Valentine Thomas: Hooked on Spearfishing
Like a siren song, her dream beckoned her to become a huntress in the deep blue sea.
Valentine Thomas traded in her business suit for a wet suit. As a former finance lawyer in London, she felt constricted. But one happenchance diving adventure in Egypt changed her life. By 2010, she was hooked, diving down the South Atlantic with whale sharks, lobsters, and African pompanos. Today she is a well-known spearfisher and an Instagram star with over 200,000 followers. She’s given TED talks and has been featured in Forbes.
Find her on Instagram, and you’ll usually see her modelesque good looks posing with the catch of the day. “I eat everything I catch,” she says. Aside from that, Thomas pushes a message of conservation and what goes into putting food on the table. “Spearfishing allows me to feel one with nature. It shows me how to respect nature,” and adds, “When you are in the ocean with sharks, and you can easily be a part of their food chain, it makes you respect the hunt.”
Thomas also offers freediving courses, expeditions, underwater photography, videography, stunts, and regularly attends conferences.
From 9 to 5 to Deep Sea Dive
Ten years ago, Thomas lived a stable life. As a Canadian living in London, she was comfortable with her boyfriend, dogs, and the niceties of life. “Something just didn’t feel right though,” she says. “London was so superficial. I felt I had to give it up.” After six years, Thomas quit her job to live a more simple life.
In actuality, she was homeless and sleeping out of her car but had the vigor to follow her passion. The idea of scrounging for food turned her to the ocean; it was teeming with sustenance she thought. Now she travels around the world fishing from the shores and deep-sea diving. As she travels, she cooks and shares and eats with locals. “In the western world, we think we have everything based on materials, but going to where people have nothing really showed me that if we only have things, then we are missing the meaning of life.”
She has journeyed to over 17 different counties doing what she loves, meeting new people, spearfishing, and eating clean food. Her travels have taken her to exotic, remote places like Ascension Island in the South Atlantic near the Equator. In Durban, South Africa, she found herself swimming into a school of almost 30 sharks. And she has also spearfished in Greece, Corsica, Cornwall, Dorset, and the Channel Islands.
Catching Her Sea Legs
Thomas was born on May 5th, 1987, in Canada and is a French-Canadian. When Thomas was a child, she used to join her father, Alain, on sea adventures. Alain himself had completed remarkable expeditions, and in his 20s, he sailed across the Atlantic. Thomas used to receive diving and fishing lessons from her dad. At first, she was fearful and uncomfortable with shore diving.
To make matters worse, as a teenager, she almost drowned after being trapped in an underwater current in France. According to Thomas, “spearfishing helped me overcome my fears, bring me back to a familiar place, and replace those fears with passion.” But spearfishing didn’t start easy either; it is a very dangerous sport. In fact, during one adventure, she blacked out due to a lack of oxygen.
Instagram and Social Media Stardom
Thomas published her first Instagram photo on April 18, 2012, and since then, she has attracted a considerable following and spearfishing enthusiasts. She also said that she once woke up with more than one thousand friend requests on her Facebook account after posting a picture of herself with a big fish.
Her pictures on Instagram and other social media accounts are striking. In some of them, she is wearing a bikini while holding massive sea creatures, creatures that she has hunted down and killed using a spear. She has received all sorts of fans, including adoring enthusiasts, admirers, and even critics. She has also claimed that some have even asked her out or proposed.
“It’s hard to please everyone,” she said. “Vegans tend to disagree with my passion for spearfishing due to the fact that it involves consuming the fish, but I tell them there is no difference between what I do and those who get the fish in supermarkets.”
Other followers question her ability to catch these enormous fish. But she says it’s the talent that allows her to take home the big fish. “I have years of experience doing this,” she says. “I know how to get the fish to the table.”
Thomas also hopes to use her presence and fame on social media platforms to raise awareness about ocean conservation issues.
Bagging a World Record
In 2013, Thomas received recognition for breaking the world record after catching an enormous Atlantic Horse-eye Jack while diving off Ascension Islands. Besides her social media following, she gained massive exposure with profiles by renowned online magazines like Forbes and Business Insider. She is also considered one of the wealthiest Instagram stars born in Canada.
Thomas’s dream of making a TV show that will enable her to live off her passion and encourage people to become involved in ocean conservancy is in production. Explore more with Valentine Thomas by visiting her Instagram page.