You needn’t be an athlete to enjoy freediving because the sport is more about mindset, technique and correct weighting than strength.
Snorkelers do qualify, but there is one important element separating freedivers from snorkelers (and this is heresay) – apparently you achieve a feeling of true ease and relaxation under the water. You live in the moment, so absorbed that an hour under water (obviously not all in one go if you’re free diving!) erases a week of worries…
Wikipedia’s definition of freediving is: any of various aquatic activities that share the practice of breath-holding underwater diving. Examples include breathhold spear fishing, free-dive photography, apnea competitions and, to a degree, snorkeling. The activity that garners the most public attention is competitive apnea, an extreme sport, in which competitors attempt to attain great depths, times or distances on a single breath without direct assistance of a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba).
The record holder for freediving, an incredibly dangerous sport, is Patrick Musimi who dived an incredible 687 feet on one breath. He was under water for close to three minutes.
Patrick’s record is incredible. Ok – 3 incredibles… but that’s how amazing his record is! His decision to step out of the freediving competitions and go for the ‘no limit’ catagory marked him out as an extroadinary human being. According to him, this category should not be considered nor used as a sport!
His quest led him to achieve ‘the ultimate dive’.
In June 2005, within 3 weeks and only 10 dives in the Red Sea, Patrick Musimu marked history by diving consecutively to 100, 136, 151, 170, 185 metres, and on the 26 th of June, he finally reached the mythical mark of 200 metres.
On 30th June 2005, his body, exhausted, forced him to stop after a dive of 209,6 metres, shattering
the deepest human performance registered by almost 40 meters. His record has not been broken.
I stand corrected here – his record HAS been broken. Herbert Nitsch broke it on 14th June 2007 with a dive of 214m. See more in the next article…
He is a very focused man. Listen to his thoughts on how he achieves his dives: “During a free dive I feel my mind detached from my body. As I merge into the maritime world, I separate from the predetermined idea I have of myself. Nothing is absolute and barriers are mere mental hypotheses. Little by little, my mind gains the conviction that there are no limits. In this quest, free diving becomes my instrument, which I play like a virtuoso in the silent world of great depths.”
It is not necessary to dive to 200m. After all, it’s dark down there… A 45 second dive to about 30ft is generally quite deep enough. Most of the ocean’s colour and animal life resides within 30ft of the surface so there’s little reason to go deeper. 45 seconds is generally enough time to take a few photographs, chill out with the fish, or even shoot your supper. Best of all the average person can master these sort of dives in about 2 weeks without spending valuable cash on expensive kit. Your essentials – mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit and weightbelt pack easily into a duffel bag.
If you have any romantic views on achieving, or attempting to achieve, depths similar to Patrick Musimu’s – please first watch the 1988 film “The Big Blue”. Nothing but tragedy will be your reward so for heavens’ sake admire others and stick to where there is light in the ocean! – unless of course you do it properly, take instruction, etc etc etc.