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Canadian Women Freedivers Are The Best In The World!

“For the second year in a row the Canadian Association of Freediving and Apnea (CAFA) sent a Canadian Team to an international freediving competition. This year Ibiza, Spain hosted the 3rd AIDA Freediving World Championships with thirty countries and over 130 of the world’s best athletes in attendance.

After ten-days of competition the Canadian Women’s Team placed an incredible first with the USA women’s team placing second and the ever-strong Italian women’s team placing third. The Canadian Men’s Team placed 5th behind the powerhouses of Italy, France, Sweden and Greece. Overall Team Canada placed 2nd with those teams that had both a men and women’s contingent.

The impressive results from Team Canada show their passion and expertise in the competitive world of freediving. Although only competing internationally for their second year, Team Canada is comprised of enthusiastic and disciplined Canadian men and women. Last years competition in Nice, France had the women placing third and the men fourth with an overall ranking second.

Freediving is much like an advanced form of snorkeling where athletes compete in competitions where they gain points by freediving the deepest or staying the longest underwater with basic equipment on a single breath of air. Constant ballast is where an athlete swims down and up from depth on a single-breath of air. While Static Apnea is where a freediver holds their breath at the surface underwater for time. Each competitor’s points are added to their team members points and the countries ranking is determined.

Canadian woman team member Mandy-Rae Cruickshank of Vancouver achieved a depth of 50 meters / 164 feet ranking her 5th deepest woman at the competition for Canada. Mandy-Rae however holds the world record as the deepest women in the world riding a sled to a depth of 136m / 446 feet on a single breath of air having set this record on Sept 23rd / 2002 in the Cayman Islands. While on the men’s side Tom Lightfoot of Vancouver placed 18th with a dive to 60 meters / 197 feet. Tom holds a current Canadian record in dynamic apnea without fins at 75 meters.

In static apnea, Canada’s best results for women were performed by Mandy-Rae Cruickshank with a time of 5:06 ranking her sixth at the competition while Peter Scott of Vancouver reached 5:32 placing him 21st overall. Peter currently holds a Canadian record of dynamic apnea with fins at 108 meters.

This years Constant Ballast competition saw Austrian, Herbert Nitsch, freediving to 86 meters / 282 feet beating the world record held previously by Canadian Eric Fattah of Vancouver at 82 meters / 269 feet.

“Team Canada’s success was the result of our training and smart competition strategy that helped us achieve our great results. Our sponsors Picasso America, Hawaiian Tropic and Pirates Den Pub made it possible for us to attend and show what we’re made of”, says team captain Kirk Krack of Vancouver and CAFA President.

“We have great freedivers and a superb team dynamic that was the envy of many teams at the competition. Members such as Dan Hodgins, Calista Johnston, Tara Cunningham and Ken Parkin who are Canadians working in the Cayman Islands and our local Vancouver members Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, Tom Lightfoot, Peter Scott, Marie Girard and myself were a cohesive team that were there to prove to the rest of the worlds freedivers that we can be the best in this game”, says Kirk.

January 16th members of Canada’s team will be starting a 12-week freediving research project in conjunction with Simon Fraser University researcher Dr. Andrew Blaber and Erik Seedhouse. This project will look at the ‘Psychophysiological Adaptations and Responses of Novice and Elite Freedivers’ and the benefits this science may contribute to everyday individuals.

Anyone wanting more information on freediving or CAFA can go to,by email at, or phone 604-871-0118. “

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