Beginning Diving Sports
Store tour video of the recently opened "Diving Sports," located in Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada. Diving Sports is the first store in Canada to specialize in freediving and spearfishing. The store owners are Achraf Oueslati and Roksolana.
Achraf grew up in Tunisia, and started growing his love and passion for spearfishing at an early age. He spent his summers spearfishing every day with his father starting when he was just nine. He moved to Montreal with his family when he was 18 and found that he was now land locked and with only frozen lakes in the winter. He wasn’t able to spearfish as he was back in Tunisia. He also found that the local market was lacking, with no local stores carrying any spearfishing gear. The only option was to order from European countries like France and Italy, and also to travel there to spearfish in his summers.
Several years later, Achraf came to Vancouver on a university program to learn English. He found the British Columbian spearfishing market to be similar to the market in Montreal. Stores had little gear, and if they did, it was wildly overpriced. So, again, he had to order his gear from Europe. Achraf started diving locally in BC waters, while at the same time working as a windsurfing instructor. This was all while the local spearfishing community was very small, and there were only around 100 divers in the main facebook group where local divers interact and meet one another . After the end of his program, Achraf moved back to Ottawa to finish university.
Achraf noticed that the market was growing and jumped at the chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of opening up his own dive shop. Diving Sports started as an online store in 2019, and after seeing its online success, Achraf moved to Vancouver where he could open a shop and be closer to the ocean. Diving Sports is now the first and only store in Canada specializing in spearfishing and freediving.
Achraf and the team’s goal is to bring quality gear to the Canadian market at accessible prices. The team has found that the same few brands are being sold across Canada, and the market overall is not at the same level as the US or Europe in terms of quality of gear and brand availability. We’ve also found that Canadian prices are drastically higher than what the same gear is being sold for in the US. We believe that these high prices and lack of availability is what has stunted the growth of the local spearfishing community. It’s our goal to bring more gear and brand education and knowledge, and keep our prices accessible so that the sport can keep growing.
Despite opening in the middle of a pandemic, the store opening was a success, reaching people across the lower mainland, on the island, and across Canada. The local spearfishing community has also grown 9 fold since Achraf first came to Vancouver 3 years ago, and all of us here at Diving Sports are excited to see where the coming months and years takes us.