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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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.

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!