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And then a freediver was born

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New Member
Jan 18, 2002
What converted you from couch potato :confused: to freediver/spearo?:D

For me, it was seeing the movie "Big blue".
I had absolutely nothing exiting to do in my army base...which happened to be an island and the waters around it were dive restricted area, so what a hell let's do some diving...I wanted to get deep enough to explore the "exiting" nothingness in the Gulf of Finland, so I took some extre air with me to the bottom...in a bottle first then in a plastic bag...then...I diched them and strted doing some freediving...
I have always been interested in diving, but not in freediving because I didn't know there was such thing..
My first thought after seeing Big blue, was that this was magic from Holywood and something like this was only special effects.
South Africa was still in the freediving dark ages during Enzo and Mayols's rivalry.

My final step in putting the tv remote away and turning my wife into a weekend widow was seeing Trevor Hutton on national tv doing exactly what the actors in Big blue did and i found myself racing towards the closest dive shop to purchase my first mask and fins.
i think the water has some living force in it that simply pulls me down and makes me stay under whenever i go in any type of water at all. rofl

i sadly have never seen The BIG BLUE :duh :duh

however i think the only thing that brought me to freediving was just wanting to push myself to a new boundry, and the fact that i had to find a another sport that i could do when i injured my spine very badly. i had always liked the water and had always been able to hold my breath for some time so the water was the only place that seemed logical to go.

Hennie this is a good thread...

no more exams :) :D :cool: :t ;) :p rofl
I grew up by the sea with nothing to do during the long summers but freediving. As kids we were always competing who can go deeper or who can hold breath longer.
I guess I freedive on one level or another my entire life.

One little correction, Hennie, Big Blue is magic from Mediterranean not Hollywood. :)
My dad had a house boat on Lake Travis and I discovered that if I got down about 5 feet I would start sinking like a rock. It felt so wierd and spooky to just drift down to the bottom, without any muscular movement at all, the water rushing past you, everything getting dark. Best of all it really freaked everyone out.

A couple of years later I saw the Big Blue. Pretty cool, but I still wasn't hooked.

8 years later, just married, honymooned in Mexican Carribean. Enyoyed freediving, pretty cool, but still not hooked.

2 years later, bought Terry Mass's book. Spearfshing? People still do that? hang out underwater and wait for fish --- why? Hmm this is pretty interesting...

3 months later: 6 month dream sabatical in Spain. Stayed on the coast near Malaga close to some cliffy shores. I didn't know much Spanish, didn't have anything to do. Found a cheap wet suit and speargun and decided to give it a try. Every dive was better than the last, and I freedove every other day for 3 months. Shot and ate 3 mullet (yuck!). I haven't been able to get that trip out of my head since. That was 4 years ago. I dream of diving 3 times a week, and get to go 3 times a year. Definitly hooked.
wasn't happening

my uncle taught me how to scuba when i was about 6. it was kinda on the same lines as when my mom made me take a drag off her cigarette when i was 2 so i'd hate it and never want to do it. both worked. :D

i could never stand the noise and the cumbersome feeling while i'd scuba. i felt like everything was looking at me like i was human.

i think i was 14 when i first realized freediving below 20 feet was possible without hurting yourself. it was on my last "official" certification dive in key largo with captain slate. i never paid attention to my instructor, but kept watching slate goof around with just a mask, fins and snorkel going up and down 40feet. he'd swim down close to our group and just sit in the sand crosslegged. he'd just watch us and would then swim off to go play with his pet barracudas. yeah, my instructor hated me.

captain slate told me that all i needed to do was to clear just like i did when i descended w/ tanks. he said, 'you just don't need to blow bubbles.' :cool:

my "freediving" really didn't begin until about 3 years ago when i met aquiles. before then, i really had no one to do it with. well, our first time on a boat together was to go fishing. we both hopped in the water when the fish stopped biting. we started descending to about 20 feet to get a better look at the bottom structure. we both had uuuugggly gear, but we noticed that 20 feet wasn't bad at all. we kept going deeper and deeper on our next dives. each time we came back up with bigger smiles. aquiles finally came up with a handful of sand. about 5 attempts after his success, i came up w/ a shell. :D i think that day we both tripled our pb's. :eek:

as for the movie, the big blue, i've never liked it. :( two reasons: my ability to relate to certain scenerios(like jacques feeding the moray when he was little, and the story of the mermaids) are just way too moving for me :waterwork . yeah, i'm a putz :hmm and, the second one is that i really didn't like the whole competition thing. jacques seemed like he was the only one in it for just the experience. i've never competed, nor have i been to a comp so i don't know what it's really like. :( other than that, it was a good movie. :)

great thread, guys

I was scuba certified in 1990, and saw "The Big Blue" (North American version) in 1992. The movie affected me so deeply I couldn't begin to explain it. Like Anderson, there were some strong similarities to my own life that made it dificult to keep a dry eye. I own the director's cut now, and still can't watch it on the wrong day:waterwork .
I upgraded my training in scuba every few years up to Instructor and some technical specialties. Working in a dive shop for a year helped me get lots of gear and experience, plus a link to a full time job on a liveaboard dive boat on the west coast of Canada : The Nautilus VII. During this time I became more and more interested in pursuing freediving. I had never really considered it as a viable hobby in cold-water Canada, but I figured I would try. I knew nothing about it and had never heard any advice, so I started by putting 30 lbs of lead on over my crushed neoprene drysuit, with scuba fins and a regular mask. Let me tell you that when hat drysuit compressed, I would sink FAST! Diving to 10 metres set my lungs on fire usually, and it took me a while to get some depth and comfort happening. Eventually I moved back to Alberta, and got a wetsuit, Cressi Garas, and a Dacor Bandit mask. At this point I started selling all my scuba gear. I also discovered the internet, and started to find good info, including Eric Fattah's descriptions of his competitive experiences in Canada and Europe. This info helped me a great deal, and my diving improved substantially.
Through Deeper Blue, I hooked up with some Canadian freedivers and took a Kirk Krack clinic, which gave me a lot of confidence in myself, setting my PB of 42 metres and 6:10 static.
I joined CAFA, went to my first competition, blacked out coming back from 46 metres, but tied Eric's Canadian static record of 5:41.
So it took more than one incident to convert me, I think if i lived somewhere warm I would have started a lot sooner.
Erik Young
I started freediving around Cape Town in '75 at age 12 wearing a borrowed mask and a couple of rugby jerseys ,pulling myself down the kelp to collect abalone and crayfish . An uncle built me a little wooden gun and I've been hooked on spearing ever since .:eek:
I worked as a commercial spearo in '93 but got disgusted with the size fish taken , have been much more selective since .
I worked together with Trevor Hutton during the mid 90's and he invited me to try out for the S.A. team he was putting together for the '98 World Champs . I could not really see the point of diving if there wasn't the potential of getting a fish for my troubles , but decided to give it a go anyway . Once again I got hooked :D
Apart from being a great experience , I have managed to improve my P.B.'s to 50 m. constant and 6:32 static - now I'm getting even better fish !:t
To add to the challenge I am planning on getting rid of my guns and using a polespear .
I started Scuba diving in 80'. When I was getting my instructor rating in California back in 84' another guy there had these really long cressi-sub fins that he let me try- they were all rubber back then. I thought it was great, but didn't know where I'd use them back in Wisconsin.
When I taught all of my basic scuba classes I decided not to skip the optional skindive, like all of my fellow instructors around here did, and started playing around at the 40' level with all of my students.
Eventually I got to go on some warm water trips. Since you can't really scuba dive on the last day of the trip I started freediving on the last day instead. I slowly got down to 50' depths. Eventually I started spending more of my trip freediving and less on scuba. Getting down 60-70' with a camera was getting me a lot closer to the fish than scuba allowed.
In the early 90's I started working on a charter boat in Lake Michigan. Suddenly I had easy acces to deeper depths and some nice mooring lines to play with. I found that I could go down and check on divers with little effort. If I dragged my scooter out I could even find all of their lost gear in half the time that their buddies could. I found myself leaving my gear on board more often- to the point I don't even bring it most of the time now.
Last summer I was fortunate enough to take one of Kirk's classes. I finally broke 100' feet and was feeling pretty great- until I saw some people samba! I had never had a single problem before and did most of my stuff solo. THis was a big eye-opening experience for me.
Now, I only freedive when there are divers on the line that I know can help me. I also carry a spare-air when I use my scooter. I really wish I had a buddy to train with around here- very hard to find. So I am feeling a little bit stimied in any further progress.
Next weekend I am going to try my first ice-freedive. I have heard others on this forum talk about it, so I though that I would give it a shot.
THe best part about freediving, the main reason I got into it, is that it is the complete opposite of tech diving. It is so liberating to freedive after you have drug around some doubles, argon bottle, stages and cameras. Also, you have to train yourself to freedive. All of the tech divers I know just have bigger wallets- I want bigger lungs!:D

Been snorkling since age 14, but it took me until age 34 to learn that most snorklers did not dive to 60' and stay for 2-3min. My brother Angus, learned about this freediving activity and about the special gear (we were @ 60' with plastic gear and surf suits). Angus and I are very close, so when he asked me if I was willing to get serious so we could go deeper for longer (not to mention much, much safer), I immediately agreed. 1+ year later, we have greatly improved. Kirk Krack and Brett LeMaster get many thanks and reams of acknowledgment for pointing me down the water column to efficient/safe/intelligent diving.

Angus and I have never had the desire to SCUBA-too much restrictive gear. We are both retired technical rock climbers, and we still have the strong desire to pursue high risk activity. This is much safer than other high risk activities we now choose to avoid (both of us have kids and respect ourselves and each other too much to leave the planet earlier than absolutely necessary).

In conclusion, freediving (to me) is reverent, meditative, mentally/physically demanding, humbling, peaceful, unexplainably intoxicating and can be practiced until the day my body gives out. I have visions of diving with the great-grandchildren in the warm shallows...even if Angus and I gotta crawl, leaving our false teeth on the wheelchair.

I am deeply, reverently grateful to Angus who paved the way (once again).

Only slightly, hopelessly bitten:

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i was looking on amazon.com for the movie the Big Blue and this one came up....[ame=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004TWZF/ref=pd_bxgy_img_1/104-4922548-1227966]The big blue[/ame]
the fact that it is rated R is the only indication that it is not the film i am looking for if someone could post a link to where i could find the movie about freediving and not some wierd story thats rated R it would be greatly appreciated

you just get to see a little more of Rosanna Arquette, that's all :D
Hey Vince, if you look at a few video shops, you might find the first American release from 1989- it is not as steamy as the European version. It is still a great movie, it just doesn't have some of the nudity that is in the Director's cut, and is PG I believe. You can't see a a naked woman in this country, but you can watch 150 acts of violence per day on TV.:head
Erik Y.
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