The Caribbean Cup is an important freediving competition held in Roatan. What follows is an in-depth (no pun intended) article on competitive freediving and freediving in Roatan. The Caribbean Cup came to be in 2013, and it has become one of the most important freediving competitions in the world. World-and-Nation Championships from 5 continents and several countries are held in Roatan. High-level safety teams man the scene and together with distinguished international judges, doctors, and rescue divers professional ensure the safety of each diver.
WITH FINS (CWT)
CONSTANT WEIGHT (CWT) "With Fins" also known as "Constant Weight." free-dives are done with either a monofin or with bi-fins. Constant Weight usually records the deepest dives by freedivers.
FREE IMMERSION (FIM)
FREE IMMERSION is when divers propel themselves by pulling themselves along the descent line. Divers are not allowed to wear fins. This discipline requires the longest breath hold and last longest.
NO FINS (CNF)
CONSTANT WEIGHT (CNT) "No Fins" This discipline is considered the purest form of freediving. Dives are without the aid of fins. Free-divers use an adapted breaststroke technique to reach their depth.
Caribbean Cup Competition
There are three main disciplines in freediving: Immersion (FIM), Constant Weight with Fins (CWT), and Constant Weight Without Fins (CNF). Athletes compete across all three disciplines to reach greater depths on a single breath of air. The Roatan Freediving School & Training Center has been honored by AIDA International by allowing it to organize the AIDA World Championship in 2017.
OBJECTIVE: The goal of freediving competition is to see which athlete can dive the deepest, safely. Free-divers get one point per meter. Divers do not earn points for the duration of their free-dive. Divers are only rewarded for the depth of their dives.
1) CONSTANT WEIGHT (CWT) - With Fins
The first category is known as "With Fins" also known as "Constant Weight." But "With Fins" is more descriptive. In this category, freedivers dive with either a monofin or with bi-fins. Constant Weight usually records the deepest dives by freedivers.
CURRENT RECORD HOLDER: Current world record holders for the Constant Weight discipline are held by Alexey Molchanov who dove to 129 meters. The women’s world record is 104 meters and held by the Italian, Alessia Zecchini.
2) CONSTANT WEIGHT (CNF) - No Fins
The second category is the "No Fins," where divers dive as deep as they can without the aid of fins. Freedivers use an adapted breaststroke technique to propel themselves down into the deep. This freediving discipline is usually considered the purest form of freediving and the toughest.
CURRENT RECORD HOLDER: Current world record holders in this discipline are William Trubridge from New Zealand; who dove to 102 meters without fins. Also, Sayuri Kinoshita of Japan holds the women’s world record at 72 meters.
3) FREE IMMERSION (Longest Breath-holds)
The third discipline is known as "Free Immersion." Free Emersion is when divers propel themselves by pulling themselves along the descent line. Free divers are not allowed to wear fins during free emersion dives, and while free emersion typically is the least athletic discipline, it does require the longest breath hold because the dive times are the longest.
CURRENT RECORD HOLDER: The current world record for men in the Free Emersion discipline is 124 meters, held by William Trubridge from New Zealand and the current world record holder for women is 92 meters held by Jeanine Grasmeijer of Holland.
NOTE: In both the Constant Weight and the No Fin categories, divers are not allowed to use the descent line to assist them, except as a guide, or to do one pull at the bottom of the dive to begin the ascent.
ANNOUNCEMENT BOX & STRATEGY
ANNOUNCEMENT BOX & STRATEGY
There is an official announcement box. And as soon as athletes submit their announcement into the box, there’s no turning back. Athletes are not allowed to change their announcement even if they know what someone else has announced, or even if they have a change of heart later on. This introduces an element of strategy to each competition. This game is about announcing what you know you can do, but also trying to out announce your competitors.
Athletes can medal in each category, but they are not able to medal for accumulating the most points in all three categories. With that said, most competitions, do have an overall winner for the diver that has accumulated the most points over all three disciplines. There are different freediving competitions, but for the freediving world championships, every athlete gets just one attempt at each discipline.
Freediving Surface Protocol
What is a Surface Protocol in Freediving? A Surface Protocol is a series of actions taken by a free-diver just after completing his or her dive. For safety reasons, divers must show that they're lucid at the bottom of their dive and the surface just after completing the dive.
Freedivers are required to performs a task at the bottom of the dive; this usually involves grabbing a ribbon or tag from the bottom of the dive. Then, once a diver has reached the surface, they are required to complete the Surface Protocol.
During the Surface Protocol, a diver has fifteen seconds to remove any facial equipment, including nose clip and mask, locate the judges, and give them an okay sign and saying the words: “I’m okay.”
- Remove facial equipment
- Locate Judges
- Give the "I'm O.K." statement
A Free-diver must complete the sequence in the Surface Protocol in that exact order, without any mistakes to avoid a deduction or a potential disqualification.
- PADI Certification
- Breath Holding Techniques
- Mammalian Reflex
OFFICIAL TOP TIMES
The day before a dive, athletes make an official announcement of the target depth they’ll attempt the following day. Later, an official start list is published where each diver receives an official top time. This is the time in which the diver is expected to start their dive on the day of the competition.
One by one a freediver makes his or her dive, following their dive times. Dive times are also referred to as the Official Top time. Freedivers counted down to their Official Top...two minutes, one minute thirty, one minute, etc., until they reach the zero. Freedivers have thirty seconds (a thirty-second window) to start their dive.
Freedivers attempt to reach the bottom of their announced depths by bringing up a tag from the bottom and getting back up to the surface where they are then required to carry out a surface protocol in a precise order.
Card System & Penalties
- White Card
- Yellow Card
- Red Card
1) WHITE CARD: A white card, which represents a successful dive in which a diver will be awarded all the points for the announced depth. For example, a 100-meter dive would earn 100 points, a 90-meter dive, would earn 90 points.
2) YELLOW CARD: A yellow represents a warning on a completed dive. A penalty could be awarded for starting a dive too early, grabbing the rope if it’s not a category where divers are allowed to grab the rope, or coming up without the tag located at the bottom of the dive.
3) RED CARD: A red card represents a failed dive, and the diver is not awarded any points when a red card is issued. For example, if a diver has a blackout, fails to complete the Surface Protocol, or if a diver pulls on the descent line for assists during the dive. There are other reasons why a diver could be awarded a yellow or a red card, but the above mentioned are the most common reasons for the awarding of colored cards.
ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONALE FOR DEVELOPMENT OF APNEA (AIDA)
The Association Internationale for the Development of Apnea (A.I.D.A) is the main regulatory body for freediving competitions, worldwide.
In the Team World Championships, countries compete in teams of three, while in the Individual Championships, free divers compete individually. These annual competitions alternate from one year to another meaning that they each occur once every other year.
Arguably, the individual championships are more popular because freediving is an individual sport at heart. Honduras was host to the individual championships in 2017, held in West Bay, Roatan.
Each year competition organizers around the world put in bids to be able to host the world championships. Then, the AIDA assembly votes on which is the best proposal. Most of the time the location is one with easily accessible deep and calm water.
Freediving Courses in Roatan
SOURCE & CREDITS: A special Thank you to Adam Stern, Michael Board, and Kate Middleton for helping us with our research.