7 Places That Will Actually Leave You Breathless

Sometimes, we like to get deep. Real deep.

As humans, we’re constantly pushing the boundaries of sense and reason in order to reach new heights, find new places and make new discoveries. But, when all else fails, why not jump into a big blue pond and see how long you can hold your breath? Don your fins and tight-fitting suit and come with us as we count down the coolest and most challenging freediving locations and events around the world.

Freediving Fact Goran Colak of Croatia currently holds the title for the deepest free dive ever achieved. In 2011, he swam to a depth of 896ft (273m) before surfacing.

Only One Apnea Center

Sharm El Sheik, Egypt

One of the few permanent freediving centres in the world, Only One  has been training athletes to freedive since 2006. Divers regularly take part in national and world record attempts in the balmy waters of Tiger Bay, sheltered from winds and sea currents, record attempts up to, and over, 150m depths can be set.

Suunto Vertical Blue

Dean’s Blue Hole, Bahamas (27th April – 7th May 2015)

Dubbed the ‘Wimbledon of Freediving’ by the New York Times, this event takes place in the unique setting of Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas. The ‘hole’, the deepest of its type in the world, is a 200m limestone pit. Freediving’s top competitors attend the event each year and compete in some of the sport’s most dangerous events.

Freediving Fact  Another name for freediving is ‘Apnea’ – from the Greek word ‘a-pnoia’ – which literally translates to ‘without breathing’.

AIDA World Freediving Championship

Kalamata, Greece

The freediving club in Greece has put in a bid to host the 2015 World Freediving Championships at Kalamata. After successfully holding the competition in 2011 and 2013, the venue looks to be on course to hold the 2015 contest. Competitors from 35 countries take part in smaller competitions around the world to build up points to take in to the Championships.

Roatan Caribbean Cup

Roatan, Honduras (May 24th – May 31st 2015)

Honduras couldn’t be a better location for freediving thanks to in part to the island’s history and topographic make-up. Local legend suggests that when Columbus approached the islands he thanked God for the deep waters and so the island was named Honduras. The area now hosts the annual Caribbean Cup where freedivers compete in three disciplines in the tropical, crystal clear waters.

Freediving Fact There are currently 7 different types of free diving discipline which have variations in diving for time, depth and distance in different weight classes, with and without fins. 

Deep Obsession

Auckland, New Zealand (28th February – 1st March 2015)

Freedivers in Auckland have the opportunity to compete and record personal bests in front of AIDA judges. AIDA is the international record keeping body for the sport and sets out the guidelines for each discipline. Deep Obsession includes three dive categories, including Free Immersion Apnea where divers are allowed to pull themselves deeper into the water along a vertical rope. Previous contests in the heart-shaped lake have included prizes such as a $1,000 diamond.

Freediving Fact    The record for holding one’s breath under water is held by French diver Stéphane Mifsud, who managed a super-human time of 11 minutes 35 seconds without air.

Great Northern

Liverpool, UK (21st -22nd March 2015)

Due to the weather and open water conditions there are no depth freediving competitions held in the UK. The largest of the indoor events takes place in the north of England at the Liverpool Aquatics centre. The event spans two days and includes Static Apnea dives (timed breath holding) and Dynamic Apnea dives (horizontal distance dives with or without fins).

Deja Blue VI

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (11th – 17th May 2015)

This week-long, annual event set in the beautiful waters of Cayman Islands allows divers three options with no limits as to the depth they can reach. They can complete the dives with or without the aid of a fin or they can use a vertical rope to pull themselves down into the deep waters and back up. Points are given per metre of depth reached and in the static pool events points are given for every 5 seconds of breath held.