It started long ago, but only few know that the first competitive dive in underwater fishing was made back in 1956, so we can rightfully consider it an old sport. Even older when we accredit it with all the active years without sporting or competitive ambitions,which date back to the time before World War II. Shortly after the appearance of underwater fishing on the shores of the Mediterranean, people also started to dive and fish underwater in the Adriatic. The same thing started to happen in the waters of Dubrovnik, Hvar, Sušak, and the island of Lošinj, almost at the same time and unrelated to each other. In various ways individuals purchased spearguns which at that time started to be produced in Italy and France. A massive descent into the underwater world followed in the post-war years. Spearguns were difficult to purchase because they were not produced in Yugoslavia. Sailors who sailed to foreign ports were a great help in that, since they brought spearguns and professional literature. Such gifts from around the world have resulted in hand-made spearguns, the first one in Rijeka in the early fifties. The base for the first sporting competitions was created.
The start followed in 1956. In Mali Losinj! In the city that was proclaimed the world capital of spearfishing many years later. The first competition was the Zone Championship of Northern Adriatic held on July 26, and the winner was Božo Medur from Rijeka. Details of this old competition are not known to us. The papers did not survive, most of the participants, if not all, have since died. The facts show that the first national championship was held in Dubrovnik, a month and a half later – on 15th or 16th September. The Dubrovnik Championship brought together 18 fishermen from Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Mali Lošinj and Zagreb. They were fishing in the waters south of Dubrovnik, beneath the Konavle cliffs, on rough terrain where the depth reaches up to 30 meters. Some successful fishermen from northern Adriatic fished a little bit below the surface, in the “first floor, up to 10 meters deep”. Local fishermen dived and fished deeper, up to 20 meters, which gave them an additional advantage, besides their knowledge of the terrain. This can be seen from the results of the competition which lasted for four hours.
Mato Štakula from Dubrovnik won the championship with a landslide, while the runner-up was Božo Medur. Between the two domestic competitions, in early September, the national team set sail to European Championship in Bastia on Corsica. The team’s result was a sixth place out of seven teams, and Mato Štakula was eighth in the individual competition.