Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Legend

GERD VON DINCKLAGE

Gerd Von Dincklage is another member, lifeguard, swimmer, and spear fisherman, of Kinross Club fame. One, who certainly could have easily won the world spear fishing contest in the late 49’s -51.

When he joined the Kinross Swimming & Life Saving club at 13 or 14 years of age, he was thin, pale and anaemic looking, so much so that after 3 months of learning to swim under EMMESS (Mike Sirimanne), he insisted on being entered for the Two Mile Annual swim but as he was considered too inexperienced the offer was rejected. He then disappeared and after a lapse of several months appeared again and requested that his name be entered for the swim.” Enter my name for the swim “, he pleaded, “Because it is my intention to be placed.”

The officials were sceptical as Gerd could only swim the breast stroke, However, he was entered and surprised everybody by being placed a very good fourth in the race with an excellent timing for a breast stroker. According to his cousin, Gerd had spent over three hours a day training for this event in secret in the sea off Kollupitiya.

At the age of 16 Gerd proclaimed to all present at the New Years party that he could dive in excess of 50 feet without goggles and fins, This he did with ease to beat the existing record held by EMMESS,, for breaking this record he won the prize of 50 rupees, big bucks at that time.

Gerd was an amazing eater . At a string hopper eating contest organised by the Club he ate 75 large string hoppers with the assorted curries and vegetables and topped it up with several double ice Creams and fruit salad..

Again at spear fishing gala organised by the club at the beach town of Hikkaduwa, when over 200 pounds of fish were speared by seven club spear fishermen, Gerd ate a whole curried paraw fish. Incidentally the whole town of Hikkadduwa was invited to partake of the catch and they could hardly believe their eyes to what they saw that day,

Several years later the world class spear fishermen, six foot one barrel chested, well muscled, was a great admirer of the opposite sex, and there were many women who were enamoured by this strikingly handsome young man , with long blond hair. A spear gun and knife attached to his waist gave the impression of a daring adventurer. - CEYLON’S TARZAN

Gerd owned a dilapidated, ex US army model Harley Davidson that used more engine oil than petrol. However that did not deter seven Kinross spear fisherman from persuading him to organise a spearfishing trip lasting a week along the SW Coast of the Island from Colombo to Tissamaharama and back. The Harley had a side car in addition to sturdy mudguards and a pillion seat that could accommodate two riders, - seven on a motorbike, believe it or not.

The guys (team) started out from Wellawatte, with money for enough petrol and engine oil.

The first stop was the town of Alutgama where seven booked in for a two day stay.

The next morning our seven were soon in the water and by the end of the day over 300 pounds of fish were speared, more than enough to pay their food and accommodation bills.

Gerd left for Australia in about 1952 and settled in Perth, He then took a wager that he would swim from Perth to Rothness Island some 15 miles off the coast of Perth. This he did with with only a pair of goggles and a knife strapped to his waist,

The stretch of sea between Perth and Rothness Island is frequented by the great white Sharks, but this did not deter Gerd.

The swim was well covered by the press and a clipping is still available in the Club House.

Indeed , GERD is a Kinross legend and Icon and his deeds are still talked about wherever and when “KINROSS MEN MEET”

3 Comments:

Anonymous galleblogger said...

nice to read stories of fellow "lankan" spearos from the past!

http://galle-blog.blogspot.com/

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Rex I. De Silva said...

I never knew Gerd, as he left Ceylon (Sri Lanka) before I started diving in 1955. I did see him on two occasions, he was a magnificent specimen of manhood. I have heard many stories about him from Rodney Jonklaas and Langston Pereira. Gerd now lives in Dorentrop, Germany. I have tried to contact him without much success. I require a photograph of him for inclusion in my forthcoming book "A History of Diving in Sri lanka". Can anyone help?

9:10 PM  
Blogger dru doughty said...

Hello Al and Rex, I think this is a few years old now. If you want to know where Gerd now lives please contact me.
Dru Doughty

1:39 AM  

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