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Sports Illustrated "The Deadly Dive"

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I should be working
Nov 8, 2002
Has anyone else read the June 16, 2003 edition of Sports Illustrated? On the cover is a photo of Pipin and the late Audrey Mestre holding hands, as if dancing underwater, heading back to the surface. Inside is an 11 page story of the couple. One big difference between this version and all the other stuff that was flying around a few months ago was the perspective that SI chose to take. Instead of condemning anyone or making the sport of freediving look like a side show, they elected to take a human angle. It spoke mostly of Pipin and Audrey, how they met, how they bonded, how lived and how they loved. I was truely captivated by this article. Yes they did bring up some of the why questions but they also made me look within my own heart. I have read some of the mud sligging and can honestly say that there were more accusations flying than condolences. SI opened my eyes to a couple of things. First of all, yes there were some lapses in safety. Secondly, the sport of freediving lost a very special person. But the most important thing that I felt was hurt. Hurt for a fellow human who lost someone whom they loved. Hurt for that person because more people stabbed at him instead of consoling him. Hurt for a sport that claims comaraderie but instead of being a friend to this man, proved to be a condemning adversary.

SI wrote that Pipin plans to do a 558 foot dive in mid July. To him I say good luck and have a safe dive. For those pocking at him again check this out. A very good friend once told me this. Make a gun out of your hand by extending your index finger and raising your thumb. Imagine this is a weapon you are about to fire at someone. Before you drop that hammer and fire at that person you had better be right. Why? Because you got one finger pointing forward, but three pointing back.

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How true!

Its easy to hate...........everyone can do it
But there are few that can love or indeed forgive.

I also wish him well.

Sebastien Murat
Yes Brad, I read that article too. The human angle is a positive approach, even though this whole thing is incredibly sad. I hope Pipin's July dive goes as planned.
Hi Brad,
I'm glad someone is discussing the article.
A friend sent me the SI issue and said he found the article compelling, romantic, and tragic.
I'd say that is true.
One of the things I hoped SI would include as an aside..or companion article..... more history of freediving and at least more than a passing mention some of the other 'greats' in the sport.

The pic of Audrey en route to the hospital was wrenching
(vacant stare, lights on nobody home..) --for that I felt SI exceeded the boundaries of good taste. Yes, it's reporting, but I believe it would be horrible for her family to see this ----in print no less.
The ...um...journalistic hunger for sensational and personal detail was a little off-putting [Pippin was in-relationship when he met Audrey--and the 'abrupt' exit of the other woman...when he and Audrey hooked up, etc.] was more than I wanted to know about Pippin's private life. But again, that's my opinion..

Last, but not least, I wondered if SI was trying to make a connection between Pippin's record attempt in July and a deathwish. If it seems Pippin has 'survivor guilt' (completely understandable) is it appropriate for him to try?
I'm curious what other readers thought.

All in all, I hoped for more 'positive' imagery of the sport...and wider coverage of the different diciplines of freediving.

---Anyone else?
Brad, Thank you for your passionate coments concerning the
S.I. Pipin article, during my 25 years of breath hold blue water
hunting I've lost 7 personal friends to drowning and S.W.B. I can't
imagine the emotional pain Pipin may be experiencing after loseing his wife . I am praying he has a safe dive in July.
Follow your bliss,
Don Paul Gaboury
just read this on the IAFD site...
AIDA voted to send judges to his attempt the other week. i guess that's no big secret. it was a close vote. 10 votes for Pipin and 9 against. it was dissappointing to see some harsh and hurtful things being said about Pipin during the discussion prior to the vote. :(

i'm just glad he was given the chance to attempt his dive, and i wish him the best of luck.
....the cover photo. Stirs up all kinds of thoughts, doesn't it? :(

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SI Article


Excellent post, great discussion. I was wondering why no one had brought this up yet. I also felt the same as most have commented. In addition, I also felt that the photo showing Audrey's lifeless body went overboard. I don't feel it was needed.

What also struck me was Audrey's mother's comments regarding her death. I don't recall it exactly, but she basically stated that she died doing what she loved. The article is truly chilling and tragic. I hope Pipin is not foolish enough to make the same mistakes that were made during Audrey's death dive. Once again, I commend you on a good post and thread.

My 85 year old grandmother read it and has now got the whole family harassing me to quit " that type of diving". It doesn't matter that I don't use a sled, or that I have been scuba divng for close to 25 years, she now is convinced that I am going to die the next time I hit the water.

I tried to explain it to her, but non-divers just don't understand it. I think it might have done us, freedivers, more harm than good with the general public. :(
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Originally posted by Alun

AIDA voted to send judges to his attempt the other week. i guess that's no big secret. it was a close vote. 10 votes for Pipin and 9 against. it was dissappointing to see some harsh and hurtful things being said about Pipin during the discussion prior to the vote.

Can someone help me out on this one, I don't get why AIDA would be involved? Thanks, Jack
AIDA record

Pipin is attempting an AIDA record, not an IAFD record. i don't know for sure why he chose to do this, but i have my own theory about that.
after Pipin submitted his record application, some of the AIDA top brass weren't too happy and decided that a vote should be taken about whether AIDA should send judges to Pipin's attempt in Miami.
before Pipin can go for 170m he has to make a pre-requisite dive of 164m under AIDA rules (no more than 6m away from his target depth.)
keep an eye on this page....
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hey guys,

-just a friendly reminder that we need to steer clear of discussing details of Audrey's death, Pipin's actions, etc. (see the first thread in this section).

In that vein, we should probably also not get into too many specifics of what SI discussed, especially the issue of how Pipin was treated because that also has been the subject of lawsuits and has inflamed the discussion on this forum in the past.

Sorry to be such a "big brother" here, but it's temporary and for the good of the forum.
I read the SI article on The Deadly Dive and can't tell you how engrossed I was reading it. One of those articles that I just couldn't put down until I finished and then had to read over again. Being an inner-city desk jockey who hadn't even heard of free-diving before (I only heard of this website via the article), I find the entire sport fascinating. I suspect that long-time free-divers can/will undoubtedly find points to nitpick about in regard to the article. However, bear in mind that, 100% factually accurate or not, it will serve to provide greater exposure to the sport, which will likely be a benefit.

Great article, great sport.....curious mind now wants to know more.
Greetings Silent Spike, and welcome to DeeperBlue.
Glad you followed up on the article to discover more about the sport.
There is a very good 'search' tool that can assist you w/ some topics or questions about equipment and terminology.
Read, enjoy, and jump in w/ your questions.
The group here is well-informed, experienced and willing to share knowledge generously.
I'm new to the sport, and have learned a lot from this forum.
Seems there's something for everyone here.
One of my fav's is the pics of awesome hunting under the Spearos board/ fish, photos, etc.

Again, welcome!
dear all,

I am not a free-diver (am a scuba-diver though) but got deeply touched by Pipin and Audrey's story. I have tried to get to read the SI cover story "The Deadly Dive" but didn't manage to get it anywhere in the internet (have even tried going to SI website to buy that issue but it appears that the issue is no longer for sale!).

Would be grateful if anyone of you can kindly post the story here or email me to charmlo@sinagirl.com. Many many thanks again!

I think much of the reason why more people stabbed at Pipin in stead of consoling him is because already at the time of Audrey's accident, Pipin had a terrible reputation within much of the sportive community (granted, mostly among European freedivers), this targeted mainly at his personality. So when things went really bad for him, many people reacted with a sort of "told you so" attitude. This was defintely wrong and quite inhuman at the time, but a lot of people got emotionally involved (obviously), because Audrey was a fellow soul mate within the community, and people felt her death could've been avoided as they heard more and more about the circumstances of the accident.

As for this AIDA thing concerning Pipin's 170m dive, the process got started and things looked ok for Pipin getting AIDA judges to his attempt, but a few details about proper registration and technical requirements, which Pipin aparently failed to live up to, got in the way. (That's what I've heard, do correct me if I'm mistaken.)
Maybe Pipin was a lasy bastard in this or expected special treatment, or maybe it was in fact the bad air between AIDA and IAFD that made forces in AIDA focus strongly on petty details. Maybe it was simply the fear that Pipin would use the attempt to commit suicide (some did say that!), also to make AIDA look bad and prove that Audrey's accident was not because IAFD didn't have enough safety...or at least no less safety than AIDA! (Which I think is worth taking a look at, if not only to be sure.)

I don't know and I don't care anymore. A freediver died and we all need to learn from it, so this kind of thing never happens again. The SI article is good because it focuses on the emotional involvement of the people concerned, this aparently having a lot of influence on decisions in freediving today (and of course it does).
Only thing is that I really wish that this AIDA-judge thing could've been followed through at Pipin's attempt, and he could've achieved the official record which I can only believe he deserves with this 170m dive.

I hope I don't violate DB's poltics about discussing the Audrey accident, it's not my intention to do so.

Chris Engelbrecht, Copenhagen
Hi all,

My understanding of the AIDA judge thing is that Pipin asked for judges for his attempt in August (which was cancelled and put back to October). He was asked for a method statement which covers safety on the dive, something which everyone has do go through. Its not difficult but gives AIDA a chance to see what is in place as far as logistics, safety divers, safety procedures hospitals, chambers for the freediver and safety divers etc etc, but nothing was sent. There are rules that we all have to follow, like them or not. That's why there we no judges.
I have it.

At the request of a couple DBers, I have scanned the SI article to high-res (easily readable) jpegs. Anyone who did not get a chance to read it (and wants to) should drop me a private message with an email address that is capable of receiving a 10 meg zip file (11 - photos). I would host it, but I don't want copyright lawyers banging at my door ;). Please be patient, as it may take me a day or two to send it to you.

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