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I.A.F.D. severs ties with A.I.D.A.

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Cliff Etzel

PFI Freedive Instructor in training, Photographer
Jul 7, 2000
We just received a press release from the I.A.F.D severing it's ties with A.I.D.A. and wanted to know how some of you feel about all of the various splinter governing bodies bickering over whose record is valid and whose isn't.

I intially started to do a series on the topic but doing my research, no one from the various agencies wanted to really discuss it.

I think now is the time.

What are your thoughts???


What a press release! Not for me to comment on the possible consequences of taking such a strong position.... It seems that the IAFD has some valid concerns but I don't know that they have the strongest position to complain from.

But what I would like to address is the (un)veiled allegation that the recent Male Constant Ballast record (Eric Fattah) here in Canada is suspect because of the involvement of Kirk Krack as AIDA judge.

First of all, Eric wanted to accomplish a record as a personal goal. I know that he would have been disappointed if anything had gone wrong or was ambiguous to anyone. He would be the first to admit if there had been a problem with the line, his recovery or any other part of the record. He was the most stringent in making sure everything was properly recorded.

Second, given the number of people volunteering their time and money for the record, (my weekends for the last year), I doubt very much they would do so for a falsified attempt. I know I wouldn't.

Third, Kirk provided encouragement to Eric but was not his trainer. All Canadian freedivers have benefitted from Kirk's knowledge over the past few years, but everyone knows that Eric trains in his own way. Ask anyone from Canada or in the rest of the world who knows Eric. His record and his PB of 88m are testaments to his diligent search for advances in freediving. Kirk did train Brett LeMaster to an amazing record with bi-fins, but in a different way that was tailored to Brett's style of diving.

Fourth, there were two AIDA judges present, Kirk Krack and Marnie Laing. As I understand it, they have the authority to "recommend" the ratification of the record, but should there be any questions as to the validity of the result or with the paperwork, it is up to Sebastian Nagel and the AIDA international board in Switzerland. I believe that in Deborah Andollo's case, both AIDA judges on the scene voted for the record to be ratified, but the board turned them down. (don't quote me on that, though). So far Eric's record is still pending ratification with AIDA. I really hope it doesn't become the centre of a political issue that has nothing to do with the athlete in question.

Last, the point that is made in the press release that some records, including Eric's, should be questioned because there may be a conflict of interest seems a little odd coming from the IAFD given the number of records by Audrey and Pipin that have been ratified by the IAFD. It seems that the organizations that exist today have sprung from a group of athletes. AIDA from a group of French freedivers, IAFD from Pipin and Audrey, FREE from Rudy and Yasemin. What about an organization that gets its foundation from a group of people not associated with any athletes? That would solve the problem of "my record, my organization." I personally like FREE's approach to freediving (diving events only) but obviously there are good things about AIDA and probably the IAFD (although I'm not familiar with their rules and regs at all). Maybe if a different organization, established in a low-profile freediving country invited all three to hammer out rules and regulations in common, with the input of the freedivers who actually make records and attend competitions, maybe that would help things. I'm sure this is not a new idea...

If Eric's record for some reason doesn't get official ratification, then we're not going to seek the ratification of any other organization, nor would we claim it as a Canadian Association of Freediving and Apnea "world record." Eric knows he made the record. He did it to discover his own limits and to test his ideas about freediving. If the diving community is still undergoing growing pains then that's the way things are. It would be a shame, though.

Anyway, I think all these organizations are missing the point. If they are in it for the money, they should know by now that world records only benefit a very select few and I'm sure expenses incurred over the years have not been paid off by a recent sponsorship windfall. They should be focussed on teaching recreational freediving and developing the sport into the mainstream.

I've blathered on for long enough. If I've made any wrong assumptions in writing this please let me know.

Don't forget how much fun freediving is.... :p

Peter Scott
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Issue was raised over a year ago...

What about an organization that gets its foundation from a group of people not associated with any athletes? That would solve the problem of "my record, my organization."

:head I think you hit the nail on the head. I was trying to get this idea put into the series of articles I was going to do, but due to the resistance of the various organizations, they wanted nothing to do with it.

The ideal situation would be to bring in the one judge from each of the govering bodies when a record is to be attempted so that there will always be an equal say on the records validity.

But from the sounds of it - this isn't going to happen anytime soon. It almost appears that these organizations are using their name as a way to make money in their certification classes and sponsorship.

I personally would like to interview all of the heads of these groups for an extended series on this topic - maybe now is the time to try (again).

Anyone else have any input on this?
It sounds like this sport is going the way of techdiver and the cavers list. Too many egos to try and contain in one room- and that's before they start packing. :)

I have seen Eric in the water and have no doubt in my mind that he broke the record.
I am also a little leary of FREE's allowing records to stand that included sambas. I know that AIDA was pretty specific about their divers coming up "clean". I think that is important for the future of the sport.
I also like the idea of drug testing. Not that it can always be accurate with freedivers (especially with elevated hematocrit levels) but, it looks good on paper.

Just my $.02


This is the kind of thing that has kept me out of all other competitive sports, and probably helped direct me to freediving. I am drawn to competitive freediving mostly to challenge myself and to meet other like-minded people, not to "thrash enemies", such as in pro sport mentality (ie: we're better than you!). Hopefully gentle and respectful people, that will become friends in the true sense of the word. Obviously some people's egos are more important than the sport they love.
I'm pointing fingers at both sides. I wasn't there for all the crap that has gone on between these two factions, but it certainly reeks of lack-of-tolerance from both. On one hand, I've read of the huge effort on the part of AIDA to consolidate, define and promote the sport. On the other hand, I have read some mud-flinging from AIDA members. Pipin seems to promote Pipin; maybe he needs a proper marketing agent to promote IAFD in the a more altruistic light.
The points on the press release have some validity; if Pipin is beaing accused of making his own rules and receiving record rankings from his own agency, then he has the right to question some of AIDA's practises. However, I know that Kirk was not Eric's trainer, but even if he had been, there was more than one judge present at the attempt as per AIDA rules. I just don't like the tone of the press release in some parts, although it SOUNDS as if the IAFD has been trying to work with AIDA.
With Andollo's attempt, I read that she chose not to retrieve a tag, chose not to wear even one dive computer (2 is better), and the video camera malfunctioned, so there was no physical evidence of the record. I'm sure no-one doubts that she did it, but if she is awarded the status, then shouldn't Eric Fattah ask for his ranking to be set at -88 metres? He brought up 2 computers that said 88 metres on them during training. I think the AIDA ruling on Andollo's attempt was fair...the rules are specific, and they were not conformed to. Next time, after spending thousands of dollars (lira) and tons of time training for a world record, she will use some redundancy to assure that it pays off,no? I sure as hell would.
As Peter says, remember that it's fun to freedive, whether it's spearfishing, performance, or looking at the sand in 1 metre vis.
Now the disclaimer: I wasn't there, I read this stuff on the net and in the paper. We never know the full story, and I am usually ambivalent about things that happen out of my sight. But if it ever gets in my face, then I will more than likely lose a lot of my ambivalence.
I don't mean to offend anyone,especially those with good intentions- in fact I wish the opposite, and I apologise to anyone who takes offense.
Cest la Vie,
Erik Young
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