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The fish man

Buceo por apnea

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Long before history was written, humans have tried to reach the depths of the seas, first in search of food, and later out of sheer curiosity. However, it was only in the mid-20th century that, driven by the endless pursuit of knowledge about their own limits, they turned these dives into the sea into a world record. The goal was to go deeper in free diving, simply by holding their breath.

The history of records began in 1911 when the Italian ship Regina Margherita lost its original anchor at a depth of 66 meters. A local diver with an awkward figure approached the captain, assuring him that he could reach the anchor and tie it to a rope for it to be hoisted later. The man, without any diving equipment and to the surprise of everyone, fulfilled his promise. His name was Haggi Statti, and he would forever be engraved in the world history of free diving.

Afterwards, attempts to go deeper continued.

The 1970s surprised the world with a unique duel. Italian Enzo Maiorca and Frenchman Jacques Mayol surpassed each other meter by meter in a dialogue between champions that inspired the movie “The Big Blue”. With more sophisticated technology, these men descended while holding on to a weight of 30 kilograms attached to a steel cable. Upon reaching the seabed, the divers let go of the excess weight and propelled themselves to the surface using their fins. This diving method became known as Variable Weight Record. It was Mayol who, at the end of 1976, surpassed 100 meters of depth in free diving using this method.

In the 1990s, another duel between freedivers surprised us. Cuban Pipín Ferreras and Italian Umberto Pelizzari competed for the depth record in variable weight free diving. On November 3, 2001, Umberto Pelizzari (pictured on the right) reached the maximum depth of 131 meters in Capri. Later, a new modality to reach depth was devised, known as “no limits,” in which divers ascend to the surface by holding onto an inflatable balloon upon reaching the seabed. Umberto Pelizzari then reached a depth of 150 meters, but he was surpassed by Pipín Ferreras, who reached 162 meters in the same category. However, the “no limits” category was not ratified by any federation and is still in an experimental state.

When Umberto Pelizzari was asked about the reasons behind these records, he simply replied, “One does not descend 150 meters in free diving to see what is around, but to delve into one’s own internal abyss.”

“You cannot defend what you do not love, and you cannot love what you do not know.”