By freedivinguae

Blue Planet II Shows Footage Of Pilot Whale Mother Refusing To Leave Side Of Dead Calf

Footage from the Blue Planet II documentary series showing a female pilot whale unwilling to leave the side of her dead calf has caused viewers in the U.K. to promise to never use plastic again.

In the footage, narrator Sir David Attenborough says:

“Today in the Atlantic waters they have to share the ocean with plastic. A mother is holding her newborn young — it’s dead. She is reluctant to let it go and has been carrying it around for many days. In top predators like these, industrial chemicals can build up to lethal levels. And plastic could be part of the problem. . . . It’s possible her calf may have been poisoned by her own contaminated milk.

“Unless the flow of plastics and industrial pollution into the ocean is reduced, marine life will be poisoned by them for many centuries to come.”

Check out an excerpt from the show below (and yeah, it’s pretty distressing).

(Image credit: BBC)

Source: deeperblue

By freedivinguae

8 Tips for Beginner Freedivers

When it comes to exploring a new challenge like freediving, it’s wise to know a few tips and tricks to get you started. We reached out to PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer and World Champion freediver, Mandy Sumner to get her expert advice for those ready to experience the peace of the underwater world on a single breath.

If you’re anxious to get in the water, check out these 8 tips for beginner freedivers as told by Mandy Sumner:

PADI Freediver Mandy Sumner Photo: Elina Manninen

Photo: Elina Manninen


Never Dive Alone

This is the number one and most important rule in freediving, or any time you’re in the water for that matter. The buddy system is very important and should never be disregarded. It’s essential to watch out for each other, learn to safety each other in every dive shallow or deep, and of course everything is always more fun to share with someone or a group of people! You will learn the reasons for never diving alone in the PADI Freediver course.

Take the PADI Freediver course

You will learn what your body has the capability of and of course the safety aspect of the sport, which is indispensable. Taking a course will introduce you to the basic elements of the sport in a step by step manner which will build your confidence in freediving.

Freediver Mandy Sumner Photo: Mike Hong


Have fun!

Enjoy the beauty of what surrounds you in the water. It’s like nothing else in this world. You have the ability to stay underwater on one breath of air, so enjoy the silence, peacefulness, and beauty. Joining a school of fish, diving with a pod of dolphins, or simply taking underwater photos, every freediver will live in the moment and feel truly free.

Learn about your environment and protect it

Our oceans and shorelines are struggling and they need our help. A good place to start is at your local dive spots. I am a huge advocate for beach and ocean cleanups. My local chapter that I have been involved in for years is Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. There is also PADI’s Project Aware that has done some amazing things for our oceans and would be great to get involved with as well. Start with yourself, be an advocate for the ocean, and if you see others disrespecting it, educate them. We only get one chance with our oceans and we really need to pay attention and help any way we can.


Relaxation is the key to freediving. Deep, slow, calm breaths help lower your heart rate so your body will conserve oxygen. Every tense muscle uses heaps of oxygen and energy. You will learn how to relax your body through different breathing and relaxation techniques in freediving courses and clinics. Some exercises are borrowed from yoga practices, so you may already recognize some of them.

Freediver Mandy Sumner Photo: Pim Vermeulen

Photo: Pim Vermeulen


A good way to prepare for your dives is with the use of visualization. Visualize happy things and peaceful surroundings and your mind will automatically relax your body and lower your heart rate. Visualization can be used pre dive as well as during your dive. For me, when I am competing, I will visualize step by step how I want my dive to go before I even get in the water. When I am in my dive, if I find myself getting tense, I say a little mantra or sing a song in my head, and that helps me relax again. Different things work for different people, but some type of visualization will help before and during your dives.

Freediver Mandy Sumner Photo: Byron Kay

Photo: Byron Kay

Freediving Equipment

You don’t need to have the best freediving gear to be able to enjoy your underwater playground. Beginner freedivers will most likely have scuba fins or short fins and that will work fine as a beginner diver. I would however suggest a few items that will make your dives a lot more comfortable from the start. A low volume mask would be a great first purchase. Scuba masks are much bigger and are difficult to equalize when you are diving. With a low volume mask, it will be much easier to equalize as you go deeper and is also much more flexible and comfortable. As you fall in love with the sport, you will begin to invest in other freediving gear such as a two-piece wetsuit, long blade fins, a rubber weight belt and a dive computer. For now, use what you have to begin your freediving journey!

Freediver Mandy Sumner Photo: Sea Watchman

Photo: Sea Watchman

Learn from everyone you can.

Watch other divers and ask questions. Soak up everything you can from certified instructors as well as other certified divers. As you freedive more, you will find that freedivers use different techniques to reach their goals. Start with the basics in a course, master these, then build on your knowledge and find what works best for you. (Disclaimer: Do not become an “internet” freediver. There is a lot of wrong information out there that could be potentially harmful to you, so please make sure you get your information from creditable sources and certified agencies.)

Remember, freediving is for everyone! You don’t need to be an athlete to enjoy freediving. The sport is more about relaxation, mind set and technique, than it is strength. Your goal is to connect with the water and enjoy all the feelings and sensations. Underwater on one breath is a great place to be, appreciate every minute of it and happy diving!

Photo: Mandy Sumner with Adam Skolnick

Photo: Mandy Sumner with Adam Skolnick

Main Source: padi

Posted by Emily Bates

By freedivinguae

Freediver Sofia Gomez Uribe Nominated For Colombian Athlete Of The Year

Sofia Gomez Uribe has been nominated for Colombian Athlete of the Year.

The nomination caps a great year for Gomez Uribe, who won two silver medals at the AIDA World Depth Championships, in addition to her 96m/314ft Pan American constant weight record, as well as her two world records including the CMAS Bi-Fins World Record.

Outside the sporting arena, Gomez Uribe carried on her humanitarian efforts this year. She was a powerful advocate for the island of Dominica after it was hit by Hurricane Maria.

If you want to vote for her, you can vote for Gomex Uribe here.

Source: deeperblue | Sam Helmy

By freedivinguae

Mares Introduces New Razor Apnea Freediving Fins

Mares is introducing a new line of fiberglass freediving fins called the Razor Apnea at this year’s DEMA Show in Orlando, Florida. The fins are designed to be more reactive in the water, as well as provide the freediver with a better ratio of energy to propulsion.

As opposed to carbon fiber fins, which are highly popular among freedivers but offer a stiffer blade while diving, these fiberglass Mares fins are incredibly flexible due to the “prepreg” pressing of the material. “Prepreg” is a common term for a reinforcing fabric that has been pre-impregnated with a resin system. This type of dedicated technology allows Mares’ Razor Apneas to bend beyond the normal boundaries of freediving fins.

The blade is about 20.5cm/8 inches wide and 65cm/25.5 inches long, with a 22-degree blade inclination relative to the foot pocket which allows this fin to be more hydrodynamic in the water.

The Razor Apnea fins will be available at the start of 2018, and retail for US$400/344 Euros.


— Sarah Barrett


By freedivinguae

Qatar’s Amro al-Hamad, who set two new GCC records in free diving in Kalamata, Greece, last month, now wants to break the Asian record next year. “We will chase the Asian record (in free diving),” the Qatari athlete told Gulf Times on the sidelines of a press conference held on Monday at the Doha Marine Sports Club announcing his latest achievement.
He was joined by the Club’s vice president, Salah al-Mannai.

Al-Hamad set the new Qatar national record and the GCC record for free diving in two categories: 83m in Variable Weight and 94m in No Limit, making him the “deepest free diver in the GCC.”

He will be preparing for at least a year to be fit for the challenge, and hopes to get all the support he needs. Besides aiming for a new Asian record, al-Hamad is also aiming to be the first GCC national to break the 100m marker in free diving next year. Al-Hamad’s journey of setting the new GCC records, recognised by AIDA (Internationale pour le Développement de l’Apnée or the International Association for Development of Apnea in English), started in 2015 in Kalamata.

He said the previous GCC record did not hold for a long time since Kuwaiti Ahmed al-Abbas managed to break it by 2m. “What we did this year is we increased the margin, and break it by 11m, to make it harder for him to reach it,” al-Hamad pointed out. “But at the same time I would be grateful if somebody from the GCC to actually break it because it will give me the initiative to go back again and set it even further.”

Asked why in Greece, he said the location has depth, good visibility, no underwater currents, and with pristine conditions suitable for such endeavour. About the timing of the event, al-Hamad noted that they intentionally set it on September 19 to coincide with the His Highness the Emir’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The Qatari free diver, who was wearing a suit bearing the ‘Tamim Al Majd’ image at that time, said he felt so proud in his achievement. “I was very happy, I don’t want to fail the people of Qatar.”

“There is a lot of drastic preparations to do a three-minute dive, and it took months and years of training and experience to achieve this,” he stressed. “The training extended like a year to get in shape and it involved a lot of swimming pool trainings and external training camps.”

Al-Hamad’s team also held a private camp in Spain from the beginning of June where he felt he was fit to do the challenge.

Source: gulf-times

By freedivinguae

Defending Champs Reign Again In New Zealand Freediving Pool Nationals

Thirty athletes competed last weekend at the annual Freediving Pool Nationals in New Zealand, with defending champions Guy Brew and Kathryn Nevatt taking their titles once again.

The competition, which featured the Static, Dynamic with Fins, and Dynamic No Fins disciplines, had competitors from nine different countries. Additionally, nine National Records were set across those three disciplines.

Athletes competed in three “Grades”Men’s, Women’s and Recreational. The Recreational grade allowed newcomers to freediving competition to get coaching and feedback from the judging team.

Overall Recreational winner Ben Laurie, who represented the Auckland Freediving Club, earned three white cards on his way to the title.

In addition to the nine national records broken, the competition also resulted in more than 17 personal bests.

Here are some other interesting numbers: The total time of White-Carded Static breath holds by competitors was 52 minutes and 56 seconds; total distance swum in the Dynamic With Fins discipline was 3,152 meters/10,341 feet and 2,512 meters/8,241 feet for the Dynamic No Fins discipline.

For more info, go to the Freediving NZ website or check out the results below.

New Zealand Freediving Pool Nationals -- Men's Results
New Zealand Freediving Pool Nationals — Men’s Results
New Zealand Freediving Pool Nationals -- Women's Results
New Zealand Freediving Pool Nationals — Women’s Results
New Zealand Freediving Pool Nationals -- Recreational Results
New Zealand Freediving Pool Nationals — Recreational Results

Source: deeperblue

By freedivinguae

‘Wonder Woman’ Physical Trainer Talks About Freediving

With “Wonder Woman” nearing the US$800 million/677 million Euro mark at the global box office, did you know that one of the physical trainers for the women who played the mighty Amazons is actually also a freediver who trained with the likes of William Trubridge and Martin Stepanek?

According to, trainer Mario Donato opened up recently about the work he did to get those women in shape for the movie.

During the interview, Donato, who was born in the Bahamas and has a personal freediving record of 95 meters/305 feet, talks about meeting greats like Umberto Pellizari, William Trubridge and Martin Stepanek whenever they would come to his home country for competitions.

Donato also talks about the psychology of freediving:

“The thing is, it’s a really slow process to get to that depth. So by the time you get to it, you’ve been doing it repeatedly over and over and over again. You only get a couple of meters every month if you’re lucky. It’s not like you jump in and do 60 feet, jump in do 80 feet, and then jump in and do 200 feet. It’s a day in and a day out process. For me, it turned out being a psychological thing. Because for the longest time I would just continuously hit about 20 plus meters, and one day I was diving in Dean’s Blue Hole, a place in the Bahamas, and at about 100 feet, there’s like a crescent, a rounding, it’s hard to explain, and I always knew I was getting close to 100 and my ear would start hurting, and I was like I don’t know if I can do it. So psychologically, I was psyching myself out and then one day we were diving in shit weather, and I couldn’t see the shelf, and I went right past it. So that’s when it kind of opened up to me that it was more of a psychological thing, but it’s a really slow process. People get into It, and they do really well, and the deeper you get, in my opinion, I mean I’ve been out of it for like seven or eight years now, I still freedive for fun, it slows down. Because the pressures get deeper, and then you need divers to assist you, you need people to look out for you once you get past a certain depth, it’s just not fun anymore, it becomes more technical.”

I read that you got into swimming and aquatic type activities at the age of ten. Can you speak to that, and your comfort level with the water?

Absolutely. Well, my mom is from England, my dad is from Italy. So, they actually met in the Bahamas, my dad was getting a hotel going, so I was born in the Bahamas. I don’t remember learning how to swim; do you know what I mean? It was just kind of always there, and then when I got into the breath holding and the free diving I started very young with my dad. I would go to the bottoms of boats with a scraper, just cleaning the bottoms of boats in the marina. The other way I started getting into it was we would go on boat trips with my father’s friends, these older guys. They would be drinking all day on the boat, and spearing fish. Obviously the drunker they got, they got better at spearing fish, but they couldn’t swim down to get them, and would send me down to bring the speared fish up. I was kind of a mule, and that’s how I got into it.

Check out the full interview at

Source: deeperblue

By freedivinguae

‘SWIM FREE, BROTHER’ Tributes to ‘hero’ freediver who drowned while trying to help another swimmer in Egypt

A RECORD-breaking dive champion has drowned at a popular spot off the coast of Egypt while trying to help a fellow swimmer.

Stephen Keenan, of Dublin, has been described as a “hero” and “guardian angel” by pals following his death in the Red Sea at the weekend.

Irish diver Stephen Keenan who died in Egypt

The 39-year-old died on Saturday while freediving at the Arch of the Dahab Blue Hole — a world-famous dive site.

It is understood he was providing safety cover for a female freediver who was attempting to dive the arch when he suffered an in-water blackout.

The Arch, a 26metre-long (85ft) tunnel in the Dahab Blue Hole at a depth of 56m (184ft), is considered challenging due to its depth and the requirement for distance swimming.

Stephen had been active in the freediving community since 2009.

An image of Stephen while he was practicing his diving

An image of Stephen while he was practicing his diving

He went on to co-own Dahab Freedivers — described as one of the world’s most dynamic freedive schools — as well as set a number of Irish National Records.

Stephen was a qualified instructor-trainer and had coached hundreds of divers in the Gulf of Aqaba, Spain, and the Philippines.

Sport insiders revealed he was best known for his role as Chief Of Safety for a number of the Vertical Blue Freediving Competitions, as well as regularly providing safety at freediving competitions across the world.

He was hailed as one of the best “guardian angels” a racer might wish to have during a record attempt.

Among the last photographs of the popular thrillseeker, Stephen told of his excitement at hitting the Blue Hole Dive site.

Stephen with friend Alessia Zecchini, who paid tribute to the Irishman

Stephen with friend Alessia Zecchini, who paid tribute to the Irishman

He uploaded a snap of himself to Facebook last week with Freediving World Champion Alessia Zecchini and Mohammed Frag.

His message said: “Blue Hole bound with The Sheikh of ­freediving @mohammedfrag_dahab and the Queen herself, @alessia.zecchini.”

Heartbroken Alessia and Mohammed were among those who have paid tribute to Stephen.

Italian Alessia changed her profile picture to an emblem of a fish in honour of Stephen while Mohammed said: “Goodbye my dear friend.”

Grieving Mohammed described Stephen as “one of the most beautiful characters and friends who lived with us in Gold City”.

He added: “Even the children of the city mourn the passing of the beloved man to all the inhabitants of Dahab.”

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs ­confirmed they are aware of the case and are providing consular assistance.

Stephen was a winner of numerous Freediving competitions and helped to ensure that many others were safe for novice divers

Stephen was a winner of numerous Freediving competitions and helped to ensure that many others were safe for novice divers

Tributes continued to be paid to Stephen last night. One said: “Swim free, brother.”

Another said: “Bon voyage  . . . dear friend.”

A third said: “I feel orphaned my coach. An honest, hardworking, passionate guy, totally committed to sharing an unrivaled sport.

“We all lose a friend, an interested blue look, a bright smile, an incomprehensible Irish accent.

“Stephen Keenan, thank you for taking care of me and everyone at Dahab Freedivers and Dahab.

“Thank you for your sense of abnegation, it means a lot for all.

“Rest in peace my friend.”


By freedivinguae

Philippines Government Names Guillaume Néry As Country’s Freediving Ambassador

French celebrity freediver Guillaume Néry, who arrived in the Philippines last week, is the goodwill ambassador of the Department of Tourism, tasked with promoting the country as a top freediving destination in Asia, according to a DOT announcement on Monday.

“To have a world-renowned figure like Néry on board is both a privilege and opportunity for the country to position ourselves better in the diving industry of the region,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo said in a statement.

“The Philippine waters is comprised of nearly one million square miles of sea covering major parts of the Coral Triangle which contains more than 2,500 species of fish and over 500 species of coral. Our extraordinary array of marine life and calm waters makes the Philippines an ideal place to learn and engage more tourists in freediving,” Teo added.

The DOT, in collaboration with Freediving Planet, arranged a month-long freediving expedition in the country for Nery.

A freediving yoga class open to the general public, film viewing of the most notable works of Néry and his team, and a meet and greet for his fans will be held at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Cebu on Wednesday (July 19), in time of the grand opening of the hotel’s marine sanctuary.

Néry, a filmmaker and an environment advocate, conducted two freediving workshops in Mactan, Cebu over the weekend. He will conduct another one in Moalboal on Aug. 4 to 6.

The three-day workshops will be a full immersion with Néry and will cover the basics of freediving – yoga, deep breathing exercises, complete with practical sessions (dry, pool, and open water practices).

Néry will also be touring Malapascua, also in Cebu, as well as Coron and El Nido, both in Palawan. He will also freedive with Badjaos in Davao as part of his month-long expedition.

As freediving ambassador, Néry will be also joining the DOT in future international dive shows and exhibitions to engage and invite more freediving competitors and enthusiasts alike.

Néry, who specializes in constant weight diving, became the youngest freedive record holder in 2002, diving to a depth of 87 meters at Villefranche-sur-Mer in southern France in 2002. He became the world team champion in 2008 and the individual world champion in Kalamata, Greece in 2011, diving down to 117 meters.

In 2014, he was featured in the the Austrian documentary “Attention – A Life in Extremes” which tackled athletes involved in extreme sports.

He was also shown in the 2015 music video of “Runnin’ (Lose It All)”, a song by British record producer Naughty Boy, featuring American recording artist Beyoncé and English singer Arrow Benjamin.

Source: globalnation.inquirer

By freedivinguae

Freediving brings peace, adventure

At the 60-foot depth, the ocean allows gravity to take control, creating a vortex that pulls divers to the fringe of Davy Jones’ Locker.

That free ride downward is caused by negative buoyancy and it’s one of Michelle Marsh’s favorite things about freediving. She calls it the sink phase.

“It’s exhilarating and when you pass 100 feet, you start flying,” Marsh said. “I can’t explain it — it’s a very free feeling that people usually don’t experience underwater.”

The peacefulness of the deep ocean also drives Marsh underwater as often as possible.

“It’s serene, and there’s a lot of physiological changes that happen to your body that you don’t really ever experience unless you’re freediving,” she said.

Marsh is one of Kauai’s deepest freedivers, currently reaching depths of 164 feet. She can hold her breath for five minutes, two seconds. Marsh was part TEAM USA World Freediving competition in September 2016.

As far as depth, Marsh is tied for the deepest freedive on Kauai — at least among those who have documented their dives.

During the TEAM USA competition, Marsh broke all of her records and the women’s team came in seventh place overall. Marsh hopes the team will place higher in the future.

“There are other countries where it’s a major national sport, so those countries tend to do better because they (freedivers) can make it their life,” Marsh said. The American team freedivers are “all pretty much part-time.”

As the United States becomes more interested in the sport, Marsh expects more support will follow for TEAM USA’s freedivers.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) began certifying freediving instructors in 2016, and Marsh sees that as a good sign for the sport’s popularity in the U.S.

“Once PADI puts its eye on something, it blows up,” she said. “We became certified in SCUBA in 2009 and PADI said ‘You shouldn’t be freediving.’ Now they’re teaching it.”

When she’s not training to compete, Marsh works with her business partner and fiancé, Josh Meneley, teaching the sport through their business, Freedive Kauai.

Meneley started freediving in 2012, after he started spending time with Marsh.

“I surf, and that kind of pushed my surfing, so I was getting bigger surf and diving deeper,” Meneley said. “Mainly, I coach.”

Meneley can reach depths of 146 feet and can hold his breath for about four minutes, 46 seconds.

Marsh has been on Kauai for 16 years and started freediving recreationally when she was a teenager growing up in Los Angeles.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” she said. “In 2012, on my birthday, I went to Seasport Divers in Kapaa to get some longfins and this guy in there had a little class advertised.”

She and Meneley took the class, which was headed by world-class freediver, Kurt Chambers, and they never looked back.

Chambers has been setting national records in the freediving world and can dive to depths surpassing 330 feet. He also competes internationally and placed second in the Caribbean Cup in 2016.

“Kurt, he’s the one pushing the board for the sport. In the U.S., he’s the deepest diver,” Meneley said.

Chambers has been on-island, teaching a freediving class at Anini Beach Park over the weekend through today. The eager attitude among Kauai’s residents, paired with the low-key atmosphere, makes the island a favorite for teaching.

“I always think of Kauai as being the island with the most ‘stoke,’ as I have had my biggest classes there, as well as my youngest students,” Chambers said.

Some of those students have been as young as 9.

Kauai has a lot of people who spearfish, which is a “strong force for developing freediving ability,” Chambers said, but there’s also a large group of non-spearfishing divers that join classes.

Some of those people are into big wave surfing and sunrise shell collecting.

Anyone can learn how to freedive, and technically any time spent under the water without a breathing apparatus is considered freediving. But there are some prerequisites that help when learning the sport.

Being comfortable with the ocean is perhaps the most important. Others are understanding entry and exit with the waves, negotiating current, and not being afraid when the bottom isn’t visible, Chambers said.

While the Big Island is a favorite for freedivers because of clear, deep water and a plethora of sealife, Kauai also has a healthy population of sealife.

“I would still rank it above some of the other ones for convenience of reaching moderate depth within reasonable swimming distance from shore,” Chambers said.

Kauai’s challenges include exposure to tradewinds and wild weather.

“You don’t need to have any crazy experience to be able to freedive, you just need to be able to overcome stressful things, things your body isn’t used to,” Meneley said.