Monday, 19 August 2013

Freediving




Since the ORIS video has gone online, I have had many positive reactions, as well as some speculations and comments on the meaning of the voiceover. First things first: the text was written by Pietro Federico, a scriptwriter and poet. This was a perfect match, since one of my loves in life (aside from the water...and snowboarding...and shoes...and coffeeeeeeee) is poetry. Someone commented on the last line: "Dive...Now is the time" as in how this was scillfully inserted into a watch commercial - hahaha!

Fact is: neither Pietro nor I ever thought about "time" in this context at all. The text, including the last line, is the result of a long conversation we had, talking about what happens before, during and after a dive, what I feel and what it is that has drawn me to the depths since I was a child. Reading the observations of others has made me think about Pietro's words, and how well they express what I tried to relate to him.

Reflected in Pietro's poem is what has been fascinating me since the first time I put my head under water: The second I leave the surface, the world is left behind. Its' worries, cares, joys, anything at all, have ceased to be. It is an experience of intense freedom, while at the same time intense connection to what I am doing. I challenge myself - and to me, it is of great importance that this is personal, is mine - and within this challenge I discover myself and my place in the sea. It is a moment of joy. A moment that belongs to me alone. Free of everything.

Leave the surface
Leave all failures, attempts,
Your dreams not fully dreamt.
Challenge your thirst
Your own desire
And in that thirst you'll find a deeper thirst
In that desire,
A deeper desire.
And it will be as though you'd never wept.
So leave your fears behind,
Free your mind,
And dive into the depths.

One of the essential things in freediving is the moment in which you have to commit yourself to your dive. This is similar to many other "extreme" sports - a skydiver leaps from the plane, a cliffdiver from the rock, an extreme skier throws himself down the mountain, etc etc. But -  a skydiver needs to just work up the nerve to take the leap - he has crossed the threshold, the decision over, there is no turning back. This is different for us freedivers - we have to continue to submit ourseves to what we do. I can stop and turn with every kick of my fin, brake every meter the sled draws me down towards the bottom. Until I reach my target, the maximum depth, I can still abort the dive early, give up, quit. This is one of the reasons that freediving is, before anything else, an enormous effort of the mind.

Before I dive, I go deeper and deeper into concentration, until I finally take the last breath, hold still for a second, and leave the surface. From this moment, I have to commit myself to the ocean, mind, body, everything. Without this, you cannot dive successfully to such extremes. You take the last few breaths, and in your mind, cross a line, a line that is yours to cross and no one elses.
It is time to dive.

Find freedom in a step
Beyond your fear.
Feel the blessing
Of every single breath
And cross the line
That no one sees
But you.
And when you return
From the silent depth,
No one can take the freedom
You carry deep inside.

Dive.
Now is the time.

The thing I love about this video is that it actually shows one of the most beautiful dives I have ever done. It was perfect in every way, one of those rare moments in life when what you have been working hard for is suddenly flawless. The sea was stunning that day. This is what I have been diving for, with or without tanks, for years.

Wake up call tomorrow is at 05:30am. Maybe it will be one of those mornings!

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