About freediving organizations and verification policies

 
 

Due to the very construction and informative replies received from readers in regards to the issue of the organization that will be called to verify my record, I have opened this new thread to discuss these issues.

4 Responses to “About freediving organizations and verification policies”

  1. admin says:

    BY IVO TRUXA. Added by yasemindalkilic.com

    Hello Yasemin,

    First of all many thanks for answering my comments on your blog. And then of course, the best of my wishes for your attempt.

    I tried posting this comment on your blog, but it looks like the comments stopped working – I am unable to post there, but I saw you’ve put your email address on the main page, so am sending my comment in this way.

    I value your opinion very much, but you should really realize that 6 years is a long time. A lot of things completely changed, and AIDA evolved radically since the time you know it. I am afraid you are not right in any of your points, and just misjudging AIDA. To your comments:

    1) Scuba safety divers are definitely not forbidden under current AIDA rules, and counter balance is not a mandatory safety system. Please read for example the paragraph 4.1.6 of the rules at http://www.aida-international.org/aspportal1/scripts/aida%20regulations%20-%20v12.pdf

    4.1.6
    The organizer will ensure that the safety divers are equipped with the necessary materials in order to implement a rapid resurfacing of the athlete with the aforementioned wristband without having to resurface alongside the athlete experiencing difficulty. Scuba divers must carry an additional liftbag system that will allow the scuba divers to lift the athlete and/or competition line independent of the action of the counterbalance system. If a counter ballast is employed, there must be an additional system in place to have a redundant lift available (i.e. fully equipped scuba divers at the surface).

    2) Have a look at these paragraphs:
    3.4.1.3
    In depth disciplines, a bottom camera is mandatory for all performances exceeding the current World Record

    3.5.12.1
    • images of the athlete’s arrival at the attempted depth, at least 30 seconds before and 30 seconds after the athlete’s arrival at depth
    • if applicable the camera views must be such that the tags are visible.

    3.5.12.3
    For disciplines using a sled:
    • If the system used has air bottles/containers/compartments it is mandatory to have additional images from a video camera placed on the sled filming the athlete, at least 1 minute before the start of the attempt and 1 minute after the athlete dismounts the sled.

    … and there is much more on videos

    3) The surface protocol at AIDA changed a few years ago – you either do it or don’t. Unlike at CMAS, it is not the judge who decides whether you shake too much or not. You are only not allowed to blackout, and must complete the requested protocol tasks. Please read more about the surface protocol in the chapter 3.1.17 of the rules

    4) Diving profiles from record attempts are being routinely published on the website of AIDA, usually in the next few hours or maximally days after the dive. Have a look at couple of the last ones here:
    http://www.aida-international.org/aspportal1/scripts/nitsch120mcwt.jpg
    http://www.aida-international.org/aspportal1/scripts/trubridge88mcnf(1).jpg
    http://www.aida-international.org/aspportal1/scripts/nitsch109fim.jpg
    http://www.aida-international.org/aspportal1/scripts/nitsch114wr.jpg
    http://www.aida-international.org/aspportal1/scripts/96mwr.jpg

    AIDA also works closely together with the best scientist doing research in freediving physiology, which helps us understanding many open questions better, and which also helps the federation creating better safety guidelines. Have a look for example at the sled diving safety guide lines. Perhaps there is nothing you do not know, but in any case, it is an important document and you should make sure you go through even if you are perfectly familiar with all of the facts stated there.

    http://www.aida-international.org/aspportal1/scripts/aida%20guidelines%20for%20sled%20diving.pdf

    Then you should also know that currently the international Assembly of AIDA will vote new Executive Board, new President, and new commission members. So although, as you can see, AIDA already evolved to a much better organization than it used to be, we all hope that with the new leadership, many more things will change and improve. If you or Rudi wish to continue contributing to the development of freediving, to better rules, and more safety, this is the opportunity for you to have heard your opinions. Why not applying for the post of the AIDA President, or one of the technical or educational officers? You could influence the sport much better than through the resurrected F.R.E.E. association, and you would become even a much more important part of the history of freediving, than you already are. And I am pretty sure everyone in the community would welcome you warmly, and be glad to have you with us!

    Whatever you decide, wishing you best luck and firm health!!!

    Ivo Truxa
    http://APNEA.cz

  2. Yasemin Dalkilic says:

    Hi Ivo,

    I don’t know what’s up with the blog. Maybe it has a limit for the amount of text there, we all wrote plenty :-) In case it helps I started a new post there and took the liberty of posting your mail there. I hope you don’t mind, I thought it would be nice for anybody wondering to be able to have access to these discussions.

    And thanks again for all your encouraging words and taking the time to write all these things which does give me hope. I would like you to know that I’m not just being stubborn about AIDA, I wish things can be different and I’m open to opinions and ready to change my mind about this if possible. When I saw your message I went to their website and downloaded all the new rules and regulations to see what has changed.

    Let me answer to couple of points you mention:

    1) I believe the scuba divers and/or a proven working system should be mandatory, otherwise almost no freediver wants to have safety as it costs too much money and when accidents happen it’s terrible for the sport. It also sets a very bad example for those out there wanting to go deep, thinking it’s ok to do it without proper safety. I know so many people in Turkey or the Greek islands around nowadays, that get motivated to go very deep (10 years ago people used to see great depths as a bigger deal than it is now as you must have also noticed) and they do it all by themselves and you can’t believe how many freedivers have died in the last 2-3 years because they do it unsafely. So I do know AIDA doesn’t forbid safety, my problem is that they don’t require it.

    2) I read all these rules as well, and my problem remains. An unassisted freediver diving to 90 meters, the bottom camera covers at most last 10-15 meters. And surface freedivers are seeing at most the 30 meters and with low visibility conditions not even that, how do we know between these depths the freediver is not pulling on the line. And more of this problem for somebody diving to 122 meters, it would be an amazing help if the diver pulled for 20-30 meters somewhere in the middle and nobody watching this.

    3) The part on 3.1.17 sounds good and clear and promising. What gets me thinking that it’s the same old scenario I remember years ago is the part in 3.1.14.2 This still is subjective. Maybe they should make the tasks in 3.1.17 more complicated, longer etc etc. but there should always be clear tasks to perform and that’s the end of it I think. And that’s not how it is right now still because of this other point.

    4) Thanks for sending these. I always find it very interesting and helpful to get an idea about the different ways athletes approach the activity, to see the performances of different record holder divers on a graph. We also use graphs a lot, both for our trainings and for our courses and think it’s a very important and helpful tool. Is there a link on aida’s site i can find more of these?

    Regarding the guidelines on AIDA’s page, I did read these the other day. Good and helpful information, I’m glad they are putting it up.

    Fighting about these things years ago have tired me so much that I’ve promised myself to never bother and waste my time again. When I came back for this record as not ideal as it may sound I told myself that I didn’t wanna be a part of any freediving event or any discussion, just make the best of the opportunity given to me to do a deep dive again which I enjoy very much. But then again here I am discussing things with you and since you put things nicely I did take the time to go to AIDA’s site and read plenty of things. So I’ll think about it…

    Thanks again, and I wish you safe dives!

    Yasemin Dalkilic

  3. Ivo Truxa says:

    Yasemin,

    I am very glad you continue answering our comments, proving that your mind is not closed. And you should stay assured that so is it for AIDA too. As you could see yourself, the organization, and its rules evolve, and now after the earthquake at AIDA’s headquarters, and the new coming elections, we can expect many more big changes. I do agree with you that more changes are needed. And it would be marvelous if you, together with Rudi, participated on making them happen.

    I do not want to dispute with you, or putting in doubts your great experience and opinions, but let me comment on your notes, highlighting some problems, and explaining why your wishes are complicated:

    1) AIDA rules define the level of safety, and the level of safety redundancy, but I do not think they should specify only a single mandatory safety system for all dives. The conditions and possibilities vary, and it is up to the organizer and the diver to select the safety system best fitting their situation. In many cases using scuba divers is not only prohibitively expensive, but often it adds more risks then safety. If using bottom scuba divers were mandatory, we could forget about World Championships in depth disciplines. For example, in the WC finals yesterday on Bahamas, all male divers exceeded 100m, and four of them went to 110m or deeper. You could not have a diver sitting at the bottom plate during all that time. It is simply technically impossible, unless you can afford paying an armada of tech divers taking the relay.

    And the depth at record attempts is even significantly deeper today. 122 meters at constant weight, 140m at Variable Weight, or 214m at No Limits – those are already depths requiring a quite advanced technical diving. And I do not even speak about the planned No Limits dive of Herbert Nitsch to 300m – you can completely forget about a tech diver providing security at the bottom plate there.

    I do not quite agree with your statement of “many divers who died in the last 2-3 years”. There was actually not a single casualty at AIDA organized competitions or record attempts. The only known death since the accident of Audrey Mestre, is the one of Loic Leferme, who died during a training NLT dive to 171m. In his case, indeed technical problem hindered early rescue, but as we saw in Audrey’s case, a tech diver won’t necessarily manage to safe the life anyway. In fact to my knowledge, in the history, there were more tech safety divers fatal accidents at freediving events, than those of freedivers. From this point of view, using the counter balance or other safety systems indeed means saving lives.

    We could go on disputing which system is safer for ages without any clear conclusion. The only thing that remains clear is that imposing one or another system may bring more problems, more cost, and more risks, than letting it up to the organizers and their conditions to assure the best safety, using the resources they have.

    BTW, there are some details about diverse safety concepts, including scuba divers, specified in this document: http://www.aida-international.org/aspportal1/scripts/v1.1-eng.pdf

    2) Well, pulling is no issue at the discipline of your coming record attempt. At constant weight, all present safety freedivers are also trained and certified as judges, or judge assistants. Present safety scuba divers or cameramen are also trained as judge assistants. The depths of the first safety freedivers often exceeds 40m or even considerably more. Adding the visibility range, the bottom camera, and scuba cameramen who are present at every record attempt, the possibility for cheating is very limited. Besides it, a judge senses the line, and if he/she feels any pulling, the diver is disqualified. And finally, the pulling would be very well visible on the diving profile.

    Still, I do agree with you that making a mid-depth scuba diver, or an automated camera system mandatory, would make sense. This is one of things that can be discussed, and can change if there are enough voices requiring it. As I wrote, you are invited and very welcome to participate in forming the future and better AIDA. Right now, these very days, when elections are being organized, it is the best time to jump in.

    3) Yes, I do agree with you on the topic of PBMM (Pos-Blackout Mechanical Movements), and I criticized it myself – for example here:
    http://forums.deeperblue.com/general-freediving/84074-discussion-surface-protocol.html
    http://forums.deeperblue.com/general-freediving/84055-surface-protocol-changes-needed.html

    Still, the space for subjective judging, abuse or manipulations is very limited (compared to the situation a few years ago), and applies only to athletes who are very likely in serious problems anyway. However, opinions from the community, and even from the rows of AIDA officials, let feel that we can expect some changes in the right direction. I suggested limiting the support (banning hanging or laying on the support with your body) to make the SP impossible under heavy LMC or BO.

    4) Unfortunately there is no consequent central place where you could find all profiles: typically they appear in the news post about the record, on the website of AIDA-International. Some of them are linked directly from the record pages (listed at http://www.aida-international.org/), but you will find some of them only with some additional browsing, or googling. For example here:
    http://images.google.com/images?q=site:www.aida-international.org
    This is certainly something that needs to be improved, but it is more of an organization and technical issue, and no hiding by purpose. I am pretty sure that you will get the profiles you are interested in, and do not find, if you ask AIDA directly.

    I know you were fighting about diverse issues, and may feel tired or frustrated. But you should also acknowledge that your fight was not fruitless. As you can see, other people continued in it, and the association improved greatly since that time. You have to realize also that AIDA is today a huge federation with almost 50 national branches, with thousands of competitors, and organizing many dozens of competitions each year. Hence the process of evolution is necessarily slow, painful, and full of compromises, and cannot always satisfy all involved parties to 100%. That’s the price of democracy. It would be sad though, if every party who is not satisfied with the current state abandoned the process, and started their own system built to their ideas. That’s not a good solution, on my mind.

    On the other hand, I do agree with Kars, that having a healthy concurrent for AIDA is not necessarily bad. The question though is whether F.R.E.E. really intends to be a competitor to AIDA, and will start organizing competitions, national federations, education, publicity, etc, etc. worldwide, or whether it was just resurrected with the purpose to sanction this record attempt.

    As I already wrote, whatever your choice is, we all wish you great success, and are excited about seeing you back at freediving!

    Ivo