07 agosto 2012

From mountain lakes to the Ocean ...

Preparing to Dive ( UW pic Aurora Asso )

"From mountain lakes to the Ocean"

NIDECKER Stand Up Paddle is now supporting me. The Swiss company famous for its Snowboard department has been developing Stand up Paddling for some years now.

Nidecker is an innovative company interested in all aspects of Stand Up Paddling. When I first told them earlier this winter how both freediving and SUP would fit together, they immediatly seemed interested. We are now working on it side by side.

As I wrote in this blog before, I first used SUP in order to get in shape for my deep freediving sessions.

It is still the case today, but I now mainly use it to go freediving. It happens that my SUP is an excellent platform to dive from. I ve been doing that for some month now and just as I was expecting .... it is PURE MAGIC !

Interested ? Why not trying now ?


Here are a few aspects you should consider before starting SUP Freediving :

Free falling ( UW pic Aurora Asso )
As freediving should never be practiced alone think about planning your Freediving Sup Session with an experienced buddy that can seriously look after you when you are submerged.

Paddle together to your favourite freediving spot and enjoy your session. Beware of boats, meteorogical conditions and local hazards.

Also note that you have no serious safety device you can rely on nor no way of evacuating efficiently in case something goes wrong. So, choose to be very conservative on depth reached and time spent underwater.

I recommend Stand Up Freediving for fun sessions or intensive shallow winter trainings.

The equipment needed can be minimal ( a simple noseclip could be enouth ) Where we usually dive in the Med, for the kind of medium depth training ( - 20 to - 60 m ) we usually carry the following on our All Water Race 12'6 Boards:


- 60 m cable with its net bag
- 5/10 kg bottom weight
- lanyard
- noseclip/mask
- eventually a pair of bi fins 

With a larger board such as the All Around 12' that offers more stability we can carry more equiment. That can potentially increase the degree of safety and the range of depth during our trainings. In windy conditions and to avoid drifting away, taking a 3 mm rope with a tiny rock type anchor can be an excelent solution.

UW Pic by Aurora Asso
UW Pic by Aurora Asso


05 agosto 2012

UW freedive shooting Aurore Asso

We ve been freediving together with Aurore for more than 12 years now. She has been training hard this year to be  in the french national team. She will represent France during the world championship in Nice in september 2012.  She will for sure be among the very best in constant weight !!

This session took place in the bay of Villefranche sur Mer at the very end of the day in a small creek called Cro de Nao.  The sea was calm and warm ... boats and tourists were gone. 

A Nice moment

30 janeiro 2012

AIDA team world championship 2012

The AIDA Team World Championship 2012 official website is now online. Claude Chapuis, the organiser has chosen to promote threw the organisation of this very special event ( AIDA 20th Anniversary ) the protection of the oceans.

A good occasion for us freedivers to play more seriously our role of embassadors and call the attention of the world on the fragility of the sea.

Check HERE

16 janeiro 2012

2 AIDA Instructor Courses to come

AIDA Instructor Course
The 1st IC will be ran in Nice, south of France from April 28th to May 10th ( In French ). Two day pause around the 8th.

The 2nd IC will take place in Sao Miguel, Azores, right in the middle of the Atlantic from June 1st to 12th.

A twelve day intensive course to become a freediving professional. After this course you get confident about teatching all aspects of modern freediving ( Deep Open water, Confined water and Classroom theory sessions )

Fees : 950 euro

Fees include :
AIDA material,
Instructor activation,
Lodging in Nice ( Harbor )
AIDA / FFESSM(CMAS) crossover ( extra 35 euros )


After the 12 day IC, students will have the option of entering a two day No Limits course.
During those 2 days they will learn the different aspects of this particular freediving discipline : Practice / Organisation / Safety / Teatching.

Fees : 250 euros

10 janeiro 2012

Winter training

SUP session in the "baie des anges", in Nice, south of France. This was an 11 km training. Mix of fast and slow path sections. No wind at first. The way back was downwind witch made it easy.
Saw the school of bonitos ? Went threw a few groups of them hunting small enchovies.

Technic and balance are getting better, but still need to fine tune. Will soon start mixing SUP and freediving.

06 janeiro 2012

Stand Up Paddle and Freediving

How should one prepare for deep freediving ? That's the question people keep asking to me. Opinions change from a freediver to another ... from a season to another. Some will focus on depth training exclusively ... others will rather prepare themselves at the gym, cycling, lifting weights, cross skiing, running ...

When you train someone, it takes around three years until you find the programm that fits to that person. You take in consideration a bunch of aspects such as your athlete's motivation, psychology, technic, tactic, physiology and means ( time / money : ) )

As a freediving professional I used to spend close to 300 days a year in the water, basically teatching, coaching, filming and at some rare occasions training. I remember reaching max performances after only 5 to 10 deep dives ( something I d never recommend to someone else ) I could do that because my body was adapted to that. That was all. Except some surf and some GS snowboard sessions, I never ran, cycled or lifted weights.

I am now an Osteopath running my own buisness in Nice. As you see, things are getting serious :) I can't spend those 300 days in the water as I used to and I don't feel I am in such a good shape anymore.

I have recently started to prepare myself for the AIDA freediving worlds that will take place here at home in september 2012. I haven't been seriously in the water for the past three years but I am lucky enouth to live in front of one of the very best freediving spots in the world, the bay of Villefranche sur Mer. The place is sheltered, protected from major winds and swells. We find extreme depths at only a few strokes from the shore. At one hour and half drive from Nice, you have the Mercantour national park and the snowy slopes from the "Alpes maritimes". I guaranty : this is the place to be !

I ll spend the next 8 month training here to compete with the very best freedivers in the world.

For the first time in my life I ll have to get fit for that purpose, mainly in terms of general muscular strenght and cardiopulmonnary capacities. For that matter I have integrated stand up paddling in my day to day training. I couldn't find a better sport to get back in good shape before starting deep dives again.

Stand up paddling is a fun practice that will have your muscles working in an Isotonic way ( concentric/excentric ) But what's good about this S.U.P is that your posture muscles will mainly work in a Isometric way. Far less trauma, more fibers recruited, probably the best way to work efficiently your muscular deeper layers without getting hurt. How come ? Well, we need constant "micro" postural adjustments to keep the position on the board. Muscles are constantly compensating the movements of the SUP. This is precisely what to people spend hours working at the gym with a a swiss ball ( not much fun huh ? ) You can get the exact same core strengthening just paddling and gliding breathing fresh air along the coast.

Working your core will also help you monofining more efficiently without any loss of energy. For people like me who are rather fast divers with stiff monofins, it is certainly something to be worked seriously.

S.U.P is also an excellent way of getting an acceptable VO2 by both working your pulmonnary and cardiac systems. Depending on the intensity, the distance and the recovery workout you choose, an S.U.P will drive you threw the different training cycles of your physical preparation. Most of the companies have developed Race SUPs or Fitness SUPs that deserve all our interest. Their glide properties are great...some are rather stable and can be ridden without much experience.

That is a fun and healthy way to increase your ventilatory system parameters. Develop both inspiratory and expiratory muscles, increase your vital capacity, reduce ( most probably ) your residual volume ... extend your hability to store more air before your immersions.

In the cardio circulatory side, paddling at the right path at the right time will have a positive effect on :

The systolic ejection volume ( SEV), the capacity you heart has to eject a certain quantity of blood per beat. This is given by its inner size. The bigger, the better. This can be worked out during long periods of low intensity exercices. Keep your HB low !

The frequency your heart is capable to reach. Your heart should be able to beat as low as possible ... but also at a fast rate if necessary. This is given by the muscle's contractile efficiency.
Should be worked out only after getting an acceptable SEV !

The amount of red cells in your blood stream is an important aspect of freediving that can be worked out in SUP. Short, intense and repetitive paddling ( CO2 tables with hight heart / ventilatory frequency + lactats ) increase the amount of red cells. Having more red cells means storring more O2 ... more confort and safety during the dives.

Dissociation O2 curve. With a proper training the capacity of the red cells to liberate on time the combined O2 could be interesting in deep freediving. But, there is nothing certain about that : )

The arterio-venous complex, master piece of the VO2 quality, also benefits from SUP Training. It offers a better reactivity to the diver needs. Vaso dilation or constriction is essential in deep immersions where mammal reflexes create massive movements of blood. This capacity the arterio venous system has to adapt participates in saving the freediver from lung injuries ( blood shift ) and helps him diminuishing O2 consumption.

These are three of the SUP training sessions I have done. the two first were done around "les Iles de Lérins" in Cannes, south of France. An amazing spot where racing, surfing and freediving can be practiced during the same session. In average these are 10 to 15 km sessions at low pace.

This run was in the bay of Villefranche sur Mer where the worlds are taking place in september.
Some small waves can be found in the north part of the bay ( South - South west swell ). Otherwise the bay is perfect for cruising in flat water. Reaching your favourite freediving spot paddling is definitly more adequate than getting there with a massive and noisy powerboat.

More and more freedivers in the future will adopt this sport. On my side I ll capture and share with you these magic moments with a brand new GH Hero 2....