Monday, 19 December 2011

Free Diving

Soft, smooth, quiet, confident, serene, peaceful: all these adjectives hint at the intense pleasure well-trained freedivers feel. Imagine coasting below the waves, playing "drop the leaf" with wild dolphins, flying in formation with giant manta rays or simply joining a school of fish. Without a mechanical breathing apparatus, you’re truly free—free to flow effortlessly into the womb-like, enveloping water, free to join the ocean not as a interloper but as a welcome friend

Soft, smooth, quiet, confident, serene, peaceful..... Photo By/ Ahmed F.Gad

Archaeological finds show that since about 4500 BC people earned their living with free diving. In antiquity, the Greek military divers helped in an attack on Syracuse (Sicily) to break the underwater barriers. It was not just the military, in early days it was the only way to come to pearl mussels, sponges or other seafood. 

Free dive or breath hold diving, is the earliest of all diving techniques, and has played a historic role in in the search for food and treasure, as well as military operations dating back thousands of years.
For the development of today's free diving, the spear or harpoon fishing around the Mediterranean are responsible. The first official world record in 1949 was established by Raimondo Bucher He bet that he can dive to a depth of 30 meters. To show that he could make it, a scuba diver was waiting for him at this depth with a cylinder, in it was the signature of the referee. The battle for the depth was officially opened. Those times no one believed that one could dive deeper.

It took some years and some records, and in 1961 Enzo Maiorca reached for the first time the limit of 50 meters. In 1976, Jacques Mayol broke the sound barrier of 100 meters with a depth of 101 meters. Their battle was filmed in the cult movie "The Big Blue". 1989 Angela Bandini surprised everyone; she exceeded even the men, reaching a depth of 107 meters. Countless records in various disciplines were set.

After Mayol and Maiorca two new competitors were on the scene. The italian Umberto Pelizzari and the cuban Francisco "Pipin" Ferrears (both main characters in the IMAX film "Oceanmen"). Umberto Pelizzari reached in 1999 as the first free diver, the historical depth of 150 meters. Both divers were the stars of the scene for years. For women, there also were deep-hunters. First known female free diver was the cuban Deborah Andollo on the scene, followed her Tanya Streeter. She reached a depth of 160 meters in 2002 and at that time was again deeper than the men.

Jacque Mayol

There are many areas where people lived by the sea, where the professional "diving" was developed. The first peoples known were the Haen – Yo in korea and the Ama women divers of Japan, both had to hold their breath to dive to the deep to collect mussels and sponges, and sell them later.

Humans share special diving adaptations with marine mammals. The most dramatic is the "mammalian diving reflex." Simply immersing your face in cold water causes a reflexive slowing of your heart rate. This, as well as other oxygen-sparing adaptations, helps to prolong your dives. Your spleen releases extra blood cells and blood vessels in your skin and large muscles constrict, reserving blood for more vital organs, namely your heart and brain. With just a few weeks practice, you can develop your own latent freediving abilities.

 The pearl and sponge divers are said to be excellent free diver. One should not forget that they begin in childhood and do anything else. Most use a weight, such as a stone to be dragged down, and after work, the boat crew pulled the divers to the surface again.

One of the first free-diving hero was the Greek Giorgios Haggi Statti. His legendary story took place in 1913. The Italian warship Regina Margherita lost an anchor near Karpathos.
The anchor was assumed at a depth of about 75 meters. After a few days and countless dives, in the manner of the Greek sponge divers, he managed to actually find the anchor in that depth and recover it.

You needn’t be an athlete to enjoy free diving because the sport is more about mind-set, technique and correct weighting than strength. Your goal is to join the water, rolling with the gentle sea surface, never fighting it. When you learn the basic surface dive, you’ll find that it takes very little energy to slip below the surface. Relaxed and confident, you choose the depth and duration of each dive. You’ll be amazed how quickly your first 15-second dives become 30 seconds, 45 seconds.......

Find patient instructor who will guide you through the selection of your gear and who can introduce you to the basic elements of the sport in a step-wise, confidence-building fashion - Photo by/ Ahmed F.Gad
Photo by/ Ahmed F.Gad

To learn to freedive, find a competent, patient instructor who will guide you through the selection of your gear and who can introduce you to the basic elements of the sport in a step-wise, confidence-building fashion.

- PADI Advanced Free Diving Distinctive Speciality - Instructor Manual 
- Christian Redl official page on facebook:
- Patrick Musimu

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