Participating in the sport of freediving is a labor of love.

Most athletes, instructors, and recreational competitors do it for their own personal goals and fun. Some do it because it helps them feel connected to the ocean, while others simply want to share their experiences & explorations in the underwater realm.

To outside observers, freediving seems a rather unusual endeavor, one that is still searching for its footing in the world of financial support and sponsorships; even for the major events and top competitors, monetary gain is rare and minimal. Very few, if any, athletes can actually earn a living, let alone a stipend, in this niche but burgeoning sport.

So it is very good news to hear from the international governing body of the sport that for the first time in history, AIDA International will award money prizes for all medalists during freediving World Championships.

The prize levels will include €1,500/~US$1,867 for the Natalia Molchanova Memorial Award winners, €1,000/~$1,245 for gold, €750/~$934 for silver and €500/~$622 for the bronze.

Sayuri Kinoshita and Morgan Bourc'his -- the 2017 winners of the Natalia Molchanova Memorial Award
Sayuri Kinoshita and Morgan Bourc’his — the 2017 winners of the Natalia Molchanova Memorial Award

Additionally, AIDA International says it will invest almost €90,000/~$112,026 in strengthening its education system as well as begin to provide financial support to the major competitions on all continents.

AIDA Treasurer Vedran Milat said:

“We want to enable live streaming during our freediving World Championships, bringing all of the epic apnea performances to screens everywhere.”

Stay tuned to see who will take home these inaugural prizes as the next world championship event will take place in Belgrade, Serbia this summer from June 23rd through July 1st.

For more information, check out the official website here.

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