Now fotographer, soon journalist

Today, the Oppland Arbeiderblad, one of Norways largest news papers features an article about a young and quite successful freediver. Check out the copyright for the picture.


First judge experience

At Nordic Deep I had the opportunity to judge for the first time.

I was judge in the water fro the deep dive comp and judging the static comp on the 18th.

I am very happy about having the opportunity to work with such an experienced team as there is in Lysekil. It made me feel very calm and reassured.

So this is two points and a little step closer to judging my first world record attempt… sometime way in the future… ;)


Testing the Counter Ballast System

Much has been said about the effects of the lanyard and the CBS but I know of no real field test, not until now. After a long competition day, Sebastian Näslund, organizer of the Nordic Deep, decides to change that. He asks me to fix a lanyard around his waist and the bottom plate to be dropped to 50m. He instructs the boat crew of when to release the CBS and then he goes down. Stig Severinsen and me are first and secondary safety divers.

As the CBS is released I have time to watch the weights go down and the rope being pulled up quickly. Everyone seems to know what to do and is very efficient. The whole thing is timed so that we will gather as much information as possible for the future. As I dive in to support Stig and safety Sebastian, the rope seems to be flying past me but when I see the two appearing in the green waters about 15m below, I immediately understand, something went very wrong. Sebastian is not attached to the line by his waist but hanging on to the lanyard with his hand.

Apparently the Velcro of the lanyard opened up immediately after the CBS was released. I am very sure that I closed it and checked it afterwards but I can not be 100% sure. In any case, I checked it in a way I would have checked a lanyard in competition. And in a real scenario, we would have ended up with a dead diver.

So we go for another test. This time Stig is going down to 40m and I am first safety meeting him in 20m. Sebastian is following me. This time we use a different lanyard. One that Annelie has made. She looks a little nervous as we attach it to Stigs waist. A test like this has not been done before.

I am diving in 10s before the CBS is released. As I go down I remember that it takes a couple of seconds for the CBS to set in. So I have a little time to hang in 20m and se what is going on. Then the rope starts moving up quickly again. Not long after that I see Stig coming up. He is attached to the bottom plate by his waist arms and legs are relaxed. His body is moving steadily, not twisting, not turning. He looks like he is parachuting upside down. His lips seem to be pushed open by the water. I can see his teeth. I could grab him now and close his airways but as he sees me, he gives me an OK sign and I choose not to interfere and rather watch how his body moves up. I try to estimate the speed when I swim up after him. There is no sign that he will twist and turn in any direction.

This test was a perfect drill for a safety system that we use all the time, but have only theoretical knowledge about. I am very happy, I could be part of it and I find it very brave of both Sebastian and Stig to do that. But the total difference of the outcome of both tests (one dead diver in the first and one rescued in the second) show, that we need more of these tests. We need to apply the safety measurements we think up in the real world to figure them out and make them better.


Jelly Attack

Today was the last day of the competition and Elisabeth and me where going into the water with high expectations. Elisabeth wanted to dive to a personal best to 57 m after her 54 m dive yesterday and so set a new national record. I wanted to coach her on this dive and then later ether safety dive or even judge again as I did on yesterday.
The sea was actually very calm today and it all looked like the perfect day for a last dive into the dark depth of this northern waters. But the lack of current made the jelly fish swarm out like they have never done before and that became a serious problem.
I was just about to film Elisabeth on one of her warm up dives when I surfaced right into one big stinging bastard. I had stinging tentacles all over my head, poisoning both cheeks, the area around my lips and the chin. I came up out of the water with a cry of pain and hectically tried to wash away the ripped off parts of the jelly around my neck. That was 10 minutes after going into the water and it basically ended my diving day. My face burned like hell. I had to really pull myself together to not freak out and accompany Elisabeth to her dive. After she had been diving down to 50 m and turned to safely come back up I felt that I could not stay any longer in the water. My body started shivering. The doctor on the boat gave me an anaesthetic cream that immediately applied but I did not really feel any comfort from that.
Elisabeth took over my job as safety diver (putting on my bi-fins which makes her look really funny) and I went strait back to shore with the next boat that was available.
When I reached the house the shivering had developed into cramps and the poison was distributed throughout my body so that I felt little stinging pains all over. I soon started to feel really dizzy and miserable. I sat down in the dining room where people could watch me and started to drink a lot of water. With the cramps and the stinging all over the body and the dizziness and the burning face I really started to dislike jelly fish and question their right of existence.
Thankfully after two to three hours the cramps went away and so did the dizziness and the stinging. When I felt that I was doing better, I started to walk around in order to get my system running again and the blood to move about. That seamed to help and so I got better. I still feel the burn in my face though as I write this.
So next year, when I come back to Nordic Deep, I will sure bring some good waterproof cream and watch out for the little yellow bastards.


- 40 m constant weight in competition

Yes, I did it! It was not as easy as usually. I had a lot of air in my mouth when I came to 37m but could not equalize any longer. But I wanted the tag so I took the risk and dropped the last meters without. That of course did not feel so good and made my ascend much more hectic then it usually is. On the way up I felt that I was holding two tags in my hand. I had grabbed and ripped off what I could get and so got two… When something goes wrong in the depth it is sometimes hard to stay focused and relaxed. That is something I will have to work on in the future. As well as on my equalization.

But as I took 5 m off from my personal best just last week I felt quite confident and it proofed to bee just the right depth for this competition under these circumstances.

As this is my first deep diving competition as a competitor, this also is my competition best. I hope to push that a little deeper this year. Say, -50m… ??? ;)

Safety: Annelie Pompe


New PB in CWT - 45m

After a very long and very tiring weekend in Hemmoor I came home with a big smile on my face.

The reason for this is easy to guess. I did dive to a new personal record of -45m!

We arrived in Hemmoor on Friday night and jumped in for a night dive. On Saturday we did one very nice dive at the Rüttler, a concrete building (thingy) under water starting at -18m going down to -32m and I picked up a nice little stone there. At the second dive we went to a different spot where I picked up a stone in -44m (PB).

And then, yesterday morning, I wanted to take that one step further and went down to -45m at the platform provided by AIDA Germany.

The lake at Hemmoor is really perfect for a training like that as it has all you need from shallow water attractions like uw forests with a lot of fish to mid depth attraction all the way to a full functioning counter ballast system ready for anyone who wants to train deeper... That makes it my PB lake...

Of course, my little mermaid had to break my balls by diving just 1 m deeper… She sure loves a competition. So, Nordic Deep, here we come...

Buddy: Elisabeth and Johannes

Safety: Johannes

Call me President, Vice President...

As of today I am a member of the board of AIDA Germany. My official title is Vice President Public Relations. Is'nt that great!?!

It is incredible how easy one can obtain such a position these days… I had prepared a speech and a presentation; I was ready to answer questions about my freediving past, my family, my plans for the future, my vision for AIDA… all in vain. All I had to do was say “yes” at the right time.

So from now on I will be responsible for PR in AIDA Germany. That includes the website (that will ned a lot of work) and all media contacts. I will have to tackle the almost impossible task of explaining the difference of No Limits and Constant Weight diving to ignorant, lurid journalists… I cant wait to get started…


Wildschütz CWT/CNF/FIM double dip, Sept. 8th-9th 2007

Yes, now it is official, I will organize a deep diving competition this year.

God knows what drove me to start the idea but now it is actually running and a lot of people are helping me.

I have posted a thread on Deeper Blue for more information and I will talk about the difficulties, an organizer faces, here.

Safety diving the worst competition ever

When you think of a world championship, you'd think of world class athletes, world class judges, world class safety and world class organisation. Well, not in Egypt you don't...

I applied for the safety after having funktioned as safety diver at various indoor competitions in Berlin and at the German Championship 2007. The organizer spoke very highly about the safety teams and what the plans where on the official website. It sad there will be three different categories of safety freedivers and what you should be able to do to become one. And then, it this:

The total number of Safety Freedivers required for the Team is 30.

Well, on the first day, there where 3! Alexandru Russu, Michael Gessmann and me. The three of us where supposed to safety four training lines all day. But that was not a problem as there where no training lines on the first day... ;)

After we got some help from Mahmed uand Ahmud, two members of AIDA Egypt who could not compete coz they where needed so badly for the organization, we managed to do the absolute minimum of safety to ensure the competition.

Alex and I sared a room and after a while our days looked like this:
8 in the morning - get up and have breakfast,
9 - get ready for diving
10 - be out at sea
Safety all day
4 pm - get back to the hotel
4 to 7 - sleep !!!
7 pm - get some dinner
9 pm - sleep

Really, I hope this was the worst organized world championship I will ever see in my life!

After a couple of days we got some help from the athletes that was much needed. It was great to see how everyone was starting to do his part to make this competition work.

The most difficult thing in safety freediving in competition is to make the decision to act. If it is your buddy at home you can act when you have a doubt and it feels funny but in competition, where people dive at their limits, you can disqualify a diver. On the other hand, when you come to late the risk is very high that something serious is happening.

Kirk Krack gave us a very good safety training that included not just the usual safety procedures but very praxis and competition oriented scenarios. Within these I learned a lot about the signs I have to look for in order to really judge the situation and make that decision.