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Recognition of Patrick Musimu's record

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Should there be one official freediving governing body?

  • Yes

    Votes: 25 86.2%
  • No

    Votes: 4 13.8%

  • Total voters


New Member
Jan 18, 2002
Hi all,

i just know that i am going to open a hornet's nest with this one but i am feeling very strong about this so bare with me and then let loose with your response.

I personally feel that Patrick or who ever after him's world record performance should be recognized by the freedivers of the world and that not so much emphasis be placed on who the body was verifying it.Just because they are pissed off with one another, the athlete must also be dragged into the cat fight.

What is more important to me is that the athlete succeeded to perform at his peak and not the bloody "Who will recognize what"

I understand and also accept that there must be a body controling the standards of our sport, but be real, we are all freedivers in love with a fantastic sport so why should we allow it to be spoiled by goverining bodies not able to see eye to eye because of petty things like "who is who in the freediving zoo?"
I don't know about any of the political infighting that might be going on, but to meaningfully compare records they must be done to the same standards. The recent Australian dynamic record, for example, sounds like it had some oddities associated with it that should "officially" disqualify it (I've only heard 3rd or 4th hand, so ask somebody with more direct knowledge about it). Of course, if you have standards then you need some way to verify them and this is where judges come into it. Unfortunately judging is somewhat subjective, and implies that everybody trusts the judges. Sadly, if there are disagreements between organizations it is this trust that suffers. About the only recourse is doing as much documentation of the event as possible -- i.e. video.

Personally (as a non-competitor) I don't care much about the details, and I'd guess that anything questionable about the record is just in the details... regardless, 87m is a damn impressive dive by any measure.
Subjective vs. Objective

Of the four bodies that recognize some or all freediving categories (IAFD, CMAS, FREE, AIDA), three of them have objective rules, and one of them (AIDA) has subjective rules.

With subjective rules, the judge can disqualify the competitor for no apparent reason, saying for example that he simply 'didn't look good' when he came to the surface. I have a new recovery breathing pattern that I use after statics & dives that would almost certainly get me disqualified by the subjective rules every time, even after a 10 second static; why? Because my recovery pattern, although it allows me to maintain consciousness, looks 'labored and erratic', and could be interpreted as 'signs of hypoxia.' In that sense, I don't plan on competing on an international level in a competition with subjective judging, because I know that I will be disqualified even on a successful dive; I don't 'look good' even after a 2-minute static.

Patrick Musimu selected an organization with objective judging. In objective rules, if the athlete surfaces and is able to keep his head above the water at all times, and does not require assistance, and is able to give the tag to the judge in a predetermined (short) period of time, the dive counts. If the judges disqualify him, they must disqualify him for violating one of the above rules, which is very easy to show objectively on the video, and really cannot be argued against. Either his head dropped below the water, or it didn't. Either he recovered on his own, or he didn't. Either he gave the tag to the judge within X number of seconds, or he didn't.

Once again, the analogy of figure skating is a good one; the judges in figure skating are supposed to judge the 'artistic impression' of the skaters. In subjective rule freediving, the judges also judge the 'artistic impression' of the surface recovery. If they didn't like the artistic impression, it's two thumbs down.

Some people, like Pipin, tend to be extremely skeptical towards all records. Such skeptics tend not believe any record unless they witnessed it with their own eyes. Such people believe that all people are dishonest cheaters.

I am the opposite. Tell me that you did -97m in practice, and that you recovered on your own, and I will believe you. I don't need an organization to 'verify' it. This is why, in my mind, the real world record in constant weight is jointly held by Musimu, Nitsch and Giankos at -89m, which all three of them have reached in 'uncontrolled' training conditions. The 'real' world record in static is 8'25 by Alejandro Ravelo, etc...

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
it is sad to read this thread I have read about the differences between different organizations, but it just reminds me so much of my own experience of such situation in finland:
I was playing (rink-bandy) very closely related to ice-hockey, and I played in Finnlands national team (under 20years) and it was all much fun, but then it all dissappeared no team no practise..no nothing I thought that was stupid...why? two organizations were not able to agree on rules and who would have the official national team?? oh why can't we just all work together.. (I wish communinsm would work)
Safe diving
Re: Subjective vs. Objective

Originally posted by efattah
Of the four bodies that recognize some or all freediving categories (IAFD, CMAS, FREE, AIDA)

As long as this is true there are going to be disagreements.

three of them have objective rules, and one of them (AIDA) has subjective rules.

And as long as this is true, the first point will remain true. I think I understand why AIDA has these rules in the first place, but I agree with Eric that it doesn't make for very good competitions (as witnessed in the recent Olympic figure skating fiasco). Perhaps if some better and yet objective alternative to judging a diver's state on surfacing is developed, then AIDA can eliminate this aspect of its rules and everybody can then get along.

It would also be a shame if such subjective rulings limited the advancement of technique -- Eric's "recovery" process being a case in point. I'd like to see your new method, Eric, but warn me before hand, please. :)
An impartial scientific panel should be appointed.

It is ridiculous to have more than one "World Record" in a given discipline, and it does nothing but undermine the validity of those outstanding performances and the athletes who accomplish them. It certainly is bewildering to the uninitiated public.

The standards under which a record or competition are held must be scientifically verifiable. It is the only way for all sanctioning bodies to either agree (no choice really) or reveal their duplicity, and it is the only methodology that will withstand serious scrutiny. If the sanctioning bodies would jointly solicit the scientific community for qualified, impartial experts to be appointed to a Standards Board - subject to scientific peer review - then at the very least we as a freediving community would gain the expertise of the scientific community - which will only benefit us as a whole, and the differences between organizations would be brought under their review.

If none of the Freediving organizations are willing to subject themselves to scientific scrutiny then we would be forced to ask why and so would the non-diving public. This is where the 'rubber meets the road', so to speak.

I wonder if any of the organizations are up to it?

Last edited:
I think that if one should sit down and actually point out the main diffirences between the four governing bodies one would be surprised to see that at the end of the day it is a bunch off individuals that have problems with one another and not realy the governing bodies themselves.

Why can't there be one set of rules that all of them can agree upon, a set that we as freedivers agree to in the first place.

Eric it is realy a big loss to loose someone like you from international events and that because of a governing body's attitude towards a specific tecnique you use.

How can one get these people to sit down and talk and sort out their diffirences and start to concentrate on developing the sport together.We don't need this tug of war, it's causing more damge than good to a sport that needs all the help it can get.
Hero vs. Sponsorship

One big problem with record is that it's costing more and more money to do it, and to get the money, you need Sponsor. Well now, to get the sponsor, you need publicity, but, to get that publicity, you have to pay for the reporter expense, have a boat for official etc.. etc.. You also have to be shure that nobody can tell you that your record doesn't count because your Sponsor wont be intertested etc etc... You also need the teck divers for security etc.. etc...

It's getting more and more complicated to do record, all because of the logistic. I just hope that great athlete wont be out of competition because of that. I beleive that a ruling agency should be able to provide all this, and not rules. The day an athlete can count on an organization to take care of all that, then that organization has a right to be in the sport. The organization main goal should not be to put rules and judges, but to help people achieve their goal.

To Patrick, Bravo, you're my hero!
efattah wrote:
I am the opposite. Tell me that you did -97m in practice, and that you recovered on your own, and I will believe you. I don't need an organization to 'verify' it. This is why, in my mind, the real world record in constant weight is jointly held by Musimu, Nitsch and Giankos at -89m, which all three of them have reached in 'uncontrolled' training conditions. The 'real' world record in static is 8'25 by Alejandro Ravelo, etc...

I'm 100% in this opinion. You should be able to believe man's word. Let's do things gentlemanly. Sad that many people aren't so honest.

I'm not intrested at competiting so much, if I'm able to break some record some day and one doesn't believe my results, its his/her problem.

Juha Immonen
I have to agree with Eric's point on subjectivity, and that the IAFD and FREE rules are less subjective than AIDA, but unfortunately there is one major subjective rule still there: is the athlete in need of help? If someone thinks you need help and grabs you, despite your feeling fine? Do that mean you get disqualified for an otherwise OK dive?

BTW - Angela Bandini does not hold the NL WR in the latest Guiness book of records - Audrey Ferreras does. This is due to Guiness going with AIDA.

Sorry folks.....

There is another sport that comes to mind that suffers under pseudo political problems. Boxing has somewhere between three and five world champions at any one time. WBO, WBC, WABCDE.... whatever. I think money is at the root of that one.....

As for freediving, most of the differences seem to revolve around safety, observers, set ups and the definition of loss of motor control. The latter is surely simple.

1) Surface.
2) Perform a task within a prescribed time unassisted. Finito.

Surfacing is an important precursor to the task of judging to start off with and the succesful performance of the task will attest to a minimum required level of cognitive lucidity at that time. Ie. hand in your tag, remove your mask within 20 sec. If you are jigging too badly or sinking or sub - marine, you will not be able to do this and would likely require assistance and you are out.
It's not for the judge to say how cleanly you did it.
Start ' figure' or 'synchronised' freediving if subjective judging is so required.

But going down and getting back sufficiently but objectively awake is a inviolable requirement in my opinion.

Some will say a marathon runner is not subjected to a test of motor control after passing the line. indeed he can pass out and be taken to hospital in a helicopter and still win the prize.
Difference is that whilst we are attempting to reach a depth and back, we are primarily challenging unconsciousness in this sport, and the runner is primarily challenging fatigue.

Does anyone here have a single rational argument against this as the only necessary measure of the success of the dive ? (in terms of Samba / loss of motor control ) If not, then the only reason we have separate organisations must then be financial ones.
Whoops, I stand corrected Ben! (I also removed it from my post)

I agree with Eric F. about trusting a person’s word. However, a World Record or competition requires solid evidence, and a performance that can't be measured scientifically isn't proof of anything. If a central scientific standards board were appointed then all of the trivial differences between organizations would go away - the cream would rise to the top. I mean come on, at this rate there's no limit to the number of freediving organizations, and "World Records", we could end up with. :head

There are a number of things that could use review. For instance, the increment by which a record is exceeded cannot be smaller than the instrumentation’s capability for accurate measurement. The increment has to be greater than the error coefficient, otherwise the performance isn't measurable (by instrumentation). Another is the measurability of a Samba during a performance. Is it possible or even appropriate to medically measure this during the recovery phase of a performance? It should be clearly evident on video that a person has lost conscious control of motor function and needs to be rescued or they'll drown.

The point isn't that the organizations are bad or that their "rules" are invalid. They need to continue to learn as they grow, working in the best interest of Freediving as a whole. That way everyone wins. I love freediving and would like to see it continue to grow, whether I compete or not.

The bottom line is this: What if Eric Fattah, for instance, were to do a World Record independently? If it is designed and conducted in a scientifically measurable and verifiable manner - with the appropriate credentials overseeing, then at least the scientific community would credit him with his performance. This has more credibility, and weight, than any of the organizations and they would have a hard time justifying not recognizing his performance. It's my hope that he'll do just that.

What do I know anyway? It's just my point of view.

~ Ward2

The main argument of AIDA for the subjective rules (as I interpret it) is that to allow loss of motor control will promote samba in the rest of the freediving world. They sometimes argue that under FREE or IAFD rules that athletes will try to fine-tune their dives so that they samba at the surface, thus somehow adding extra metres to their dive. I really doubt that every competition under these rules would be a samba-fest. :duh Having a samba at the surface is hard to control (no joke!). And for many people, it means a black-out is fast approaching. As for promoting the samba, let's just recognize it for what it is: loss of motor control and onset of blackout. At some point within a samba you'll step too far over the consciousness line into the black-out 'zone.' It changes nothing as far as teaching safety. If you're alone and have a samba, you are at a high risk of blacking out and dying. Period. If I were to compete at a FREE event, I want to avoid a samba. I have no way of telling if it will be severe enough to prevent me from handing the judge my tag.

I agree with people on this thread who say that a simple demonstration of motor skill, like removing your mask or handing the tag to a judge, is sufficient. I have seen bad sambas where that would be impossible. But after a 90m dive or a 200m dynamic, is it right for a competitor to be disqualified for the slightest tremor in her pinkie finger? Even as she is breathing properly and can remove her mask? I've heard that many international competitors within AIDA have become expert at hiding slight body tremors. Some leave their hands underwater until they recover completely, then they give the signal and hope the twitching has stopped.

I think that the new 'judge' for world records, as it has been in Patrick's case, is the media. And by media I mean simple, clear continuous video footage. Did he surface? Did he start breathing again? Was he able to give the tag to the judge within 20 seconds? Or did he stare off into space and then shudder violently before sinking back down into the water? From eyewitness reports, sounds like Patrick was smiling at the surface. Sounds like a new world record to me. :D

I think the main use of a freediving organization is the safety rules put in place. Number of divers for safety. Minimum visibility requirements. Dive site management, etc....

Eric Fattah and I were discussing the newest danger in international record-setting. In AIDA there is a depth minimum when attempting to break a record: 3m within the current record. The danger is that some freedivers will try to see if they can come close without proper safety in place. If they can't afford to hire experienced scuba divers for a whole summer then they will resort to a cheaper solution: no divers at all. And then there are close calls like Eric's dive to 88m and Martin's narcosis free immersion dive to 83m, which endangered Martin and Paul Kotik, his safety diver. So far there are no protocols for deep training. What is the solution? Reduce the minimum depth requirement and make it clear that deep training requires deep safety.

Patrick was lucky. He had IAFD support for his training dives and was able to progress fast enough over those few weeks to achieve his target depth.

So maybe it is unfortunate that deep records require so much money and resources. But better that than to die trying.

This is off topic but...

Hi pete,

Glad to hear that you've got your mojo, er, mono working again! Life must be good, eh? I'm looking forward to part II of your article.

Happy Diving,

Re: Records

Originally posted by laminar
Patrick was lucky. He had IAFD support for his training dives and was able to progress fast enough over those few weeks to achieve his target depth.

So maybe it is unfortunate that deep records require so much money and resources. But better that than to die trying.


I feel you clearly expressed what should become the standard for all deep record attempts and for training at those depths.

I have privately discussed at great length with many world class athletes and those involved in the ratifying bodies themselves about this issue and the reality is that freediving is becoming a professional sport with high caliber athletes training for these record attempts. The sport is an extreme sport, but it also can be managed if done so - correctly.

I have reviewed many times the issues that have been raised by the various organizations who are contesting each others methods of record acceptance and have to say that so far, IAFD and FREE have come closest to implementing the best safety and ratifying procedures for these attempts (Numerous deep safety divers, blood doping tests right after the record attempt, etc). This isn't to say that AIDA hasn't been doing their part - far from it - I think the real issue is one of various members affiliated with certain organizations thinking they are somehow better than the others - without taking into consideration the interest of the athlete - that being of safety.

None of these agencies is perfect by any means - but I do think they are trying to find the best solution based upon their given perspective - now if we could just get them to a round table negotiation session to hammer out a universal approach to establishing a record and then we can get on with the true sport of freediving competition! :D

As Stephan and I have both stated in the past - we want to be a resource for all forms of freediving, and that includes developing good relationships with all of the ratifying organizations so that we can be an impartial resource for all of our readers - and we will continue to strive for that high level of integrity in our relaying of information on the sport of freediving.

Lastly, there are too many other things more important in this life to try and correct than to fight over something like the safety of a freediver's life during a record attempt or deep training. Life is precious - let's not place a dollar (or euro) value on it and somehow devalue it...