Record attempt moved from December 27 to April 2010

 
 

Well, it has been a while since our last update after returning from Turkey. And unfortunately, the news is that we have decided to postpone the record attempt, not cancel it, just postpone it. Instead of December 27th, the new date will be somewhere around end of March or early April next year, and i want to explain the reasons for this decision to all those who have been following our progress and wishing me well for these many months. The reasons are several, so I will explain them one by one.

First, Bodrum. This is a sensitive subject, something I thought I would not talk about, but in the end, it is a very big reason of why I chose to postpone the record so I need to let it out in the open. The city of Bodrum is a great place for diving events, with clean, deep water very close to shore, and many dive boats to choose from. It is also large enough that any type of manufacturing, construction and repair services are available, all things that are essential for a diving record. Yes, things constantly need to be fixed, rebuilt, replaced and repaired when dealing with the custom made equipment we have. There is also an international airport less than an hour away from the city. Lastly, there are a multitude of hotels to choose from when looking for accommodations for a large team of people. Bodrum is also the place where I did my first record 10 years ago, on November 7th 1999, and where I have many dear friends that are ready to help me whenever needed. But the fact of the matter is that, besides those good people, who are very rare, the prevailing attitudes in Bodrum are bad. Ever since we started this project I’ve encountered nothing but negative and unfriendly attitudes there, and this became frustrating enough that I’ve been thinking about canceling the record several times. Bodrum is a “happening” place, a party two, full of bars, clubs, wealthy Turks looking for a good time and tourists looking for things to spend their money on. And it seems like everybody will only do anything if they are paid, and paid a lot, otherwise, they will not move a finger for you. Every time I went somewhere in need of something, everybody tried to charge me triple what the item was worth, just because I have a big sponsor and I am famous. Then there was a municipality that agreed to provide certain things for me, some of which they delivered, some not completely, and some not at all. Then there was the hotel management personnel that thought it was easier to charge me, and charge me a ridiculous amount, for a few rooms for my team and myself in December, instead of providing it as a hospitality sponsor and reap the rich rewards that come with that. But of course, charging me is easy and takes nothing, sponsoring me means they need to work at promoting the event and getting what they want out of it. A very sad thing dealing with all these “professionals”, the definition of the Bodrum attitude. I’ve set records in other countries, all of which have treated me with far more respect and decency than Bodrum. So, it all came to a point late last week where we were still trying to negotiate and reason with all these people, less than a month away from the record attempt, and there was no way that I could accept their demands. So, very sadly, I decided to contacted the people of the place where I wanted to go all along, Kas. A very small place without some of the conveniences of Bodrum, but full of people with a “can do” attitude and helpful, honest demeanors that still embody the spirit of the Mediterranean. I’m sure I will be very happy there and I will do whatever it takes to make the event a promotional success for them.

Second, the Video team. Besides me, my team is usually composed of another 12 to 15 persons, all of whom are very important not only to the success of the operation but also to me personally. Now, through Aquaclub Diving School, we had secured the participation of a team of 7 safety divers who were with us during the last training period in Bodrum. They proved to be excellent and I’m very happy with them, and they were all ready for December. So although the safety divers are the most important part of the team, there are other people who play a crucial role. The Video Team is one of them. One thing that has helped me a lot in securing big sponsorship contracts is the fact that I’ve been able to give my sponsors very high quality, high impact images of all my records, in a way that promotes the sport in all its amazing glory, myself as an athlete and their products. I have gone further by being able to give sponsors the possibility to broadcast my dives on Live television if they so wish. This is very important and something not many freedivers understand, because after all, good exposure is what a sponsor wants, and without great images, there is not great exposure. I was lucky from the start in that Rudi also owned a video production company, so he always made me understand the value of images and he provided the services of his company for free for my first record. And when I saw what professional video can do for me, then I understood that I would never do a record without a professional video crew by my side to help me capture these images. And sadly, due to the delays causing us to not secure important details on time our “A-team” of videographers had to accept other jobs and we had only the B-team available for this event. My main sponsor, Turkcell, is the kind of company with the resources to really put these images out there, so it would have been a waste if I couldn’t deliver the best possible results I had promised. So not having the ideal team was another factor that contributed to our decision.

Third, judges. I always did my records under the FREE organization, one of the 3 major organizations in the world that verify world records, but the smallest of the 3 because of how strict their rules are and how expensive it is to do a record under FREE if you follow all their procedures. Going further from that, I’ve always requested that my records be verified by the most experienced judges within FREE, people who are known in the world of diving for their integrity and professionalism. This time it was no different, I called FREE and they informed their judges. But several of their experienced judges could not come either, and the options left presented me with a dilemma. Some of the judges available were of Turkish nationality, and although nobody doubts their integrity, I didn’t want the world to say things like “of course a Turkish judge will ratify the record of a Turkish athlete” or things to that effect. The other available judges are people who are openly my friends, and again, I would prefer to eliminate any notions of favoritism. Now, I don’t want this to be mistaken for a lack of confidence in the abilities of the available FREE judges, after all, FREE is an organization that has such high standards that those who qualify as a judge, are truly worthy of the distinction in every way. And there are in fact so very few people that have qualified to become FREE judges, that it is impossible to “choose” among them, since as opposed to organizations that have hundreds of judges, FREE has less than 20. But I always want to be judged in the hardest possible way, the way that leaves no room for any doubts, and right now, this was not the case. I know that I was not going to feel completely comfortable with judges whom are very close to me personally, and maybe I shouldn’t worry about this, but I do. And although this would not have been enough reason in itself to postpone the record, when added to the other factors, it becomes an important element.

So, it was going to be impossible for us to transfer everything to Kas on time and be ready to start on our planned date of december 10th, and that, together with the lack of members of our video team and some of the senior judges at FREE, were the factors that made it obvious we need to wait a few more months. This was a difficult decision, I’ve trained for many months for this record and both Rudi and I feel that I’m ready, but we’ve never made rash decisions, and with so many factors against our original December time frame, it would have been illogical not to move the dates forward just a bit. Then, we considered doing it earlier, but January, February and the first half of March are really bad months in the Turkish Mediterranean, with very cold, dirty water and stormy weather every week, and it is only at the end of March that conditions start to improve, and that’s why we had to postpone for a full 3 months. Before I close this subject, I want to thank the few people and organizations in Bodrum that treated me so splendidly. The Bodrum Hospital, which provided me with health checkups and medical attention and was ready for December. Erman Akarsu, from Erman Dive Center, an old friend who helped make things happen there without asking for anything and others like Kenan or Neda. I also want to thank Turkcell, who has been very patient and understanding about all these obstacles, and who is ready to make the record attempt a success as much in April as they were now for December. My agent Nehir, who has suffered through all these setbacks together with us and who now has unenviable job of continuing to organize things for another 3 months. And all the friends and family that were waiting for us to resume a life together with them and who now will have to wait just a little longer. And thanks to all the unknown friends that through this website and Facebook send me good wishes every day, their energy keeps me strong. All I can say is that, provided I can stay healthy, I will make this record happen come next year.

7 Responses to “Record attempt moved from December 27 to April 2010”

  1. [...] spring 2010 for various organisatory reasons. More details about it can be found on her website: Record attempt moved from December 27 to April 2010 Yasemin Dalkilic Though, the most interesting information in the article is that the attempt is to be done under [...]

  2. Ivo Truxa says:

    Sorry to hear about the troubles, Yasemin. But do not worry, we will wait patiently and holding our breath until your record, crossing our fingers for you.

    Well, I’d prefer sending this text privately, but did not find any contact form or email address anywhere here on the website. Feel free to remove the rest of the comment if you feel it inappropriate for the website.

    One thing surprises me (although I have to admit I expected it) – that you are going to have the record sanctioned by F.R.E.E. Frankly told in the community, or in world press we never hear about F.R.E.E., and when asked in the community (for example on the forum at http://DeeperBlue.com), people thought it was abandoned. The original domain name divefree.com died too (though I found that a new name divingfree.org was later used for it). No new records were under F.R.E.E. since 2004. No competitions organized. No international network of national federations. And apparently not a lot of judges remaining from the old times, so you have trouble to get some. And even if those remaining did not sanction any record since many years, so in every other sport they would already have lost their qualification for a world ranked event in the meantime.

    OK, the CMAS cannot be taken seriously in freediving either – the only discipline the International CMAS recognizes is dynamic with fins (DYN – or EAHI under FREE), and the controversary and dangerous “cube”. International CMAS recognizes no depth disciplines, no statics, and no no-fins (unassisted) disciplines. Some national branches of CMAS do, but that’s not sufficient for organizing a world record.

    I suppose that your relations with AIDA were not that good, but you should know that in the years you were away from freediving, the organization really evolved. There are several thousands of freediving competitors organized in under over 40 of national AIDA branches. There are hundreds of instructors and judges. AIDA organizes each year many tens of competitions, and there is each year at least one World Championship. Sometimes two separate ones for pool and depth disciplines, like it was this year – Indoor WCh in Aarhus with over 120 competitors, and the depth WCh that just runs now in Dean’s Blue Hole in Bahamas. Each year AIDA sanctions numerous world records, and countless national records. Since the founding of AIDA, it sanctioned certainly far over hundreds world records (perhaps even several hundreds).

    The rules, safety procedures, and technical protocols for competitions and records evolved too, so I am not so sure that you claim that the F.R.E.E. rules are the strictest ones, can be still taken seriously. AIDA cares not only about just and equal conditions for athletes, about their safety, and technical aspects of the attempts, it also tries keeping the sport clean by performing anti-doping testing, which I do not see mandatory under F.R.E.E. rules.

    So from this point of view doing such an amazing performance like you plan to do, without having it sanctioned by the only federation that organizes world record attempts seriously in these days, and not having so your F.R.E.E. record listed in the tables of AIDA, is a big mistake. Although you may not like it, I am afraid that F.R.E.E. is no more any reference in the freediving world. Every media report will refer to AIDA record tables, no one will look after those of F.R.E.E. that did not change since 2004. Your sponsors would get much stronger exposure if you were listed in the record table of AIDA, than just being recognized by F.R.E.E. (equal to Rudi). This in no way critics of F.R.E.E. – in its time it was indeed superior in several ways. Unfortunately, F.R.E.E. missed the train of the development of the sport, just hibernated and did not evolve. Although AIDA is not perfect, it is today the only association that organizes education, safety, competitions, and records seriously. By ignoring them, you shoot yourself (and especially your sponsors) in the feet.

  3. Hi Yasemin,

    First of all , good luck with your worldrecord attempt after fighting and surviving such a hirrible desease. Amazing respect !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Second , I have been to Kas and loved the place and the enormous kindness of the people there and great example of real Turkish hospitality, so i can only be happy for your decision to move to Kas instead of the tourist invested and corrupted Bodrum .

    Third and final, I hope you follow Ivo’s recommendation to get AIDA involved in your record attempt. This way you will get the respect and recognition you deserve from the complete freediving community, which has grown very large and active over the last years. I myself am Apnea Academy Instructor but also Apnea Academy (in itself a gigantic although mainly Italian based organisation) has by now a very good relation and cooperation with AIDA in the area of organizing competitions or even hosting AIDA competitions. The freediving world is not big enough for lots of subdevisions and cooperation only brings positive thins to our beoved sport.

    Good luck and greeting from the Netherlands and please say hi to Belma and Altug from Kas Explorers dive center from me.

  4. Kars says:

    Sounds like a very rational decision, good preparations and luck for march!

    On the AIDA issue, maybe your problems were due to some of the people in the organisation, or some of the policies, regulations or some other. But though there is still a lot of things to be improved, you may now find friendly ears, willing to help you out, and adopt some of your ideas. – I love to learn what your and Rudie’s philosophy is on freediving, competition, education and organisation.

    On the other hand a working, living, growing F.R.E.E. competing, offering an alternative to CMAS and AIDA, AA, is also very healthy for the sport we all so love and has given us so much.

    Love, Courage and Water,

    Kars

  5. Yasemin Dalkilic says:

    Dear friends,
    Thanks for your very nice and encouraging words. Regarding AIDA this is a bit of a tough subject. I do agree that subdivisions in freediving is not good and I’d also like it if this could be avoided. But my problems with AIDA is far beyond personal issues.

    Besides some minor procedures I disagree with, there are 3 major issues with AIDA rules that are unacceptable to me and I don’t feel like they are going to change. Since when we were very active years ago and had all the energy and motivation to fight about these things I did nothing but waste our time, so I don’t have much confidence that things now will be different.

    1- The fact that there are no safety divers required. I disagree about this putting the safety divers in danger, there are a lot of very good divers out there that can perform a safety job safely. I think that there are way too many parameters that need to be perfect for the counter ballast system to work properly and I don’t believe it’s a reliable safety system. And particularly with the variable ballast categories due to the sled on the line, the huge amount of weight required to keep the line straight. The sled, the weight of sled, thick line and the bottom weight making it close to impossible for counter ballast to work.

    2- The fact that there is no bottom judge or a camera required to observe what the freediver does midwater. Bottom camera sees only a few meters from the bottom at best. With no disrespect to any of the freedivers that may or may not have done world records before, nobody knows during unassisted or constant ballast dives if this diver was at any point pulling on the line or violating any rules in mid water.

    3- The fact that the surface procedures are subective. I do agree that the organizations should not promote this sport being done with sambas. But there has to be a very clear line drawn between a good or a bad performance without that being left for the judges to be decided on how many nods the freediver did or some big wave hitting the freedivers face that can be mistaken for the freediver sinking the head below the surface. With these procedures or with those of FREE or CMAS the freedivers will push themselves same amount, some having sambas, some blacking out and some not. Years ago we used to discuss how this is similar to pole vault, that the athlete can hit the bar, it can bounce around but if it doesn’t fall the performance is good. It has to be crisp clear what the freediver has to do on surfacing no matter how, and as long as the task is done the performance has to be good. Otherwise i believe that it’s unfair that different judges may make different decisions on performances and I’ve witnessed too many cases where these procedures caused unfair decisions.

    Lastly, there are nice suunto watches out there down to 100 meters and Eric Fattah’s excellent computer that goes beyond that, that gives beautiful graphs of the whole dive. Why don’t all athletes that set records provide this. This has nothing to do with rules/procedures, but several times I’ve demanded to see graphs of dives from freedivers either there is no such thing, they refuse or even sent a graph from a different dive once, calling it an “honest mistake” but never sent the right graph anyway.

    It’s a shame that I’ll go to a depth deeper than any record done before and not have it verified by AIDA as well, but I’ve fought a tough war for 10 years for my principles, for what I believe is right for freediving, nothing made any difference and I’m gonna have to keep doing what I do. We’ll be using Eric’s watch to get several different graphs of the dive, I’ll have videos covering all depths, reputable judges and be in peace with myself that I promoted the sport I love in the way I believe is right.

    Safe dives,

    Yasemin Dalkilic

  6. RUDI says:

    Hi Jas,
    don’t worry, you are strong and will reach your target..!
    I was searching for your record, and found this article. Please contact me.
    A great hug to you and all your team.

    bests

    Rudi