeah, it’s definitely worth it!

I hate snakes! What’s the water clarity like over there?

You’ve got a 30 per cent chance of epic visibility, when the tides, clouds, wind, swell, and temperature all line up perfectly. You might not see the brown dirty water and blown out days on our vids, but trust me, we’re out there spearing in it!

Good to hear you’re not fair-weather boaties! What’s the best fish to spear?

Hmm, this is personal opinion here, but for me, it’s hunting big red emperor. They’re only found in certain conditions and depths, so they’re a real challenge! You tend to let a lot of good fish swim past, waiting for that one big one. It’s not about going out and slaying everything. Having said that, I always come home with a feed for the table.

What’s the gnarliest thing that has ever happened while spearing?

Hands down, seeing a pod of orcas take down a humpback whale calf. Jacko and I were chasing big Spanish mackerel. We threw the pick in 25m of water, jumped in, loaded my gun, looked up and was greeted by a huge bloody orca! Almost crapped myself then and there. I clambered back onto the boat screaming like a little baby! But we spent the next hour filming the pod slowly killing this baby whale. At one point they brought the calf to the side of our 5m boat, and I was holding the fin of the humpback while one of the orcas was gnawing on a fin at the other side. That was heavy!

Woah! How did the footage come out?

Back then we only had a GoPro 2 so the footage isn’t the best quality. The battery died early, but it’s still pretty mental. On another day, a mate got his fin bitten by a shark. That was loose. Squiddy’s a bit of a shark magnet, I’ve seen him in the middle of a shark shitstorm.

What’s your PB?

Last year, I shot a 16.2kg Maori sea perch. They’re hard to find – and even harder to shoot. It would have been an Australian record, but the next day my brother nailed a 18.6kg perch. That will teach me for big- noting myself!

Sure will. How long can you hold your breath for?

It depends, mate. So many different factors can play a part such as depth, current, wind, sharks or just your mood. Some days, I can dive for a few minutes at a solid depth. Other days, I’m up and down like a kid in the shallow end. It’s all about slowing down, relaxing and switching your mind off.

Do you ever fish with a rod and reel?

Oh man, we all suck at fishing. It’s always good fun though, with plenty of laughs on the boat. I think we’ll leave the fishing to you, Captain Blackbeard.

I’ll take it. Who are your sponsors?

Australian Underwater Products, Rob Allen Spearfishing, Ocean Hunter and The Mad Hueys. Yew!

When will you get a decent boat?

Hah! What’s wrong with the 18ft Voyager? She’s got a 130hp E-TEC, dual batteries, heaps of fuel and rides well. It’s the best boat I could afford!

No worries. I’ll have a word to The Captain himself. What’s your best advice for anyone wanting to get into freediving?

My best advice is to dive in a team, or with another person. The danger in freediving cannot be overstated. I was guilty of diving solo myself and it’s just not worth it. It is too easy to experience shallow-water blackout. It can happen in an instant. In saying that, if you are confident with your team, go hard and have fun, but just watch each other’s back out there!

Awesome advice, thanks Brodie. Can’t wait for the next liquid instalment!

The Youngbloods team:

Brodie Moss
Steven “Squiddy” Gordon Jackson Moss
Tyson Lind
Lyndal Roulston
Jarrad Oxley
Sam De Jong

Check out Youngbloods latest vid below.

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I'm a writer who focuses on the outdoors and travel. I share my time between Alaska and Colorado, where, when I'm not writing, I enjoy camping, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and skiing (often with dogs in tow). My byline may also be seen in publications such as The New York Times, National Geographic, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and others.


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