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Canada Nationals Story

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
Hi friends, here's my wrap-up on the CAFA Nationals competition this last wekend of May 24-26, 2002.
I flew in a week early to vancouver, to get 3 days training time in the depths of the Vancouver coast. I don't have anywhere to train in Alberta in the winter, and the short summers gave me a few 26 to 30 metrer lakes to train in last year, so it's important to get in the water and try to adapt to the pressure and rythms needed to get to depth.
The water was 14C at the surface, which allowed us 2.5 hours of diving before we got too cold....at 30 metres, the water is about 8C. The top 3 metres of water is very murky, but clears out nicely underneath, and while rec diving yesterday (after the dynamic comp), we could see the light at 70 metres from the 30 metre marker.
Friday night was the static competition, which was held in a small, warm, and heavily chlorinated pool. We opened the doors to get fresh air in, which helped a bit. I had done a dry 6:04 the day before on the 3rd hold, so I knew I was free of the problems I had had at the last comp due to my back injury :)
There were 12 competitors, and we had 6 !! disqualifications due to samba or BO, including my samba at 5:46 :(
My friend Brent does solid 4 minute statics any day, but hit a great PB of 4:26 (or thereabouts).
I did my warm-ups : 3:45, 4 something , then 5:00. I went to the competition area, packed 15 times, then started my attempt. My first contraction was at 4:10, so I knew I could hit 5:30 no problem. I knew something was wrong when I came up at 5:46, gave the "OK", then realised I was sitting on Marten Stepanek's knee...he was my safety spotter.
I should have come up at 5:30, but wanted to close the point spread on Tom Lightfoot's CB dive that he was to do the next day, so I pushed a litle far. I know that what I need for the future is to train some static attempts in the water....up until now I have had no opportunity to do that, but I will in the future.
Mandy Rae won that round at a 5:30, or thereabouts, and Tom won the men's with a 5:05, coming up clean, with a smile on his face like a true veteran ;)

Next day was the CB competition, a huge organisational undertaking involving many Tech divers, an 85' spectator boat, a 50' competitor boat, a few skiffs for the scuba guys and photographers, and a Coast Guard chase boat standing by to keep the area clear......all organised by the tireless Kirk Krack, delegating and cel-phoning ad infinitum! Thanks Kirk.
Deepest diver goes first, and Tom pulled off a beautiful 60 metre dive, looking cool and collected at the surface. All of us on the warm up lines cheed as Tom raised his hand in the air.
Damiano, from Italy, did a solid 50 metre with plastic bi-fins, pounding his fist in the air....I thought it was Umberto for a second! Viva Italia!
My good friend Brent was next up. He returned from his 48 metre dive in 1:28 or so, tag in hand, but unfortunately samba'd at the surface :(
i was next...I had posted 45 metres, which I had achieved for a PB on Wednesday. The countdown started, I smiled, packed 25 times, and started my descent, at my comfortable rate of 1 metre per second. I felt good and was enjoying myself, but my right ear was having some problems clearing, and at 35 metres, it was getting stuck. I turned right side up at 37.7 metres and tried to clear my ear for 8 seconds (I looked at my computer later), ducked again, looking at my tag and the scuba diver at 45 metres, waved "bye", and swam up. I came up clear, feling good, but losst points due to not reaching my tag, but I felt I had done the right thing in the circumstances. Fred Buyle, who was with us to teach an AIDA judging course, told me that he knows a guy who broke both eardrums in competition to get to his tag :head
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...after my dive, I decided to stay in the water and have some fun. I watched Peter Pazdera do a good 40 metre dive, then I went back to the warm up lines to dive with other competitors and friends.
Fred Buyle was in the water with his Freediver 6mm suit, and Aurora (from the French women's team) and I spotted him. I waited 45 seconds, dived to the botom of the line at 30 metres, but no sign of Fred! He had descended into the abyss without the line, and I waited a good while before he returned. He likes the dark and the cold, apparently.
I missed most of the rest of the dives, as I dove again and again, lifting my monofin into the air and finning into the dark, away from the lines and competitors. Good fun, and really what it's all about for me :)
Sunday was the dynamic competition.
I was at almost zero stress level, and enjoyed watching the the divers hit PB's with good efforts. Mi amigo Carlos, de Cuba, did a very smooth 90 metres, but had a small samba, as did Damiano, after his 100 metre performance.
I had posted 90 metres, as I had done 95 in the pool in the past.
Now, I knew that I had pretty much kicked myself out of medal contention with the static disqualification, so I intended to be conservative, and come up at 90 metres.
I did my yoga, some meditation, and 2 static holds to 30 contractions (3:45 and 5:05), timed so that I would finish the last static with 5 minutes to breathe up. I wore no wetsuit, a 4 lb neck weight, and a 4 lb belt. This made me perfectly neutral at 1.5 metres, which was approximately the depth of the shallow end of the pool. I heard the countdown, prayed, packed 25 times, and pushed off the pool wall, arms extended over my head. As the glide slowed, I breast-stroked my hands and arms down to my sides amnd began my undulations. This exaggerated undulation is what seems to work best for me, in CBallast and in horizontal position. I turned at 50 metres, expecting the first contractions at the usual 60 metre mark. They never came, and I drifed past the 90 metre mark and touched the wall at 100 metres, knowing very well that I had more in me. I came up, hook-breathed fast, slowing it down as I re-oxygenated my lungs without letting the blood pressure drop in my head. I smiled, took off my mask, gave the "ok", and cheered. A PB for me, and in the competition too :)
Next was an open chance to break records in dynamic, if we wanted. A few people did no-fins attempts, set some PB's, but no records were broken.
I decided, with 5 seconds to go, that I would enter with my monofin. After all, I never get the chance to push myself at home, so I figured I may as well try then.
I wore another 2 lbs, giving me 10 lbs total, with 30 packs, which is half my 60 pack limit. I entered the water, and immediately realised that I was a little positive, but began hugging the botom as best as I could. This time, I got a contraction before the 100 metre turn, but I turned, and came up at 108.9 metres, tying Peter Scott's (Laminar of DBlue) record!
After that, Peter, Eric Fattah, Stephanie Ortlepp (German team) and I went to the ocean to have some fun on their 70 metre line. Peter is now at the stage where he's drinking seawater I believe, Steph did a cold water PB of 44 metres, Eric was doing statics at 56 metres, and I did a good 44 metre dive.
The rest of the day was hectic, running back to the medal ceremony...Tom L (1st), Peter P (2nd), and Tony G (3rd). Diane Price won first in the women's, in her first competition. Perry G had a great solid first competiton, as did Greg, Dan (first comp), Chris (first comp), and others. I wolfed down my first meal in 12 hours, then grabbed a cab to the airport, heading back to the prairies.
I had one of the best times of my life, with 5 days out of 7 in the sea, and 2 days in the pool, being with the best people I know....freedivers!!

Erik Y.
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Thanks for the report Erik, I'm really sorry I missed it but it just wasn't to be. What is particularly amazing to me, however, is that with my current performance level I would have turned in a 4th place finish! I'm very conservative so I know I could have matched my current personal bests... static 4:45, CB 24 m, dynamic 62 m for a point total of ~102. I guess I'll have to sign up for the next Regional Comp. :)

Hope to see you back in my stretch of ocean sometime.
sweet to hear about the competition, glad to hear about your very nice performance (even with the samba)

hope that every one had a good time

in a few years (when im old enough to compete) i hope to join everyone at a competion
Thanks for the update Erik - sounds like a good event was had by all - Cliff was due to be there but is moving house so is feeling a bit busy at present!

Pete Scott is doing a feature for DB on the event as well so keep your eye out on the main site for it soon!
I am Erik Woods!

The Hell with someone else writing about the event!!, bravo Erik! Very well done! :king

As for Fred knowing someone that pulled a stupid, costing the eardrums... He promised he'd never tell anyone about me. :waterwork Tags, records or that cutie's phone number...it ain't worth it. But more on the vibe thing, how about letting me in on the fact that you were able to do the calm thing with all the hoopla? I know that doesn't come in a bottle or pill form... ;)

Way to go Erik!

Just wanted to say that Erik has become a freediver to be reckoned with. So far in his last three competitions, he's equalled TWO Canadian records, and showed everyone what friendly competition is all about.

Once Erik has the opportunity to dive regularly in deep water, I'd say Eric Fattah's competition record of 65m will be in jeopardy of being equalled as well (65m is our depth limit here in Vancouver because deep safety is so expensive and risky for the scuba divers).

Erik, I look forward to challenging you in the future for our Canadian records....

But the best part was diving with Erik, Eric and Steph after the competition was over. Enjoying the ocean and the true spirit of freediving.

Oh yeah, and Erik's been sworn in as a Canadian as of today.
Bienvenue, mon ami.

I hope you'll all enjoy the article, there are many other stories that make up a national competition..... :t

Re: Way to go Erik!

Originally posted by laminar

Oh yeah, and Erik's been sworn in as a Canadian as of today.

So...when do the handicapped license plates arrive?:t

Hi Erik,

Sorry to hear you had a bit of bad luck with the static, but wow great dynamic attempt !

If you use Eric's little formulae (Dynamic = 4/3*CW

On a nice day with good vis and warm water, wearing a 3mm suit, carbon Mono, you should be able to do a 65m depth dive !

Thanks for all the updates, made interesting reading. Great to hear you guys enjoyed your diving too. I'd like to get into competitions, but if I didn't enjoy myself doing I think it would be completely pointless. (Might as well be at work)
You guys have the right attitude.

P.S, If you do come to the land down under, we have to go diving !

Dynamic = 4/3*CW+22

Martin Stepanek did 200 mtrs dynamic with fins in training. That means that with this formula he could make a cw dive to 133.5 mtrs... Hmmm, that's deep! :D

Good report. Maybe I'm the only one but, it seems like half of Deeper Blue went away when they changed servers or ?.
It must be difficult to decide on the declared number. We start our competition next month and for the first try, I'm thinking very conservative.
Thanks guysl. I'm learning that a little conservative is a good approach, and to try and remove ego from the equation, especially if it was a team situation.
Good luck at your comp, Bill, please keep us informed as to your traing and results at the competition, if you like...I would love to hear about it. I know that when I read about stats from a competition, I always wonder "what was going on for him/her that weekend, and what led up to it?"
We will cheer you on, I promise :)
Erik Y.
Re: Canadians

Originally posted by Bill
Maybe I'm the only one but, it seems like half of Deeper Blue went away when they changed servers or ?.

As in there seem to be less people here or that everyone decided to go off an actually do some freediving :D ?

as in AOL fights with Microsoft and all my bookmarks don't work anymore. Maybe I'm the only one using a MAC. www.deeperblue.net doesn't work here.
No kidding, all the usuals can't all be diving, getting cert'd to Instruct or be moving...

Best of luck Bill! Hey, by the way!, I just got my two masks and snorkel from HanaPa'a and I'm just happier'n'pig'n'shit!! Get this... the one mask is a dead knockoff of my 25+ yr old Dacor single lens teardrop, easily my best mask for SCUBA diving and all around viz with volume to put my gum while I'm diving. I've been trying to find one for years... AQA calls it the Merman and now they come in silicone too.

The other mask is a Mantis with the amber/reflective lenses and I think it's a pretty good match for low vol viz with the Cressi Big Eyes.. and silicone too!

And now for the biggie... The snorkel is a dead ringer for our beloved Farallon!! (every happyface icon imaginable!) It doesn't have the moldable mouthpiece, but it has the swivel bend and the right curve, and all... I'm just sooo jazzed!

It's interesting that the snorkels and more than a couple of the masks from AQA bear more than a passing resemblance to old gear, but mde of better materials. It'd be interesting to see how their powers-that-be got around the design infringements... Maybe I can resurrect some old stuff in the closet...;)

Again, my congrats Erik!

sven DB's retro gear stylist
  • Like
Reactions: Erik

I should be more specific. All the sites you mention bring up a second screen. No problem. There is some conflict on the first screen. It appears to be super-imposed commercials that come from from AOL/Netscape. The download shifts to wait and if I'm not careful, the program will crash. Hit the stop button, the blue bar is on the screen and I can select from there. It's just awkward.
I decided some time ago to switch to Explorer but, none of the last three versions will work on my system. New computer will be nice.

best wishes

This should be fixed now - it was to do with the code used to run the adverts on that site.


Holy cow!! I hope that wasn't a lot of trouble just for me but, it's nice to have my favourite site working the way it was.
Thank you
Re: I am Erik Woods!

Originally posted by icarus pacific
But more on the vibe thing, how about letting me in on the fact that you were able to do the calm thing with all the hoopla

Thanks Sven. I would not say that I was not nervous- I was fairly nervous on static night, and a little nervous on CB day. By dynamic day, I was feeling pretty relaxed, I must admit.
I would say there are 2 factors for me here...first is that I meditate and do yoga everyday. By the time I start my attempt, I'm deep in trance and enjoying the experience. Second is that I've spent a lot of time on stage , ever since i was a kid. I know tons of musicians that still get nervous before a performance, but I don't feel it as nerves....just something that's part of performing. You might ask what the analogy is to playing in a band: whenever I performed, it was always with an effort to be better than I was the night before, and always compared myself to the best drummers in the world, not the guy playing across the street at the other club. This motivated me to try harder than I might have otherwise. So I became accustomed to the "butterflies" :)
I'm still like that. It ties in with an older thread where I talked about being in "the presence of greatness" referring to Kirk Krack, Eric F, Peter, Mandy-Rae, etc. If I train around people who are world-record holders, then it will help me to be the best I can be. If I sat back and said "I can hold my breath longer than anyone else in Alberta", then I wouldn't progress.
Erik Y.
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