Authentic Big Blue 2019 – Amorgos, Greece
The Authentic Big Blue is an AIDA depths competition, taking place on the beautiful & remote island of Amorgos, in Greece. Fans of the famous movie « the big blue » ? This is your competition! You’ll be able to make your deep dives at the exact same spot you see in the beginning of the movie, in front of the famous monastery of Amorgos, a surreal white construction popping right in the middle of the cliff. The shipwreck seen in the movie, the “Olympia”, is also still there, covered in rust and slowly disappearing in the water years after years. I really enjoyed to see it, what a beautiful bay! When the wind is low, it’s a fun one to snorkel. Perfect place for picture as well ^^
The competition runs on 6 days, starting with 2 days of diving, then one day off, and finally 3 more days of depths. Depending on the weather (especially the wind that can be very strong on Amorgos) we dived in front of the monastery with unlimited depths, or went to a different location on the other side of the island, in a protected bay, with a depth limit of -80m.
Let’s be honest, the water is quite cold, especially for me coming from my tropical paradise haha! Expect 21/22C° at the surface, and around 16C° at -80m. But there’s almost no current, especially at depth, which is greatly appreciated for deep diving, and the 30m-50m thermocline is quite gradual. I never dived in Nice, France, but from what I understood, Amorgos’s thermocline is easier to adapt to.
On my first training (and first time ever freediving cold water) I did a couple of 50m dives to try to acclimate. I made it, but far from relaxed, I heard all sort of sounds from my throat and soft palate. Even my first warm up (nose clip / no mask) was 46 seconds lol. It was a bit “chaos” in my body and my head. Because the water is quite cold, I dived with a 3mm open cell suit, allowing around 30/40mn of diving before starting shivering. It is more than enough for a deep dive but a bit short for acclimatation to the conditions.
Second session, body and mind prepared to this new feeling, I was happy to start to feel ok in my warm up, so I did a couple of dives to 60m this time, feeling enjoyable and easy. Almost no weird sounds, my mouthfill was stable and strong. Yeah! Next training session went really well as well, with a 70m dive feeling all right.
I have to admit that I’m quite impressed how fast my adaptation to the cold and the thermocline came. I then never got any problems due to the conditions: I actually like to freefall in “the freezer”, it’s, in a way, relaxing. The way up feels great as well, when you pass 50m and get back to 20C°, the feeling is “warming” (haha), and mentally the dive is almost over 🙂
I succeeded 100% of my training and competition dives, except my deepest announcement, -83m CWTB NR attempt with bifins, where I completely screwed up my equalization. I was very excited about that dive, since it was a new National Record for Canada and a First place 🥇 for Bifins, my strongest and favourite discipline. I was so excited that I didn’t focus properly on my freefall, my mind spinning all over, and I closed my soft palate around 70m, ending up with my first and hopefully last early turn in Greece! On the other hand I’m happy for Kristos, who dived just after me for the exact same dive, and made a strong surface protocol, resulting a well deserved white card.
The rest of the competition went well, with two new personal bests: a nice and fast -81m CWT with monofin and a -56m CNF. No fins diving is so much easier for me in the sea than in the cenotes! (Thanks to the salt water and the extra positive buoyancy). I ended the last day, limited to -80m because of wind, with an easy and relax FIM dive to -60m. I wanted to end on a good note, and secure my 3rd position overall at the same time, after Homar Leuci and Martin Zajac (what a podium!)
The Authentic Big Blue was such a surprise, I registered mostly because the dates were matching our arrival in europe for Cyprus “Infinity depths Game”, and I was curious to visit Greece. And finally we discovered a beautiful and authentic greek island, with a raw soul shaped by a harsh weather, and at the same time very welcoming.
The organization of the competition was great, the safety and medical team on point, I never felt any stress to perform. And most of it, we were introduced to the community of Amorgos, the Greek freediving community, and the amazing food!
Well done team, I am glad I signed up and this will definitely be one of the highlights of my 2019 season! See you next yea!
- 3rd position Overall
- 3rd position in CNF with -56m
Organization & Contact: The Authentic Big Blue
— — — —
Xibalba 2019 – Cenotillo, Mexico
Back to our “one of a kind” Mexican depth competition, taking place in a beautiful cenote of the Yucatán Peninsula. For this second edition, we were happy to share the platform with many top level athletes, including our friends Sayuri Konishita (RIP), Sofia Gomez, Anna Von Boeticher, Andriy and David Mulheron. And of course our local Mexican NR holder Alejandro Lemus (organisation), Pepe Salcedo and Roberto Guzman (Mr No-Fins). It’s always a pleasure to dive this very particular cenote, “the Tube” like I call it (and “the Y-92, deep joy” from Alejandro) but also challenging, considering it’s mostly freshwater, and very dark at depths despite a very good visibility (~40m). The cenote is quite small, but enough to accommodate the competition with a limited amount of participants. We have a platform with a counterweight, great spot for a little nap before your dive ^^. Depth limit is set to -92m, to ensure a safe way down and turn for the Athlete, in case of any debris at the bottom, around -110m.
This year, CWTB (bifins) was the star of the competition. Being now a new official discipline for AIDA, it was time to set some National Records (NR).
I focused my training pre-Xibalba that way, working mainly CWT Bifins and Monofin, with the intension to set a NR for Canada. The Canadian record for CWT being -104m (Eric Fattah), I had to reach for bifins 75%, so -78m, a bit deeper than my previous personal best. After a few sessions I felt quite strong in training and managed a clean -81m Bifins dive, my first time passing the 80m mark. I was very happy and confident to start the competition with a conservative -78m CWTB, ending up with a nice white card and first National Record.
The competition runs on 5 days this time, with a possible day Off at your choice.
On day 2 I announced a second NR CWTB to -82m, that I unfortunately failed due to equalization issue at depths. My glottis got too excited and didn’t cooperated that time, I had to turn at -80m, which is very frustrating so close of the target, but necessary to avoid any possible injuries. I took a day off and re announced the same dive on day 4, which I finally succeed with a strong surface protocol! And a new National Record for Canada in CWT with Bifins -82m. Objectif done!
On day 5 I announced a CWT Monofin dive, a bit shallower -78m since I was tired from my bifins dive. I did the dive but got a yellow card due to a confusion at depth and a “grab”. I started to turn a bit to early and realized that the plate was a bit lower than I thought. This little mistake cost me the first place in CWT.
Again a great edition of Xibalba, feeling at home in the little village of Cenotillo, surrounded by many friends. It’s also the place were we started to date me and Kiki, during the 2018 edition, which make it even more a special one.
Organization was once again great, the safety and medical team well trained, the event was a success. We are definitely looking forward to the 2020 edition!
- 3rd position CWTB with two National Record for Canada -82m
- 3rd position CWT -78m
Organization & Contact: Alejandro Lemus
— — — —
Blue Element 2018 – Soufriere, Dominica.
First Time in the Nature Island, for the second Edition of the Blue Element Freediving depth competition. An AIDA competition, with world record status, close to perfect conditions and unlimited depths!
After the hurricane Maria that literally ravaged the island in 2017, it was a pleasure to see the island getting back to it feet, nature thriving again, life resuming for the little village of Soufriere, where the competition takes place. A
top level freediving competition with an amazing safety team organized by Blue Element, Jonathan Sunnex’s home in the Caribbeans. One of those bucket list Freediving spots you need to visit someday!
- 4th position Overall
Organisation & Contact: Jonathan Sunnex
— — — —
Xibalba 2018 – Cenotillo, Mexico.
First Edition of this completely unique competition, taking place in a beautiful Cenote of the Yucatan Peninsula.
An AIDA competition with a depth limitation of -92m, with beautiful blue fresh water up to -75m, transitioning to salt water to the bottom. Temperature is constant to 25C°, getting slightly warmer in the saltwater layer. An experience not to miss!
- 2nd position CWT
- 3rd position FIM
- 3rd position CNF
Organization & Contact: Alejandro Lemus