This weekend, some local divers will be attempting to reach the deepest depths of Howe Sound with some descending around 60 metres below the waves -- the equivalent of an 18-storey building.
The two-day event called Howe Deep? AIDA Depth Freediving Competition takes place at Ansell Point in West Vancouver. The divers must hold their breath while they dive down a line, aiming for a specific depth and time to be underwater. Safety divers meet the diver along the way and escort the diver back to the surface.
Roberta Cenedese, a competition judge and Vancouver freediving coach says the sport has exploded in popularity over the last five years and the local competition allows its enthusiasts to partake in it once more.
“With COVID-19 limiting travel and some world competitions postponed, Howe Deep? AIDA Depth Freediving Competition allows local athletes to compete in an internationally recognized event without having to travel across borders,” Cenedese said in a recent release.
The sport’s sudden popularity stems from highly televised annual dive competitions like Vertical Blue, held in the famous Blue Hole in Barbados, and movies like My Octopus Teacher on Netflix.
“This competition is about a person’s relationship with themselves and the ocean,” Cenedese said. “We are a community of people who love the water. It’s hard to explain the magic of holding your breath and in the silence of the deep. Of course, when a pod of orca go by, like they did this week, it’s also hard to explain the excitement.”
The competition runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Saturday, Aug. 28 an Sunday, Aug. 29. For more information on the sport, feel free to check out www.oceanoid.com.