the pacific

season: june - october



Within all of us there is a calling to explore the remote places, to experience things that very few people have and to challenge ourselves using the natural environment as that medium. When we find ourselves in these situations we feel a sense of freedom, of self empowerment, camaraderie and purpose.


Personally guided by professional waterman Joe Knight and Julian Hansford, you will experience the highest quality of training in the following areas:


  • Apnea

  • Advanced Swimming Techniques

  • Freediving

  • Sea Survival

  • Training Principals

  • Planning and Preparedness

  • First aid and Rescue

  • Panic / Fear management


During the coaching sessions on the fundamentals of watermanship you will be guided around

some of the best ocean systems that New Zealand has to offer.

By applying your newly learned watermanship techniques and under the supervision of Joe and

Julian a new world will open before you, a world of unlimited possibilities in ocean adventure.

The days will be alternating between watermanship training, guided waterman exploration, underwater photography and selective/sustainable spearfishing.


what is the spwp?

South Pacific Waterman Project is a project that started in 2015 with the aim to provide a community service by promoting education of watermanship skills in the Pacific Islands. So far, various programs have been run, with the locals being trained in an aim to improve their skills and safety in the ocean, their lifestyles, their diet and as a result, that of their villages.

We are really excited to keep sharing this valuable knowledge with the local communities and also, keep learning from their culture in their beautiful islands.

Each program that is run through the South Pacific Waterman Project will directly help fund and provide the local community with valuable training and support.


What is Watermanship training?

Put simply, watermanship training aims to broaden participants ocean awareness and safety. It combines principles from freediving, lifesaving, sailing, ocean swimming, surfing and more.

Watermanship training is for everyone, at all levels of fitness and ocean knowledge.

Performing well under stress, having heightened situational awareness, dealing with high heart rate and high CO2 events whilst on breath hold, being extremely competent with all the elements of watermanship safety and rescue and having the ability to do all this on instinct is what this program is designed to achieve.

Challenging situations that are encountered in the ocean as a waterman or waterwomanare broken down step by step, to gain an insight into the actual processes that are taking place. This theory is then backed up by fun, challenging and realistic training in a safe environment to put this knowledge into practice.


THE WATERMAN TRIBE - by Joe Knight, 2014

TRIBE: A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader. "indigenous Indian tribes"

 As we delve deeper in to the infinite possibilities of our performance potential, the urge to seek out more remote and adventurous places increases as does the number of people who seek this unique lifestyle and hence a unique tribe of watermen is formed.

These tribes are regularly found in the wilder places where access to the raw environment is more easily accessible. Because of the extreme remoteness that these tribes frequent, they tend be be thriftier than the average person. Not having the luxury of accessing a wide range of services at the drop of a hat they have to do it themselves digging deep in to their ingenuity, creativity and stubbornness!

The camaraderie that is experienced amongst a group of people working towards a common goal is inspiring, especially if there is risk involved. Out of all the watermanship disciplines I have seen this level of camaraderie and brotherhood most commonly in the big wave arena. Tow teams, paddle teams and the wind disciplines. 

Because of the common goals, intense camaraderie, high risk, physical and emotional stress the rates of happiness, confidence, personal fulfilment and self purpose are extremely high. And it is of no surprise that the majority of these passionate waterman have a belief in something bigger than themselves that gives them courage, hope and faith.

I believe that we can all learn something from these tribes of passionate watermen and waterwoman that frequent our society. Some people refer to them as vagabonds, misfits of our perceived advanced society but I believe that some of these tribes are leading the way of how we are meant to be really living our lives. Living a life with an intense connection to community, culture and the environment.

Pre Requisits: 

Must be physically fit, medically fit (see below) and have good knowledge of general watermanship, e.g. surfer, freediver, ocean swimmer, windsurfer, life guard or a general ocean enthusiast. No prior training in watermanship, surf survival, breath hold or freediving is necessary. Minimum age is 16.


Course Duration: 1 - 7  Day Packages

Cost: From $500

What is supplied?

  • Accommodation

  • Vessel and Skipper

  • Mask

  • Weightbelt

  • Wetsut

  • Fins

  • Spearfishing Hardware

  • SUP

  • Yoga Mats

  • Accreditation under Apnea Academy

  • Food

  • Study Equipment

  • Safety Equipment


Medical Fitness

You will be asked to complete a medical declaration and unless you suffer a medical condition that is a contradiction to watermanship you will not be required to complete a medical examination. Students with contradicting medical conditions will be required to undergo a dive medical that meets the Australian Standard 4005.1. 

Medical conditions that are of concern are: lung conditions, heart condition, epilepsy, diabetes, any ear problems or any other major medical conditions. 







Joe Knight

Joe was raised in Flinders, Victoria and since the age of 10 he has been full time in the ocean. Freediving was his first and still major ocean passion. Joe was one of the three initial juniors to join the Southern Freedivers Spearfishing Club based in Victoria in 1994 and this is where his underwater education officially started.

Joe’s first official employment was with the Royal Australian Navy where he served for 6 years. After honourably discharging in 2008 with a Maritime Commanders Australia Commendation 

he moved into ocean safety, first with an offshore survival training centre called ERGT based in Perth then founding his own company One Ocean International which he continues to run to this day.

Joe has been in and around the ocean under many hats which include:

  • State, National and International Spearfishing Competitions 1994 - 2012

  • Navy medic and ships diver 2002 - 2008

  • Sea Urchin Diving in New Zealand 2010 - 2011

  • Trochas Shell Diving 2013

  • Greenlip Abalone Diving 2014

  • Safety Officer 2005 Australian Spearfishing Championships

  • Safety diver for Vertical Blue 2013 International freediving competition

  • after safety team for Farm House Films 2014 - 2015 big wave surfing expeditions

  • Freediving instructor and guide Byron Bay Dive Centre 2011 - 2013

  • Underwater photographer 2012 - Present

  • Freediving and Spearfishing safety trainer for Blue Water Explorer Tonga 2014

  • Specimen shell diver / deckhand 2016 - present


Julian Hansford

Julian was born in Auckland and since a child has lived his life in and around the ocean.

Julian is a well rounded professional waterman, from freediving, windsurfing, sailing, surfing he has done it all.

Julians watermanship career continues to thrive with many great achievements thus far which include:

  • Commercial Boat Skipper

  • Commercial free diver abalone NZ

  • Commercial air diver abalone South Australia

  • ADAS L3 construction diver- AUS and NZ

  • Diver Medical Technician -Aus and NZ

  • Beche De Mer Diver- Queensland Aus

  • Tuna harvest diver- Port Lincoln SA

  • 7x New Zealand Spearfishing champion

  • 2 x World Spearfishing Championships Competitor