At age 4, Cameron Kirkconnell entered the idyllic waters surrounding the Cayman Islands and speared his first fish, a small wrasse. The same siren song that called Cameron to the ocean that day still beckons nearly three decades later.
Today, Cameron Kirkconnell is arguably the most recognized name in freedive spearfishing. He can hold his breath for four and a half minutes and regularly dives to 100 feet with just the air in his lungs in pursuit of the next big fish. He once saved the life of a friend who had blacked out underwater by spearing him in the fin and hauling him to the surface.
His job as an Unlimited-Tonnage Master Mariner takes him around the globe to operate the largest vessels in the sea. When he’s not at the helm, he can be found poring over navigation charts and watching the bottom finder looking for his own kind of treasure. “My favorite place to spearfish is any place where nobody has ever been,” says Cameron. To date, such uncharted waters have seen Kirkconnell shoot several of the largest fish ever taken by spear. He currently holds the world spearfishing records for Blackfin Tuna, Golden Trevally, and his favorite of all fish to chase, the Dogtooth Tuna.
Necessity has spawned in Cameron a deep-rooted passion for quality equipment. It takes some serious gear to wrestle a 201-pound Dogtooth to the surface. World-renowned speargun manufacturer Riffe International has tapped Kirkconnell to assist in the development of new products and the refinement of their existing lines. Together they are currently working on a modernized version of the rudimentary polespear, a primitive tool consisting of a simple shaft with a rubber band attached to the end. Taking a common item and transforming it into its best possible version? Well, this is a project we here at YETI Coolers can wrap our minds around. Cameron hopes to inspire a polespear revolution and take the spearfishing community back to its skill-driven roots.
Whether it’s Hogfish on a Bahamian reef, Cobia off the tail of a cruising Bullshark, or Wahoo under a Florida weed line, Cameron Kirkconnell wants to shoot it. And how will he bring it all home? In a YETI, of course.