Former Freediving World vice-champion and French National champion Yoram Zekri

1. Do you remember how and when did you find out about freediving? What made you start freediving? What were your 1st steps in this kind of sports? 

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Photo by Christian Coulombe

 

From born, I have always been a water lover. I started swimming competition when I was 8, then I passed my first level in scuba diving when I was 12, and then when I was 13 I watched the movie “The Big Blue” and I knew from this moment that freediving will drive my life. So I started freediving long time ago, in 1988 🙂

2. What is your favorite discipline in freediving and which one you don’t like? And could you explain why?

My favorite discipline is No Limit. This is also the discipline I did my best result with 141 meters during training in 2001. It was only 11 meters from the World record at this time. No Limit is just about sensations and free fall, without any effort. It is a journey where you can focus only on what happens in your body and your soul. I also like Free Immersion because it is very relaxing but you still need to be fit. It is a real sport 😉

A few years ago I really didn’t like Dynamic. I found pool disciplines very painful, without finding any good sensations. But when I was living in Sydney I didn’t get the choice. It was or pool training or no training at all. So I started to train in Dynamic and at the end I enjoyed it.

 

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Photo by Christian Coulombe

I think at the beginning, training a new discipline is always not very enjoyable. But more you practice it, more you like it 😉

 

3. Tell please few words about your freediving training 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 the mirror and depending on your mood, body condition or weather decide what to do today?

I try to organize my training with some macrocycles, few months before the competition or event I target. I plan it as much as I can, early enough and try to stick to it. It is important for me to organize very carefully the planning of my training because I have to manage it between my work and spending time with my son who needs a lot of attention. It is sometimes challenging but this is the way I have to do to feel confident enough and match my goals.

4. And how often do you try something new in your freediving training?

Mostly every time at the beginning of the specific deep training session. There are always things new to try and improve about equalization, techniques, weights… But then when the competition day is close enough, like one week away, I don’t change major things and try to keep always the same routine and equipment.

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Photo by Julia Wheeler

 

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?

I just love it J. You can’t progress and make good results in your training if you don’t like it, especially in freediving. I use to say to all my freediving students that it is OK to go for a run if you don’t want really to go, you don’t risk much. But if you go to train freediving without pleasure, you will not do anything well and you can actually hurt yourself if you dive deep without any relaxation and without enjoying yourself. I love sports in general and challenging myself. I love to be in the water. So I am never lazy for a good training with some good friends 🙂

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?

 

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Photo by Christian Coulombe

Lactose is a mucus forming food and some people are more sensitive than others. I am French and I love cheese ;). But I try to avoid any dairy at least 2 or 3 days before to dive to give me the best chance to equalize perfectly.

 

7. Let’s talk about money 🙂 Do you have any support from sports community of your country or may be some trade brand?

It is very difficult for competitive freedivers to make a living just with sponsors. Just a few of them succeeded this way. When I was competing 20 years ago I used to have some sponsors who were helping me with equipment and a bit of money to organize my training. Then I stopped competition for about 10 years. I am a freediving instructor and I work full time in freediving industry. I have the chance to own a freediving school, Ocean Prana, based in Bali, Indonesia. So I think teaching freediving is the way to make a decent living from Freediving. I don’t have any sponsors or partnerships for the moment. yoram1

8. What about your targets in freediving? What would you like to achieve and how deep would you like to get?

After 10 years without competitions or serious training, I feel that I am now mature enough to go back in the game. I won the Australian Deep National Championship last November and I allow myself 2 years from now to come back to an internationals level in deep competitions disciplines. I try to set up intermediate goals but I don’t focus only on numbers because for me good sensations and good feelings are the way to success. Putting pressure on numbers is not very productive. But if this year I can dive around 90/95 meters in FIM and CTW I will be very happy with that. This is the first time in my all freediving life that I can seriously and easily train with amazing facilities we have at Ocean Prana. So I will give it a shot :-). Then my ultimate goal is to go back to sled training…

9. What do you do except freediving? Do you have any hobbies?

I have a little boy, Ocean. He is 2 years and a half. He lives in Perth, Australia. I travel a lot to teach freediving so when I am in Perth with him, I just enjoy being with him full time. He is my favorite hobby ;). Otherwise, I practice CrossFit, but I guess it is related to freediving training 😉

yoram6I also love to spend time home, watching movies and series, cooking and sleeping 😉

10. What would you advise to people, who just discovered this kind of sports?

Of course, never ever freedive alone. You should take a recognized freediving course to learn how to practice safely. Freediving is a sport of patience, so progress step by step and most of all always enjoy and have fun 😉

 

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