The Australian Freediving Association (AFA) and Freediving New Zealand (FNZ) are very excited to announce the inaugural Trans Tasman Team Challenge in Auckland from 2-6 August. The Trans Tasman Team Challenge brings the great sporting rivalry between Australia and New Zealand to Freediving by pitting two mixed gender teams of four from each country. The winning team will be determined by the aggregate points of all team members across the three pool disciplines. The competition will be held biennially and the two countries will take turns hosting the event.
In parallel to the Trans Tasman Team Challenge, there will be a club-based competition, which AFA and FNZ affiliated clubs are invited to participate and compete. AFA clubs are strongly encouraged to send teams to Auckland – please contact the AFA for more information.
There will be two mixed gender teams of four from Australia. At least one person from each team must be female, and there must be a minimum of three female athletes across the two teams. Applications for selection are now open (please follow this link to fill out the electronic application form), and closes on the 30th of April. The selection event for the Australian teams is the 2016 Australian Pool National Championship in Sydney (6-8 May). Applicants will be contacted soon after pool nationals to confirm their selection status. Athletes who are selected will be expected to make a rock solid commitment regarding their attendance at that point. Special consideration may be granted to those who are unable to attend the selection event (see below for further details).
2016 looks to be another strong year for the AFA, with both depth and pool nationals details soon to be announced, board reelection results and an upcoming Trans-Tasman team event.
November 2015 saw the Australian Freediving Association hold its annual assembly general meeting, voting on 2016’s board members to be. The positions are as follows:
Michael Bates and New Zealand Committee Representative Shelley Gurney at the 2015 Pan Pacific Championships.
President – Michael Bates (QLD)
Treasurer – Aya Mizumura (QLD)
Technical Officer & AIDA Liaison – Jody Fisher (SA)
Clubs Officer – Lewis Jones (QLD)
Competitions Officer – Jack Hatfield (NSW)
Media Officer – Jessica Lawson (QLD)
Sponsorship Officer – Samson Mcadam (WA)
Pan Pacs moves along swimmingly… then stops for the official Static Championships. Ahh statics… you either love em’ or ya hate em’… Right?
Two national records were set this morning. Azam Hamid from Malaysia, at one with the pool in his perfectly azure blue wetsuit, set a national record for Malaysia with a 5 minute and 29 second breath hold. Long time friend of Brisbane Freedivers Jonathan Chong seemed very happy with his performance of 6 minutes and 17 seconds which earned him a National Record for Singapore. In fact he “looked a little too jovial”, commented official judges on Chong’s ecstatic surface protocol.
The Pan Pacific Freediving Championships have officially kicked off the afternoon of the 25.11.15 at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre, in Queensland, Australia. The opening ceremony saw Freediving prowess from all around the Asia Pacific region. Athletes have traveled from a variety of places including New Caledonia, China, Indonesia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Venezuela.
Competition organiser Michael Bates at the opening ceremony for the Pan Pacific Freediving Champs 2015. Photo by David Peart
The competition is an inaugural event, of great proportions and will be the biggest Freediving competition ever held in Australia! The Brisbane Aquatic Centre was built for the Commonwealth games in 1982, and features and Olympic standard 50m pool.
The three day event will be a world record status competition for all pool disciplines; static apnea, dynamic apnea and dynamic apnea with no fins.
Competition organiser and Australian Freediving Association President Michael Bates noted at the opening ceremony that a competition of this scale is a rare and exciting opportunity for Freediving athletes from countries in Oceania. Athletes have also arrived from around the world, including but not limited to world record holder Alexey Molchanov.
Alexey Mochanov during his workshop on Freediving equipment. One of the many workshops and presentations put on as part of the Pan Pacific Freediving Championships. Photo by David Peart
All athletes and organisers are very excited as the competition officially begins with first discipline being held Thursday and the competition ending on Saturday.
You can see the live stream of the event here.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwlWZldYOIf-8-VdH0Bwqmg
Competition participants, including athletes, safety divers, judges, and supporters. (Photo: Julia Wheeler)
The inaugural Australian Depth National Championship has now finished, with great success. The event was the first depth based Freediving competition for Australian freedivers in recent times and was hosted by the AFA and Apnea Bali on the beautiful east coast of Bali over 27-29 of August. The calm waters of Tulamben have some of Indonesia’s most sought after dive sites and accessible depth making it an ideal location to host this event. The event was made up of competitors from Australia, Indonesia and all over the world. It was excellent to see a wide range of levels competing, meaning it was the first competition dive for many of the entrants.
Apnea Bali, founder and owner Julia Mouce Dominguez describes Tulamben as “the best freediving spot in South East Asia. It has easy access from the shore, pristine waters and unique marine life.”
Michael Bates was named as both overall winner and Australian winner of the Australian Depth National Championships. Bates is not only the Australian freediving associations president but also the main competition organizer. “I did a lot of the organising, but, most of the on-the-ground logistics was handled by Apnea Bali who did a fantastic job. The competition ran like clockwork, which is a phenomenal achievement,” says Bates.
Brisbane freediver Amber Bourke won the female title for both overall and Australian winner with Brisbane’s Emily Shaw coming second by a single point.
Ant Judge showing his strength – will he reclaim his free immersion national record later in the week? (Photo: Julia Wheeler)
Divers have arrived in Tulamben, Bali, and have been training hard in preparation for Australian Depth Nationals, which starts on Thursday this week. A large crop of talent includes current and former national record holders and national champions. In the women’s event, strong pool divers Amber Bourke and Emily Shaw will be competing for the depth crown. For the men, veteran competitor Ant Judge may be challenged by Adelaide’s dark horse, Michael Cheesman.
During the course of the event, all eyes will be on New Zealand’s Dave Mullins, who is hoping to break Alexey Molchanov’s Constant Weight World record (128m). To hear the news as it happens, check in on the AFA Facebook page.
If AIDA observer members in Oceania wish to run a competition, the AFA can help by registering competitions with AIDA.
The Singapore Pool Freediving Open (6th September 2015), hosted by the Apnea Association of Singapore (AAS), will be the first national freediving competition in Singapore. The AAS decided to run the event to facilitate the development of freediving. The competition will allow freedivers in Singapore to come together and exchange experience, raise the profile of freediving to the general community, provide a safe environment for freedivers to test their limits and give competitive athletes a goal to work towards.
Jonathan Chong, president of the AAS, commented,
The readily available support of other nationals provides an excellent ‘scaffolding’ for younger nationals to rely on. Australia, Malaysia and AIDA International were willing to endorse our competition despite us being only 4 months old. We are also appreciative of the organisational advice from members of the Brisbane freedivers, who have previous experience in running competitions. To further our national development, Singapore will be utilising the Judge Course at Pan Pacs to grow our own in-house capabilities. I believe that the willingness for nationals to collaborate will foster the growth of freediving internationally through the sharing of knowledge, experience and friendly competition.
Jonathan is a current Singaporean freediving national record holder. He was first exposed to the sport whilst studying in Australia, where he learned to freedive with the Brisbane Freedivers. Upon graduation, he returned to Singapore and formed the AAS to further the sport of freediving.
Australian freediving welcomed its newest National Record holder on the 7th of May, 2015. Adam Stern dove to 85m in the discipline of Free Immersion, breaking the existing Australian record by 1m. The record was set on the final day of Vertical Blue on Long Island in the Bahamas. A little more than a month later Adam was at it again when he was at the Nirvana Ocean Quest on San Andres Island in Colombia where he raised the bar again by setting another Australian free immersion record of 86m.
Adam Stern ascending from his record breaking free immersion dive at Vertical Blue.
Going into Vertical Blue Adam was initially focussed on constant weight and early in the 9 day competition he set a personal best of 93m. To prepare for the competitions Adam arrived in Long Island for three weeks of training prior to Vertical Blue to help acclimatise himself to diving in the darkness of Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest of its type in the world. Of his two record setting free immersion dives, Adam said “The beautiful conditions of both these competitions paved the way for these two dives. With flat seas and no current it’s very hard not to dive at your best!”
Leigh Woolley after his impressive 172m dynamic no fins performance.
The second annual Australian Pool National Championships, held in Gladstone from May 29-31, was a great success with athletes from several east coast clubs and Adelaide attending. The event was held in conjunction with the Curtis Coast Freediving Challenge, which is in its 4th year and has become a fixture on the Australian freediving calendar.
This year’s event was extremely close, with Brisbane Freedivers Nicole Keating and Leigh Wooley crowned the new national champions. It is the second year in a row that Brisbane has won both the male and female championship. But the competition is getting extremely close, especially with promising athletes rising in the newest clubs in Adelaide and Melbourne. Next year Pool Nationals will likely be held in Melbourne, which will keep promoting the development of competitive freediving within the southern states.