Frag swaps and other regional reef club events are a great way to bring together local reefers from a variety of clubs all in the name of sharing the passion for our incredible hobby. This weekend, the Bay Area Reefers (BAR) hosted a fine event in Northern California that saw hobbyists from all over come together for the chance to pick up some great new coral frags and network with other reefing pals both old and new. BAR is a great group and put together a fun event. In case you have never been to a true swap like this, imagine part Fantasy Football draft and part hobby conference. More details and images after the break.
The premise is pretty simple. You bring in a “qualifying” number of coral frags as your ante, all the corals are then put on tables sorted by type (softies, LPS, SPS), all the swappers are split into picking groups and one group at a time goes in (under the clock of course) and gets to pick up a frag of their choosing. For anyone that’s been a part of a Fantasy Football draft that angle comes into play with the picking group order. The picking goes through the order once, then reverses to the beginning, and reverses again and so forth (1-2-3, 3-2-1, 1-2-3…etc.). Pick in the first group and you got a great shot at grabbing that priced clipping of whatever the “chalice di jour” is at the moment, while on the back end you do get some solace from being able to pick back-to-back.
The best part of an event like this isn’t the ability to be “the one” who gets the uber-rare piece, rather the time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Getting this many reefers together under one roof is always fun. You have hobbyists making side trades of their price pieces, groups talking strategy and contemplating what’s out there on the tables, people talking shop sharing their ups and downs of the hobby and knowing at the end of the day you’ll be walking away with new corals.
Some people do take these swaps a little too seriously and others don’t even swap at all but at the end of the day it’s all about sharing–both knowledge and corals. Swaps are a great way to add some new things to your tank and hopefully get a new piece of coral that will become your new pride and joy. So next time there’s a swap coming up in your neck of the woods, get a caravan of your fellow partners in crime and head out. If you don’t have one in your area, think about putting one together. The best ones are simple and straightforward and don’t have to be overly complex. For tips and tricks, shoot a note over to a club like BAR, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to share some insight to be able to get a great event like this running in your area.