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COMPETITION FREEDIVING: HARMING OUR SPORT?

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P

PJB

Well-Known Member
Jun 2, 2014
58
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Sorry, a P.S: Stephan, on the Ramon Paz rebuttal - it's only partly about whether there were safety divers at the blackout or not. It seems to me that the core issue is that the exisitng competiition format - and culture - attracts the WRONG KIND (meaning unready/immature) of athlete, and support crew. And I am not talking about VB here, I'm talkig about "Apnea" as a whole. Ok, nuff said, back to work I go
 
CEngelbrecht

CEngelbrecht

Well-Known Member
Oct 31, 2002
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And that brings me back to my main problem with free diving records. No matter how you try to explain it away, the point is to come as close as you can to death without quite dying.

To me, that sounds much more like Formula One. Competitive freediving is nowhere near F1's televised lethality of e.g. the 1970s, though I sense some analogies emerging. Blacking out at 40 meters coming up is equivalent to an F1 driver taking a turn 10mph too fast. Off hand you can easily waive it off (as FIA actually did untill the 1970s) as a stupid and arrogant competitor, and why don't they just slow down to save their own life? Well, that's not how the competitive element of (chiefly male) human nature works, so if you're gonna police such events, you need to make it near impossible for idiots or plain unlucky to kill themselves thinking they dictate the road. F1 and other racers still crash like crazy, but at least the lethality has been forced close to zero (and yeah, I know it's still not at zero). Racers leave their non-burning monocoque with just as big a smile as freedivers after a good rush, that's why they keep on racing, despite the inevitable inherent risks.

Anyway, I think my point is that it sounds like CMAS is trying to muscle in on AIDA's apnea domain too damn fast, cutting dangerous corners as they do. And let's not forget, that AIDA has had her share of teething problems too.
 
CEngelbrecht

CEngelbrecht

Well-Known Member
Oct 31, 2002
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I've dived with divers who do serious depth and are super competent, vastly better divers than me in every way. I've also dived with divers who could dive much much deeper than me , were training for even greater depth and were, IMHO, incompetent. The latter are dangerous to us all.

And they will always show up. Driven much more by libido than by this peculiar kind of zen. We're just gonna have to keep dealing with those people.

Originally around 1990, CMAS couldn't deal with such challenges, and they decided then to run away screaming and cancel their homologuing of all apnea-like events, then chiefly record attempts. I think one sled attempt by Stefano Makula that ended in a very deep blackout preyed on their mind. Well, with CMAS calling it quits just saw freedivers compete for records anyway, and with no attempt at universal rules. That's the whole reason AIDA exists. We're just gonna have to acknowledge such stupidity of human nature and police it as best we can. And probably keep making our own cockups in the process.
 
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C

cdavis

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Jan 21, 2003
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Some comp divers do seem to be limbido driven, others by ego (is that the same thing?). But thats not everybody. The ones I'm thinking about did not seem that way. They just looked and acted (in the water) like newbys or incompetents , outside of depth ability. I wish you all the very best in trying to run a comp, gotta be a very hard job.
 
Stephan Whelan

Stephan Whelan

Papa Smurf
Staff member
Admin
Jan 7, 1999
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Hi All

It's been a while, but just when you thought the "system" had finally gotten it's act together then:


Quod

Erat

Demonstrandum

Safe diving to you all...
It's been a very difficult world championships in Nice, France. Pretty poor show for the sport in my view.
 
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Bill McIntyre

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
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I now care even less than I did before. The “sport” is a steaming mess.
 
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Stephan Whelan

Stephan Whelan

Papa Smurf
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I now care even less than I did before. The “sport” is a steaming mess.
Actually it's a real shame as there has been real progress in recent years with rule changes, diveye drone cameras to give depth video and more competitions springing up. You have some amazing Olympic level athletes (Trubridge, Molchanov, etc...) at the top of their game competiting which is making it really exciting, however it's a shame that politics has really impacted the public image of freediving as a sport this world championships. I think it's put the sport back 10 years in image.
 
P

PJB

Well-Known Member
Jun 2, 2014
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Hi Stephan,

For what it’s worth, and considering all that’s been written on this subject since the inception of this post, I think reasonable persons might consider the probability that the EVIDENCE - as opposed emotively based opinions - now confirms that these problems are not going to disappear unless fundamental reassessments are made.

An objective appraisal suggests that the observed problems are, fundamentally, the inevitable outputs of a system designed, whether intentionally or not, to place marginal athletes and their support crews under untenable strain. So back to my original point: all of this plays out in full view of the public because (and strictly my opinion) "we’re special and we're damn well going to show them, aren’t we?" The lack of self-awareness is on full display, and frankly the hostility with which the original post was met with by the “Comp Cognoscenti” spoke volumes.

Though they will fall on deaf ears, I restate my (somewhat amplified) proposals:

1. Athletes get a caution if they fail SP. Fail twice and you’re out the comp for 24hrs.
2. Mandatory disqualification for 24hrs on 1st red card.
3. ANY sign of injury, no more diving - period. Athletes pre-sign an indemnity with a serious cash forfeit (a fine + 12-month ban) if they are caught lying about their medical fitness, or for misleading medical staff in any way.

BUT there is also opportunity for AIDA:

4. Want to push personal limits? Go right ahead but OUT OF COMP. So judges and safeties stay on for 48hrs post-comp and can be contracted up-front by athletes wishing to throw caution to the wind on records and PBs. So go ahead: black-out, squeeze, hey - embolise to your heart’s content! But with your own paid/contracted judges, surrounded by your own support crew, and without the unsuspecting public gaping at the (live) show.
 
C

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,071
806
218
73
Hi Stephan,

For what it’s worth, and considering all that’s been written on this subject since the inception of this post, I think reasonable persons might consider the probability that the EVIDENCE - as opposed emotively based opinions - now confirms that these problems are not going to disappear unless fundamental reassessments are made.

An objective appraisal suggests that the observed problems are, fundamentally, the inevitable outputs of a system designed, whether intentionally or not, to place marginal athletes and their support crews under untenable strain. So back to my original point: all of this plays out in full view of the public because (and strictly my opinion) "we’re special and we're damn well going to show them, aren’t we?" The lack of self-awareness is on full display, and frankly the hostility with which the original post was met with by the “Comp Cognoscenti” spoke volumes.

Though they will fall on deaf ears, I restate my (somewhat amplified) proposals:

1. Athletes get a caution if they fail SP. Fail twice and you’re out the comp for 24hrs.
2. Mandatory disqualification for 24hrs on 1st red card.
3. ANY sign of injury, no more diving - period. Athletes pre-sign an indemnity with a serious cash forfeit (a fine + 12-month ban) if they are caught lying about their medical fitness, or for misleading medical staff in any way.

BUT there is also opportunity for AIDA:

4. Want to push personal limits? Go right ahead but OUT OF COMP. So judges and safeties stay on for 48hrs post-comp and can be contracted up-front by athletes wishing to throw caution to the wind on records and PBs. So go ahead: black-out, squeeze, hey - embolise to your heart’s content! But with your own paid/contracted judges, surrounded by your own support crew, and without the unsuspecting public gaping at the (live) show.
Makes sense to me.

Melvoli's death should have resulted in a major changes in the mind set of how BOs, LMCs, all injuries, etc should be treated. Its clear that, while safety procedures have improved, the major change in mind set has not happened. Something like these proposals should be a no-brainer.
 
H

HooSlayer

Member
Oct 20, 2018
85
19
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38
in america one of our favorite sports is watching two men in a cage bash each others face without boxing gloves until the face looks like raw hamburger meat and there are pools of blood everywhere (UFC), or choking them by the neck until they black out. I think we are fine with people blacking out via diving.
 
Kodama

Kodama

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2016
436
206
83
in america one of our favorite sports is watching two men in a cage bash each others face without boxing gloves until the face looks like raw hamburger meat and there are pools of blood everywhere (UFC), or choking them by the neck until they black out. I think we are fine with people blacking out via diving.

Freediving is not limited to just America and besides combat sports such as mma are received differently depending on who you may ask. Mma might be very popular in the US but I can guarantee you that it is very different elsewhere.
More importantly black out conduced by freediving potentially has very different causes and effects than when caused by choking.

The audience of the UFC expects explicit violence and it’s consequences. The audience watching freediving has different expectations.
As an mma fan myself I find your comparison and conclusion completely flawed.
 
xristos

xristos

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2013
167
37
68
26
Hi Stephan,

For what it’s worth, and considering all that’s been written on this subject since the inception of this post, I think reasonable persons might consider the probability that the EVIDENCE - as opposed emotively based opinions - now confirms that these problems are not going to disappear unless fundamental reassessments are made.

An objective appraisal suggests that the observed problems are, fundamentally, the inevitable outputs of a system designed, whether intentionally or not, to place marginal athletes and their support crews under untenable strain. So back to my original point: all of this plays out in full view of the public because (and strictly my opinion) "we’re special and we're damn well going to show them, aren’t we?" The lack of self-awareness is on full display, and frankly the hostility with which the original post was met with by the “Comp Cognoscenti” spoke volumes.

Though they will fall on deaf ears, I restate my (somewhat amplified) proposals:

1. Athletes get a caution if they fail SP. Fail twice and you’re out the comp for 24hrs.
2. Mandatory disqualification for 24hrs on 1st red card.
3. ANY sign of injury, no more diving - period. Athletes pre-sign an indemnity with a serious cash forfeit (a fine + 12-month ban) if they are caught lying about their medical fitness, or for misleading medical staff in any way.

BUT there is also opportunity for AIDA:

4. Want to push personal limits? Go right ahead but OUT OF COMP. So judges and safeties stay on for 48hrs post-comp and can be contracted up-front by athletes wishing to throw caution to the wind on records and PBs. So go ahead: black-out, squeeze, hey - embolise to your heart’s content! But with your own paid/contracted judges, surrounded by your own support crew, and without the unsuspecting public gaping at the (live) show.
With such measures I can imagine freediving being in the Olympic Games, I can't I think of a reason not to be.
 
J

juiklein

New Member
Jun 19, 2020
2
1
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32
Excellent discussion!

I'd like to suggest a mindset for competitions. The diver should be normal after the dive. That means no blackouts, sambas, spitting blood, etc. There should be a penalty for any of those. The logic: any of those indicate the diver has exceeded the limit that would be safe if he was diving alone. The penalty is needed to enforce the mindset in the face of competitive pressure.

There is a mindset in some competitive circles that, since competition safety is so good, BOs and sambas are no big deal. And, strictly from the physiological point of view, that is probably true. Lots of divers used to (still do) consider mild squeezes as no big deal, just part of diving deep. Turns out, that is not true. As we have seen, those mindsets, plus the pressure of competition, lead to bad things and not just for the divers involved. Competitions, AIDA and otherwise, would do themselves and the rest of the freediving community a great service if they can figure out how to apply a more conservative mindset.

Ahh, but the devil is truly in the details.
Bump!
 
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R

Rik

In to diving medicine
Oct 4, 2002
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That is a still relevant observation. However what I have missed in this discussion is the role of bias on the side of the competitors caused to (perceived) gain of winning in comparison to risk, and the potential costs of more conservative governing of the sport. Especially in the current political zeitgeist, such conservative rules would be experienced as taking away the "freedom" of the sport.

I would be suprised if this would be solved during the current generation of freedivers (aproximately the next 5 - 10 years).
 
J Campbell

J Campbell

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2001
625
195
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@Rik I'm not sure what you are saying but it does bring up thought of the current "Nanny State" movement. I've been freedive practicing in my pool for over 25 years with no one bothering me - until now. There is a new movement in pool rules to not allow "prolonged breath holding" ( a lifeguard told me my 2 minute statics were "too long", and don't do it anymore). This is due to the incidents of several freediver deaths around the world.The Nannys say I might hurt myself, so I can't effectively do my practice. There is no reasoning with them, I expalin that I am certified and really understand what I am doing and know the dangers, and my own limits. But no, they think they know.
It's nonsense like this that's drives people to distrust laws and government.
 
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R

Rik

In to diving medicine
Oct 4, 2002
177
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@Rik I'm not sure what you are saying but it does bring up thought of the current "Nanny State" movement. I've been freedive practicing in my pool for over 25 years with no one bothering me - until now. There is a new movement in pool rules to not allow "prolonged breath holding" ( a lifeguard told me my 2 minute statics were "too long", and don't do it anymore). This is due to the incidents of several freediver deaths around the world.The Nannys say I might hurt myself, so I can't effectively do my practice. There is no reasoning with them, I expalin that I am certified and really understand what I am doing and know the dangers, and my own limits. But no, they think they know.
It's nonsense like this that's drives people to distrust laws and government.

Yes, you are correct that the balance betwee these two is skewed.

In public and semi-public space, it is presumed that the citizen don't have enough knowledge / training and that they know what to do, and therefore regulations should be held in place limiting the freedom the citizen, making it irrelevant to have commited to responsible training and gaining certifications.

With freediving competitions it is the opposite. There is a increase in knowledge and understanding among safety staff, but the competitive freedivers fail to reconise that. Some competitive freedivers also fail to understand that they are in a position where it is very likely that they underestimate the risk due to competing intrests.

And your right, both conflicts are caused by loss of convidence in science and the loss of conficidence that people, both professionals and laymen, are able to use it accordingly.
 
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Sorandril

Sorandril

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Jun 13, 2020
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@Rik I'm not sure what you are saying but it does bring up thought of the current "Nanny State" movement. I've been freedive practicing in my pool for over 25 years with no one bothering me - until now. There is a new movement in pool rules to not allow "prolonged breath holding" ( a lifeguard told me my 2 minute statics were "too long", and don't do it anymore). This is due to the incidents of several freediver deaths around the world.The Nannys say I might hurt myself, so I can't effectively do my practice. There is no reasoning with them, I expalin that I am certified and really understand what I am doing and know the dangers, and my own limits. But no, they think they know.
It's nonsense like this that's drives people to distrust laws and government.

what they are telling me is that I am a self centered person who by breaking the rules is enticing people to die, like a siren. Well, first of all, I’m a trooping faerie ...but second... is this a better way for society now? Am I just old and perhaps mentally damaged for my love of the water (as has been implied by the safe space crowd)
 
Sorandril

Sorandril

Member
Jun 13, 2020
111
16
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@Rik I'm not sure what you are saying but it does bring up thought of the current "Nanny State" movement. I've been freedive practicing in my pool for over 25 years with no one bothering me - until now. There is a new movement in pool rules to not allow "prolonged breath holding" ( a lifeguard told me my 2 minute statics were "too long", and don't do it anymore). This is due to the incidents of several freediver deaths around the world.The Nannys say I might hurt myself, so I can't effectively do my practice. There is no reasoning with them, I expalin that I am certified and really understand what I am doing and know the dangers, and my own limits. But no, they think they know.
It's nonsense like this that's drives people to distrust laws and government.

the statistics show that out of millions of trips to the pool each year only very few die by being stupid. But everything gets overblown now and we have a new national attitude that no one should ever die. You can thank helicopter parents for this
 
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Sorandril

Sorandril

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Jun 13, 2020
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in short, I’m being told that:

- stuff I’ve been doing all my life is dangerous
-I could die at any time just doing things I normally do
- there is no way to know limits
 
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