I have by no means become an expert on freediving but I have been lucky enough to have had a freediver contact me, after my first article, and has since told me a lot more about this extreme sport.
Kerian Hibbs lives in New Zealand and is a passionate freediver – his words. He is equally passionate about this sport not being mis-represented as it does attract a lot of bad press – particularly from the media.
It is an exhilarating sport, but there is no doubt that it has its fair share of danger. Pressure on the body in deepwater freediving can reach 235 pounds per square inch (16.5 kilograms per square centimeter). For this reason, freediving is very heavily regulated to ensure safety of the athletes taking part in training and/or competition.
It is a problem with all extreme sports – they do attract bad press and there is a feeding frenzy whenever anything goes wrong. I don’t suppose anything will ever control that – the public likes reading sensational material, and the media loves supplying it. I apologise to any reporters out there who may feel I have overstepped a boundary or two!
As with all extreme sports – if you do freediving correctly, if you take the time to have proper and professional training, you minimize the risk. If there was no risk it would not be an extreme sport would it?
There is a difference between freediving and ‘no limits‘ diving. My last 2 articles on record breaking dives were both ‘no limits’ dives. A ‘no limits’ dive is where a diver is dragged down to depth by a weight (sled) and then retrieved using winches or mechanical means. Whereas a freediver uses no aids – breast stroke down and back up again either with fins or a mono-fin. This discipline is considered the most pure form of free diving . Some consider the ‘no limits’ dive more of a publicity stunt than a discipline – although there is no doubt that the feats they achieve are extroadinary and applaudable.
Kerian has a friend who he trains with, Dave Mullins, who has been down to 110m deep with a monofin only. He also, as of a few days ago, holds the world record in the pool in Dynamics with a 248m pool swim. Kerian himself has achieved 201m in Dynamics which places him 7th in the current world records. By all calculations he is only the 10th man in history to swim over 200m on a single breath of air and he is hoping to reverse those last 2 digits in November when he is going for 210m. Watch this space…
And it shows how out of kilter you can get when researching something… I was looking for a dynamics youtube pool swim that I could post and came up with a wonderful freediving video which is advertising for BMW cars! But I’ll post it anyway as its beautifully done!
Please visit Kerians’ site for more information: www.kerian.hibbs.net.nz