The man who needs no air. Aleix Segura 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 because of spearfishing, for me freediving is not only an abstract sport but also the athletic part of it’s main application, spearfishing, so it’s all the same thing to me. As a kid I used to go with friends to the beach in summer trying to go deeper and stay longer, so when we started spearfishing I found a motivation to work on it. Also, in high school I was in the basketball team and despite I liked it, individual sports fit me better and freediving joined all that. In 2011 I started competing in freediving and it helped me to improve and train. 15782533_10210650242066626_2030585707_n

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

My favourite discipline is static apnea, it’s the main basic skill and the most handy tool in all the other disciplines, plus it’s what I need the most in the sea for bottom waiting. I like all 6 AIDA athletic disciplines, that’s mainly it, and even the two sled disciplines are interesting as separate stunts. If I had to distinguish, I’d say I find more relevant static apnea, dynamic no fins and constant weight no fins, because all the others use tools which take the sport slightly away from the athletic basics and can also be upgraded, affecting the future performances and sometimes providing different chances to athletes. What I dislike is when other activities which are not about maximizing one single magnitude (time, distance or depth) are called to be included as apnea, but that’s another topic.

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? 15785480_10210650273747418_1994474281_o

Hah no, no, I work in a studio in front of the screen like most of people. I mainly train one hour per week mostly static with my club fellows of Cavalldemar in Barcelona, so I need to optimize my training a lot. Of course some weekends and on holidays I go spearfishing which is a great work out to combine with the pool training, and I do some running, cycling and stretching. That’s enough to keep a quite stable level and basement. Then when big competitions get closer I train more often so I increase the training load and consistency, add some dnf, etc, in a attempt to force a peak performance, fortunately usually helping me to improve a bit and be ready to ensure more my results.

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

I introduce small changes most of the time and pay attention to the influence of that isolate variable to work out some conclusion, once I reach it, I optimize or discard the change and move on with next potential improvement, and that can take just one day or some times 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?

I don’t train that much so usually I’m willing to train, also because apnea is not only competition for me; it’s also my preparation for spearfishing and not a sacrifice. When competition comes then I need to force myself to work more on it, but then improvement will and competitiveness gives me extra determination to reach results. 15748774_10210650387550263_712540590_o

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 heard about these things and it’s not yet clear to me, I avoid lactose before freediving because of digestion, so I’m not sure about equalization. But I didn’t find any specific food influence on my equalization. I equalize easily hands free 0 to 50 or 60 m whatever I eat so maybe I’m not the best to test. When I have problems it’s in specific days from sinus related or other problems. I follow several nutrition rules based on a healthy diet; I need many calories so I like to control the quality of my intake source to keep general health. Then for competition I adjust not to have my stomach full, for fast digestion, for recovery and to respect my habits and avoid unexpected changes.

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

I have some sponsors which provide me with the best quality equipment, but I afford competitions by myself except those which are organized by the federation and I get qualified, in which fortunately I’m fully covered by FECDAS or FEDAS. I get financed with my job salary, and a bit from events and some workshops I do when people specifically ask me to, and all that at least gives me now the freedom not to depend all the time on others to go to competitions.

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

I set no limits for myself, when I started I was thinking of 8 minutes and I beat that in my first national championship back in 2011, so that is now well behind and I don’t have a very limited period to perform so I have many years ahead to keep improving further. At the moment next step should be as usual to turn my training PB into a competition result, and then improve it over and over. Depth is something I like but I’ll keep being progressive and won’t try big numbers until I’ll be prepared when I have time.

9. What do you do except freediving? Do you have any hobbies? 15749004_10210650556954498_1492290990_o

My job is sometimes hard but I still like architecture, so it’s good to visit, look and learn from the places and buildings I go. But my spare time goes more into spearfishing, the most sportive, selective, responsible and sustainable way of fishing for the environment.

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

I’d suggest them to join a freediving club with training group; it’s a safe, cheap and useful way to progress.

100 meters deep Freediver and former World Record holder (CNF) Michal Risian

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?mich1

First time I saw freediving in 1999 on TV. There was very short spot about I guess Australian guy who was trying to brake DYN record. He swam around 190 m and had black out. I thought to myself, that it must be dangerous and that freediviers are freaks and I could never do this . In 2007 I read again article about freediving in one scuba diving magazine and this led me to try a basic weekend freediving course and again I had very mixed impression about freediving, but I kept trying that and later I sold my scuba equipment and kept diving only this way. I did not plan to compete in any sport because I used to compete in swimming when I was a child and spent a lot of time in pools. But I was improving very fast so I tried 🙂 mich5

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

I like CNF the most, because I like outdoor depth disciplines and I find this discipline the most natural and the most pure, dependent only on freediviers body.

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 used to train more often. Last two years I am busier with my job and family so I use to train max 3 times a week and about 5-6 times a week during competition period and 2-3 months before the main competition. During the year I do not do too specific trainings, I do fitness, running and once a week pool training or outdoor snorkeling.

mich2 I have a mixed approach. I have been trying to keep the fixed schedule, but I listen to my body and lately I need to adjust my schedule to job and family and other parts of life 🙂

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

I try to make every training special in some way. I can do same excercises, but I try to change number of repetitions, time for breath up, and I do it as a like and as I feel that certain day.

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 like the sea. I do my hard training a limited period of the year. And when there is time for that, I like it. If I should do it every year maybe I would lose passion for that, but when it is only part of the year it is fun.

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 believe it can affect equalization. But I am not so strict to my diet and I eat mostly what I like 🙂

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

Last 3 years it is better and Czech representatives have some money from the association of Czech divers, from government, we have also material support from some producers of diving equipment e.g. Salvimar and some divers get personal ways of sponsorship.mich3

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

I have no specific numbers. I like to dive 80+ meters in CNF once more and I want to master equalization techniques so I could achieve my real limits in CNF. My PB in CWT 103m is far from my physical limits.

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

Freediving is nothing more than one of my hobbies. Other hobby is painting (look here MOJE_OBRAZY), tasting good wines and my family 🙂

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

I would advise to be patient when something is hard to achieve, limits are only in our heads, furthermore not to push hard without thinking and enjoy diving with emphasis on safety and with respect to nature…

Follow Michal’s Facebook page to learn more about him

Рекордсменка мира 2007 года Наталия Оводова (Бабич) о фридайвинге

1. Как и когда вы узнали о фридайвинге? Почему решили заняться этим спортом и какими были ваши первые шаги?

Я с детства в бассейне, сначала занималась классическим плаванием (имею разряд МС), затем уже практически хотела заканчивать со спортом и готовиться к поступлению в институт, на крайних сборах пересеклась с тренером по подводному спорту и он уговорил попробовать себя в ластах, в скоростном плавании. Также выполнила разряд МС, и в 2007 году на очередной тренировке пересеклась с нынешним тренером Орлом И.М., но тогда он сам был еще выступающим спортсменом по фридайвингу. Начали тренироваться и уже летом поехали на первый Чемпионат Мира в г.Бари  (Италия), где я стала чемпионкой. Случайно… тут и началась моя фридайверская жизнь img_6231-28-12-17-11-51

2. Какая самая любимая и нелюбимая дисциплина во фридайвинге? И почему?

По дисциплинам не могу ответить на вопрос про любимую и не любимую… я видимо как все женщины непостоянна… и любовь к дисциплинам у меня переменчива… я могу любить на тренировках одну…приехать на старт и испугаться… и тут же полюбить ту дисциплину, которую не готовила… к статике поначалу относилась с меньшим проявлением любви, но сейчас полежать и помучиться иногда тоже люблю…

3. Расскажите о своем подходе к тренировкам: сколько раз в неделю тренируетесь; придерживаетесь какого-то расписания или импровизируете, опираясь на настроение/самочувствие/внешние факторы?

4. Как часто экспериментируете в своих тренировках и пробуете что-то новое?

Отвечая на оба вопроса: к сожалению, профессиональный спорт, в связи с его неоплачиваемостью плавно перешел в разряд хобби, и теперь я стараюсь тренироваться пару раз в неделю на суше (в тренажерном зале), и пару раз в бассейне…но не всегда получается…и это очень обидно…перед главными стартами в году стараюсь почаще тренироваться…я могу тренироваться только с тренером… как в зале, так и на воде, поэтому полностью доверяю тренировочный процесс тренерам…я материал, они из меня лепят)))) img_6321-28-12-17-11-51

5. Что мотивирует Вас к тренировкам? Как справляетесь с обычной человеческой ленью и нежеланием идти на тренировку?

К тренировкам мотивирует страх потерять то, что ты имел на протяжении всей своей осознанной жизни – это общение, поездки на соревнования… внешний вид…ну и в тот момент, когда ты стоишь на пьедестале и в твою честь играет гимн, нигде и никогда не испытаешь этих эмоций…img_4879-28-12-17-11-51

6. Вы придерживаетесь какой-то диеты и что думаете о возможном влиянии некоторых продуктов на продувку?

Диетам нет!

7. Вопрос о деньгах 🙂 Спонсирует ли кто-либо ваши выступления?

Спонсоров нет. И это, наверное, мое желание на НГ –  найти спонсора…

8. Каковы ваши цели во фридайвинге? Какие краткосрочные и долгосрочные цели ставите перед собой?

Хочу еще пару- тройку –четверку  раз установить мировые рекорды.

9. Есть ли у вас увлечения кроме фридайвинга?

В связи с полной занятостью на работе времени катастрофически не хватает… вот был бы день не 24 часа, а 30…

10. Чтобы посоветовали людям, которые только открыли для себя мир фридайвинга (или только собираются это сделать)? fullsizerender-28-12-17-11-51

Наслаждайтесь… и в этом спорте нет соперников… вернее он один, и это ты сам… остальные друзья…

Больше информации о Натальи на ее странице в ВКонтакте, Фейсбуке, Инстограме 

Подписывайтесь на наш блог и читайте свежие интервью с российскими и зарубежными фридайверами!!

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 🙂

First step into Freediving

rest between freedives
Student have a rest between freedives

Despite the fact that the first freediving organization was founded more than 20 years ago there is still a relatively small amount of people involved in this amazing water activity (especially in comparison to scuba diving or swimming) on a constant basis.

Why? Part of this is fear. Fear of unknown. Is it risky? Is it bad for your health?

Second – “why” – How it benefits me? Why I should try it?

And it is quite difficult to find any information about freediving especially when you’re looking to learn how to train, how to do it in a safe way, and what you need to avoid. On Youtube you can find tons of videos about swimming and very little (close to zero actually) about free diving training…

But before you start practicing freediving, I do recommend you to take at least a beginner freediving course. It doesn’t matter which organization, PADI/SSI/AIDA/CMAS, it’s up to you. You will learn general theory, safety issue, and of course techniques for proper freediving.

Second – you should understand that freediving is a potentially dangerous activity if you are doing it the wrong way (we will cover safety on our next topic). So, there are some rules which you should follow:

  • Never free dive alone! Even (or especially) in the swimming pool.
  • Be conservative with your progress! There is no reason why you should push yourself too hard. Slow and safe progress is better than fast but risky!
  • Free dive only with someone who knows what to do if something goes wrong.
  • Consider taking an EFR course to be sure that you know what to do in case of emergency.

But it is too early to be scared. The fact is that if you follow safety rules free diving becomes one of the safest water activities!

OK, you’ve done freediving course. On the course you received essential freediving theory. Now you know how to breath before and after free dive and about physiology. You tried new skills in a swimming pool such as static and dynamic apnea. And of course you dove for the first time quite deep under water, on a single breath!!

For some of you this might be a one time, crazy experience during your holiday and probably you will never try it again. But some of you will be hooked and decide to keep going! You want to become real free diver!

But… your vacation is over. You come back to you home city and aren’t near warm ocean or even a lake. But you’re not giving up easily and find a local swimming pool. So, how you are going to train? With whom? How do you motivate yourself? What goals do you want to achieve? And what is more important – how to be safe?

That’s what this blog would be all about.

You’ll learn free diving theory, how to train “dry”, in the pool, or in open water. And of course, constant safety reminders!