UK Freediving Champion 2016 (STA) Adam Drzazga about Freediving

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?

I started my Freediving journey in 2009 as a spearo in the Caribbean Island of Jamaica, where I discovered the beauty of underwater world. 15978138_10153965606581557_1177767858_n

After a couple of years or so I decided that’s is about time to improve my abilities so I signed up to take a Freediving Course.

I remember my surprise, when I realised I didn’t know anything about the sport, I had wasted 2 years hesitating about taking the course.

I then decided to enter into the pure discipline of Freediving, and with each year I started Freediving more than Spear fishing until the point where I was just Freediving and training on a daily basis.

Freediving changed my life, it give me the right input to discover and enjoy my life in a whole new way, experiencing many amazing things and learning new and valuable techniques.

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

I have to say that static is my favourite discipline, despite it being one of the most difficult disciplines to master, especially  mentally. 15995786_10153965606606557_351539816_n

It has its beauty even though most of freedivers hate it,  I enjoy the challenge it brings, even after the worst static with massive, unpleasant contractions, when you take your first breath again ,that’s a moment of joy and satisfaction. Then my  motivation is renewed.

Nowadays I mainly concentrate on static to discover my true potential and with bit of help and a lot of training I may just achieve my goal.

The discipline I like the least is CNF and that is probably because I never really train for it, living in the UK makes depth training difficult as there are only a few places to train and the distance you have to travel to train makes it challenging.

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?

Our training is usually scheduled around work, my 9-5 job is in the construction industry as a supervisor. Being a father of my children Tiger and Jade and running our family business Blue Water Freediving School where we train and teach our students.

16009775_10153965606686557_637819740_oTraining could be difficult sometimes, at times we have to adapt it to suit the life style we are currently living. If training is forced it can become unpleasant and we are unable to train in that way in the long term, to keep it positive it is crucial to find the right balance to fit your training into your daily life.

The Static discipline is very stressful to the body and it has to be trained with the right approach, to eliminate overtraining I train between 5 to 6 days a week depending on the time of my training cycle.

All my training plans are usually set according to events I plan on competing in. I train in advance to participate.

Being a father I’ve learnt that you can adapt to train in all conditions and that could be during your lunch break at work or between cooking a dinner and relaxing with your family.

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

Every year I like to add something new to my training, to satisfy my curiosity and learn new techniques or just try a new approach to training.

What works for you may not work for others, that’s why it is very important to try different techniques and discover what works for you and your body. 15970094_10153965606621557_1250562218_n

This year I’m trying a couple of new exercises and I hope I will see positive results in the next few months.

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?

Good question, motivation is sometimes hard to find along with that positive attitude towards your training.

A positive attitude is super important otherwise you come to a point where you hate the sport and it will become a punishment instead of positive experience.

I try to gain my motivation from all the angles. Success is great and brings in good vibes but failure could be an even stronger motivational tool for the mind. The constant quest of discovering your mind and body’s potential is what keeps me going, that and of course with support of my kids ,my partner Shirley and  family make it all a complete unit.

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?

In the last few years I have been looking into role of my diet, I became a dietician to gain more knowledge of the subject, I have to say that this is something that has changed my approach in training. In my opinion, it is super important and plays a huge role in performance, from equalisations to contractions and general body functions.

To expect the maximum from the body we need to fill it up with right fuel to gain maximum performance.

15978363_10153965606591557_1114767473_nOn my performance day or training sessions, I would eat specific foods at particular times before training and that could make the difference in when the contractions begin.

Our bodies react differently to the food we eat and yes you could make your dive harder by consuming certain products as dairy or gluten, which will produce more mucus and in turn make a equalisation more difficult and challenging.

But we have to understand that all the good food is only a part of complete circle 🙂

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

Well to simplify it, most Freedivers are self funded, even when competing for your Country. We have no sponsorship or support to help cover the costs of training.

Freediving is still a young sport and in the eyes of public is relatively small that makes it more difficult to find sponsors to fund your daily training or events.

I’m lucky enough to have contacts with the manufacturers of high quality freediving equipment,  Molchanoves and Elios who’s equipment I use to train .

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

I have my own little goals that I would like to achieve this year, I’d like to dedicate my training purely to static to see my full potential.

Depth that is another challenge. I’m still working on mastering my equalisation and if I have a bit of spare time this year, I’d like to see if I can train further on equalisation.

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

Freediving is a big part of our Family life, both me and my partner Shirley train when we can, that’s means a whole family trip with the kids to the lake where we can do a small training session ,or we just train in our home. Some of the things we do from home is our stretching session,  body weight training and dry breath-hold training.

Freediving makes our life and our body’s healthier and happier. 15967144_10153965606861557_1397320742_o

As a family we love camping ,fossil hunting ,mushroom picking, or just casual trip to the beach when we can just let it all go and relax.

10. What would you advise to people, who just discovered this sport?

Buckle up as Freediving will give you tons of fun, friends and adventures.

Remember Never Dive Alone ,train hard but be smart ,enjoy the moment ,and most importantly have fun.

The right attitude will take you further and deeper than you think!

Dive Safe;)

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Freediver from South Africa MJ Kuhn

Freediving “record braker” from South Africa MJ Kuhn set a new National Record in Free Immerssion and we have our TOP-10 questions for him

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

I started as a spearfisherman in Cape Town, South Africa. I didn’t really know much about freediving back then. Only once I wanted to go deeper did I start looking into getting a proper freediving education. I enrolled for my beginner course and got hooked instantly in the simplicity of it. I just kept going and 6weeks later I was a AIDA Freedive Instructor20160704-oc-img_5094

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

That is a really difficult question; there are parts of every discipline that I like. Free Immersion is the easiest for me, It feels very natural to me. I think it’s because of all the rock climbing I did. Constant weight no-fins is probably the most satisfying as you are using both your arms and legs, you really deplete your fuel sources. I find it so satisfying when you are getting close to the surface and you can feel how empty your body is. Arms and legs numb, they almost feel dead.mjlogo

Constant weight bi-fins is probably my least favourite although I still like the empty feeling I get in my legs after a nice deep dive. Just knowing that you have pushed your body to its limit gives me some kind of satisfaction.

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?

I work as a freediving Instructor so often I cannot actually decide what I want to do. However teaching does make you fit. I prefer to separate my strength training from deep diving, I feel uncomfortable if I did a strength session recently and then go deep. I don’t have a set schedule at all. When I feel good I train, I believe rest is as important as the training days. I’d say I probably train 3-5 times a week depending on how I feel.

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

I’m open to new training techniques, so if I hear about something that makes sense physiologically, I would give it a go.

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?

Firstly I love diving, it takes me out of the craziness of life. When I go under the surface everything disappears, I don’t think about yesterday or tomorrow. I’m completely immersed in that moment between the ocean and myself. I like feeling my body and being in control of it.

Strength training gives me exactly that; after I finish my last sets I can feel every muscle burning… reminding me that they are there. Once you start making progress like feeling stronger or having more control in a certain position that motivates me even more to keep going. Training and exercise makes me feel good, if I go for a while without either I don’t feel good mentally of physically.

Of course there are times when I don’t feel like training, I see this as my body telling me I need more rest. But when I do feel like training I like going all out, going until I feel like puking. Fighting human laziness is tough. Setting goals is what keeps me motivated. Both short-term goals, which I could reach within a few months, and also long term goals, which might take years to reach. I need something to strive towards.

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?

Definitely!!! Sugar is the biggest one for me, sodas and candy especially. It makes my EQ feel sticky. I can still equalise but if I had something with sugar I often feel like I need to swallow when I’m in free fall with a mouth fill. As soon as I swallow I have trouble managing my mouth fill. Sometimes my soft pallet locks up, or I lose some air through my glottis. Also sour things like pineapple affect my ease of equalisation.mj1logo

My diet is high in fat, medium protein and as much vegetables as I want. I avoid carbs, especially simple carbs(rice, pasta, potatoes) completely. My body does not react well to grains and bread either. I eat what makes me feel strong, for a few months I made a journal of everything I did, what I ate and what training I was doing. I rated my mental and physical comfort on dives and in training. So I am not saying it’s for everyone, but this works for me.

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

I work as a freedive instructor, which is my only income. I don’t get any support money wise for freediving. I fund competitions and travel expenses myself, it’s an expensive game to play. Getting financial support for freediving competitively would definitely make a huge difference.

There is no support from South Africa at the moment, freediving is still small over there. I have been diving with SeaGods wetsuits from the beginning. Testing prototypes etc. At the moment I get wetsuits from them when I need, which is a good deal. At Freedive Flow  on Gili Air, Indonesia I teach freediving. Working here I am able to dive almost everyday. When I don’t have students I can go train, which saves me a lot of money for travelling and diving expenses. They support my competitive nature… I am always able to take time off for diving if I need it.mj4logo

I am also part of RAW Adrenaline which is a adventure lifestyle brand. We have +-50 athletes from all over the world participating in different extreme sports. RAW gives me a huge platform to promote from. I write blogs for RAW and post video’s etc. Because of the wide variety of people involved I can reach large amounts of people through the RAW platform. Here is a link to my profile on RAW. Here is a link to the latest blog I wrote for RAW.

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

I am very keen to put effort into my constant no-fins. My goal is to reach 75m CNF. My big goal is to reach the 100m mark when and how this will happen is still on the table. I like teaching freediving , growing as a teacher is also part of my freediving goals.

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

Spearfishing, White water kayaking, rock climbing, slacklining. I haven’t done any of these in a long while, I’ve been completely focused on freediving for the last 18months. As for hobbies, I like writing, I like chilling on the beach and I love eating good food

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

Get a proper education from a well-known school. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Knowledge about freediving is what will keep you safe. Don’t get stuck on the numbers and depth, how you get there is far more important. If you undervalue technique it will come back to bite you in the ass. Freediving is for everyone, all you need is the will to give it a try. Potentially it will change your life forever. It’s beautiful.

Мировой рекорд во фридайвинге от Матеуш Малина

Матеуш Малина установил мировой рекорд Pure Apnea в динамике в ластах.

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На Мировом мини чемпионате по фридайвингу, который состоялся в Чехии, поляк Матеуш Малина побил последний рекорд Pure Apnea в дисциплине Динамика в ластах 226 метров, проплыв 229. На сегодняшний день также является мировым рекордсменом в таких дисциплинах, как Динамика в ластах (300м) и Динамика без ласт (224) по правилам другой организации AIDA International.

27 ноября Pure Apnea проводили соревнования по фридайвингу в Брно и Кейп Таунб представив Северное и Южное полушария.

Первые места мини чемпионата Северного полушария:

  • Мартин Валента(Чехия) установил национальный рекорд STA (09:05)
  • Наталья Оводова (Россия) установила мировой рекорд Pure Apnea (166м) в Динамике в ластах
  • Иванска Барбора(Чехия) установила национальный рекорд (137м) в дисциплине Динамика без ласт.

Первые места Pure Apnea Южного полушария в Кейп Тауне:

  • Аннэлиз Мюллер– рекорд Южной Африки (133м) в динамике в ластах
  • Стефан Кирстен – рекорды Намибии в динамике без ласт и динамике в ластах
  • Стив Троллоуп– результат в статике 6:27

Поздравления спортсменам!

Freediving. It is all about safety

Freediving course
Freediving course

Recently I found an article on the Internet describing  free diving as a super extreme and deadly activity. It said that people dying often during free diving . Is it true? Is it really that extreme and chances of an accident really high?

First, let’s divide freedivers into two types; competitive and recreational. The first group usually serious sportsmen with high determination to push their limits as much as possible. They free dive to win and to be champions at least on a National scene. High chances are that these guys know everything about safety. And even more – despite the fact that hundreds of people compete every year, serious accidents happen quiet rarely (one fatal accident during international competition). The main reason is that these guys KNOW what they are doing and the safety is well organised by professionals.

Recreational free divers. Who are they? Simple. Every one who makes a deep breath, holds it and submerged his face into the water for whatever reason IS a free diver. So, they SHOULD follow safety rules:

  • never free dive alone
  • never do hyperventilation
  • never push your limit to hard
  • never push your limits without an experienced buddy
  • never do free diving after scuba diving
  • never be over-weight
  • use “one up – one down” system
  • don’t hesitate to postpone your dive/training if you are not feeling well

A little bit more about main the principles…

1. Never free dive alone. If you ask your grandma to keep an eye on you while you do static apnea training – IT DOESN’T count. Only those who have proper training and knowledge can do safety for you. So encourage your training buddy to take a free diving course as well. Make sure that both of you know how to do it. Practice safety scenarios on a regular basis.

2. Never hyperventilate. You have already learned about disadvantages of hyperventilation in your free diving courses. Let me remind you about the main point – it will reduce level of CO2 which put you in a greater risk of LMC/BO/SWO!! Please, don’t do it.

3. Never push your limits to hard/without experience buddy. First of all, why do you want to progress so fast? To impress someone? To become World Champion? Because of your EGO? Give your buddy time to adopt and you will be rewarded with constant progress! For example. You have max 3 min. On your next try are you going to try 3.05-3.10 or 4 minutes? The first choice is conservative, but it is also safer approach. Let’s have a look what can possible happen when you do freediving training ?

  • LMC (“Samba”) or loss motor control. This happens when you push your limits too much in a confined or open water training/maximum attempt. Partial pressure of O2 in your blood drops (less than 0.16) and your brain couldn’t control your movement any more. In a worse case scenario you can fall into the water which can create the possibility of drowning. If it happens with your buddy, grab him and make sure that his head is above the water. After proper recovery breathing, symptoms should disappear within several seconds. But keep an eye on your partner at least 20-30 seconds. Finish training session! How to avoid. Avoid hyperventilation. Be conservative with you progress. Slow progress is better than quick and unsafe!
  • BO. Black out. Partial pressure even low than in LMC (less than 0.1) and your brain will simply switch off your body. This can happen after LMC if you are not able to do recovery breathing. Keep air ways open (head above the water). Tap the check area, blow air across the face, instruct free diver to breath by command “breath”. If after several seconds he is still unconscious, do rescue breathes and bring diver out of water. Provide O2. Finish training session. Be conservative with your progress and never hyperventilating. 
  • SWO. Shallow water black out. This only happens during open water session when free diver ascending from the depth. There is partial pressure drop during ascent where divers can suddenly loose conscious without any symptoms on the last meters before the surface. Bring him to the surface. Keep air ways open (head above the water). Tap the check area, blow air across the face, instruct free diver to breath by command “breath”. If after several seconds he is still unconscious, do rescue breathes and bring diver out of water. Provide O2  Finish training session. Avoid this by never hyperventilating, never being over-weight, and being conservative with depth progress. Have enough time to recover after your last dive.

At the end. As far as you can see all problems can be avoided and solved, if you free dive with experienced buddy and follow simple rules. Or they can become dead serious if you are free diving/training on your own and rushing for meters/minutes. It is up to you. But even if you like this kind of unnecessary risk, keep in mind that you compromise the whole free diving community. So, please, be safe! If you have any question about safety in freediving, don’t hesitate to ask your free diving instructor. Or ask here 🙂