Innovation: HammerHead Spearguns Fixes Equipment Flaws

July, 2013

Backstory: Kevin Sakuda founded his company, HammerHead Spearguns, in Silicon Valley, but not in a garage, like some famed tech entrepreneurs did their companies. “I started mine in a kitchen sink,” he says.

At the time, he was a safety engineer at a medical device manufacturer, but when that career dissolved in the recession, he moved back home to Hawaii and dedicated himself to creating and selling spearguns and accessories.

Problem: The spearfishing-equipment industry has developed around the world with little standardization, making it difficult for the average consumer to substitute parts. In addition, two persistent limitations of design loom over spearfishermen: closed muzzles, which obstruct the target from view, and notched barrels. The latter keep the rubber stretched, but their sharp edges tend to cut the cord wishbones that attach the band to the barrel; attempts to solve this by introducing metal wishbones have not been successful, as they frequently cause injuries and scare fish with their noise.

Solution: HammerHead Spearguns’ innovative designs have included an open muzzle, pin shaft and cord wishbone. Since the early 2000s, this has been called a “Hawaiian design.” With the first speargun assembled that way, Sakuda says, he took down a 118-pound ulua off Kaena Point.

HammerHead Spearguns is patenting another innovation: a coil enforced braided wishbone, which can be used with both the more expensive pin-shaft spearguns and the more popular notch varieties without getting cut. The Helix system is also sold as a stand-alone product that is cheaper than common metal wishbones. “I call it the twist tie of spearfishing,” says Sakuda, as the system can be used nearly universally.

Popularity: Dick Dyce of Kauai’s Seasport Divers testifies to the Helix product’s ingenuity and popularity: “I haven’t seen anything like that anywhere else. I don’t know how they put the coil on the wishbone but it’s durable, it works on every speargun and customers like it.”

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