Freedive Gili & Instructor Course Preparation #4

by | Mar 20, 2018

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#32 – Emma Farrell

#32 – Emma Farrell

Emma Farrell is the author of the beautiful book One Breath: A reflection on Freediving. She is a major contributor to the development of AIDA and other education systems as author of their education materials, and is dedicated to making freediving accessible to...

#31 – Gus Kreivenas – Part Two

#31 – Gus Kreivenas – Part Two

Gus Kreivenas is a rising star in the freediving scene. He's originally from Lithuania and over the last decade has been developing himself into an elite freediver, focusing on awareness, sensitivity and focus to bring himself to this level in the safest and most...

#30 – Gus Kreivenas – Part One

#30 – Gus Kreivenas – Part One

Gus Kreivenas is a rising star in the freediving scene. He's originally from Lithuania and over the last decade has been developing himself into an elite freediver, focusing on awareness, sensitivity and focus to bring himself to this level in the safest and most...

#29 – Walid Boudhiaf

#29 – Walid Boudhiaf

Walid Boudhiaf is a French-Tunisian freediver, currently living in Colombia and the Caribbean. He has achieved a depth of 116m in competition in FIM, and was ranked 2nd in the 2017 world ranking for that discipline. He also runs the Nirvana Oceanquest Freediving...

#28 – Julia Mouce

#28 – Julia Mouce

Julia Mouce is an instructor for SSI, AIDA, Apnea Total and PADI as well as an Instructor Trainer for Apnea Total and PADI, she is an accomplished competition freediver herself, holding records for Argentina in CWT and CNF. She is also the owner of a very well-known...

#27 – Homar Leuci

#27 – Homar Leuci

Homar Leuci is from Italy and began diving in France in 2001. After seeing the cult freediving movie The Big Blue, about freediving rivals Enzo Maiorca and Jacques Mayol, he dreamt of one day becoming one of the strongest freedivers in the world. Through his 15-year...

#26 – Anna von Boetticher

#26 – Anna von Boetticher

Anna von Boetticher started scuba diving when she was 17 and kept exploring that realm until she was a scuba instructor and deep technical diver, eventually diving to 130m on trimix. When she signed up for a freediving workshop in 2007 she was just looking for a...

#25 – George Georgas

#25 – George Georgas

George Georgas was born in Athens, Greece. He has a degree in Physical Education and Sports Sciences and has continued to study Kinesiology, Ergophysiology and Movement Biomechanics. George is also a fromer competitive freediving athlete and I came to hear of him in...

#24 – Ashley Futral Chapman – Supermom

#24 – Ashley Futral Chapman – Supermom

Ashley Chapman is a native of North Carolina and wife of Ren Chapman (Episode 21). While Ren focuses more on the safety aspect of competitions, Ashley is a dedicated competitive freediving athlete. In her years of competition she's achieved 14 national records and 3...

#23 – Sayuri Kinoshita – Top of the World

#23 – Sayuri Kinoshita – Top of the World

Sayuri Kinoshita was born in 1988 in Japan. Her parents have been running a swimming school in Nagasaki since she was 3 years old, and she has a background in competitve swimming. She began freediving after seeing fellow Japanese freediver Hanako Hirose in a magazine....

Well, I made it safely to Gili Trawangan after a long and exhausting journey by automobiles, planes and boats. Stepping off the boat I was pleased to discover that not much has changed in the past year and a half and Freedive Gili remains intact and operating as normal. I was greeted by a few familiar faces and a few new ones and happily began to settle myself into seven weeks of uninterrupted freediving bliss.

For those of you unfamiliar with the place, Gili Trawangan is the largest of three tiny islands off the north-west coast of the Indonesian island of Lombok. The islands are most often reached by a fast boat from Bali, which takes around two hours, depending on where you set off from. Gili Trawangan is the most developed island and over the years has garnered a reputation as a hedonistic party Mecca, drawing a typically young, free and drunk contingent of backpackers and tourists from all over the world.

The Gilis still have it.

Although the party scene is easy to find on the main strip of Gili T, the real attraction of the islands is that they are the epitome of an exotic, tropical paradise; white sandy beaches shaded by coconut palms, from where one can walk straight into crystal-clear waters above coral reefs populated by beautiful tropical fish and sea turtles. Now, the Gili islands are not without their problems, it is not the pristine paradise it once was and increasingly creaks under the weight of tourist development, but let’s leave that for another story and concentrate on what makes the Islands a paradise for freedivers; endless deep, warm, clear waters easily accessible from the beach!

Freedive Gili is the world-class freediving centre run by British multiple-record holder Michael Board. It features a couple of nice boats, a very chilled centre with a 25 metre pool, a yoga shala and beautiful cottages, and it was here I came in 2016 to attend my very first freediving courses. I quickly established myself as a stunningly mediocre beginner freediver, but despite the sometimes difficult experience I had doing those first courses, I fell head over heels in love with freediving and was determined to one day return to Freedive Gili to train properly.

One of the first faces to greet me as I arrived was Veronika Chesworth Kruse, who I was excited to meet as she was one of the first people to support The Freedive Café podcast through Patreon.

Adam Stern, his wife Erin and Freedive Gili owner Michael Board

On day two I got an even bigger surprise when Adam Stern turned up at the shop with his wife Erin! Adam was the guest on episode #9 on the podcast, one of the world’s top competitive freedivers and also the face of a very funny, informative and well-produced Youtube channel.

I got in the water the next morning for the first time, pretty excited to be diving off the old boat. My initial plans to be extremely conservative were replaced by less conservative ones and I got my training underway with FIM dives right up to 30m. That all felt great but I noticed that my left ear was equalising much later than my right. The next day I was back in the water but the EQ issue had worsened and my ear ended up squeaky and stuck. Now there was nothing else to do but sit out for a couple of days and let it rest. To be honest, this was what I badly needed anyway. Not just to rest my ear but to recover from the travel and decompress from city life, too.

The Freedive Gili boat takes us out into the open water.

So I slowed down, ran around the island, went to the gym, did yoga and read some books for pleasure. I forgot about my work and the podcast completely for a few days and on Thursday I was back in the water in great form. This session was one of the best I can remember having. Just Veronika and I, and perfect conditions. Veronika is a newly-minted SSI Freedive Instructor and great things lie ahead for her I’m sure. I had a very nice CWT dive to 35m with a mask and lots of other nice dives that left me feeling confident I’ll be able to gently progress back to 40m and beyond in the weeks leading up to my instructor course.

My plan is to focus on keeping my body strong, flexible and clean for the coming 5 weeks. I’ll spend another week here at Freedive Gili training each day in the pool or the big blue, focusing on enjoying every dive regardless of how deep I go and enjoying the company of the wonderful like-minded people who are here.

I’m wrapping up my first week here on Gili T feeling extremely grateful that I’m back to dive with this wonderful school and surrounded by inspiring and supportive people who are as mad about freediving as I am. Look out for a Gili T update at the end of next week before I head of to Gili Air for the start of my AIDA Masters Program at Freedive Flow!

Training in Freedive Gili’s wonderful 25m lane-pool.

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