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Freediving in Canada vs Tropics


With freediving gaining popularity recently there is also a dangerous trend that must not be ignored.

Thera are much more freediving instructors available nowadays and more people are jumping on a “Look, I am a freediver now” bandwagon. Who would resist looking cool posing amongst corals and big marine mammals on Instagram or FB with no scuba tanks?

Resorts and diving centres offer freediving courses all over Caribbean and Tropics all over the World. Dive centres accept certified freedivers for dive trips alongside scuba folks if you flash your freediving C-card. All seems to be going in the right direction. But…

Same certified freedivers come back home to Canada and now venture in very-very different environment.

Fresh water, cold water, less visibility to name a few.

All of a sudden 7 mm wetsuit is needed (and not always freediving suit, but clumsy rental scuba wetsuit).

Fins that were flexible and easy to swim in +30 degree water become stiff like a plywood.

Excessive extra weights are often put without checking safe buoyance and nylon weight belts are used instead of rubber.

Cold water troughs off equalization, cold contractions increase risk of lung squeeze, bulky suit and rigid fins increase workload dramatically and all of a sudden certified freediver can not “duck dive” any more, can not descent below 10-15 feet or does it with tremendous effort, stressing out and risking blackout.

Adding to the problem is often less than adequate educational process. It is not uncommon to hear that freediving certification was done on a weekend, sometimes with just one day in open water (warm tropical water that was!) “Freedivers” lack basic skills like “duck dive”, line orientation, buddy communication, properly weighing themselves, safety technique etc.

If you got certified “down South”, please spend another day (at least) with Freediving Instructor in Canadian open waters

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Alexey and Natalia Molchanov – 2 New World Records in one day!

… News from deeperblue today, June 6. Official press release to follow soon!

Natalia Molchanova and her son Alexey Mochanov have broken World Records in Variable Weight (VWT) and Constant Weight (CWT) respectively.
Natalia improved 2m her on her previous World Record in Variable Weight of 125m by hitting 127m in 3 minutes 38 seconds.
Alexey claimed the Constant Weight title off Nitsch by adding 1m on the previous record to hit 125m in 3 minutes 52 seconds.

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Freedive Toronto on Citytv’s Breakfast Television

Toronto, Friday August 5, 2011
It was an early rise for the Freediving National Championships organizers, crew and athlete this morning as they appeared in today’s Breakfast Television show with Sangita Patell and the LiveEye crew at the Etobicoke Olympium Pool. Under the watchful eye of Freedive Toronto President and AIDA Instructor Doug Sitter, Sangita faced her long-standing fear of water and attempted a breath-hold performance called static apnea, which is a discipline of freediving done on one breath of air, face down in the water without the exertion of movement. This discipline is measure of time spent on a breath-hold (also called sportive apnea). For a first timer, Sangita did really well in her attempt, reaching a personal best of 56 seconds.


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Freediving & competition exposé

Hey everyone,

Since there’s a couple of competitions coming up in the near (and not-so-near) future, and since our freediving club is constantly growing, I wrote this little “essay” inviting newcomers to the sport (and those who may be a bit skeptical going into competitions) to participate in them. This is essentially based on my own personal experiences as a freediver. Hope you guys find it insightful and I hope it clears up some (if any) misconceptions.

Sincerely, Yaroslava.

I know – the idea seems pretty daunting, signing up for competition where there’s bound to be people who’ve been freediving for much longer than yourself, whether competitively or not. The intimidation worsens when you think of competing on a national level, alongside record-holders. It’s pretty easy to psyche yourself out and think you might not be up to scratch. However, I’m not writing this to point out how intimidating freediving in a competitive setting can be – I’m writing this to tell you why it shouldn’t stopyou, because the fact of the matter is, you are your own worst critic and you have only yourselfto stop you; when you dive, you shouldn’t be diving for anyone but yourself. That’s something I’m still trying to convince myself of, but I’m definitely getting there.

What I havelearned already (and pretty early on), however, is that the freediving community is a great support system. No one ridicules your ability to freedive and that’s true of the competitions as well. You do your best, and if you’ve gone beyond what you normally do, congratulations! If not? Well, you’ve done what you could and now you know what to do next, in order to do better the next time.  Believe me when I say that theory has been tested. During my first Nationals competition in Monrteal, I forgot to put on my mask for the DYN category, which resulted in my swimming practically to the other end of the pool blind and diagonally, on what would have been a collision course with the freediver competing in the opposite lane, had I not been stopped by the Safety Divers. I was Disqualified and yes, and I felt like I’ve done something really stupid… but no one pointed fingers and laughed at me about it; in fact, I got a few thanks, even, for showing that such a thing were possible. I wasn’t even given a chance to feel embarrassed, with how nicely it was taken. The year after that (armed with a mask this time), I swam 76 meters in DYN, even though I’d managed to swim “100” in the pool during Monday practice. A freediver came up to me and asked how I did and whether or not that was a Personal Best. I told him I’ve done better in practice. He told me something along the lines of “It happens, don’t worry about it” because competitions are finicky things, sometimes – you’ll do great in practice, but the stress during a competition might get to you and you won’t do as well.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it gives you something to work with and towards for the next time. As far as the number of metres you’re able to swim goes, that’s in all honesty your own concern – if you choose to worry about it (which, when you do, you actually aren’t really helping yourself). You just have to try your best and swim and stop fretting over how you’re going to do (unless, of course, you’re going for a record!). That’s it. No one’s going to give you a hard time about how much you’ve swam or how much you didn’t.

Everything in freediving is a learning experience.

One of the things I realized with competitions is that they are meant to be fun first and foremost; a gathering of people from different cities (and provinces), united by a common interest – freediving. Yes, hard work is required if you want a good result when it comes to the actual competing part, but you should be enjoying what you are doing as well. You go to practice because you want to, right? Not because you haveto, or are forcedto against your will. What’s great about competitions is that you’re able to meet with new (in the sense that you haven’t met them yet) freedivers, who will likely have something helpful to say, whether it be some kind of constructive feedback, or trying out a new technique, or finding the solution to a common or shared issue. There’s any number of things you could learn from experienced and fellow freedivers.

So I say that competitions shouldn’t be seen as brick walls standing in your way, but rather as stepping stones. They’re fun and you most definitely would learn something new that would help you along the way. They’re a way of putting yourself out there, regardless of ability, and you will receive nothing but positive reinforcement for your efforts. Just keep swimming.

Yaroslava Timoshenko

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Family Vacation and training Benefits

Just came back from Long Island Bahamas… It’s been the second formal

training for me in the span of 3 months. The first one – last October in

Monrtreal with William Winram, member of the FreediveToronto club and World Cup

Champion – I wasn’t able to attend to the full extent (damn, I have to,

given the chance again!). This second training was actually during vacation

with my wife, which, quite conveniently, “coincided” with a depth training

course by another William – Trubridge, current World Record holder on CNF

and his wife Brittany, who is a Yoga instructor with an emphasis on

breathing techniques and lung exercising. Daily yoga practices (with one really

cool session which started at sunrise right on the cliff facing the Atlantic ocean),

diving off the platform on the Dean’s Blue Hole, the supernatural beauty of Long

Island, my October training in Montreal – all of these contributed to greatly

improve my depth range and confidence. The outcome? For the first time in my life,

I crossed the 40m depth mark and 30+ meter dives became much more

comfortable than ever before. There was also the pleasant surprise of meeting Carla

Sue-Hanson – she was assisting in our open water training. Carla is in pursuit of the

US National record for CNF diving. So if you’re looking to train for depth in warm

waters close to home, don’t think twice; Dean’s Blue Hole is hard to beat. It’s close

and accessible from Toronto on a 3 hr direct flight to Nassau and a few daily

connections to Long Island. There are no waves or thermocline at Dean’s Blue Hole,

hardly any currents, great visibility as well as a world-class dive setting.

Throw into the mix the super-friendly local people, fresh-off-the-sea

(definitely beats fresh-off-the-boat-and-into-the-freezer) seafood, excellent spearfishing

opportunities, miles and miles of white sandy beaches without a soul in sight and

you have the perfect place to train or just unwind and relax. This is our second trip to

Long Island and I hope there will be more like this in the future!








Training CWT dive at The Blue Hole



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Vancouver Freedive Fest 2010

…Well, I know it’s been almost 2 months by now, but then again – it is about time to refresh our memories amidst rainy days here in Toronto or Montreal. Hey, Vancouver, is it raining there too? Anyhow, sorry for the delay, but here it is – short Video essay of our GREAT TIME in Vancouver in August of 2010!


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FreediveToronto club Depth mini-competition

After 2 months of planing and preparations, in collaboration with surprisingly warm waters of Lake Ontario and made-to-order weather, it took on September 18, 2010 right here in Toronto.

4 athletes competed in various disciplines. For some it was the very first freediving competition, for others – good opportunity to hone some skills, for organizers and support team – good starting point in preparation for the next year official AIDA Canada National Depth competition.

Despite minor glitches, it all went smooth and had become a memorable milestone for our club!



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Freediving at Tobermory, June 25-27, 2010

Saturday started with dark grey sky and heavy rain, which stopped only at around 9 am. First 2 dives were from the shore. Temp varied from “almost balmy” 18C on the surface to not so hot 12-14C at depth. My 5 mil Elios did very well and it was more the enough to stay in water for a long time.  Feet would need some extra protection though. We checked Little Tub in the morning and Lighthouse point mid day where fog was setting pretty heavy at times, so we were not sure if boat trip was indeed happening, but at ~3pm Francois got a call from boat operator and we headed out off shore to check on 2 wrecks at 4 pm. First one was JAMES C. KING at Depth: 7 to 30 m and second – HILO SCOVILLE Depth: 7 to 30 m. Both are listed as “recommended for advanced divers only”. Visibility was pretty good, at least 10-12 m, and when sun showed up it became even better. Skies cleared up completely by the end of our boat excursion with picture perfect sunset to enjoy.
I was not diving on Sunday, but pretty sure everybody had a great time at Grotto. Looking forward to do this again (and again, and again!)