Claim to Fame: Adventure Photographer
Favorite Thing: Riffe E-130 Speargun
D.J. Struntz is stumped for a few seconds. Pick just one favorite thing? That's not easy.
"I have too many hobbies," he says. "I have too many things."
Struntz is a globetrotting photographer, a surfer, a diver, a "minister of propaganda" for a company that provides trauma equipment to the military and first-responders, a husband, a dad. All these activities have provided lots of meaningful possessions. It's hard to narrow it down.
The former Wrightsville resident -- his family just moved off the beach when the house they rented for four years was sold -- is known for his amazing photographs of surfers and divers, but he doesn't pick a camera or a lens. Those are just the tools of the trade, equipment that helps him make a living.
Instead, he goes for something that combines passion and purpose.
"I'll probably go with one of my spearguns," he says. "It's one of my go-to tools to put a meal on the table."
Specifically, he chooses his RIFFE Euro 130. It's a gun he uses when he dives in the water off Wrightsville Beach to look for that evening's meal.
"We eat a lot of fish," he says.
It's also something that makes the packing list whenever he prepares for a trip.
"I dive with it all over the world," he says. "It goes on trips with me. It's a rubber band gun, so it's considered sporting equipment."
The speargun is symbolic of a life spent on and under the water. Struntz started diving when he was 5, when his dad was on a temporary assignment in Hawaii doing guidance counseling. He started spearfishing when he was in high school in California. And now he goes diving and spearfishing with his 10-year-old son.
The speargun also represents the change and variety of the ocean he loves so much. Every day, every spot, brings something new.
"It's always different," he says. "It just depends on the spot. Yesterday I was diving for grouper and didn't get anything. It could be hogfish. That's my favorite thing to eat. I love to go blue water hunting for wahoo and tuna. Anytime you go blue water hunting, you don't know what you're going to see. It could be dolphins, sharks, whales."