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US National Team

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Having built several 'freediving safety systems' myself (and currently working on yet another), I can say from first hand experience that the device rarely (if ever) works properly on the first 'deployment' in the ocean.

Given that fact (from my own experience), if I were involved with the volunteer organization of a competition, and the safety system had not been tested, then I would make the difficult choice of cancelling the depth-diving part of the competition.

All of us want to promote the sport as much as possible, as fast as possible. However, we should never allow our 'over-eagerness' to cloud our judgement. I would praise the organizers for at least deciding to abort the CW event given that the system didn't seem to be working properly; though in my case I probably would have chosen not to hold the deep event at all, with an untested system.

Further, one must not always take example from others. If one organization holds a competition with an un-tested system, and the competition either succeeds or fails, this in no way suggests that any other organization should 'follow the leader.' We each must use our own judgement.

In my case I have been unable to attempt a personal best depth for more than 3 years, due to the fact that I haven't had access to a safety system up to my standards (hence the reason I constantly seem to be trying to build something new).

On a more controversial subject, I also believe that if the maximum depth of the competition is less than 60m, then a lanyard/scuba-diver/FHOF system is quite adequate. Ironically, I believe that for shallow (<=60m) competitions, introducing complicated counter-balance systems may actually be counter-productive (no pun intended). The counter balance system was (in my view) primarily designed to reduce the need for extremely deep scuba divers (>60m), due to the risks & logistics of those scuba divers. In that sense, I believe it would be pointless to hold a 30-40m competition with a counterbalance system. Scuba divers (w/FHOF) would be much simpler in that case.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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I agree Eric, thats why I was wondering what the announced performances were, I was surprised it said that Annabels was the deepest at 52-53, so I figured the guys were between 30 and 40 which is "recreational" in my opinion. However, better safe than sorry, but it seems a little weird to choose a team based only pool performance.
They had to chose a team out of the people that entered the competition, simple as that.
At one stage they wanted to give everyone their anounced depths but that wouldn't be fair either. Annabel was diving 20m less then a PB, Jessica about 11m less. So for those 2 it would have been an easy dive. There are some that anounced more then a PB, or close to one. No doubt quite a few people would not have made their anounced depth, ie probably would have turned early or DQ'd. I think for the most of the men it was their first competition ever, so the anounced depths aren't that suprising.

Basing it on their dynamics isn't entirely fair either, some people didn't even use fins, but hey what other choice was there ?

At saltFree we use a red tag with GAME OVER on it and send it down the line if we want the scuba divers to come up for any reason. We can pull the rig up from the top.

If there is anything more complicated to say, we drop a scuba slate on a karabiner on the line with a message on

Thankfully we have never had to do either

What I really don't understand is why anyone uses such a complicated counterbalance system

We haul our line up from the top and use FHOFs (lift bags) for other emergencies. Every freediver wears a wrist band and there is a scubie every 5m with a FHOF at the ready. It was expensive to set up but is very reliable

What does a counter balance add to that?


PS I'm ignoring the question about breathing up on our backs as I'm guessing at some other-side-atlantic humour I just don't quite get!
Sam- I wasn't kidding about the breathe-ups.. but now that
I think about it :):)
Really, upright in the water or floating on your backs?
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I visited SaltFree last year and one of the things that stood out in my mind is that a good fraction of UK freedivers breathe up vertically in the water, as opposed to on the back as we're probably used to.


I'm sure Ramstam is serious. I noticed this 'cultural' difference too. But today is a Thursday and I'll have to spend more time thinking about what potential rude humor you guys might be thinking of.:confused:

Nope. Still drawing a blank.:confused:

Peter S.
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The counter-balance is designed to eliminate the bottom scuba divers. So for a 100m target dive, you get by with divers at 80m and up.

Concerning the breathe-up, way back in early 2000 I did extensive experiments with breathing up vertically, on my back, or through a snorkel. I could always dive the best face down, breathing through a snorkel.

When I won the static competition at the last two CAFA competitions (7'06" and 7'12") both statics were done breathing face down, with a snorkel, taking the final breath and packing through the snorkel. And it I always use a huge volume snorkel, either an OceanMaster Dry snorkel (for pool), or a US divers Impulse 2 snorkel.

Before I started doing statics through a snorkel, I had never done more than 6'37". Oh, and did I mention that I breathe very shallowly, through the snorkel? Probably most of what I breathe is just dead air space. Whatever. What works works.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada