Jean-Pol Francois

JP is like the godfather of freediving in Asia. He comes from Belgium and his school Freediving Planet is one of the top schools in South East Asia.

He has been freediving for more than 25 years, participating in many international freediving competitions and World Championships. He is a current Belgian national record holder and has previously held world records, and he is still an active competitor and member of the Belgian National team.

JP arrived in Asia in early 2010 and was one of the first AIDA Instructor Trainers based in Asia. He is Head of Education for AIDA, an AIDA Instructor Trainer, an AIDA Judge Trainer, an AIDA International Judge and PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer.

In this episode we discuss:

JP’s start in freediving in Belgium, influenced by Le Grand Bleu, of course.
The birth of AIDA in Belgium.
The influence of the Le Grand Bleu on freediving.
JP had an easy start in freediving with a background in competitive swimming.
The evolution of competitive freediving and JP’s own (ongoing) competition career.
How Freediving Planet got started.
What being head of AIDA education involves.
The possibility of AIDA becoming a for-profit organisation.
Are AIDA standards high enough? We think so…
AIDA competition safety standards and recent mistakes, and the continuing development in this area. What are the chances that freediving will go to the Olympics?
JP especially likes static and dynamic disciplines.
The timeless mistakes of beginners in pushing for the numbers and diving for the ego.
Complementary training for freediving and the example of Patrick Musimu.
JP’s favourite gear (Molchanov & Waterway monofins, Elios, Besdive)
JP’s favourite dive sites (South of France and Kaş, Turkey)
The objective to make The Philippines the freediving capital of Asia.
The problem of plastic oceans.
JP’s interests outside of freediving.
The future of Freediving Planet and looking forward to retirement.
The secret of JP’s eternal youth – It’s freediving! (we think…)
JP’s recommended books are The Ice People by René Barjavel and Sukhwan Island by David Vann.
Donny recommends Iain M. Banks for science fiction fans!

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