Thursday, September 17, 2020

A tragic loss in the freediving community

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“It is with regret and great sorrow that we share with you the passing of Loren Maas.

Loren was the son of the father of modern freediving in the United Stated, Terry Maas, and was working with with the YMCA this summer as a Childcare counselor on the big island of Kona, Hawaii.

At age 19, Loren was an inspiration to all the staff and volunteers at the YMCA in Kona. Loren’s Smile and positive attitude were always present each day he spent together and his friendship will always be remembered and cherished.

Loren was helping with all programs and spending time developing his skills as a camp counselor and aquatics professional in Kona.

From various accounts the course of events are as follows: Loren was enjoying his day-off from work and doing the thing he enjoyed most, Freediving. Like his Dad he was a true waterman and a child prodigy of the sport. Loren was diving with an experienced buddy and taking a casual time to enjoy some diving off Thurston Pt. in Kailua-Kona. Both young men were very capable Freedivers, with advanced training in rescue skills. Both young men chose to dive in a relatively shallow reef area and close to public access. They were equipped properly including having a safety float and alternating their dives to always have visual contact with each other and avoiding any chance of them being underwater at the same time. During the excursion of about one hour and a series of dives on a shallow reef, Loren made a dive to about 60 feet. During the first 30 seconds of the time underwater his buddy noticed little movement and then became concerned at about 45 secs. Since his buddy was worried, his ability was impacted by the stress and he became unable to check Loren on the bottom or reach him Freediving. His buddy signaled for help and the County Fire Rescue divers were summoned to the scene. After recovery, Loren was unconscious and rushed to the Kona Community Hospital E.R. room where he was stabilized and then transferred to the I.C.U. unit. In I.C.U. Loren was battling to make it. However with family by his side he was pronounced dead at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday July, 26, 2001.

At his side was his Family: Father Dr. Terry Maas, Stepmother Beth Maas, Grandfather E.A. Maas, Uncle Craig Maas and his step-sister Marissa.

What has made it difficult to understand is the passing of such a fine young man who was doing the right thing.

For his buddy it was especially hard because Loren did not succumb to Shallow Water Black-out, since he had not started back to the surface from his dive on the reef.

The freediving community has lost a good soul and his family, a close member.”

Cliff Etzel
Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of DeeperBlue.com. He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.

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