Last week wrapped up the second K?kaha Apnea Competition on the Big Island of Hawaii. This competition, organized by Shell Eisenberg and Kona Freedivers, hosted 12 athletes competing in Static Apnea (STA), Dynamic Apnea (DYN), and Dynamic No Fins (DNF). With high-value prizes from OMER, Suunto, and Cressi the athletes were showing their best performances for the chance to win.
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Organizer Shell Eisenberg had this to say to DeeperBlue.com:
“This year we were proud to host several first-time competitors—several of whom were bit by the competitive freediving bug and are now researching their next competition opportunities! On day one, first-time competitor Quinn Rioirdan from Oahu performed an excellent personal best DNF of 83m with an easy white card from judges Annabel Edwards and Carlos Mazo. The first day of the competition, however, became a bit tense. With the hot North Kona sun beaming down on the athletes at the Mauna Lani Sports & Fitness 25m pool and the pressure of the start of competition, freedivers pushed themselves over the line a bit resulting in nearly half Red Cards.”
By the second day, however, athletes refocused and showed very impressive DYN and DNF performances. Kurt Chambers, multiple USA National Records holder and freediving instructor from the Big Island, wowed the viewers with a striking 192m DYN. First-time competitor Dylan Currier performed a personal best performance of 115m DYN. And Katie Pentz, from the Big Island, completed a beautiful 75m DNF while decked out in her tiger print one piece suit.
The Static Apnea event was held at Byron Kay’s, Owner of Kona Freedivers, home swimming pool in Kailua Kona. The first performance was a remarkable personal best breath hold by Brandon Hendrickson, surprising us all with a clean 7:24 STA. So close to the USA National Record I think Brandon surprised even himself! 2016 Team USA member Chris Funada did an excellent 5:09 STA. And first-time competitor Jen Brant got a white card from Carlos Mazo and John Hullverson for her successful 3:00 STA. USA’s freediving legend Bill Graham performed a static of 6:38. He didn’t quite pull off the surface protocol but amazed the spectators nonetheless.
“I was impressed and even shocked watching the athletes do such great performances. I thought the safety and organization of the competition was top notch and controlled very well. It seemed like a welcoming and secure environment for new freedivers as well as experienced athletes to dive at their peak.” – Virginia Armstrong, Manager Kona Honu Divers/Kona Freedivers
At closing ceremonies, ranking athletes received koa wood medals in the shape of Hawaii Island and picked prizes like the OMER UP-X1r, UP-X1, Cressi Drake and Suunto’s brand new D4f freediving computers.
The competition was a great success according to Eisenberg:
“This successful competition would not have been possible without the incredible safety team, judges, and organizing staff. We look forward to seeing everyone next year on the Big Island at K?kaha Apnea Competition 2018.”