Infinity Depth Games III

Sunlight at the surface of the third annual Infinity Depth Games (photo by Daan Verhoeven)

To infinity and beyond!” the catch-phrase made famous by Woody and Buzz Lightyear in the animated film series “Toy Story” is the only way to accurately describe the endless fathoms of crystal clear, blue water that envelopes the south east coast of Cyprus, where the Infinity Depth Games III is off to a swimming start. Divers from around the world have arrived early to train in the infinitely blue waters of Cyprus, and to immerse themselves in the incredible conditions and welcoming community of Protaras.  Organized by the team at Infinity Freediving Cyprus, (Costas Constantinou, Nicole Karsera and Pavlos Kourtellas) this third edition of a relatively new freediving competition on the international scene, promises to be an event not to be missed. Over 20 athletes from 14 different countries are expected to offer their best performances in no-fins (CNF), free-immersion (FIM) , and constant weight (CWT) starting next Friday, October 27th.

Anna enveloped in blue (photo by Daan Verhoeven)

“Bring an extra stomach!” extolled underwater photographic phenom Daan Verhoeven, who will be capturing imagery for the competition along with Costantinou who takes equally as stunning photos, in his own elegant style.

They do a cake here called ‘tahinopita‘ which is so good! You eat it and you are in heaven.”

Athletes like German national record-holder Anna Von Boetticher of Germany, and professional freediver Georgina Miller of Great Britain are finding the idyllic location, warm hospitality and delicious cake all very comforting — a refreshing change after a rather tumultuous hurricane season in the Caribbean, where many of these athletes had their apnea plans foiled by Hurricane Maria.

“It was a last minute decision to come here, and I am amazed at how nice the conditions are this late in the year.” offered Anna. “We could not be happier with the organizer either, Costas, Pavlos and Nicole are taking the best possible care of us, down to the smallest detail.”

Pavlos Kourtellas is true blue (photo by Daan Verhoeven)

Georgina Miller and Verhoeven, who run a freediving school in Cornwall where the typical conditions are just a bit more turbid and cool, are finding the Cyprus scene a delight.

“The training here in Cyprus with Infinity Freediving has been great. We have epic visibility at about  45-50m, the water is still 25 degrees celsius at the surface so just about warm enough for a light suit. Pavlos, Costas and Nicole have made us all feel so welcome. It’s a lovely set up, very relaxed, well organized and encouraging with terrific safety,”shared Miller, the UK’s 6x National Record holder of static apnea.

“We’ve really enjoyed sightseeing to the Zenobia and some beautiful caves- there are so many wonderful places to see, it’s hard to concentrate on just training! Pavlos has been bringing us lovely Cypriot sesame cakes for after the sessions, and they are so good I’m afraid we are going to sink his boat. Thanks to Infinity Freediving for taking such good care of us!”

Exploring the Zenobia (photo by Daan Verhoeven)

But the Infinity Depth Games are not just for the super experienced, it’s a great place for novices as well.

“This is my first competition,” quipped Veronika Kruse Chesworth,  “I have only been freediving for two years and despite some stories/information as well as following the sport online, I didn’t really know what to expect. So far, it has been an amazing experience that started when I was still back at home. From the moment I decided I would like to come, the Infinity Freediving team have been incredible. Every question was answered by them before I could even think of them! Between the very warm welcome by email & social media to the personal pick up at the airport, I feel incredibly lucky to have had the chance to join training so early and make my first “transition” into competitive freediving an easy one. The team has been incredibly organized and the gorgeous warm waters make diving easy. I managed to increase my PB by 9 meters in a week, which is amazing! A contributing factor to that PB was that I feel so at ease and most importantly safe! I think Pavlos and his team have set the bar very high when it comes to what I will now expect at future competitions. They will be hard to beat.”

Local Cypriot athletes such as Isabel S. Aran (of Spain), and Jaroslav Pupak (of Slovakia) will also compete to see what new depths they can achieve at the Infinity Depth Games. Last year Aran set a new national record in free immersion, and perhaps hopes to repeat and push this title further at her second appearance. Stay  tuned to Deeperblue as the official top begins Friday, October 27th and the diving promises to be as incredible as the early reviews.

Isabela S. Aran on the reef in Cyprus (photo by Costas Constantinou)

All photos courtesy of Daan Verhoeven and Costas Constantinou