1. Do you remember how and when did you find out about freediving? What made you to start freediving? What were your 1st steps in this sport?
From my childhood I was very curious about the ocean and non traditional sports and hobbies. I kept very close to the ocean doing bodyboarding-surf, observing, reading some books and watching TV documentaries. I think the first time I heard about freediving was when I watched Big Blue film, then my curiosity and interest increased more, a few years after a classmate in the University invited to me to join him to one pool training session in the Underwater Activities Club (UCV, Caracas 1996). I get hooked with that feeling of going deeper and longer every time I tried. Then I started train regularly freediving & spearfishing. I have been holding my breath with passion from that first pool freediving experience in 1996.
2. What is your favorite discipline in freediving and which one you don’t like? And could you explain why?
Constant weight & free immersion were my favorite ones in my first years, but in the last 3 years I have been enjoying and focus on CNF. I don´t like STA because it is boring as my best was 7.35 min in 2004. But I prefer the movement. I don’t like anymore the NLT, because it is totally assisted and too dangerous (I had a big accident in Egypt, 2006).
3. Tell please few words about your freediving trainings approach: How many times a week do you train? And do you have a fixed schedule or you just wake up in the morning, look into mirror and depending on your mood, body condition or weather decide what to do today?
In the last 3 years me and my wife Gaby have been living in Bonaire, where we founded and lead our Freediving school & training center DEEPSEA (www.deepseabonaire.com). I’m in the sea almost every day, mostly teaching. I organize my yearly schedule to have more training time 2-3 months before our annual event (Deepsea Challenge Sept 15-23th). My training plan increases the intensity 8 weeks before the Competition (3-4 sessions by week: pool, depth and gym), the rest of the year I train 2-3 times in the gym, pool or with my students. occasionally. Normally every session take around 60-90minutes.
4. And how often do you try something new in your freediving trainings?
It depends, if some new idea come to me or if I think a technique looks interesting I try it. It could happen 3 times by year or none.
5. The next question – what makes you day after day to go to train in a pool/sea? What motivates you to train hard? How do you fight humans’ laziness?
Interesting question! I had more than 20 years practicing freediving in a regular way. I renew my motivation every week, every month and every year! My motivation consists of having new targets to chase every year. I renew my objectives every year and after every competition or season I start to visualize them and work for it. Of course, the passion that I felt to train every day & week in my first years practicing freediving is not so powerful now 20 years later!, but with my 41 years old I keep training regulary improving myself!, I have now more diverse objectives, like developing my school, logistics, other disciplines like CNF and more. I enjoy that, It keeps me happy.
6. Do you believe that some food products could influence the ability to equalize? Like gluten or lactose for example create more mucus which is not good for equalizing? Do you personally follow any diet?
I think that freediving diet & equalization are very personal, and there isn´t the only one answer or formula for all freedivers. I think everyone has to test, and find which food is better to avoid. I don´t have a specific diet, but I can say that I´m 80% vegy, and I try to eat colorful and healthy.
7. Let’s talk about money. Do you have any support from sports community of your country or may be some trade brand?
The last 4 years it has been very hard for me to train like competitive athlete, mostly because the big crisis in my country. Me and my wife moved to Bonaire to start from zero our life in a safe place. During my career in the past I had private sponsorships and government support. Since about 8 years ago it has been almost impossible. In the last 4 years with the crisis and because of political reasons all support in Venezuela was destroyed.
I had an international watch brand Oris supporting my career for 9 years. They launched four watches limited edition with my name. But they changed marketing strategy last year and don’t support me directly anymore.
Our school has increased step by step. We are recovering working hard with our freediving school, but it implies that I have to teach every day, because we need to pay the bills. Now it is so difficult, not enough time and resources to keep me as an elite international competitive athlete.
My wife has found some local support to develop our annual international competition on Bonaire Island Deepsea Challenge. At the moment, we are looking for sponsors for 2017 competitions, we are open to new proposals and brands.
8. What about your targets in freediving? What would you like to achieve and how deep would you like to get?
I have already achieved 12 World Records, many Continental and National Records during my career
I have been focused in CNF discipline for the last 3 years, getting South American Records and improving my performance every year, my last one and current SA Record is 69m. Now, I´m training to improve that performance.
As well I´d like to set new World Record in the caves (DYN) again. And I have another special project like books, TV serial, and more.
9. What do you do except freediving? Do you have any hobbies?
I like to travel with my wife, we love photography, I like to read and watch good movies.
10. What would you advise to people, who just discovered this sport?
I think, the best advice that I can give is: “take a good course to learn the basics, and invest some time & money in travelling around the world exploring cool freediving spots with a camera”.
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