Going down with the extremely extreme sport of deep-breath diving

Posted: 06/01/2012 in all marine news

By Jeffrey Kofman –

William Winram makes it sound so easy.

“You’re going to hold your breath, pull yourself down a line under the sea,” says the champion deep diver from Canada.

Then he laughs. I am having my doubts about this assignment. Winram and I are sitting on a floating diving platform half a mile off the coast of Kalamata, Greece.

This is the site of the annual World Free Diving Championships. I have come see what it is all about.

What I am quickly learning is that this is one of the most extreme of extreme sports.

Divers descend to unthinkable depths in the ocean — more than 700 feet down — with no air tanks.

That’s why it is also called Breath-Hold Diving.

We are wearing wet suits and fins and adjusting our face masks.

“The urge to breath is actually not because oxygen levels are low, it’s because CO2 levels are high and it’s just a natural protective reflex.

But the more you dive, the more you train yourself, the better you get at breathing, the better your body adapts to holding your breath,” says Winram as he tries to reassure me.

“You’ll be surprised, even for rank beginners it’s not difficult to teach them in a short period of time how to hold their breath for two or three minutes.”

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