I am a world record holder under ice
text: Sebastian Näslund - march 2006 Part 2

"Daros Gray, a champion spearfisherman who killed a five-metre great white shark in self-defence off Cape Town, will attempt to make history in nine freediving disciplines."Quote from scottish "The Herald".

Swedens deepest lake - Tornetrask north of the polecircle - summertime.

Between 7-17 march, Daros is off to the remote swedish lake Tornetrask above the polarcircle. He’ll be taking a total of 15 people, including a documentary film crew and enough cold-water scuba experts to station a safety diver and a medic every 15ft of his descent to 130ft.

Some of us who are into freediving may wonder what he heeds a medic under water for and how he can pursue nine records when there are only eight disciplines in freediving? Well he just invents a new category. Dynamic under Ice with scooter.

Daros seems to (or pretends) be unaware of there being other people claiming performances under ice. “I’m not going to break records, I’m going to establish them,” says Gray.

The scooter under Ice was made known to a wider audience by Austrian Christian Redl. He found in the Guiness-book the records of Nicola Brishigiaro from italy a 100 meter dive under ice with scooter. Redl improved this record with an aditional 50 meters.

It seems Darso Gray has been turning a deaf ear to whats going on in the frrediving world ever since he started his "polarfreedivers team" some years ago.
In the world of freediving Croatian Kike has already made himself a name as the ice-diver. Last year he dove to 54 meter under the polar ice. (Kike also has the unofficial world record in most failed world record attempts. When he couldn´t challenge the normal worldrecords he started to dive under ice).

Daros claims in an article that his dives will be: "More difficult than submerging in sea water, because of the salt content, is more buoyant. In freshwater it feels like two people are holding on to your legs as you surface. You work a lot harder."

These recordinventors are very keen on media attention. They happily prey on the ignorance of journalists and claim to have mastered exotic breathing techniques and to be able to slow their heart beat by sheer will - like Pipin,the inventor of the "double breath no limit record". The exotic breathing techniques are often refered to as "pranyama" - but when it comes down to it, its just pure simple deep breaths done in a controled fashion - blocking the airways and causing a steady airflow.

Ice diver in Gothenburg. © Bernstone.net

These invented records are usually done without any real verification, the present journalists does not really understand what is happening and have nothing to compare the achievement with. One might wonder if they look at the depth gauge before publishing the depth. There are no doping test, no standards dealing with how to perform the dive. Usually no competent third independent party present that can witness the performance. Just the athlete, some friends, media and maybe the sponsors. No one realy challenges statements like: ""One of the most physically and psychologically demanding competitions around the globe" Or: "the art of descending to unbelievable depths using only the most basic equipment". But hey, many athletes do unbelieveable feats with very little equipment: swimmers, Tour the france bicyclists, ice scaters. They all push themselves to the limit.

What puzzles me is the way journalists feel that there is no need for any checking of facts or sources. They happily trust any pressrelease, and add phrases like; "death is an inhalation away". "Is he mad?". It is only us freedivers that understands that a 40 meter dive under ice is no remarkable thing - as long as you trained for it. And having (or claiming to have) a medic ever 15 feet gives the wrong impression of what this is about. It makes freediving appear more like curiosity than a sport. More like a freakshow than a sport that can be mastered just as any other sport - by hard training.

And training is needed. To dive under ice in cold and dark waters are a lot more demanding. I would say that your performance is at least lowered by 25%. That is my own experience from freediving in arctic waters.

And there is of course a positive side to this "invent your own record phenomena" - they can be great achievements and put focus on the sport of freediving. Media gets a first connection to the sport and from there they can move on and learn more. These "inventers of records" are usually very good at summoning media and what is at first a "fun-discipline" can develop into a real discipline. Italian Mattia Malara (female) did a dynamic under ice during the winter olympics in Turin. Who knows, in the future we might see "winter world cups" parallel to the "summer world cups" of freediving.

Many new categories has been invented; 16x50 dynamic, one hour continous breathholds, tandem no limit e t c. Myself I have worked hard to establish another new catogory: "Relay team static" (an idea originally from Bill Stromberg). Simultaneous start in teams of three. The whole event takes less than 20 minutes and makes Static breathholding more of a spectator discipline - with continous starts and finishes all along the "race".

Daros finishes: "The thing that would scare me the most is failure."
How can he fail - when he aknowledges no other records - he is only compeeting against himself?

UWIceHockey in Austria - an idea from Dieter baumann and Jaromir Foukal, developed by Christian Redl.
Freediving results made under ice- (some of them not verified by any third party):
Men Records done "under" ice - - -
Name / Country category Date Place Result
Domagoj Jakovac /Croatia FIM 050515 Norway 55
Christian Redl / Austria DYN 030214 Austria 90
Nicola Brischigiaro DNF 85
Kristijan Curavic /Croatia,Norway CWT (done on the polar ice) Kike 54
Wim Hof/ Netherlands (no suit) ? STA 6.30
Christian Redl / Austria DYN scooter 150
Eric Fattah CWT no ice but 4 degrees celcius 67
In Sweden we have registered CWT dives of 45 and 54 meters. Here is a video of M.Spepanek doing 85 meter DYN. http://www.avex.cz/martin_stepanek/CoolApnea.wmv
Women Records done "under" ice - - -
Name / Country category Date Place Result
Mattia Malara / Italy DYN 0603?? Turin 70

Note: I have contacted Daros Grey and asked if he is aware of other people claiming ice records. I have got no reply yet, but will post it here when/if I get any. The president of Aida international has offered Daros Grey to find two judges for his attempt - so far no reply. Latest news