Call out to British Freediving Instructors

If you are a qualified Freediving Instructor and would like to be included on the British Freediving Association website annual list of instructors, then we would like to hear from you!The BFA would like to provide a listing for individual instructors in addition to the club listings.

If you would like to be included then please send an email to Liv at training@britishfreediving.org. Include up-to-date copies of your teaching insurance, HSE medical & a first aid certificate (First aid within the last 2 years), and we will list you up on the BFA website as a British Free Diving Instructor.If you send along any contacts such as a websites or email and what agency and instructor level you arethen this will be added to your details.This list will be renewed each yearand you will need to send your details to the training officer annually to be re-listed.

Bristol Blue 2018 BFA National Championship

This weekend, Bristol Freedivers hosted their 3rd Bristol Blue Freediving competition, which this year incorporated the British Freediving Association’s National Freediving Championships.  The event took place across two days, with the dynamic (with fins) taking place at Hengrove Park Leisure Centre on Saturday 24 March and the dynamic no fins and static at Horfield Leisture Centre on Sunday 25.

33 athletes gathered in Bristol from all across the UK and from across the water too – 9 nationalities in total were represented.  The level of experience varied vastly, from world champions and national record holders to 7 people competing at their first competition. Testament to a fantastically well run event, twenty-seven new personal bests were set.

The winners of the National Freediving championships were Adam Drzazga and Beci Ryan and the overall male and female winners of the competition were Stig Pryds and Camilla Salling Olsen, true to their Viking roots they came and conquered! The gold medalists for the static element were Georgina Miller (06:28) and Adam Drzazga (06:13), for dynamics it was Camilla Salling Olsen (184m) and Stig Pryds (192m) and for dynamic no fins Beci Ryan (149m) and Stig Pryds (150m).  The standard of newbie performances this year was so high, with Rosie Williams (04:32 STA, 111m DYN, 100m DNF) and Mik Bjorkenstam (05:30 STA, 109m DYN, 117m DNF) crowned the winners.  Newbies David Mellor and Alex Atkins also deserve a mention, the competition for this newbie spot was unusually high and their performance were impressive with a lot more clearly still to give.

Freediving is an incredibly wonderful and strange sport where at one moment athletes are trying their utmost in the water to give their best performance and at the next, coaching someone else to reach their peak performance, even if it means they outrank you or beat you to a place on the podium.  Bristol Blue’s 3rd competition was no exception to this rule, the organisers managed to create a calm, relaxed atmosphere, belying the incredibly hard work and effort that had clearly gone on well in advance of the event and behind the scenes on the day – from training and arranging the super slick safety team,  organising the AIDA judges and assistant judges, securing (top) sponsors and managing an enthusiastic and friendly team of volunteers.  Keeping control a bunch of nervous freedivers attempting to get into their zone of zen isn’t always easy and they did a wonderful job!

Last and not least, huge thanks to the amazing sponsors who provided fanstasic prizes and support – MARES – just add waterFinisterreBritish Freediving AssociationFreedive Ibiza and Saltfree Divers.

Words by Beci Ryan, Photography by Daan Verhoeven.

2017 UK National Champions announced

Georgina Miller

The BFA is delighted to announce that Michael Board and Georgina Miller are the 2017 UK National Champions.

The selection is based on UK and international competition results across all major pool and open water disciplines. Competitive freediving requires an exceptional level of commitment to training as well as travelling across the world to participate in the leading depth competitions.Georgina and Michael have a long history of competitive freediving for Great Britain in individual and team championship events. Each of these talented divers have broken multiple national records and have competed at some of the world’s most prestigious freediving championships. Georgina is a six-times national record holder, with a personal best of just over seven minutes in the Static Apnea discipline. Michael has set sixteen British National records and is the current British record holder in two depth disciplines for Constant Weight at 108m and for Free Immersion at 100m.

Georgina said: “I’m really pleased to get this award. It is pretty challenging to get competition points across all six disciplines, which were gained at just two events, one pool and one depth competition. Fitting in time to train around work teaching free diving is always a tricky balance, but it’s fun to try to practice all the disciplines! The cold waters of the UK are not always the easiest, but it does help to be able to dive as much as we can in the summer. We have a wonderful community of free divers to help motivate and support us and meet some incredible, inspirational people, so I feel very lucky to be able to do this. I would really like to thank Daan Verhoeven for all of his knowledge and endless support, Porthkerris Divers for the space to practice and teach, and my mum for the dog sitting while we are away.”

Georgina and Daan Verhoeven run Aquacity Freediving (www.aquacityfreediving.com) at Porthkerris in Cornwall.

Michael said: “I am so happy to be named UK Champion for 2017, and to have got the final points needed at the Bristol Blue competition in October. Last season was a difficult one for me, after an injury early in the season, I failed to achieve any good results in the rest of that year, I really felt that my performances had plateaued and it left me with many doubts when starting to train for this 2017 season. However, I decided to make some big changes, took on a new coach, and started training at a level that I had not previously managed. It’s been hard work, with many early morning sessions but the results speak for themselves – it has probably been my most successful year since starting to compete eight years ago. The high point for me was coming 3rd place at Vertical Blue earlier this year in the Monofin category, increasing the British depth record to 108m, and ranking 5th in the world for 2017, and then also setting another new British depth record of a 100m in Free Immersion. Being awarded UK champion is a great way to top off this great year. Thank you to all my training partners, especially Kate Middleton and the instructors at Freedive Gili in Gili Trawangan, and to coach Goran Colak for his training and advice.”

Michael Board runs Freedive Gili, a Freediving School in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia (www.freedivegili.com) and is on Instagram @mikefreediver.

Congratulations to Georgina and Michael for their outstanding freediving achievements and we wish them every future success!

Michael Board

Picture Credit: Daan Verhoeven (www.daanverhoeven.com)

 

New British NLT record

Harry ChamasBritish freediver Harry Chamas has set a new national record of 120m depth in the No Limits freediving discipline in Kalamata, Greece.

The previous British record of 101m was set byJ im Lawless in 2010 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.On 18 September 2017, Harry descended on a weighted sled running along a rope to a depth of 120m, under the supervision of a safety team. The sled incorporates a scuba air cylinder and a large air bag. On reaching the target depth, the freediver inflates the air bag with air from the cylinder, which then rushes to the surface, taking the freediver with it.

Harry said: “As a coach, I believe in breaking diving down and mastering each aspect of freediving individually. This can be done by focusing on specific skills, the different stages of a dive or the mental processes that occur on a dive. I do the same with my own diving and this No Limits dive means I have experience of extreme depths before ever venturing therein the traditional disciplines. The dive itself was fantastic and I am honored to have had this moment in the depths of the ocean. I plan to spend the next few years exploring new questions about my physical and mental capabilities and reach 100+m in CWT and FI. I would like to thank everyone I have spent time with in the water. I have learned something from everyone and I thank the whole team here at Freedive Club Greece, David Tranfield and the British Freediving Association.”

Harry began freediving in Australia eight years ago and is a freediving coach. He set a national record last year in the Variable Weight freediving discipline reaching a depth of 105m (descent on weighted sled with ascent by finning or pulling on the rope to the surface).Harry’s freediving coaching site is at (www.freedivepassion.com).Harry Chamas

 

UK team for the 2017 AIDA Depth World Championships

Former Royal Marine Michael Board extends his British national freediving record. Michael Board and freediver Dean Chaouche set additional national records in two other freediving disciplines.

The British Freediving Association (BFA) is delighted to announce that three new UK national freediving records have been set at the annual Vertical Blue international freediving competition held in the Bahamas which ended on 10 May 2017. The records have now been officially confirmed by the international freediving association, AIDA. Three British freedivers competed at the nine-day competition: Michael Board, Dean Chaouche and Georgina Miller. Key freediving disciplines in the Vertical Blue competition are: CWT = constant weight; a dive with fins or monofin; CNF = constant no fins; a dive with no fins; and FIM = free immersion – the freediver uses a rope to descend and ascend without fins. All three athletes performed exceptionally well during the course of the competition, achieving the following final results in their chosen disciplines:

Michael Board: CWT: 108m (new British national record); FIM: 100m (new British national record)

Dean Chaouche: CNF: 80m (new British national record)

Georgina Miller: CWT: 54m CNF: 33m FIM: 44m (Georgina placed sixth overall at the competition amongst a strong field.)

Michael Board, a former Royal Marine Commando, was the first British man to freedive to 100m in 2013. He owns and runs a freediving school and yoga center in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia called Freedive Gili and Gili Yoga. With his performance, Dean Chaouche is one of the top 10 deepest divers in the world in the CNF discipline. He is a freediving instructor at Team Vertical Blue in the Bahamas. Georgina runs Aquacity Freediving in Cornwall and is a six-time UK national freediving record holder. Commenting on his performance, Michael Board said: “After two years of struggling to find the way to dive deeper, this year seems to be a breakthrough year for me. Vertical Blue was a tough competition this year with so many good deep freedivers from around the world really pushing hard and trying to dive deeper than ever. However, I trained well for this competition. After rupturing my eardrum last year just before the competition started and not being able to compete I was really motivated to come back strong. My training this time focused a lot on being in good physical shape as you would expect, but equally on being mentally prepared with a strong emphasis on meditation. ”

“I started the competition well on the first day (30 April) with a dive to 104m in the constant weight discipline, which was one meter deeper than my British record of 103m from 2014. However, I got a penalty point for losing the tag on the swim up and so it did not qualify as a new record. This was disappointing but gave me confidence as I had achieved the depth and knew I could dive deeper. On the second day of the competition fellow British freediver, Dean Chaouche, dived to 98m in Free Immersion (diving by pulling up and down the rope) breaking my own national record in this discipline by one meter. This threw down the gauntlet and I knew I would have to try and dive deeper to regain it later in the competition. On the 4 May, Day 4 of the competition, I did a dive to 106m in Constant weight in a dive time of just 2’59. This bettered my last British record which was a dive to 103m in December 2014. After the success of this dive I decided to have a crack at taking back the British free immersion record on Day 5. So on 5 May, I did a dive to 100m, adding two meters on the record set by Dean Chaouche just 5 days before on Day 1. Finally, on Day 9 of the competition, the last day, I decided to try for an even bigger dive in constant weight and dived to 108m, also in 2’59, adding a further two meters to the British record I had set a few days before. This also put me in the third place position with a bronze medal in the constant weight discipline – my first podium finish after five years of competing at Vertical Blue!”

Michael Board and Dean Chaouche will be competing again as part of the mixed, six-strong UK freediving team at the AIDA Freediving World Championships in Roatán, Honduras. This competition will take place from 22 August to 2 September 2017.

UK Freedivers Smash National Records

Every year, the BFA selects the male and female National Champion based on competition results across all disciplines in the pool and open water. For UK divers this means training year-round and often having to travel abroad to reach the depths needed to excel on the world stage.The 2016 champions are Tim Money and Liv Phillip. Both athletes are cornerstones of British freediving; they are not only consistent high performing athletes on the pool circuit, but they rank at a high level in depth disciplines as well. The BFA would like to congratulate them both and wish them every success in 2017!

Liv Phillip commented: “It’s a real pleasure to receive the British Championship award again this year. It’s the 10th consecutive year I’ve won the British Championship, and every year has been very different as my freediving and my goals have developed. In the beginning I just wanted to hit the water with any excuse to do so, which is where my desire to do all the pool and depth disciplines came from. Now I’m a very experienced diver, things of course change, and I find new reasons to continue competition freediving. One thing that does not change is the freedom I feel from being in the water, and specifically in the sea. I made a competition personal best this year in constant weight with a dive to 75m, and the challenge in doing this was having very limited training time and resources, and very few training days doing depth in the sea. What I fall back on is a real joy of the water and the friends I get to share the challenges with along the way. I’d like to thank all the people who have supported me this year, and I’m looking forward to the 2017 Depth World Championship in Roatan in August.”

Tim Money commented: I love this award and am really chuffed to get it. It’s really challenging to get points on all disciplines, and almost see it as the pentathlon of freediving, as it’s very hard to train and do well across the board. My head says I should be more specific and concentrate on one event to progress, however the excitement factor throws that out the window and I have a go at everything, which is great fun. My main challenge is with time between teaching, family and work – I just don’t get to do enough diving or events. I managed to get to two events this year, so only just got points in all disciplines, and hope to do more in the future. I would really like to thank my family who let me run away to these adventures, and my employer (www.saba.com), as they help me with time to get to the World Championships.”

For more information, please contact Louise Nelson, Press Officer, British Freediving Association at press@britishfreediving.org.

Bristol Blue 2017 Competition

Bristol Blue Freediving Competition

November 2, 2017

 

Bristol successfully hosted its second annual international freediving competition, covering the three main pool disciplines.

 

The two-day event, which took place on October 21 and 22 at Horfield Leisure Centre, was hosted by Bristol Freedivers and was supported by the Mares, Saltfree Divers, Dr Apnea, the British Freediving Association, Lobster Freediving Weight, Finisterre, Nomenca, D Smith Flooring, and Blue Water Freediving School. The event attracted experienced competitive divers as well as some new faces, both from the UK and overseas.

 

The overall winners of the competition were:

  • Male: 1st Mike Board; 2nd Aristomenes Vounakis; 3rd Eóin Clarke
  • Female: 1st Lucelle Simms; 2nd Beci Ryan; 3rd Rose Van-Gowler

 

Eóin Clarke set a new Irish National Record for his 137m DNF swim.

 

In the individual disciplines, the winners were:

 

STA

  • Male: 1st Adam Drzazga 6:35; 2nd Aristomenes Vounakis 6:05; 3rd Michael Board 5:46
  • Female: 1st Hannah Thurston-McGowan 5:08; 2nd Lucelle Simms 4:47; 3rd Rose Van-Gowler 4:04

 

DNF

  • Female: 1st Beci Ryan 120m; 2nd Lucelle Simms 104m; 3rd Johanni Nel 82m
  • Male: 1st Eóin Clarke 137m (NR); 2nd Michael Board 130m; 3rd Constantin Timosca 116m

 

DYN

  • Female: 1st Lucelle Simms 134m; 2nd Hannah Thurston-McGowan 130m; 3rd Beci Ryan 126m
  • Male: 1st Michael Board 200m; 2nd Philip Fennell 183m; 3rd Aristomenes Vounakis 151m

Best Newbies were: Male, Paul Sutton; Female: Hannah Thurston-McGowan.

In recognition of all those who sacrifice their time and make great efforts to ensure freediving competitions are a success, special prizes were given to Becca Warren for providing Safety and Shirley Turner for coaching.

 

Organiser and founding member of Bristol Freedivers Andy Jardine said: “This was our first two-day competition, covering all three pool disciplines. We had competitors from eight different nationalities and 18 PBs were set, including Eóin Clarke’s new national Irish record in DNF. It’s great that we had six different winners for each discipline, too, which highlights what a strong field of competitors there was. We’re already planning for bigger and better in 2018!”

 

Photos of the event and full results can be found at www.bristolfreedivers.co.uk/photos and at Facebook at Bristol Blue Freediving Competition.

 

*Accompanying photos taken by and courtesy of Neil Wood, Bristol Freedivers

 

Background information on the BFA and freediving 

1. The British Freediving Association (BFA) is the UK governing body of the international freediving organisation, l’Association Internationale pour le Développement de L’Apnée (AIDA). Founded in 1999, the BFA promotes recreational and competitive freediving, ratifies freediving records, and sponsors events for its members. The association also supports a growing network of affiliated freediving clubs throughout the UK. The BFA is a non-profit organisation and its committee is composed of volunteers. www.britishfreediving.org; www.aida-international.org

2. Freediving is the sport of diving underwater on one breath without the aid of mechanical breathing apparatus. The roots of freediving stretch back in time to the very origins of human development where the ability to hold our breath allowed us to gather food and resources at all depths. Today, the sport encompasses recreational activities like snorkelling and spearfishing as well as competitions. Some competitive disciplines include “static apnea” (a stationary breath hold in water), “dynamic apnea” (a horizontal swim underwater on one breath with or without fins) and “constant weight” (a vertical dive to depth on one breath with fins).

As with any extreme sport or sport involving water, freediving should only be undertaken with appropriate training and supervision. Freedivers draw upon a wealth of knowledge from within the freediving community to dive safely. Through ongoing training and education, freedivers develop increased awareness of and control over their bodies and minds. The BFA recommends that new freedivers take an AIDA freediving course.

 

Regular updates and news on UK freediving can be found at:

For further information please contact:

Louise Nelson, Press Officer

press@britishfreediving.org

2016 National Champions

Tim MoneyTim Money

Picture Credit: Daan Verhoeven (www.daanverhoeven.com)

Every year, the BFA selects the male and female National Champion based on competition results across all disciplines in the pool and open water. For UK divers this means training year-round and often having to travel abroad to reach the depths needed to excel on the world stage.

The 2016 champions are Tim Money and Liv Phillip.

Both athletes are cornerstones of British freediving; they are not only consistent high performing athletes on the pool circuit, but they rank at a high level in depth disciplines as well. The BFA would like to congratulate them both and wish them every success in 2017.

Liv Phillip commented: “It’s a real pleasure to receive the British Championship award again this year. It’s the 10th consecutive year I’ve won the British Championship, and every year has been very different as my freediving and my goals have developed. In the beginning I just wanted to hit the water with any excuse to do so, which is where my desire to do all the pool and depth disciplines came from. Now I’m a very experienced diver, things of course change, and I find new reasons to continue competition freediving. One thing that does not change is the freedom I feel from being in the water, and specifically in the sea. I made a competition personal best this year in constant weight with a dive to 75m, and the challenge in doing this was having very limited training time and resources, and very few training days doing depth in the sea. What I fall back on is a real joy of the water and the friends I get to share the challenges with along the way. I’d like to thank all the people who have supported me this year, and I’m looking forward to the 2017 Depth World Championship in Roatan in August.”

Tim Money commented: “I love this award and am really chuffed to get it. It’s really challenging to get points on all disciplines, and almost see it as the pentathlon of freediving, as it’s very hard to train and do well across the board. My head says I should be more specific and concentrate on one event to progress, however the excitement factor throws that out the window and I have a go at everything, which is great fun. My main challenge is with time between teaching, family and work – I just don’t get to do enough diving or events. I managed to get to two events this year, so only just got points in all disciplines, and hope to do more in the future. I would really like to thank my family who let me run away to these adventures, and my employer (www.saba.com), as they help me with time to get to the World Championships.”

For more information, please contact Louise Nelson, Press Officer, British Freediving Association at press@britishfreediving.org.

Saltfree Divers is For Sale

Saltfree For Sale

After 14 years, Sam Amps is looking for the right person, or people, to take over Saltfree and continue to make it available as one of the top training facilities for freedivers in the UK.Saltfree was founded in 2003 at what is now the National Diving and Activity Centre, near Chepstow. Saltfree is a busy freedive training facility, a hosting ground for record attempts and competitions and most importantly, a school that is suitable for running freedive courses at all levels, from complete beginners to instructors. Saltfree has been hosting training meets, records, competitions and running courses for almost 14 years. For the last few years, the Freedive Platform has also been made available for other clubs and instructors to rent and use for their own freediving activities.Sam would like to sell Saltfree as a going concern, an established business with a strong brand, all the equipment needed to run meets and courses and all the behind-the-scenes set up including the website and social media channels to keep it alive. She is aiming to sell in time for this season to start as normal in April/May. Anyone interested in taking on Saltfree should contact Sam on sam@saltfreedivers.com for full details

Individual AIDA Depth World Championships Roatan 2017 UK Team Selection

Applications for the UK Team – 2017 AIDA Depth World Championships in Roatan, are now open.

The competition will take place from 22nd August -3rd September and will include Free immersion, constant weight and constant weight no fins.Selection for the team will be based on the highest proven performances in the three disciplines. (AIDA world championship team selection will be by AIDA ranked points dated from 18 months prior to 28 February 2017. In case of candidates wishing to be considered who do not have AIDA ranked points a performance witnessed by an AIDA Judge or AIDA UK Instructor will stand at 80% of the resulting outcome.)

If you are interested in competing for the UK in Roatan please let us know by 15th February. Please send an email to competition@britishfreediving.org listing your highest AIDA ranked performances since September 2015 in Free immersion, constant weight and constant weight no fins with details of where this ranking was obtained.

If you do not have a ranked performance in any or all of these disciplines, please let us know your current best performances in training, and when you anticipate seeing those ratified officially.

If you anticipate achieving a higher ranked performance in any of the disciplines in the next few months, please also let us know that in your email.

If your geographical location makes it difficult for you to gain a ranked performance, please let us know and we will take this into consideration.

If you are interested in going to Roatan as Team Captain/Coach, please let us know you are interested by letting us know your experience in this area, and why you think you would be good for the job. Applications for the Team Captain/Coach position will be considered by the team once they have been selected, and appointed within one month of final team selection.

If you make the decision to apply for the 2017 team, you obviously need to be available to be in Roatan for the dates above. You also need to be sure you can afford your flights and expenses and the entry feesIn the meantime the BFA will be doing all it can to gather both sponsorship and logistical support for the 2017 team.

All competing athletes must be over 18 years old, UK citizens and members of the BFA at the time of the competition.