Initially, why I freedived was because I left an old life behind. I used to be an engineer, I used to work in an office, I had a very regular life like most people, but I knew I wasn't content, I wasn't fulfilled, I had I dedicated a lot of time and money and resources to education and learning, which I really love it has defined who I am, but at the same time working the mundane nine to five dying, I knew it wasn't for me. I knew it was something I was proud to have tried, proud to have achieved, and succeeded in, working for government, working for the best private industry, studying to an elite level in a excellent institutions. But I knew that it just simply wasn't for me. Something always felt wrong, I always felt like a fraud.

For Myself And For Others

And so when I discovered freediving for me it was like "wow, this is incredible for myself and also for others, I want others to know this". And as I transitioned and open up my school, and opened up a school in the Philippines, and traveled the world and became an educator, coach, and instructor, it was a different feeling of course, it was a different livelihood. And still, I hadn't been able to answer the question of why I freedive though.

freediving in mexican cenotes

Photo by Camilo Diaz

A Selfish Endeavor

It took more time, it took more patience when I started competing and becoming a professional athlete and a professional freediver. Then it was a different form as well, this is what I want to do, for myself, but it was still a selfish endeavor. An athlete, at an elite level, one that is breaking records is undertaking a selfish endeavor. The ego is strong and you need to look within yourself and create a life for yourself, there's no doubt about it.

freediving competition

Photo by Federico Buzzoni

In The Right Place

Still the question of why is very difficult to answer at this time as it is for most people. We don't question enough, why am I doing this in life, why am I working this job, why am I living in this place? Unfortunately, we are in a society of routine and consistency embedded into us, externally, and we don't look internally enough to answer questions like why. And so I kept going on this journey, this journey of freediving, and yet the why was still in the back of my mind. It was only until, ironically, in a project in Iceland in November 2021, that I completely destroyed my back, and injured my lower spine, to the point where I couldn't even walk or let alone freedive and fin, where some other questions started to raise. Two weeks after this project, completely injured, I was still able to compete, dive the deepest dive I've ever done with bifins, and get a Canadian National Record, which was for me amazing proof that when the mind is in a good place, even if your body is completely destroyed and wrecked, you can still achieve amazing things.

freediving competition underwater

Photo by Federico Buzzoni

Beneath The Surface

But still, the why wasn't answered for me, why am I still doing this, why am I freediving, because it was still a selfish internal endeavor. It was only in 2022 when I had to take time off training, I could not compete because of my injury, that I started to focus on projects, high-quality film projects, working with some of the best in the world, the best filmmakers, the best photographers, the best videographers, that things started to change. After our film in Iceland, we went back to Iceland and Greenland to work on a film, a pretty high-end film with a higher budget on Mental Health Awareness, we worked closely with Movember the world's leading charity on men's mental health awareness, to embark on a project to dive under icebergs, freedive under icebergs, climb them, and paddle board around them. The idea was that mental health issues, our emotions, our dark negative thoughts, our stresses our anxiety, our traumas, our depressions, are hidden beneath the surface, we hide them underneath. The same way an iceberg has 90% of its mass beneath the surface. And so the connection between diving under an iceberg, diving beneath this massive frozen giant was like diving within ourselves, and facing our fears, facing our anxieties, our traumas, and our depression. And so that's what we decided to do, we decided to embark on this incredible, difficult journey, to freedive under icebergs, climb above them.

As a side note, icebergs are some of the most dangerous things you can be around, they are constantly moving, and it is very difficult to assess their moments of inertia, their movements, their center of gravity, how they're freezing, and thawing, and so they kill a lot of people. They're not static, they are dynamic fluid things and they are massive and they can crush you in a second. And we were around these, we were climbing them, we were freediving under them, and it was tough, but we all as a crew found the courage because we knew what we were doing was important, we knew that if we could pull this project off we would Inspire others to, not have to go to Greenland and other places to dive under icebergs on breath hold but to find the courage to dive within themselves and overcome difficulties in life and challenges.

freediving in iceland

Beyond Me

And so working on these projects the why I freedive question, why am I doing this, why have I changed my life to commit to this, really it also changed, it changed me, because I realized that I'm doing this and it's more important than just myself, it's beyond me, I'm doing this to help others. And I've had a lot of messages, people contacting me since this project and just thanking me, like wow what you did was awesome, and the message was powerful ,thank you. It helped me. And when you read things like that, you understand that maybe you're making a difference, maybe you're helping others, and you're inspiring others to deal with their issues, to deal with their problems, to confront their depressions, and their traumas, and talk to other people and reach out for help before it's too late. And so in 2022 the why I freedive question really changed for me and I realized that I do this not just for myself, because I want to dive as deep as possible, because I want to achieve multiple records, and I want to be one of the best in the game, but it's ultimately so I can be in a position where I can inspire others, and I can really help other people and that is, that gratitude and that acceptance is one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced.

Freediving Under An Iceberg

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