The politics of freediving: Points of contention with the AIDA rules, Part 1

 
 

Well, finally I’ve had to do it, get back into the politics of freediving, I must be crazy or love to suffer, or maybe this is an early symptom of mental disease now that I’m over 40 years of age :-) But, there have been some very good, respectful and constructive comments from people like Ivo Truxa, whereas at the same time I’ve been privately corresponding with Grant Graves, so I felt that adding my voice to this discussion would contribute some needed elements. In particular, we’re talking about the reasons why Yasemin has chosen not to request AIDA verification for her upcoming record attempt, and where we see fundamental differences and flaws between our way of doing things and that of AIDA. Since addressing all these points at once would make for a very, very long post, I will address different points over different parts of this post. Part 1 will deal with one of the most important issues of the AIDA system, the Surface Protocol, or what must the diver do when arriving at the surface to earn the approval from the judges and claim the depth he/she has just emerged from.

Surface Protocol or SP. The issue of blackout or LMC (Loss of Motor Control, also known as Samba) has always been a point of contention for AIDA. For practical purposes, I will refer to either blackout or LMC as ODI (Oxygen Depravation Incident). The belief that allowing any signs or symptoms of ODI is bad for the sport has been at the core of AIDA philosophy for many years. Of course, I agree that such incidents cause many deaths every year among freedivers worldwide, and that organizations should lead the way in fighting the mindsets and attitudes that lead to unsafely pushing the limits, resulting in ODI’s and then in deaths or accidents. But I have said it many times, this should happen through education and training, since these 99% of these deaths happen among the uneducated freedivers that spearfish for sustenance or people who casually practice freediving without any knowledge. These accidents are almost non-existent among deep, competitive freedivers, and thus but imposing those views onto competitive activities is counter-productive. Surface Protocols should first and foremost be based on the premise that the divers are emerging from a drastic performance that has most likely pushed them to their very limits, so exhibiting signs of LMC is a likely natural outcome, not anything to be ashamed of. If an athlete complies with the SP, whether he’s under the effects of LMC or not, then he’s clear. The SP should be demanding enough (IN A LOGICAL WAY) that performing it is all the athlete needs, regardless of whether his head is shaking “out of control” or whatever. Again, these are subjective factors left to the interpretation to the judges, and this is and has always been UNACCEPTABLE. Further to this, the SP should be designed in a way that prioritizes the athlete’s safety, such as allowing them to use a surface float for support, but making the SP harder, such as eliminating the use of such support just to make things hard enough that the SP cannot be accomplished under LMC is, again, the wrong way of doing things. This is like adding a hurdle at the end of the 100 meter sprint in athletism, just to make sure the sprinters arrive at the end of the race with plenty of power left. AIDA needs to get over this obsession with LMC and try to prevent them or hide them from the world and accept, once and for all, that this is the world’s most difficult sport, and that just as runners get cramps on their legs and boxers get swollen eyes, freedivers get LMC and unfortunately blackouts sometimes. This is what happens when a physically demanding activity is performed without oxygen. Let us just implement safety rules that protect divers quickly and effectively when ODI’s happen and move on. But I will emphasize this one more time: THE SAFETY AND WELL BEING OF THE ATHLETES WHEN THEY SURFACE ARE FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN SUPPRESSING ODI OCCURRENCES. And I’ll say this again also: those who are awarded a world record while suffering from clear LMC upon surfacing will likely not be able to dive much deeper than that, so a process of natural selection comes into play here. But pretending that LMC or blackout should not happen when these people are diving more than 100 meters in almost every category is a ridiculous notion. What is a logical SP in my view?

1- Clearly define the limits of the performance. The dive starts at the surface and ends at the surface. Just as the performance starts when the diver plunges underwater, it should end when the diver emerges from underwater. The diver should return to the same point he departed from, in this case the surface. What constitutes returning to “the surface”? Being able to keep his airways open to airflow, meaning, both mouth and nose are out of the water, since this is what allows him to breathe, and breathing signals the end of an apnea performance. Upon returning to the surface, the diver has to complete the SP with his mouth and nose out of the water at all times. Obviously, if a wave hits him on the surface, this does not break the rule. Now, if the diver suffers from a mild ODI that still allows him to remain in control to keep his mouth and nose out of the water, regardless of much he shakes or not, this is acceptable, plain and simple.

2- Acceptable Help. The diver should perform the dive completely under his own means, with no help whatsoever, except for whatever equipment is allowed under the regulations. However, immediately after emerging from the water, as soon as the diver’s nose and mouth are in contact with the air, the diver should be allowed to use a flotation device for support, since he is also allowed to use such a device before starting the dive. Encouraging divers to use such devices, and to use them immediately upon emerging from the water, is very important from a safety standpoint, since these devices save lives, while forbidding the use these devices is unsafe and sends out the wrong message. If the diver is strong enough to climb onto this device, he can complete the SP with the help of the device, regardless of whether he suffers from LMC or not.

3- Allowable Time for Completion. The first and only concern when a diver returns to the surface should be to breathe, and do it in a way that allows him to recover from the oxygen depletion and fatigue of the dive. This is the element of Recovery. Different divers recover at different rates, so implementing a ridiculously short time to complete the SP is, again, unacceptable. 15 seconds is an unacceptably short time. Under my training system, for example, divers are required to perform 5 recovery breaths as soon as they break the surface, without even removing face gear, prioritizing their recovery, and most importantly, their safety. These breaths can take anywhere from 25 to 45 seconds, so we should increase the time for completion for the SP to a logical time that allows divers to properly recover without compromising their safety by rushing to deliver a tag or having to talk in loud voice. FREE allows 1 minute for completion of SP, but a shorter time is also acceptable, however, less than 30 seconds instills the wrong priorities in the divers’ minds. So long as they keep their nose and mouth out of the water while recovering, it should be ok for the SP to be 30 to 60 seconds. 15 seconds is too short and it is clearly established to limit the possibility of LMC. Proper Safety standards are far more important than avoiding LMC.

Now, most of the basic foundations for a proper SP are already in place at AIDA, except that the judges are allowed to disqualify the performance if they observe elements of LMC. So we’re back to the same place we were many years ago. To us, the most important thing is to implement rules that give priority to safety and that encourage safety as a mindset among divers, such as allowing them to take enough time to recover and to use flotation devices as needed. As long as AIDA continues to make ODI’s a defining factor within their implementation of SP, then their rules will remain to the interpretation of the judges. This is simply not a risk we want to take.

35 Responses to “The politics of freediving: Points of contention with the AIDA rules, Part 1”

  1. Ivo Truxa says:

    Hello Rudi,

    Thanks for participating in the discussion. It is very much appreciated.

    First of all let me clear some of misunderstandings. Under AIDA rules, LMC is not forbidden. There is the surface protocol, and if you manage doing it even with heavy LMC, you get a white card, regardless how much you shake. What is not allowed, is a complete black out. Using of floats or other support is also allowed.

    And the support is indeed a problem, though rather only at pool disciplines, than in open water. At pool disciplines, you can sometimes see competitors completing their dive, doing quickly the protocol, clinching themselves on the pool side, or float line, or completely laying on them, and then blacking out. Yes, then there is still the paragraph about the PBMM (Post Blackout Mechanical Movement) – I emphasize that the PBMM is not LMC. You can shake as much as you want as long as you complete the protocol, and do not black out.

    PBMM is clinically relatively easily detectable movement that you do already when you pass out. However, sometimes competitors manage to clinch or position them so well, that the judge cannot see the movement, or the movement is blocked by the position. And besides it, it is still subjective – some judges don’t care, others are picky. This is the reason I suggested that we should get rid of the PBMM rule. But in the same time approving the record when the competitor is BO, is not what most of us want (though I see you do not belong in this group – but let’s speak about it later). This is exactly why I suggested that using the support for laying on it, or clinching on it should be limited. I proposed that the competitor can only hold it, or repose only limited part of the body (i.e. arms), which is normally more than sufficient. This was my personal and unofficial proposal on the DeeprBlue forum, and I doubt it will be ever considered by AIDA.

    The real problem is not whether we allow LMC or BO, or not. The real problem is the objectivity, and same conditions for everyone, so that we can compare performances. If one competitor gets a white card, just because had the luck to be at a pool side and thus could pass while blacking out, and another one is disqualified, then that is indeed a problem.

    Now whether we allow BO is an entirely different problem, and we could dispute about it long time. However, regardless what the opinions are, I find that all parties must agree on a single solution. Either one, or the other, or some kind of compromise. Rejecting the rules used by thousands of competitors, and resurrecting an extinct organization just for doing a new record under your own rules, is simply odd and disrespectful towards all other freedivers. I am sorry to tell it: we all have immense respect for you, and all what you did for freediving, but the rest of the community deserves some respect too. OK, perhaps you are right, and the rules are really bad, but we all are working on improving them, and especially we do compete under them. Now you come, and you tell us, we’ll do a new record by our own rules and with our own judges. How do you want that people respect the record, if it is not done under the same conditions as theirs? Some of them certainly also do not agree with some of the rules. Should each competitor create his own federation with own set of rules, if he does not agree with the ones used the majority?

    I think that the worst on it is that Yasemin does not need at all such protective personalized rules, and own judges. I am sure she is strong enough to make the record even with AIDA rules and judges. Yes, you are certainly right, that the rules, or the margin of possible subjectivity, make it harder, but that’s exactly the point – she should have the same conditions as others have, and not privileged ones.

    I am sorry for the critical words, but I believe I expressed what the majority of the freediving community feels. I hope I was not too offensive.

    Wishing good luck (regardless of the rules you use :)
    Ivo

  2. Rudi Castineyra says:

    Ivo,

    Thanks for your reply, and don’t worry, I don’t find your words offensive, you are entitled to your opinion and I respect that. I also find your demeanor and tone generally constructive, even if you disagree with me, instead of disrespectful as used to be the case with many of the AIDA people I used to argue with years ago. I would like to clarify a couple of things to you.

    First, we are not “resurrecting” FREE for this record as you keep saying. FREE has never died, and as I explained before, and as the FREE name says, Freediving Regulations & Education Entity, we were created not only to verify records but to conduct training courses. In that sense, the last record verified by FREE was in 2004, but we have kept certifying students since then. So FREE is very much alive in that sense. FREE was created in 1998, at a pivotal point in freediving history, when CMAS had just returned to freediving after a 20 year absence and AIDA was beginning to gather momentum, after having done their first big tournaments in Sardegna and Egypt. I created FREE because the rules and attitudes of both AIDA and CMAS were both unsafe, unfair, inconsistent and did great disservice to the sport. I tried very hard to reason with the leaders at CMAS, all the way at the very top, and I engaged in very public discussion with the leaders of AIDA in public forums like the now defunct Apnea List (which was co-founded by Yasemin incidentally) When it became clear to me that these people had no intention to listen to others, even if those other people were very experienced trainers like myself, with as much history in the sport as any of them, then the only solution left to me was to form a new organization. FREE did a lot of great things, including being the organization that launched the Unassisted Constant Ballast category, known by the ridiculous name of Constant Ballast without Fins by AIDA. We also invited AIDA as observers to several of Yasemin’s records, so that we could talk and make ammends and move forward together, but AIDA always refused. And respectfully, and regardless of whatever anybody thinkns or knows about me, I have done as much if not more for freediving than any of the people at AIDA, so this cooperation was offered by somebody qualified to truly help make a difference.

    FREE attracted some people, very few compared to AIDA unsurprisingly so, and eventually AIDA grew bigger and bigger and FREE smaller and smaller. Fine, I’m ok with that, but this doesn’t mean we “lost” the fight, simply that the majority of freedivers chose to follow AIDA and a small minority believed in the FREE principles. So, since Yasemin is part of that small minority, she has chosen to call on FREE one more time and not on AIDA. She does not care whether the rest of the world believe in her record or not, ironic as that sounds, since FREE has always provided DETAILED videos, dive graphs, and judge accounts of EVERY ONE of its records, something AIDA still does not do well. So as far as Yasemin and I are concerned , we are fine with having FREE as the verification agency for her record. Her sponsors are not complaining either and neither are the thousands of fans she has around the world.

    This does not mean, however, that we would not like to have her record verified by one single organization, the same organization that verifies all other records. But if that other organization is AIDA, and their rules are still subjective and to many degrees unsafe, we chose not to call on AIDA. The FREE rules are not customized for Yasemin, they are in many ways, harder to comply with than the AIDA rules and much more expensive, since the FREE safety protocols require so much more investment than AIDA. Likewise, Yasemin has been disqualified by FREE 6 times, 5 of them due to failing the Surface Protocol due to blackouts, and one of them for a deep line violation. She has tested herself under rules that have always been as hard, if not harder than AIDA, so we are not being the spoiled kids that don’t like the way things are and wanna do our own thing. Whenever AIDA implements rules that are truly objective, not open to the interpretation of judges when it comes to the SP, and safety rules that truly guarantee the safety of the freedivers, I will be the first one to tell everybody to embrace AIDA. But in the meantime, there is no reason why we “have to” follow AIDA, just because everybody else does. The fact that many choose to follow a standard does not mean that a few cannot choose to follow a different one. There are followers and there are leaders, and I’ll be very happy to be a follower as soon as the leadership of AIDA offers me something in which I can believe. As a matter of fact, now that I read your post more in depth, I do find it offensive to some extent. The margin of subjectivity of AIDA rules does not make their rules harder, it makes them unfair. We don’t disrespect the rest of the community, that’s why for each of Yasemin’s 8 world records, she has gone deeper than all existing records, as a show of respect for the AIDA athletes, which is not a gesture that has been returned to us, so respecting those who don’t respect us is not an etiquette we adhere to.

    Lastly, I don’t believe in blackout or shaky performances being approved as a new record, I just have spent way too many years creating new and innovative training techniques and training many athletes to then risk have their performances disqualified by a bunch of zealots that know nothing about what it takes to get there and are more worried about the diver looking “clean” than being fair to the diver. The day I am forced to follow a bunch of arbitrary rules that are being enforced by people that have nowhere the amount of respect, integrity, passion and knowledge about freediving as I and the other members of the FREE board have is the day I don’t care about freediving anymore. And if this means the rest of the community finds it disrespectful, that is a risk I am willing to take. And the day you show me a set of rules that guarantee safety and fairness for every athlete under every circumstance is the day I’ll happily follow AIDA or whatever the organization is all the way to the end. For me, AIDA is still not that organization, and if after 10 years of changes it still suffers from some of the same problems it suffered from before, I doubt there is very little I could do to help it change.

    Cheers,

    Rudi

  3. Ivo Truxa says:

    Hello Rudi,

    I am sorry for pronouncing F.R.E.E. dead prematurely. On the other hand, although some of the members perhaps remained freediving, the association gave little signs of activity, their website disappeared at a time, and we never heard about any record, competition, athletes, or performance. So from this point of view, my claim is certainly not too exaggerated, and not really unjust. F.R.E.E. perhaps did not extinct completely, but disappeared from the competitive sport entirely.

    I understand your frustration with AIDA from the past. You should also know that I am generally very far from being an advocate of AIDA. I am not an AIDA official, and am myself often criticizing it. However, we do not have anything better. CMAS is by many degrees much worse than AIDA. And F.R.E.E., as I told, simply disappeared, so offers no alternative. We have to respect the federation we have, and try influencing the development in the way we desire. It is a slow and painful process, but I think that despite your animosity towards AIDA, you have to admit that it evolved, improved, and that it did enormous work for the development of the freediving sport.

    I think you are unnecessarily hard with AIDA. The level of subjectivity that remains in AIDA’s rules is really minimal, and unlike in the past with the old rules, I am not aware of any specific cases where the PBMM rule was used improperly. I repeat and emphasize again that the PBMM has absolutely nothing to do with LMC or shaking after surfacing. It looks like you still do not believe me in this point. And it poses no problems at depth, or even at pool disciplines where the freediver cannot bend over a firm support (mostly pool edge). When you blackout, you simply re-immerge your airways and are disqualified. That’s, I believe, the same under F.R.E.E. rules too. So normally there is absolutely no need for the PBMM indicator – it is only needed when the freediver is in such position on a firm support that the judge cannot see whether he/she is conscious or not.

    Now back to my claim that you are using customized rules for facilitating the task for yourself. I understand that you felt offended, but unfortunately I am afraid you have to face it. Although you do not want to admit it, the performance under your rules is easier. If the athlete has one full minute for completing the protocol vs. 15s at AIDA, and can afford blacking out without the risk of being disqualified, unlike at AIDA, then I am sorry, but I have to state that he has a significant advantage which can easily translate into several meters of the performance distance. The AIDA athlete simply has to count with it, and must plan his performance, and train for it in such way, that he can surface with sufficient lucidity and force for completing the surface protocol properly. It is not a minor difference.

    So I have to insist on my original claim that the records done under AIDA rules are more difficult than under F.R.E.E. and therefore it is very difficult to compare them. And I do not even speak about other conditions that F.R.E.E. does not have in comparison to AIDA – for example anti-doping tests, etc. I know they are irrelevant in Yasemin’s case, but if you want to compare the performances, they simply have pass through the same procedures.

    I also understand that you always did your records under your own rules, and hence find no reason why you should now conform to the rules of your old adversary. OK, in the past, F.R.E.E. indeed had several excellent athletes, organized records rather frequently, and offered even more choice than AIDA, so it was comprehensible. But today, and since many years, it is not the case. With your new record, you are not going to challenge any other F.R.E.E. athletes, and you are not going to make a record in a discipline that AIDA does not have. You are going to challenge directly AIDA, while laughing at their stupid rules. Additionally you tell if you are forced to follow the rules all others have to respect, you prefer quitting and not caring about freediving anymore. With all respect I have for you, Rudi, and for all the excellent work you did, this is a very childish and disappointing statement.

    Nobody will force you adhering to AIDA rules. We all know you will do what you want. However, you and Yasemin would receive much more respect, if you did the performance under comparable conditions.

    Ivo

  4. Kars says:

    Well, it really sounds like passionate people debating here, debating strongly.

    In the view of seeing circumstances change over time, let us try to see where ends of the FREE and AIDA philosophy meet.

    Thanks to the subjective judgements AIDA rules have made a big step to becoming more objective. Though at the WC2005 (where I was competing) the PBMM concept was introduced much to the dismay of many of the present athletes. The reason is a PR one, to sell the sport in a better way to media and naive public.
    At the Recent WC in Aarhus Denmark the organisation choose to give athletes the space to disqualify themselves by submerging their airway before a safety would grab the athlete. In this way it was very clear and objective, with hardly any added risk.

    Depth.
    I think depth disciplines are different than pool.
    Especially when athletes are now facing narcosis and waves, I think that alone warrants a longer SP time, and the 30 seconds sound very reasonable.
    I also agree with Rudi’s priority of safety over completing the SP in time. Indeed freediving a very difficult sport and focussing to much on ‘ballerina beauty act’ at the end of a most demanding performance is asking much of the athlete showing his peak ability, often facing narcosis.

    Safety.
    On the Scuba safety, indeed an increasingly very costly and dangerous operation it is becoming. I thing Trux is right by saying the compressed air breathers themselves are coming close or are even about to exceed the risk the freediver takes. So maybe there should be a paper on that, indicating advice to how many, how and to what depth such safety will do. Incorporating things like dive time, decompression time etc. should help organisers help setup and choose wisely.
    Scuba can be very helpful, I’ve seen a video of Tom Sietas being helped successfully on a 120m NL dive.
    Venturing into the 140m+ depths I think a fast winch and Counter ballast system is becoming increasingly important.

    Considering Competitions and their cost and consequently the amount of non sponsored athletes that can afford to participate, I think the CB system is currently the best system. And is shows with no fatalities.
    Herbert did help to test the CB system at the Bahama’s and though he had a bit of slow start he was at the surface quicker than by fast swimming.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Herbert-Nitsch-Freediving-World-Champion/170183094926?v=app_6009294086#/pages/Herbert-Nitsch-Freediving-World-Champion/170183094926?v=app_4949752878

    In all I think that organisations and people need time to learn and grow. And I hope you passionate people give each other space and time to get closer together. Than I believe we will discover that as athletes and organisers we’re not far from each other at all and in fact have already very much in common.

    Love, Courage and Water,

    Kars

  5. Rudi Castineyra says:

    Ivo,

    I really appreciate your reply, however I may disagree with it, but you show passion and tolerance, and I respect that. Having said that, this is the last post I will make on this subject, not because whatever reply you may have for me might not be worthy of an answer, but because I’m falling back to familiar territory where I’m going over the same issues I was going back 10 years ago, and that’s a part of my life I do not wish, or need, to go back to. So here I come one last time…

    Customized rules. The FREE rules pertaining SP have been unchanged since 2000, 9 years now, and back then, we were verifying records regularly. They are the same rules now as they were then when several athletes were measuring themselves against those rules, they have never been “customized” or “altered” to be different than the AIDA “standard” since during those 9 years the AIDA rules have changed countless times. We were very clear back then as to what we thought was the best compromise between safety and fairness (in that order) and we still feel the same way today.

    Easier and difficult SP. I don’t know how deep you dive personally, but as a trainer that has performed and guided thousands of deep dives for the over 20 years, I can tell you that many times it is far easier to remain conscious and lucid for the first 15 seconds after surfacing than for the 60 seconds after it. Many surface blackouts occur after the diver has started breathing and the disparity between inhalation and exhalation creates a blood pressure differential that short-circuits the brain. Many times the first 2-3 breaths are ok, then the LMC sets in, with the possibility of developing into a full blown BO. Remaining clear headed enough to keep your airways out of the water for 60 seconds is far more difficult than to do it for 15 seconds, which is what the diver is required to do under FREE. If the diver completes the SP at 59 seconds, he had to be able to remain afloat and with his airways out of the water for the preceding 58 seconds, without any help whatsoever. How is that easier than doing it in 15 seconds? I’ve seen many surface BO’s where the divers, working completely on autopilot, surface and give both verbal and manual OK’s before dumping their heads in the water. Now, if you think that the 60 seconds will help the diver in overcoming a possible LMC or BO, and in fact, if they are able to do so without sinking underwater, then good for them, what’s wrong with that performance? Again, this preoccupation with the “clean, strong, clear” performance is pushing those of you who believe in it to negate the more pressing issues that athletes should take care of their recovery BEFORE they comply with the verification regulations. Safety comes first, and there is an easy way for safety to come first while still satisfying strict standards of fairness. You see it one way and I see it another way, but from the very experienced perspective of somebody who has witnessed many, many, many deep dives, I can assure you that completing the SP in 60 seconds is not easier than completing in 15.

    Lastly, AIDA itself has not done anything to improve freediving, the people that have associated themselves with AIDA have done the hard work to promote and advance the sport. If FREE or CMAS had continued working, then it could have been either of those organizations the one that became the standard instead of AIDA. CMAS did not much care and FREE felt that pushing the sport forward with the rules we believed in would be totally impractical, so we got out. It wasn’t a defeat or a walk-away, it was simply an honest acceptance that to do things the way we felt they should be done, on a large scale, was simply impossible, and to adopt other methods which showed clear weaknesses would have been dishonest. As an organization, and from a purely technical standpoint, AIDA has made many fundamental mistakes that are still being made. From an “international” organization with a French name, how very chic, that does not even have the common sense to call its categories by logical names. What the hell is “constant ballast without fins” or “free immersion” when the most obvious things in the world is to call all 3 of them constant ballast, and then make a distinction regarding the form of assistance, whether it is equipment assisted, line assisted or unassisted. Or rules that change every 6 months. Or implementing safety systems that could work, but are not proven to work all the time, and still go ahead and use them because they are cheap, well, this is not the kind of work I respect, so fortunately for me and unfortunately for others like you who feel nobody should stray from a common path, I have no problem, no problem at all in fact, with doing things my way.

    And as for my views on Safety Standards, specifically the Counter Ballast system that has allowed AIDA to organize competitions without the need for big budgets, I will touch on that on the second part of my post. By the way, long before AIDA implemented this system, back in 2000, we were already testing extensively, have tested it on numerous occasions and have found many positive things about but a few negative points that have made it, until now, unacceptable to us. We are, as we speak, preparing to test a modified Counter Ballast system that should solve all the issues we have had against it, and it proves successful, then this will be the system we will implement from now on. By the way, Loic Leferme died using a counter ballast system, and Fred Buyle had a serious accident using the same system. I inspected several systems that were used in Spetses, Greece, for a couple of AIDA records and they simply did not work. The test dive performed by Herbert in Bahamas was not successful in view, since Herbert himself had to disentangle himself from the bottom ballast and break inertia by starting to swim on his own, until the system was activated. One single test with obvious flaws does not constitute a proof of effectiveness, so just because AIDA has been using a system that works at times and not at others, and has been lucky enough to have very few accidents, including one fatality, while using that system does not mean the system “works”. At least not for me. So, when we come up with a variant of the system that can pass numerous tests under all kinds of conditions, then we will certify as “safe”. I am certain this is not the way AIDA has tested any of their systems.

    Safe dives,

    Rudi Castineyra

  6. Kars says:

    Thanks Rudi for your clarifications.

    I too thought the Herbert test could have been better; the reaction of the crew up there was in my view slow especially when you consider they were prepared for it, expecting it.

    I don’t know if AIDA has any specific standards on the CB system, but having standards would be necessary.
    BTW AIDA does not limit any organiser in having better and more safety systems.

    A bit of nitpicking, I thing under AIDA the disciplines are called Constant weight (CWT), Constant Weight no Fins (CNF), and Free Immersion(FIM). The latter I agree could have a more logical name like CWT Rope. I’m sure other things have priority.

    Surface protocol.

    Under AIDA rules the SP has to be done under 15 sec and the athlete must keep himself above the water for a full minute (60) after surfacing before he earns the judge’s approval.

    Rudi in many ways you have been the explorer and innovator of our sport. To me it would be a great affirmation and compliment to see another big organisation shift towards my view.
    I understand and agree that influencing big cumbersome organisations and culture is very tiresome, let alone running them. And it’s logical to focus on the great the task at hand.
    I do hope you write your next no doubt insightful piece on the safety aspect clarifying you views and wishes. I’m confident your views will have much support on the Deeperblue forum and the AIDA freedivers.

    Yes AIDA has a lot to be desired and improved, and your words are helping with that, so I want to thank you deeply for your generous contributions!

    Kars van Kouwen,
    The Netherlands

  7. Ivo Truxa says:

    Rudi, don’t be afraid I am not going on trying to persuade you. I see you made your choice, and that you stand behind it, and it is just fine for me. Many freedivers also recognize that your system was far ahead in its time, and may be still superior in many ways. That’s not at all the question, and I never tried putting it in doubts! If F.R.E.E. only organized the freediving sport during all those years, in the way AIDA did, it would have been excellent.

    One thing thought needs to be told – under AIDA rules, you need to keep your airways above water during at least 30s, not 15s. You have 15s for the protocol, but another 15s without blacking out. One minute was also considered, but it would cause too long delays, and statistically, there were practically no blackouts past 30s. Now, although many freedivers may agree with you that your system is superior, I doubt anyone will accept your claim it is in fact more difficult. It is simply not – if you are on the edge, you’ll be much more likely disqualified under AIDA rules. And whether it is good or not, is not at all the question.

    One friendly note at the end: it is correct I am trying to argue in a civilized way, and have an immense respect for you, as well as for Yasemin. But it makes you no good service when you do not completely adhere to this tone, and rather slide into a less respectuous tone against AIDA, denigrate and ridicule them, and deny achievements they did. I know some AIDA officials might have behave towards you in a worse way in the past, but we will admire you more if you stand firm without lowering to that level. Finally AIDA is not a private company, or just the few people who are running it, or were running it in the past. AIDA is an association of thousands of freedivers just like me, and despite the problems it suffers, and despite that often decisions are done over our heads, it is our own, and we are part of it. So ridiculing AIDA, you do not only ridicule the few people you dislike, you may offense excellent, smart, and honest competitors or regular freedivers too.

    Take care,
    Ivo

  8. Ivo Truxa says:

    Kars, I also thought it was 60s under AIDA, but verified in the rules, and there is indeed 30s only. I never really paid attention to it, because it always seems to be horribly long anyway, but do you know if it changed recently? Personally I though I confounded with the rules of the FFESSM, where it is indeed different, but when you speak about 60s too, there is probably some reason.

  9. Rudi Castineyra says:

    Kars,

    Thanks for your kind words. Hopefully, whatever issues need to be resolved and protocols improved will do so soon, because we’re venturing into a territory where each category’s record is now so deep that we need to provide absolutely the best standards to keep athletes safe.

    Rudi

  10. Rudi Castineyra says:

    Ivo,

    Regarding SP, yes, 60 seconds is a long time, although it means that the diver has that long to complete it, and in all the FREE records the SP was always completed in under 30 seconds. So I would have no problem with a 30 second time limit, but I still feel that 15 seconds is too short and too geared towards looking good at the expense of safety.

    As for whether my words were offensive to the thousands of freedivers worldwide who compete and work under the AIDA banner, that was not my intention and I quickly apologize to anybody who’s reading these posts if they felt that way. Keep in mind that this is not an official forum, simply Yasemin’s own blog, so I was not technically addressing the AIDA community or acting as a FREE representative officially, simply speaking as a private individual, although to be fair, I’ve always expressed myself in a way that would require no changes or modifications depending on the forum, so my words would have been the same regardless of where I was. So, again, apologies to hard working athletes and organizers (though I really doubt anybody besides 304 of us is reading this :-) if they felt offended. I have respect for what these people have done, which is what I was trying to say on my last post, it is their work and love for freediving in general that have moved AIDA forward, and the progress made has been in spite of AIDA, not because of it. The AIDA system is so closed, antiquated, hierarchical, and close-looped that it does not facilitate the work of those people, it has made it harder. This is an organization where the board makes decisions that are never, even at the slightest level, consulted with the membership, and then changes are imposed more than implemented, usually, to the absolute surprise of the thousands of people who had no saying whatsoever in participating in the process of getting those changes made. It has been the work of individuals more than the organization that moved freediving forward, from the early days, where Pelizzari organized the excellent World Cup in Sardegna to present times where William Tubridge is the one working tirelessly to organize events at the Blue Hole. In the meantime, AIDA was nothing more than a forum for people like Sebastian Nagel or Bill Stromberg to fulfill dreams of greatness, but whatever true progress was made was achieved by the real people, out on the field, not the officials that were concerned with meaningless pursuits. AIDA has benefited from the work of these individuals and organizations, not the other way around. So my words of criticism were aimed at the organization, not the people who have no choice but to work under it.

    Lastly, I would really to see anti-doping tests from all the recent AIDA records. I know doping tests have been performed here and there, at some events to some athletes, but not at all times, and I would be very curious to see some of those. We didn’t require them at FREE because they were very expensive and difficult to get depending on the location of the event, and then you had to pay for the IOC officials to come and administer the tests, so I would be very interested in knowing how they managed to perform all the tests at the recent championship in Bahamas, for example.

  11. Ivo Truxa says:

    Just to the anti-doping tests – I do not know anything about the organizatory part, and how much they cost. I just know they are really being done routinelly, and not only at the WC. Either someone else will peek in and tell you, or perhaps you could ask Grant – he certainly knows enough about it.

  12. Ivo Truxa says:

    And as for the results – I think that the general rule for all WADA tests is that the athlete or the sport federation is only notified by the laboratory in case of a positive result, so you won’t see many reports.

  13. After reading with lots of interest all the posts of both Ivo and Rudi i see two people with a passion to the sport of freediving. Both have just as valid reasons to think and do whatever they think and do. And there is no right or wrong in my view. I see points I personally agree with on both sides. I hate the AIDA puppetry during surfacing but do see all other things they have achieved and a definite improvement (although a long way to go). I see the FREE point of focus on safety , which I like a lot, but also the lack of understanding what happens on the outside world.
    But this seems all besides the point to me. It is not important which organization is better then the other or has more idealized rules etc etc for “this” specific world record attempt.
    What are we talking about here ?
    One person trying to “publicly” prove to the world or at least the majority of the people that value or perform in the same sport that he/she can dive deeper than any other diver has done before in a specific discipline.
    If i look at other sports that have more then one competing organisation (very common in the world of boxing and martial arts), the only way to gain this respect is to do this under the “same rules” the last record that he/she want to break has been set under. Even if this is less ideal , or has flaws or is ridiculous even.
    Only then he/she will gain respect and credibility for the specific record in question.
    So if one organisation has a diver with a world record of static while wearing a monofin, if you want to break this record , you DO have to wear a monofin, even if you are convinced it is rediculous and your rules of static without monofin are superior in many ways , otherwise you are just setting your own record not related to the current one.
    If it is more or less difficult to do static while wearing a monofin is not relevant. If you want that record you have to do it the way the last record was set.
    In this case it is not just one record but all records in the last 5 years that have been set all under the rules of the same organisation.

    If I look at the current situation this way, then Yasemin is only proving to the world that she can dive deeper then any other F.R.E.E freediver. She does not even have to dive. Everybody already knows that because of the lack of any serious competition to Yasemin within F.R.E.E (that says notning about the quality but pure a fact of matter).
    Who will gain more respect, the player who performs in his home court , with his own rules , without much competition, or the one who has the balls and guts to go out in difficult circumstances far from home ground advantages on the terms of your competitor (that may even favor your competitor) and still come out on top ?
    This is how you gain respect and break world records.

    If that is not what you both are looking for, just go for a nice deep safe dive and call it your personal best, but do not openly call it a better / deeper dive then the world record. That would be a serous disrespect to all divers/recorholders who , inspite of maybe disagreeing or hating the AIDA rules, still “DO” go out and try to prove themselves in those circumstances.

    So Rudi , your solution to make a point is simple ;-).
    Let Yasemine oblliterate the AIDA world record under AIDA rules (with as much safety measures as you feel comfortable with , since this is allowed under current rules, even 100 scuba divers + a super counter balance and continuous camera footage) )and let her gain the respect from the majority (>90%) of the competitive freediving community . I am very sure she can pull this off.
    Then some time after let here improve bigtime on her own record under the FREE rules and promote “your” way of doing things publicly, while profiting from the higher level of attention after having gained worldwide respect and giving FREE a nice boost. Then it is up to the next athlete that want to prove he/she is better then Yasemin to come over and do it on FREE’s terms. You just turn the tables around……..

    Anyway , have a great safe and fun dive whatever you guys do and do see all our comments as prove that we all mean and hope for the best for both of you.

  14. Yasemin Dalkilic says:

    There are things left to change in AIDA and all these constructive discussions, the change of leadership and all the issues coming upfront nowadays are a great sign that things may finally change for good. Just the discussions here with a nice and constructive tone is a welcomed change to me compared to 6-7 years ago when discussions would turn ugly so fast. And if there are any promising signs of changes until my record date, I’ll be very happy to call AIDA judges and I’ll also enjoy not having to fight about who verified, who didn’t, why, etc. etc. I guess time will show…

    It’s true that it makes sense to claim breaking somebody’s record under the same conditions but it’s been many years that I have yet to see details about a record that I’ve asked for. With F.R.E.E. all of the athletes’ records have been filmed covering all depths, the videos have been available to everybody, there has been detailed accounts, details about who the judges were and where they were, a few sentences from the judges about the record and an official graph of the dive signed by the judges. I feel like athletes that dive with AIDA feel like since they had AIDA verification they don’t need to show anything else about their dives and then AIDA management feels like since they know what they are doing and they say it’s a record there is nothing more that needs be done.

    So with no such details, hardly any videos of any performances, no official graphs etc I do not respect the current AIDA records. Don’t get me wrong I have all the respect for the athletes that have been diving with AIDA. And if the regulations about these issues change soon then even though that doesn’t make any of the past records that have no materials available any better, I’d still be happy to respect those records already because I’m sure with the amount of athletes competing nowadays the records will be reset pretty quickly with the “fixed” regulations. At the moment the only reason why I’m planning to dive to 125 meters is because I feel extremely comfortable with that depth and I feel more in peace with myself when I know I went deeper than any records claimed out there. Not because I care about showing I’ve diven deeper than the previous diver that dove under those conditions.

    I’d also like to remind that I was in the first AIDA competition ever in Sardegna with the deepest result in women, I was then in Egypt competing under AIDA, working on organizing the next event in Turkey and I was under no obligation by Rudi when I started training with him to use FREE. So I believed in AIDA, believed in competiting under same conditions until things just made no sense whatsoever and the rules of FREE when I first read them were like a masterpiece. In a way that any subject or clause was handled and presented in a pure mathematical way that made everything crisp clear, from the simplest thing of the names of the categories to the description of equipment to the procedures, etc. And nothing subjective in every sense. I was also the first freediver to have done an antidoping test for my records in July, 2000. We believed in antidoping but as Rudi said it was too expensive to impose on all freedivers as a rule. But as the times have changed and doping is a bigger problem I think now it needs to be a must.

    So I hope a change for good takes place in AIDA, a slight step forward takes place to improve the rules and things become more transparent and available to everybody. And we’ll be happy to call in AIDA judges for my upcoming record.

    Thanks all for all the constructive posts and safe dives to all!

  15. Rudi Castineyra says:

    Glenn, Ivo, anybody else…

    I see your points of view, and I understand very well what you’re saying. For all practical purposes, Yasemin an I have been gone from freediving for 6 years now. Many of the current divers don’t even know who we are, and that’s fine and understandable, we disappeared from the sport because we were ready to move onto other things in life. We didn’t miss the spotlight, we just came back because we missed deep diving and an opportunity for sponsorship presented itself, that simple. But I would understand very well if a lot of these newer people felt offended with the way we’re doing things. In exchange, I would ask those people to understand that Yasemin was competing and winning competitions in freediving before any of the current record holders had set any records. She won the women’s competition at the World Cup in Sardegna in 1998 (which is when I first heard about her) way before any of the current top women had done anything of note. Likewise, as a trainer, I introduced the first male challenger to the Pipin=Pelizzari supremacy in over 12 years, and Iintroduced the first female contender to Deborah Andollo. Many of the techniques divers use nowadays were invented and popularized by me, such as negative pressure dives, and I basically “created” the unassisted constant ballast category (as a category, not as a form of freediving) so I’m not bragging, I’m merely stating facts. I’m saying this because whenever these people feel like “who the hell are these people to think they can do things their own way” they should know or remember that both Yasemin and I have been working at the highest levels of freediving for far longer than most people, and that our decision to abide by different rules was formed many years ago, when the existing rules were so bad as to be unacceptable. And we fought very hard to bring logic, fairness, common sense and unity into the sport, and we failed because of the resistance we found from many of the characters that still populate the sport at the highest levels. So whether anybody out there likes it or not, we have a right to consider existing rules and conditions and decide whether we like them or not, and if those who like and follow the rules don’t want to respect our records just because we didn’t follow the same rules they did, that’s their problem. We’re not asking for their approval. I’ve never asked for anyone’s approval, I’ve never needed it and I never will, and if you think that sounds arrogant, you’re wrong, I just know all that I’ve done for this sport and whatever rights my involvement in freediving for over 20 years give me.

    You claim that Yasemin’s FREE records are nothing more than “personal bests”, why, because she is not having the reputable AIDA judges verify her dive? I have spent the last 2 months collecting evidence from all the latest AIDA records, videos, photos, accounts, whatever I can find. And what I find is always, much, much, much less comprehensive than what FREE routinely provided for the few athletes that did records under us. I’ve seen the video of Sarah Campbell’s 96 meters dive, with one camera at 15 meters, another one at the bottom which barely works, and both judges at the surface, which leaves me to question what happened between 30 meters (the point the 15 meter camera lost her) and the bottom camera found her. Did she follow the rules, did she pull on the line? I trust that she didn’t, but the fact is that if she did, nobody would know, since both judges were at the surface, obsessively waiting for her to complete the SP and nothing else. And the same for Natalya Molchanova’s records, I have not found one single video that provides compelling evidence, and every time, the judges were at the surface waiting for her. Did she violate the rules underwater? I hope not, but she surely could have, since there was nobody observing her or filming her. And by the way, before Natalya ever did a record, Yasemin spent 4 hours with her in a pool in Moscow teaching Natalya monofin technique, which is how we’ve always been with up and coming freedivers, giving and sharing. So I don’t dispute any AIDA records, but in all fairness, I don’t have any compelling evidence to believe them either, except of course, the word of the judges. Now, AIDA may have judges beyond reproach nowadays, like Grant Graves, but ever since I’ve known them, the majority of their judges were inept, inexperienced, biased characters that wrecked many a performance, so no, I don’t have a reason to accept AIDA’s performances. And yet, you’re telling me that if Yasemin wants to be respected by the “majority” she should follow the same rules that she has no reason to trust? Even when she has proven herself time and time again beyond any of the rules the “majority” follows? The same majority that was struggling to reach 20 meters when she was setting world records already? Whenever I read these things I realize there’s a reason why majorities always follow predictable pathways, the paths of lesser resistance, of lesser effort and lesser expense. And that’s fine too, I respect the right of the majority to do whatever they want, but just as we respect them, they should give us a little respect as well, since basically speaking, we’re all doing the same thing.

    However, after all that diatribe, I will tell you what: if AIDA changes their SP to 30 seconds instead of 15 and they guarantee they can send me judges whose attitude will be beyond reproach and not there to make a point to us and f…k us up, we will gladly call on AIDA to verify Yasemin’s record. Fair enough?

    Rudi

  16. Ivo Truxa says:

    Rudi, I am afraid you misinterpreted Glenn’s comment. He did not tell Yasemin’s dive would be just a PB because of being done under F.R.E.E. rules, but because not being done under the same conditions rules as the last record. His proposal to make a doube record, first under AIDA and then under F.R.E.E. is indeed excellent and ingenious. In this way you show your strentgh, and force the other side to play under your rules if they want to surpass it and claim it a WR. It is very just.

    I know, the double record will reuquire more money, but I think it will also bring much more publicity, so your sponsrs may be willing to cover it. For the first, AIDA record, you only need to equal the old one of Tnaya Streeter – under current AIDA rules, multiple divers share the same record if they repeat the previous perfromance. And then, for the F.R.E.E. record, you add whatever you can, making it so a much supperior standard to follow.

    Just if you accept this proposal, which would be indeed very smart, please be sure to announce the record attempt to AIDA soon enough. If I am not mistaken, the record attempt has to be announced at least 30 days in advance. Also make sure to get an experienced AIDA judge to coach you, not to be disqualified for some stupid minor mistake, as happend in the past already to many great athlets, including Martin Stepanek, Stephane Mifsud, or Tom Sietas.

    You can be pretty sure that with such approach you would gain the heart, and the respect of 100% of all freedivers. And, BTW, do not be afraid, every freediver who is passionate about the sport, knows you and Yasemin very well, You are being often reffered to, and people do respect you.

  17. Ivo Truxa says:

    Argh, sorry for those typos and misspelling in my previous post – did not re-read it carefully enough before hitting the Submit button

  18. Jonerik says:

    Hi,

    This is the most interesting discussion I´ve seen in times. When I started freediving I was (and still is) a huge fan of Yasemin and I kinda always have wondered what happened to F.R.E.E that also verified Topis´ world record back in the days. Good to see that both are on the surface again!

    While reading the whole thread I noticed that at some points the discussion were going for the typical “I´m right you´re wrong” situation. However I think that both organizations could have so much to learn from each other if only common ground could be found. I myself have at many points found the AIDA rules silly, but also that it´s the only real effort for a global organization. On the other hand Rudi had some very valid points that really should be considered. I really need to look into the rules of FREE.

    I think The WC in Aarhus was great in combining CMAS and AIDA under the same roof and really gave room for the two organizations to discuss and develop relations! Wouldn´t it be great if we someday had the same concept for AIDA and FREE? ;)

    In the end I´m just glad to see that Yasemin is going for a new record and that the organization verifying the attempt is still alive even though running on a smaller flame than in the early days!

    Jonerik
    AIDA competitive diver
    Fan of Yasemin, Herbert, William, Topi, Tanya… only to name a few

  19. Rudi Castineyra says:

    Ivo,

    I understood quite clearly what Glenn was saying, but thanks for clarifying it to me. I was just displeased with the notion that we should conform to AIDA standards just to earn the respect of a majority who should already had given us respect for all the work we’ve done and the transparency with which Yasemin has done all her records in the past.

    Anyway, I would not want to do an AIDA record and then a FREE record, although that surely sounds like the way to impose one set of rules over the other. But we’re not out to prove a point or show our ways are better than others, we just believe what we believe very firmly, but we don’t really want to do something for the sake of showing our supremacy or whatever. If anything, we would attempt the record with judges from both FREE and AIDA verifying the same dive. This would lead to unity and show the possibility of a joint standard, something far more conducive to cohesion than doing separate records. Anyway, the protocols and procedures the FREE judges will have to observe will be far more comprehensive than the AIDA judges, so a point would be proven anyway. Even better would be if we could have judges that can work both as AIDA and FREE judges at the same time, provided of course, the rules are not mutually exclusive, which we could make happen. Let us look into it. I will talk to our people and see what they think and what they come up with, and in the meantime, if you guys who are more connected to the international/AIDA community, could put this idea out there in the open in the forums and see what kind of response you get…

    Rudi

  20. Ivo Truxa says:

    Well, Rudi, if you can train and certify some of the current AIDA judges for judging under F.R.E.E. rules, than I am sure we find enough of them who would love to do it. In the opposite way, it may be more complicated, because at AIDA you need to pass through several judge levels, and judge certain number of competitions, before you reach the level when you are permitted to sanction world records. It usually takes several years.

    But generally, if there is will, there is a way – the best example could be the mixed FFESSM / AIDA competition last year in Marseille, where athletes from both federations competed mixed. And the competition was indeed mixed, unlike in the CMAS/AIDA WC in Aarhus, or the competition in Ligano last year, where we just had two separate competitions in the same pool. The freediver here in Marseille just had to announce what federation he/she adheres to, but all of them started in the very same competition.

  21. Yasemin Dalkilic says:

    With F.R.E.E. at the moment only people with high reputation and a long history in diving are nominated to become judges. And there are 2-3 AIDA judges that were nominated to be F.R.E.E. judges anyway. But it doesn’t matter I think since we can have 4 judges if needed. For one F.R.E.E. requires a bottom judge which AIDA doesn’t so one judge at least needs to be different for sure anyway.

    By the way I just remembered today how after F.R.E.E. introduced the ever popular unassisted category, I set the first female record to 40 meters, David had done 2 records, the latter one to 51 meters and Tanya came and did a record to 35 meters, claimed it to be the first ever unassisted record and also claimed it to be deeper than current men’s record. After F.R.E.E. and us starting this category she didn’t even have the courtesy to acknowledge the records there were presented with all of their details again. Also owing her freediving career to Rudi she should know more than anybody the seriousness in which Rudi does things, and should have respected him. So I do not care about her record or her performances and have no respect for her. What I mean is that it doesn’t matter if I go equal her record with AIDA and improve with FREE, hardly any athletes nowadays care about principles etc, and they would just concentrate on the AIDA record which would be the “true” and “convenient” record to go for.

    Regardless of all this I’ll still be willing to have AIDA judges for my record if there are any promising changes for good, just to be a part of an effort to make freediving more united and show good will to the positive efforts.

  22. Kars says:

    Just a quick reaction, before I must go to my job.

    Thank you for your generous proposals Rudi and Yasemin.
    It pleases me much to see your mind is open, and you still have faith in ability of organisations to change.
    Let’s hope, no – let’s work to improve AIDA international to reflect the nature of us caring loving freedivers.

    When the 30s rule get’s through AIDA I think we ought to put credit were it’s due, F.R.E.E. – Yasemin, Rudi.

    Now we got a direction, let’s get to it.

    Yasemin and Rudi have a good preparation, I fully agree with you statements about better documentation, graphs, video’s and the like. We should have our creative minds work on the other increasing challenges to be overcome in the future.

    Thanks, Love and Courage,

    Kars

    *ps I not forget FREE, and follow and respect FREE records, publishing them on my website when deeper as the AIDA record.

  23. Howard Teas says:

    Thank you very much to Rudi and to Trux. This is a very enlightening discussion, and was held in a mostly civil tone (a real change for modern times). Tenacity and intelligence on both sides, but still civil.

    Rudi: There are many of us around that still remember FREE, and heard of your training techniques. Many of us also remember Yasmin and her talent, as well as David, Topi, and others you’ve trained.

    It would seem that the addition of Grant and another A-judge from AIDA would help to minimize the differences between the groups, by following the requirements of both agencies. While real changes are coming for AIDA, it may take a while for them to fully kick in, and this would help to show that there is leadership outside the core of AIDA who understand some of the rational changes that are needed and can lead us toward the future.

  24. Alexey Molchanov says:

    Hello Rudi and Yasemin !

    I spent half day to read everything and will not touch most of the questions, discussed here , becouse in the process of reading they solved themself ) and was really interesting, thanks to everebody!
    Just a few moments, that touched me personaly.
    Of course monofins and mono technique.
    About waterway it s not correct to say that they are best monos, in old days i would say that it is most common mistake that people thinks about waterway, you can just look at the countries, they put on the website, who satisfied with their fins. There is no Russia, and this is important, becouse there is no other really good finswimmers, exept Chines sportsmens, but this one-year anabolic monsters, who can jump straight to the other side of the pool, not really counts, they don t need technique. Of course some of the finswimmers, who probably sponsored by them, are using their monos or becouse sometimes they can do good monos (but i never saw them).
    Also it s fact that it s big difference between fins for professional finswimmers and even for top freedivers. Becouse all old school freedivers, including top freedivers, have no technique, as most of freedivers now, so they just will not feel differense :), so it is waste of time to make high quality mono for them. Of course it can look very good and shiny, but it is not important at all.
    Nowdays i cooled down and It s really makes no big differene between super mono and normal mono for deep diving, there is too many other, more important factors.
    Also about monofin technique. My mother is now close to 50, and she was high level finswimmer and high level breaststroke already more then 30 years ago, and it is hard to belive that anybody in freediving now and then could teach her or me anything in mono technique, as i asked her, she talked with you for some time in Moscow and she very-very likes you and she said that Yasemin has great breaststroke technique, actually she was not on your course than becouse of poor english knowledge so she was just training there on the side as it is our training center (even now :) ).
    And also yesturday when she was looking videos from your website, she was exclaiming, where are the videos with no fins diving, becouse you have such a nice technique :)
    And last thing about videos of the dives, my moms 101 record was filmed in every point, first of all becouse of great 60 meter visability, second, thanks to the Blue Eye FX prodaction company with Debbie Metcalfe, leading it, who coverd all the dive with 4 or 5 cameras.They are in Sharm El Shaikh,Egypt. But coming back to the question of possobility of pulling, where nobody see you, it is impossible with the judge on the surface controlling the rope, so they know for sure at what time and also, like it was in Bhamas, at what depth (with help of underwater sonar) was the pull, was it one pull, or two… if so, was at the bottom to help to turn or not. Actually there is no week ponts now for cheeting, you need really to have imagination )))), like i was trying to imagne it ! In case if there is 0.1-5m visibility ( so by FREE rules it is just impossible to make a world record or competition there, but it is offen happens in the world, like in Bahamas, in Deans blue hole under 30m it is from1 to 5m visability) you can can have diver, who will give you inhale, and then you can easy go further hoping that you ll not have dcs )

    About rule of 30 second for SP i will vote first for it ) !
    I can say that i suffered not once from some statements in the rules, but now i don t really care, i m just diving.
    And of course we are ( i can say for me and mom) do not really split results in different organisations. Becouse it is clear that dives by rules FREE or AIDA are the same, just with different decoration. If somebody will dive more then me in the pool in CMAS, i ll be motivated to make record in AIDA, but more than in CMAS. Same for mom, if she will try sometime variable weight (actually she was planning to try it this summer, but who knows, how it ll be indeed, just so you know and it wouldn t be like “Aha, we just make a record and just becouse of thas she decide to cover it”, it was just going to happen so naturally), for sure she will not do it less then deepest in the world in this category if it s not AIDA WR.

    So, thanks a lot again ! And all the best in new year !
    Alexey

  25. Rudi Castineyra says:

    Alexey,

    Welcome and good to have here with us, it is a pleasure! sorry it took me so long to get back to this forum and reply to your post, but Yasemin and I spent a long time away from our normal life, and since December, things have been very different for us, but we’re back to a more typical existence.

    About your comments, I will address them one by one. First, about monofins. I am positively impressed with the Waterway monofin, and it is the best that has come to me, although of course, there could be better ones out there. what I like about it is the fact that you can get propulsion both in the up and down stroke, which you cannot do with the older fins, and how the blade is angled downwards compared to the footpockets. The fin is very good all around, but it has a few drawbacks, such as being very heavy, which must be counteracted by adding a lot of neoprene to make it neutral. I’m sure the neoprene loses buoyancy at depth and the fin becomes heavy again. I would love to hear your suggestions about other models that we should try.
    I agree with you that monofin technique is more important than the monofin, and as I have said many, many times, 99% of all freedivers nowadays, including many world champions, don’t have a good monofin technique. In fact, I have seen some world records achieved with very poor technique :-) so, this is a sign that these freedivders could do much better with proper technique. But I have noticed a big difference between Yasemin’s performance with her old monofins and the new Waterway, she can do her 50 meter sprint in almost 7 seconds less, and she is much more efficient underwater. Then again, Yasemin was in the Turkish monofin team for many years and she has a very polished technique.
    I never claimed that we taught your mother how to use the monofin, she was very curious about Yasemin’s technique and came to ask her many questions, so Yasemin was very happy to share her knowledge. Yasemin and I have made many adaptations to the monofin technique, specifically for deep diving, and we showed Natalya some of those tips. We have also implemented a style for unassisted constant ballast where we use a modified butterfly arm stroke for the arms instead of breastroke, and your mother was very interested in that as well. Back then Natalya had only done 1 or 2 pool records, but we could tell she had a lot of potential, so we were happy to share a lot of our experience with her even if she was not in our course.
    I would love to see some of your mother’s videos, or any other AIDA world records, so if anybody knows about a website that has some good quality footage of these dives, please let me know. Yasemin’s record videos are at http://www.YaseminDalkilic.com/en/diving/records
    As for the notion that it is impossible to cheat in freediving nowadays, I wish I really had as much faith on human beings as you do, but I do not agree with that. I have seen many of the old world champions, starting from the ones that came from native country of Cuba (I don’t need to say names :-) really manage to do incredible things to cheat, including breathing out of the bubbles that come out of the lift bag in No Limits records! In the unassisted category, I will give you an example. As you know, when you download a graph from a Suunto or any other computer that can read depth 2-3 times per second, you can see the pulls on the line, kicks or arm strokes depending on the category. In the case of using a mono, you see a gradual change in depth that is always linear because the diver is continuously moving forward, so this is easy to tell. For line assisted or unassisted, the arms move up and down with every stroke, so you see a little curve with every stroke. Now, if the distance covered on this up and down motion by the arms is exactly the same and at the same speed, for example, the diver advances 1.2 meters/second, the graph will look EXACTLY the same, regardless of whether it is a dive pulling on the line or unassisted. I can show you graphs for example of both Yasemin and David Lee from the Blue Lagoon in Jamaica where we train, a place that has a maximum depth of only 51 meters, which means that we have done hundreds of dives in every possible category, and we have graphs done in different categories that coincidentally last the same time, where the graph looks ABSOLUTELY the same, and you cannot tell the difference unless you are watching the diver from underwater. Likewise, is most AIDA tournaments I have noticed that the descent line is very light, with very little weight at the bottom, because I can see the divers are able to move the line very easily when they pull on it. In our case, we put always 200-300 kilos of weight at the bottom of the line, to keep it really straight, for performance and safety reasons, and I can assure you that you cannot feel someone like Yasemin pulling on the line from the surface, her pulls are too light to be felt on such heavy line. So a judge “feeling” the line on the surface would be fooled by depending on this. My point is that, although it is very difficult things to do and a horrible thing for an athlete to even attempt, cheating in freediving, especially in the unassisted category, is not impossible at all. So, positioning judges underwater is a very important measure of fairness.
    I appreciate your words regarding how you would respect a record from another organization, but I agree that is very important that even if there are different organizations, the athletes are able to trust the rules, the judges and the organization, so that we can concentrate on diving and not on politics. But of course, it would be better if there is one single organization, it just has not happened yet.
    It would be cool for your mom to try Variable, it is a fun category, and I have written several articles here on this website talking about techniques and considerations for Variable, so you can read them and hopefully get a better perspective for this category. Certain things are easier in Variable, but other things are actually much more difficult, and most importantly, safety is very, very important when diving to over 120 meters and deeper. If you and Natalya want to come to Turkey while we are training for Yasemin’s record, please come by and visit and we’ll get you guys ready to know everything there is to know about the sled and Variable Ballast dives, it would be fun to have you there with us for a few days, so consider our invitation.

    Rudi Castineyra

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