Azua Shafii is Malaysia’s best female freediver. She set new National Records for Malaysia during the 2016 AIDA Team World Championships in Kalamata earlier this year. She also set new National Records for Malaysia in Static and Dynamic in Indonesia’s ID: Apnea Pool Competition 2016.
Here are some of Azua’s results recently:
- 2016 AIDA Team World Championships
- CWT: 50m
- STA: 4:27
- DYN: 137m
- ID: Apnea Pool Competition 2016
- DNF: 63m
- STA: 4:48
- DYN: 153m
DeeperBlue.com caught up with Azua to find out what drives her and to learn about the freediving scene in Malaysia.
DeeperBlue.com: Why freediving?
Azua Shafii: I just love to be in the water. If I don’t freedive I will go scuba diving.
DB: When did you start freediving?
AS: In 2012, after being introduced with my friend. At that time I wasn’t aware about freediving as a sport. When I tried I fell in love instantly.
DB: You recently formed part of the first Malaysian National Team to compete in the AIDA World Championship in Greece. Tell us how you trained for the colder waters of Greece.
AS: We don’t really have facilities to train in a cold environment. I decided to go to Greece early to train and condition my body for the environment there.
DB: What was your impression of the competition?
AS: It was nicely managed and run by the organizer to fit all the needs of all athletes.
DB: Do you think international competitions are affordable to athletes who live in South-East Asia?
AS: To think again the competition fee is affordable for all athletes, but in our case we had to spend more on flight tickets. If you really want to do something there is always solution for that.
DB: What was the most important thing you learn at the Worlds?
AS: Balance in everything. Yes, we were in the middle of competition but we were in Kalamata, Greece. It’s a very beautiful place with good scenery, food and people. So the idea to go to Greece was to have a holiday and compete at the same time. That was a good idea. But yes, focus and balance are important.
DB: Tell me about the FD scene in Malaysia. Are there lots of women learning the sport?
AS: Yes, this sport for everyone not only for a specific gender. In Malaysia, the dynamic record is hold by the women. It’s a growing sport in Malaysia. And the best thing here people don’t do this only for sport, we do this for leisure. We go to the sea and we freedive. But the idea to do it safe is more important.
DB: Where are the best spots in Malaysia for freediving? What depth?
AS: We have few good places to go for freediving but we have limitation on depth. Tenggol, Tioman Island and also Sipadan might be the best options to explore.
DB: What is your day job?
AS: I run my own freedive center Apnea Odyssey in Kuala Lumpur.
DB: What advice would you give to the girls out there who might be to nervous to sign up for a competition?
AS: It’s not about winning or breaking records. When I sign up for competition I am excited to think that I will see and make new friends and also exploring new places.
DB: What is your favorite discipline? Why?
AS: Constant Weight (CWT), maybe because I’m a mermaid.
DB: Do you have a ‘power song’?
AS: Not really. But I like to hear the sound of the nature, the waves the wind. It makes me feel calm.
DB: Do you have a coach? Do you think it’s important to have a coach?
AS: Most of the time my training buddy is my coach. But of course when you train, get a good coach that know your needs. He/she can give valuable feedback about performances and also what we can do to improve.
DB: You are involved in an environmental campaign (shark fins). Tell me more.
AS: The Myfinmylife campaign is a collaboration between WWF, Sharksavers and Wildaid to create awareness about rejecting shark fin consumption as Asia is the biggest consumer for shark fins. When the demand stop, the killing will stop too.
DB: What is your hope for the development of freediving worldwide?
AS: I hope to see the sport continue to grow and more freedivers especially from South East Asia compete in the next world championship.