The “Return to the Depths” project is now completed. After a long, 6 year absence from freediving, I came back determined to reset the world record in the Limited Variable Ballast category, which I consider the most challenging and spectacular of the sport. I both, succeeded and failed, in this endeavor. While I managed to reset the FREE record with a very easy dive to 106 meters/348 feet, I was unable to reach my ultimate goal of 125 meters/410 feet for an absolute record that would surpass the existing marks from all organizations. As it is widely known by now, I suffered a deep water accident during that attempt that seriously threatened my life, and I survived only because of the strict safety standards put in place and the work of a highly trained safety team. That 125 meter dive had been a goal of mine for many years, a result I felt was worthy of ending my deep diving career with, so I spent over a year of my life arduously training for it. All indications from the preceding dives showed that I should have completed that final dive with ease, so it would be logical to assume that I should feel disappointed. But I’m not. Far from it. After 10 years of spending the majority of my sponsorship money and endless time and effort on designing and implementing reliable safety systems, for what is undoubtedly the world’s most dangerous sport, I ended up needing that system just one time, on that final dive. And thanks to that unwavering commitment to safety, I survived a situation that has claimed the lives of several other divers, and I can now go on with my life’s other pursuits. So, although I am not walking away from the sport I love with the deepest record, I hope I am leaving behind an example of how to do things right, and that I have inspired others to never forget that the most important accomplishment of all extreme endeavors is not how far we can push the limits of human capacity, but to preserve that most precious gift of all: life itself.
Thank you all for your support and may you live strong, healthy and with purpose,