Freediving in Roatan is alive and well. The sport of Freediving continues to grow Roatan is establishing itself as a worldwide destination for Freediving. Honduras means "Depths" when translated to English. Years ago, Columbus inadvertently named the country of Honduras when he encountered a storm, navigated through it, and went on record saying "thank God we are leaving these "depths." Fast forward to our modern era and today; you'll find the Bay Islands in the same deep waters sailed by Columbus.
THE CARIBBEAN CUP
The Caribbean Cup came to be in 2001, and it has become one of the most important freediving competition 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.
Roatan offers freediving & training for "Apnea Total" & "PADI." Courses range from Master to beginner levels. Roatan is also the organizer of the Caribbean Cup Freediving 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.
ROATAN, THE BIG ISLAND
Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands. The Bay Islands are part of the Mesoamerican Reef. The islands are surrounded by a reef wall, and the waters in between the reef wall and shoreline of the islands are commonly referred to as "the lagoon." Lagoons are crystal clear and shallow waters. They are rich with fish populations, and they are home to some of the most beautify coral life and coral formations. But just on the other side of the reef wall is an abyss. Waters outside the reef wall drop rapidly to thousands of feet deep. The water here is rich, dark, and blue. In short, the Bay Islands are surrounded by pristine waters the area just around the islands, but just a few swim strokes away from the beautiful beaches, beyond the wall, the ocean drops to hundreds of meters deep. This makes the Bay Islands, and Roatan, in particular, an ideal destination for Freedivers.
Freediving has only recently become a global sport. But that is not to say that it's new. In fact, freediving has been around for as long as man as been around. Some of the more common freediving activities include fishing, photography, rugby, hockey, and snorkeling. In the old days, freediving without the assistance of a mechanical device was the only option available. Later, leather bladders and reeds were invented. Our ancestors harvested the oceans for food and other goods like sponges and pearls.
Meet the Professionals
MENS CONSTANT WEIGHT (with Fins)
The Freediving Men’s Constant weight with Fin competition is held in Roatan each year. World record in this discipline have been held by Alexy Malchonov and David Mullins. He and Alexey have both announced 126 meters in recent competitions. A third on the list is William Trubridge, double world record holder in the two other disciplines that we have in-depth, free immersion and constant no fins.
"I had to concentrate pretty hard on that dive, just on the way down the equalizing. That’s been my big problem recently, is running out of air to equalize, I’m not managing it properly in the lower third of the decent. You’re going to see me on the camera, I smacked into the baseplate pretty hard, just because I was concentrating very hard on equalizing. But, once I was there and got a tag, coming up was pretty straightforward, it was good controlled ascend. After I got to the bottom, I was feeling comfortable from then on pretty much."
"I’m very happy about my dive, it was 126 meters, and it was gold medal. We have both, me and David Mullins, gold-medaled today. For me, I was starting second after Dave, so I had a bit of a higher heart rate when I heard that he did the dive, so I had a bit more pressure on me, knowing that I had no room for mistake, I needed to take the tag and I needed to have a white card for sure. That was a bit more stress. I tried to calm myself down on the way to the bottom, saying, “Okay, we’re just two friends who do the same really deep dive.” I was trying to reverse my thinking to make it like a game. I think it worked. Overall, it was really enjoyable and a good dive."
"Today I did the 101 in Constant Weight; this is not my first discipline. I am a [unclear 0:03:17] swimmer, and I’m here to focus on the Constant No Fin, but it’s very nice to do a dive like this this morning for the confidence, and I will see what happens in the next step in the next discipline."
"So, we’re done for today. Tomorrow we have a little break; it’s a rest day for everyone. The day after starts with Constant No Fins for Women, the following day Constant No Fins for Men. This is the most demanding discipline because it’s unaided. You have to swim down and back up without using the rope and not wearing any fins. So, best of luck to everyone and thank you for watching."
"When you look into the blue, your deeper fears they surface, so you have to work on yourself to overcome feeling more and freer. At this point, you can go deeper."
"When I’m breathing up on the line, just before my dive, I’m praying for God just to let me relax, take that anxiety away. As soon as I start my dive, it goes away."
"Before the dive, I’m just trying to find a place for relaxation, to be able to disassociate yourself from those negative thoughts. During the dive itself, the ocean washing away all those kinds of thoughts, and it’s a lot easier to get into an empty mind space. You just want to be on autopilot, distinctive movements, and decisions." - William Trubridge
"I think it’s a mix of things; competition, depth, training, the challenge to train deeper every year. But, also the tribe that we have in free diving, what it means, my main passion to go around and meet other people as the same passion as me." - Miguel Lozano
"Here in Roatan, the conditions are perfect, the water’s calm, the water’s clear." - Dr. John Shedd
"I think it’s really good for the development of the sport and for this location as one of the kinds of premiere freediving locations in the world." - William Trubridge
"Free divers are always looking for the best conditions. This is probably one of the best places in the world for deep training." - Miguel Lozano
"It’s a beautiful setup, and it’s the most spectating that I’ve ever seen at a competition, so it’s really, really cool." - Ashley Chapman
"The setup is great. The idea of the bottom glass boat is tremendous. It’s very important to allow other people to know about our sport." - Carlos Carrera
"Everybody is welcome to come out and watch. You can watch from the top of the boat, you can get in the water and see the competitors, or you can go downstairs in the boat and watch through a glass, the underwater scene, the actual dives." - Ashley Chapman
"To do a deep dive, we need to have it set up with professional people, with safety divers, with counterweights, with sonar, with all the equipment that we need to improve our depths." - Miguel Lozano
"We have some incredible safety protocols that we incorporate and some of the worlds’ best safeties that I’ve ever worked with." - Dr. John Shedd
"Roatan definitely meets all requirements." - Carlos Carrera
"There’s an ocean below me, and I want to go as deep into it as possible." - William Trubridge