Scuba Divers dive into the Ocean, Freedivers dive into themselves...
Or so the saying goes. Freediving is the sport of diving as deep, as far or as long as possible on one single breath of air. In competitive freediving it’s all about seconds, meters, limits, depths and courage. But for me, freediving is advanced snorkling. The fascination of the ocean virgin who puts on a mask and snorkel for the first time, steps into the watery wilderness, looks down, never to be the same again. After over 10 years of competitive freediving this still happens to me every time I pull on my fins and mask and freedive.
First I greet the ocean, this might sound odd, and maybe it is, but my first moment in the water I say hello, how are you? I listen for a little while, then I tell her how I am. Now we are ready to dive together. Me the mover, she the holder. I breathe deeply into my stomach, oxygen filling my lungs, my blood, deep slow breathing to slow down my heart rate. And then I dive. One two three kicks down into this watery embrace. Moving in all dimensions, nothing is hard anymore, only softness. As I fall deeper I get heavier, I stop kicking, drift slowly down. This is my world. A weightless world of silence.
Our bodies are beautifully created for freediving. We possess a Mammalian Dive Response we share with whales, dolphins and seals. I know how to recognise this awakening of my inner seal. Slowly slowly my land-dwelling humanness is replaced by an age-old ocean knowledge that lives in my body. Something I couldn’t summon or control, but that this ocean-friend I speak to every day wakes up in me, coaxes out of me. I am half seal. In this weightless world I am fully at home. Fully myself. In myself. Diving deep into the ocean, deeper into myself I learn to let go. To fall.
Freediving is more than a sport it’s a way of seeing yourself, your body in liquid, the liquid in your body.