An all Turkish diving team for the first time!


At the beginning of 2008, after having heard a lot about his successful dive center and his experience in technical diving, I started corresponding with Asutay Akbayir on facebook. This correspondence led to him offering to do a freediving course through his Aquaclub Dive Center. And so, on June 2008, the course took place, with me teaching the theory and pool portions at Aquaclub’s excellent facilities in Ankara and then doing the dive training in Bodrum, using Motif Diving’s dive boat. This is when I first met Asutay in person and I was very impressed with his passion, energy and professionalism.

Up until that point, duet to the lack of infrastructure and experience for deep diving in Turkey, both in freediving and scuba, I was used to taking care of every little detail in all of our training, record dives and courses by myself. It was the only way to make sure that things got done properly, but it also meant that these events were very tiring and consuming for me. So you’ll imagine my happiness during that course, when for the first time ever, I didn’t have to do anything else besides teaching. Asutay and his team looked after every little detail, from scheduling to the most important of all, in-water safety, and everything functioned like clockwork. Also, I was pleased to notice that despite his very busy schedule with scuba courses, tours and voluntary work as the founder of the Underwater Search and Rescue team, Asutay was genuinely passionate about freediving, which gave this cooperation a very professional result . After the course’s completion, I realized that, for the first time, I had found a dive operator in Turkey capable of handling all the complexities of a world record attempt completely by himself, without the need for me to bring international experts from abroad, as I had done until then. So I knew that if I ever went back to diving for records, I had the perfect candidate as my diving support provider in Aquaclub.

And then, a year later, after accepting the invitation from the Turkish prime minister to come back to diving to promote Turkey, I immediately thought of Asutay. But before that, I had to convince my trainer and partner, Rudi Castineyra, that this record could be done with an all Turkish crew. Rudi is the most experienced freediving event organizer in the world, having been involved in more than 30 world record attempts in all capacities, from safety diver, trainer and organizer to judge. He has also pioneered the majority of the rules, procedures and guidelines by which freediving records get organized and judged, and he insists on working absolutely with the best people there are in the world, so he did not share my enthusiasm about an all Turkish crew. For Rudi, only those qualified 300% to do a job should perform that job. And still, after carefully studying the credentials of Asutay and the team at Aquaclub, Rudi gave his approval to use them as our Exclusive Diving Support Provider for the record attempt!

With Aquaclub's owner Asutay Akbayir

With Aquaclub's owner Asutay Akbayir

It might be easy to overlook the importance of the diving support team in a freediving record, since it is the freediver who gets all the glory, but it is those 20 persons that organize everything, implement all needed protocols and ensure the safety standards at all times. With a good team behind me, all I need to worry about is my training, knowing that I will be safe at all times. And this is why the diving support team is, in my opinion, the most important part of the equation when it comes to a record dive. Until the record day, whenever I dive, the divers from Aquaclub will follow me along the descent from surface to bottom, with Asutay himself assuming the duties of deepest safety diver, meeting me at the record depth. So I’m very much looking forward to my first record with an all Turkish team and the support of the Turkish Government. I believe this will be a milestone development for Turkish technical diving, so let’s go Turkey! Until the record date Asutay will be sharing his preparations and thoughts in our Return to the Depths blog site.

For more information about Aquaclub Dive Center visit

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