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What's with no limits?

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Well-Known Member
Aug 13, 2001
After reading about the recent surfacing of Sebastian Murat into the freediving world with his dynamic record (this excellent freediver has kept a low profile for a long time) and reading him say that -200m in no limits should be possible, I have to wonder about the discipline itself. This just after Benjamin Franz announced a -165m attempt to be judged by AIDA and IAFD. And the Freediver guestbook insinuating that someone else may be vying for the record (Loic Leferme or some "young European gun").

So what's no limits all about?

From what I can tell (I've never had the opportunity to try it), it's all about diaphragm flexilibility, equalizing skill, mental preparedness, expensive gear, lots o' sponsors, and the ability to hold your breath for 2-3 minutes underwater without really moving that much. Some say it's an unbelievable experience, others say it's artificial.

What makes me wonder about no limits is the fact that Benjamin Franz announces -165m and, as far as I know, hasn't been past -130m. So are courage and equalizing ability the real limiting factors? Or maybe it's the special combo of sponsors and full-time training?
And 200m....?

By the way, I'm not saying that no-limits is any less a discipline that constant ballast or free immersion. It's just a strange beast to me.

I know that I would have trouble announcing -87m at the Canadian Nationals with a pb of -52m.

Or maybe the essence is in the name itself, "no limits." The thrill of getting as deep as possible by any means.

Ok, I've asked enough questions....

Any thoughts?

An Analogy...

It is really a matter of personal perspective. I think of this with an analogy of Track & Field...

You have sprinters and long distance runners. Put one in the other category and you have a poor athlete for that event.

I think that those who participate in those specific events realize their strengths and weaknesses and try to capitalize on those things they do well, whether it be constant ballast or unlimited.

I think I remember reading or hearing someplace that Pipin was just an above average constant ballast diver (don't quote me on that) - but his greatest strength was in the unlimited category. Hence he has utilized that strength to bring freediving to the public and promoted it.

It has helped to popularize the sport of freediving as a result, and that can't be all bad.
Originally posted by laminar

So what's no limits all about?
Some say it's an unbelievable experience, others say it's artificial.


OK, I'll say it- It's artificial.

No limits is akin to strapping yourself to the hood of your car and going a hundred miles an hour, crawling off and claiming you're the fastest runner on Earth. It ain't right, correct or genuine.

You kick down, you kick back.

Sven, sven, sven ....

With thoughts liket hose, you're gonna get roasted, man.

But I agree whole heartedly. CW's the only way ....


I had the chance to make some no-limits dive while meeting Loic Leferme and also in the channel. While i'm a big fan of CW, the truth is that no limits produces really different sensations, and this is very pleasant.
I'm not talking about diving very deep. I'm talking about having fun on a sled in shallow water (<40m).
Hey guys, freediving is not only about deep, long dives... It's only about being in the water and enjoying it !

BTW, I know for sure that Loic Leferme did its first records with very little sponsors - except his friends.
And I you have a boat, it's not that heavy to set up a no-limit activity (again, not diving to 200m of course)
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Wanna have fun?

Tow a scuba sled behind a boat. Now that's fun ....

Heeeeeee haaaaaa ....

"OK, I'll say it- It's artificial.
It ain't right, correct or genuine".

Wow, talk about separation in the diving community! That's exactly how I feel about SCUBA diving. Way to go Sven!

Scott Turgeon
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Re: Separation

Originally posted by sturgeon
"OK, I'll say it- It's artificial.
It ain't right, correct or genuine".

Wow, talk about separation in the diving community! That's exactly how I feel about SCUBA diving.

Scott Turgeon

Aww Jeez, here we go...

Sled Diving

So far I've read on this thread, that only one guy has tried the sled and he liked it. He also liked constant ballast diving. The rest of you are bad mouthing it and it sounds like you've never done it. Cliff's explanation was right on. Two totally different types of diving, but both equally enjoyable. Try it you'll like.

Big and wrong assumption

Now who's foot's in who's mouth?:naughty

I've been hanging on a sled a few times, DSV and while it was exhilerating as all get out, I still maintain that it's not true freediving, as in FREE diving, not RIDE diving, as in kicking down and back.

And while we're here and all chummy, there are a couple associates with me that have also latched on for the ride and said the Hell with it. So if you like it great and good on you, but assuming that I'm badmouthing anything for the sheer lack of nothing better to do, and assuming I'm talking about something I know nothing about, is in your error.

People seem to be a little tense here today...:mute

Arguments of purity aside, no-limits has always looked to me like a whole lot of fun. I would not turn down an opportunity to do a sled dive lightly.

The only real trouble with no-limits as I see it is that it is quite expensive to do it safely. People who want their no-limits fix need to either have deep pockets or seek sponsorship. In order to get sponsorship they need to resort to shameless self-promotion. It's the shameless self-promotion that has caused some of the worst controversies in freediving. On the other hand, it is also the self-promoters who have done the most to raise the public awareness and popularity of freediving in general. A bit of a moral dilemma I guess.

I certainly agree that it's not FREE diving but it does have its place in the record books.

Easy "Big" Sven

I don't believe I put my foot anywhere Sven. I had read the threads and was only stating the facts that I had read. You never said that you had been on the sled. If you are writing on these threads you need to be more specific and detailed in your explanation in why you like or dislike something. Don't just go off slamming it and not explain why. Readers that are not as experienced as you may not ever try it just because of what you said and that is not promoting the sport at all.

I didn't assume anything. :D

Also, it seems that you are the only one that has gotten tense:ko


"Can't we all just get along" Rodney King :inlove
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Rodney's an idiot

Let me spread a little oil on the water here.

While no limits and descents by hanging onto a rock or a sled or pulling yourself down a piece of kelp :)cool:) is certainly still freediving, as in not wearing SCUBA gear, I look at it as I said earlier. Hanging on for dear life, and with the only thing you have to do is equalize, is not my personal way of having a grand old time. Now that layman's view of going deep is a HUGE over simplification, I know. The mental component is easily the greatest factor and the most difficult to master. Once you get your head in gear, you're pretty styling. A metaphor please!

It's like drag racing- another sport looked at by the masses as a bunch of schmucks going in a straight line-fast. There are the guys running VW's and then there are the guys running thermonukes. It's still all drag racing. You talk to the VW crowd and all they want is the $'s the big guys get. The big guys are all up in arms about obtaining sponserships so they can exist, and lament how the VW guys have it easy. (This is where you nod your head...) They all pretty much get along in the big wide arena of racing, as we do here in diving. They're all racers, we're all divers. They screw up, they all suffer; we screw up, follow your thoughts here...

sven - Big of heart and fins
Leading the way

Hi all,
i think that no limit being the deepest discipline, it's also the one that leads the way. Guys like Mayol have been doing it without much budget just to be able to know if they could survive that deep. Once you went to a certain deep with a sleed, you'll feel more prepared to do it CW, you 'll know that deep and it's impact on you. Pippin have found new equalizing technique doing no limit and that's the good part of it.

I agree with SASpearo, being pulled on a sled by a boat might be fun... :duh

IMHO, the only true freediving is BN (Butt Naked). Just be carefull of the triggerfish while doing that...
Real freediving ?

Well before long blades or scuba were invented people were making a living by collecting things from the sea.

I know the Japanese pearl divers had to use weights to get themselves down to deeper depths/prolong bottom times. I don't think they used any type of fins for a quite a while either. Similar with European divers who would collect sponges, and South Pacific Islanders that would spear fish.

So if "Real freediving" is using the latest pair of carbon fins, Picasso wetsuit, low volume mask, sounds like a piece of piss compared to what the Pearl and Sponge divers used to do !

Then there was the Greek guy who tied his feet to a rock to retrieve an anchor, Sounds almost like a no limits dive to me.....
You're correct Wally, I was in Bahrain last year and looked into the history there. As soon as you get out of the airport, there is a giant pearl on a monument in the city of Manama. The museum there shows in great detail how the pearl divers worked from today (a few divers still) way back to 4500 years ago.
They had a weighted bag attatched to a stirrup around one of their feet, and the "puller" would lower them to the bottom of the ocean; on the line that the diver was on (he stood in a loop at the bottom of the line). When he got to the bottom, he would put the line around his neck(!) so as not to lose it, then fill his bag with all the oysters he could find. When he was ready to come up, he put the loop back on his foot, stood up, and yanked on the line, and the puller would lift him back up to collect the oysters. I talked to a man in Manama who has film of a diver in the 60's doing repeated 4 minute working dives! A few minutes to breath up, then down he'd go again. They did this 12 hours a day, for up to 6 months at a time.
So, I think you might be right....if you could go back in time and tell one of these guys to his face that he was not a freediver, you might have to duck!
Cheers people,
Erik Y.
With arguments and then history like that, I'll whoeheartedly agree. Those folks, and a majority of them were of the female persuasion, would and probably still could, put up some huge numbers. And they did it as their occupations! But would they recognize sledding as a sport?

Brings to mind the time I was going to get some lobster in So Cal a while back and so was wearing my usual SCUBA stuff, replete with split fins, BC, spare air for those times, and the computer. This old guy, (not Bill by the way, hey, love ya Bill!) jumps next to me wearing a rig that might have been a fire extinguisher in the first world war, a suit that had more of him showing through than I'm comfortable remembering, an old Voit oval window and Churchills!! He jumped and I never saw him for an hour and a half!!

This guy cleaned house!! We were on the swim step at the end of the dive, and he gave me one of those "young whipper snapper looks" and said, "Hmmph, nice gear; how many'd you get?" Turns out this guy had some mondo records from back in the day and was just out for a quick meat run, and later told me he couldn't get over where the sport had gone and while he was OK with all the advances in gear, he felt the purity of the dive had diminished in the face of gauges and hoses and clips and all... Very warm rememberences.

No Limits as a sport...

Perhaps I was dropped on my head one too many times as a child, but my perspective on freediving competition, as a sport, is somewhat ‘backwards’ as it were. :duh

Any ‘sport category’ within a competition indigenous to the cultures of the world, was a reflection on their way of life, epitomizing the qualities valued for its continued success.

In Alaska we have the Eskimo–Indian Olympics, where the games involve strength, endurance, balance, and agility – all necessary for survival in such a harsh environment. Along with friendly competition, they have also provided the circumpolar villages with an opportunity for dancing and story telling as a community. The hosts provide food and lodging, and the visitors bring news from surrounding villages and the opportunity to strengthen friendships.

Similar to a freediving competition isn’t it?

In that context No Limits represents one of many categories within the freediving community of the world, with deep roots in our history. Divers have been using ballast to descend quickly to depth for ages - it was a way of life for them. Time and technology change, but the essence of No Limits and every other category of freediving remains the same.

I see training, whether for competition or world records, as a means to an end - to enhance my way of life as a freediver. In that respect No Limits has brought us a wealth of information on freediving physiology, including blood-shift and thoracic filling, as well as cardiac arrhythmia’s under extreme pressure. I have deep respect for all that have gone before us, expanding the frontiers of our knowledge.

While No Limits has been deemed to dangerous for sanctioned competition, it is still a sport per se.


PS I hope this doesn't sound too much like the Discovery Channel! :eek:
fabrice said:
I had the chance to do some no-limits dive while meeting Loic Leferme and also in the channel. While i'm a big fan of CW, the truth is that no limits produces really different sensations, and this is very pleasant.

I also did no-limits last year... it is very pleasant and relaxing...

but you have o pay a lot of attention to your ears...
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