After last year’s success, InnerSea is organizing the 2018 edition of its annual Nirvana Oceanquest international freediving contest.
Athletes from five continents will gather again around a unique spot in Colombian Caribbean waters: The Nirvana drop off, on the west side of San Andrés Island.
Over the course of six competition days, athletes will get the opportunity to attempt personal, national or world records in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. This contest aims at providing a safe and intimate environment for a reduced group of freedivers to train and perform at their own pace.
This is a very good moment to come to Colombia, as the currency exchange makes it much more affordable to come and train for a relatively low cost of living.
Past events have concluded with a nice record of zero black outs in two consecutive years, and a smooth organization, backed up by the local coast guards, Colombian Red Cross and Navy.
Additionally, a beach and sea floor cleaning day was organized in conjunction with local scuba diving schools. Several national records were achieved and the deepest dive was performed by organizer Walid Boudhiaf, with a national record of 113 meters/371 feet in the Free Immersion category.
The competition implements all the new safety procedures and the organizer’s own medical equipment (AED, portable suction machine, O2, advanced airways), available at all times on the platform during both the competition and previous official trainings. Fast boat and ambulance on stand-by are part of the emergency evacuation plan, to take a patient to the close-by hospital (15-minute drive) equipped with a hyperbaric chamber.
One of the biggest advantages of the Nirvana spot is the 200-meter-deep and sheltered waters within a swimming distance from the shore and all the logistic needed for safe and deep dives, with a brand new platform equipped with deep sonar, counterballast and VHF radio, 12mm/.47-inch dyneema rope and a dedicated transportation boat. Jose Blanco will be the medic on duty, experienced in the field of emergency medical services, well versed in barotrauma handling and resuscitations. There will also be a highly experienced and skilled safety team, leaded by chief safety Christopher James McKay.
For media and videos, organizers are currently considering the implementation of a deep drone to film the dives and/or the participation of a professional team for the video making/edition. Laura Babahekian will be in charge of still photography, whose pictures can be seen on the competition’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Training will be available two months before the start of the contest and a Training Camp is set for March and April in order to help athletes from all levels achieve their goals in a safer way. The safety crew will be on site watching and monitoring all the athletes 2-3 weeks before the start of the event, to insure a gradual progression and O2 will be freely available for deep dives and/or barotraumas.
Organizers are expecting the participation of at least 20 athletes from Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Peru, Taiwan, Tunisia and the USA, so far. World record holder Alessia Zecchini has already confirmed her participation, so you can expect some interesting dives during the competition.
For more information, check out the video below of last year’s competition. To register for this year’s event, go to freedivingcolombia.com.
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