Chasing records, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, slowly inching your way towards that next meter deeper, and constantly testing both mental and physical capacities to the point or verge of blackout is just another competition for a professional freediver.
Covering the Caribbean Freediving Cup off Roatan, Honduras at the end of May was my first encounter with such an extreme sport. As I watched them flip over from the surface, descend past me, and then fall into darkness, I clenched my regulator, grateful for air. After a few minutes of wondering why anyone would put themselves through that, they would reappear from what seemed like oblivion. As they climbed their way back up towards life, fighting oxygen deprivation with every stroke, I readied myself for the few seconds of action to capture as they ascended towards the surface.
A 30 meter maximum descent for these shoots was no great strain on the abilities of these champions who were going deeper than 90 meters during the competition. So, naturally, these incredible athletes, who exude grace and composure as they glide through the water for minutes on a single breath, are ideal underwater models.
All said and done, the Caribbean Cup gave me a a new sport to follow, new athletes to admire, and I would venture to say, a new favorite subject matter for imagery. And I have already started thinking of even sillier ideas for fun and funky shoots for next year’s competition!
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