Luciana Jury | Freediving Philippines – A New Era for International Competitions | Freediving Philippines is now entering a new era for international competitions with Camotes Freediving hosting depth events for all disciplines. The first two competitions are the Camotes Freediving Challenge in April and the AIDA OceanQuest Philippines in May 2023.
Freediving in the Philippines, and within Southeast Asia, is gaining a lot of committed enthusiasts. It is steadily gaining popularity because of professionally-organized international competitions that bring athletes from various countries together to interact and share experiences.
Found on Camotes Island, in the province of Cebu, Philippines, Camotes Freediving Center is only in its first year of operations and was built with the vision of hosting world-class competitions. Thibault Guignes, French record-holder, Molchanovs Head of Education, and owner of Camotes Freediving, said he specifically chose to set up shop on Camotes Island because of its perfect weather conditions, calm waters, clear underwater visibility, and of course, a depth of 150 meters near the shore.
Thibault adds about why he chose Camotes island as his headquarters, “The beautiful symphony of pink and orange of the sunset sky, against the blue-green sea here in Camotes, is a perfect way to complete an enjoyable day of freediving here in Camotes”. The idyllic sunsets evoke the same feelings for freediving – calmness, satisfaction and a twinge of excitement. Metaphorically, freediving competitions are a perfect way to conclude your training as an athlete, and to gauge yourself as a professional freediver.
Freediving competitions are significant moments for the athlete. You choose your discipline or disciplines to compete in and declare your target depth for each. Your achievements are officially recorded by AIDA (Association Internationale pour le Développement de l’Apnée), the international association for the development of freediving, and official record and points keeper for most official freediving competitions.
Safety is very important in every freedive. Aside from the freediving platform with counterweight, Camotes Freediving is equipped with sonar equipment, Diver Propulsion Vehicles (DPVs), or underwater scooters, oxygen tanks, and standby evacuation boats at the competition site. Standby medical teams will be on the platform and on-shore during the competitions.
The competition judges and safety divers all have extensive experience of competitions. Head Judge John Folkvord has been successfully organizing multiple competitions in the Philippines for more than 8 years. Safety Divers are all carefully selected, have very strong freediving skills and undergo multiple safety drills before the competition.
Athletes from all over the world will be flocking to Camotes. In fact, 20 international freedivers are confirmed participants for the Camotes Freediving Challenge. Slots to participate were quickly filled up for this April event. As for the May event, only a few open slots are still available for Oceanquest Philippines, where confirmed athletes include world-record holder Alexey Molchanov, a 24-time world champion record-holder also known as “The Machine” or “The King of the Deep”. He has a constant weight (CWT) record of 131 meters (430 feet). In this discipline, divers descend using either bi-fins or a monofin, typically in a wetsuit and a small amount of weight. The diver is not allowed to pull on any guide ropes or change the weight used during the dive. Alessia Zecchini will also be joining the competition. Alessia became a world champion for the first time at the age of 21. She is affectionately called “the Queen of the Abyss” by the press and her fans. Her constant weight record is 116 meters (377 feet) and she set more than 38 World Records in both depth and pool disciplines throughout her career. Oceanquest Philippines will be well-documented by the international press and newsteams.
True to the vision, Camotes Freediving organizes these competitions to celebrate freediving. Through these competitions, he has created a beautiful venue to make, or break personal, national, and world records. He says, “We are committed to your achievements as a competitive freediver, for you to enjoy the sport safely, to perform your best and to have fun getting to know fellow freedivers.”