fredag den 26. oktober 2012

A guide to freediving

It is fantastic, but freediving is not something you just go out and do. Freediving is serious and can be fatal if you don´t know how to take precautions. The best advice I can give you is to take a course with a certified AIDA instructor.

Through my project "The underwater university" I have been giving courses in freediving and spearfishing, but this has mainly been targeted freedivers in Denmark. As an AIDA instructor I have been given courses until AIDA 3 star. But you can only go to AIDA 4 star within the AIDA education ladder.

The level after the AIDA system is difficult. Now you have reached a certain level of knowledge and experience it is time to look for new inputs and inspiration. Now you know how to freedive safely, so you are not so dependant on meeting your teacher/coach in person. You can learn from him/her through the internet.

Freedive guide is a new initiative where I bit after bit will share my personal experience with those who follow. That is experience with equipment, training methods, strategies, philosophy and destinations.

I hope to see you there!

tirsdag den 25. maj 2010

National Record and winner of Dahab Mini-Comp

On day 2 at the ”Mini-Comp” in south Sinai, I announced that I would attempt to set a new danish record in Free Immersion of 71m. In the disciplin ”Free immersion” you pul yourself down a rope to a target depth and up again using your arms. I had to pull myself down to the depth of 71m and back on a single breath of air.

When we arrived to the competitionspot in Sharm el Sheik, big waves where thundering on to the coast – and I had second thoughts about having announced a national record. Would it be possible to set a record in these conditions?

One hour went by and like magic the waves calmed down and the first freedivers of the competition came back from their dives speaking of quite good conditions, only small waves and such. I had no excuse. I had to go out and give it my best shot.

The warm up-dives went really well and I was more than ready when the judge said: ”Two minutes to official TOP”. I was barely breathing, to make sure I wouldn’t be hyperventilated. ”One minute”. Just a few breaths more, then a big exhale and a even bigger inhale and then I started to pull myself downwards.

The first meters are – for me – always a bit messy. I have to adapt to be in the water and orientate me head-down. But slowly I find my rythm and soon I become heavier than the surrounding water and start the freefall to the bottom of the rope. Only focusing on relaxing and equalising my ears.

The surrounding water down here had a more dark blueish colour and I knew that I was close to my goal my hand bumps into the bottomplate ”that was quick!” and I start pull myself up. My arms are fresh and strong and I hardly feel any lactic acid building up. The safetydivers meet me at 30m and tries to keep up with my pace as I am gliding past them to the surface.

At the surface I breath 2-3 times before I look the judge into the eyes and smile. After some time she decides to give me a white card for a valid performance – and my first national record!

Day 3 I announced 74m - new personal best. Did the depth with style and won the whole competition! So very happy :)

Photos are moviestills taken by AI FUTAKI in apnea.


mandag den 15. februar 2010

Riga Freediving Cup 2010

Silver, Gold and personal records!

At Riga Freediving Cup 2010, 12.-14. February, we were over 30 participants (11 girls) from Estonia Ukraine, Germany, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Denmark.

I participated together with two clubmates from Copenhagen: Astrid and Cristina.

The competition was well organized. Accommodation at a sports complex with
swimming pool and restaurant was ideal for athletes who therefore also did
great results and many national and personal bests.

The first day was STA and DNF.

Newcommer Astrid Rosenvold made the 3rd longest dives in
static among the girls with a nice time: 5 minutes. The second
longest dive among the girls was made by her clubmate Cristina
Kuemmel, 5:04. My static dive was not very good due to bad preparation, but the result was so far my best in competition. And my DNF of 109m ws really nice and since this is a new disciplin for me - then I think there is more to come! After day one the team ranked nr. 2.

Day 2
Day 2 had only a single discipline on the program. Dynamic with fins (DYN).
Denmark is traditionally good at this discipline so we had some shoes to fill...

Beginner Astrid made a robust personal record with a dive to 104m, Cristina dived 120m. And I knew that I had the possibility of making a good result and that this could result in a very good position in the individual overall rank.
I had to do more than 153m (my training PB is 150m) to beat one of my competitors and swim at least 14m longer than the freediver that was going after me. A bit of a pressure, but I was ready for the challenge!

After a long, slow dive of nearly 3-minute time I came to the surface after a surprising 178m! This result placed me in front in of the competition and when the nearest competitor subsequently didnt deliver similar results... then I ended up winning the whole competition!

In team competition the Lithuanian team (all men) unforunately manage to keep the lead - and subsequently we: Astrid, Cristina and I ended up with team-silver. What a nice suprise! This is the first competition I have ever won - and the first medals for me in freediving. To get both silver and gold is more than I would ever hope for! I will post videos from the dynamic dives later...

The Danish results:

Astrid Rosenvold STA: 5:00, DNF 61m, DYN 104m

Cristina Kuemmel STA 5:04, DNF 80m, DYN 120m

Morten Villadsen STA 5:56, DNF 109m, DYN 178m

mandag den 1. februar 2010

Copenhagen Diveshow 2010

Excuse me, can I get your attention, please?

Copenhagen Diveshow is one big monster of people, shops, companies, dealers, agents, customers, organisations, retailers, embassies, magazines and among all these people you also find some freedivers and spearfishers. Some are doing static for the show of it, in a big pool, some are selling books, some are selling equipment and others are just curious to see whats going on in the Diveshow. And a lot IS truly happening out there!

I was there too, to do two "photoshows" in the shop of The first photoshow
was about spearfishing in Norway - the second was about how to get started with freediving. Apart from having acoustic competition with a brass band (in another part of the building) both shows went quite well and people was interested afterwards about how they could start freediving, how they could improve their performances and have succes as spearfishers and freedivers...

Very positive and apart from the very hectic atmosphere (which really is a part of the game in such places...) very funny as welll.

This year, 2010, I will do more teaching of AIDA freedivercourses and it seems there are quite a few people out there very interested. This week I (toghether with will set up the courses with dates prices and you name it... If you are interested as well, feel free to write me an email. See you!

onsdag den 13. januar 2010

Good news travel far and fast!

After having made the Icediving video a few days ago the clip started to circulate. Then yesterday I got a call from a journalist wishing to make a short television clip about the under-ice freediving-thing.
So I had to jump into the cold lake again and do some freediving for the camera... the videoclip is quite short (and I still prefer my own video) - but I managed to put freediving on television and even in the newssection so I guess Im quite satisfied :)


søndag den 10. januar 2010

Under Ice Freediving

An ICE COOL experience...

Together with my friend I wanted to do a freedive under the ice in the lake where I usually train depth. The weather was cold and windy, the sun were almost setting - but we really wanted to do it. After a few dives Knud (my friend) found some crayfish and we started to collect some. After one hour I was freezing to much and decided to leave the water. My D4 divecomputer said that the water was -3 degrees. I dont know if that is possible...? Knud stayed a few more dives before we return to the car. Back in my apartment we made a nice crayfish afternoon snack... I hope you will enjoy the COOL video!

mandag den 14. december 2009

A day and a dive in Dahab

Woke up 8.00. Small breakfast. Meet the others at Freedivedahab at 9.00. Drive to Blue Hole. One hot lemon without honey. Putting on my worn out 3mm wetsuit and 3 kg of weight on my belt. Relaxing a bit in the sun. Swimming out to the line. My first warm-up (half empty lungs) to 19.5m ended abruptly when I by mistake swallowed all the air I had in my mouth to use for equalisation. The other freedivers were watching from above. Second warm-up dive. In this dive I did'nt swallow the air in my mouth and went all the way to 27.7m. Good. Im ready. After another minutes on the surface I was starting to get cold and needed to dive soon. My last deep breath with 4 packs on top of my full lungs and then a horrible duckdive into the line. Trying to keep calm and focused despite the bad start I continue to kick myself downwards with my monofin. At 22m my depth alarm sounds and tells me to take the famous mouthfill of air up from my lungs to the mouth. Good. I keep kicking slowly, slowly using the air in my mouth to make equalization. At about 35-38m I stop kicking since the air in my suit and my lungs is so compressed down here that my buoyancy is now negative and without moving a single muscle Im falling quicker and quicker down the line. At around 50m I see the arch (a big tunnel of blue water connecting The Blue Hole with the Red Sea) and I keep looking at the giant doorway until my other depth alarm sounds. Now Im close to the end of my rope. At the bottom, 1:14 after I have left the surface, I turn and start kicking myself upwards again. I enjoy the view of the arch and take care not to get tired in my legs too early. Around 45m I put my arms above the head and start looking for the safetydivers that should meet me around 25m. Oh, there is Linda smiling to me :) Where is Astrid? Oh, there she is... and now Im close to the surface so I relax and float calmly up to the surface. 2:33 has passed and Im feeling very OK. Happy smiling, I look at my divewatch and realize I just did a personal best with a few meters. The rest of the day I did nothing but smiling, resting and eating. Tomorrow is another day. Another deep dive.

onsdag den 4. november 2009

Sharks, whales and whalesharks

Freediving with the big creatures... and some small too...

Mozambique has so far offered excellent freediving with big marine creatures. All quite accessible. And spectacular. In Pemba we went on a dolphin safari (you know, the kind of boattrips where you look for dolphins, but dont see them) and suddenly there was a whale! a humpbackwhale with a small calve. And we went in the water as it dove - but only reappear just under us and break the surface just in front of us - with the calve following close... that must have been the biggest thing I have ever seen move. As a contrast to the big whale - Pemba bay was this day filled with jellyfish, which added a psychedelic touch to the whole experience...

In Tofo (a bit boring place for a freediver) was i lucky to snorkel with a whaleshark. It was slowly cruising around and astrid and I followed it for some minutes until we got tired of keeping up with its speed. At one point the shark turned and passed one meter below me (I was in the surface and very excited).

Lately Astrid found out how to equalize with the fenzel Technique allowing her to go much deeper and she is now fooling around at +15m of depth taking pictures of what sealife passes

On a drop east of the island of Ibo we found some whitetip sharks (small reefsharks 1-2m)that were cruising around at 18-19m depth. Astrid and I took turns photographing them while the other was waiting in the surface. A very nice experience.