Diving into the depths of the ocean with a single breath and no respiration equipment can appear terrifying to most, however to Mario Fernandes, it’s stress-free.
India’s first freediving athlete to win 4 nationwide data for the nation in Israel, he remarks that his childhood in Goa meant that there was actually an ocean in his yard. “However by no means in my wildest goals did I feel I might find yourself right here,” he tells The Higher India.
“While you emerge, it’s like you’re born once more,” he says, including that he began exploring the ocean and diving somewhat early on in life.
He was all the time eager on discovering out what lay underneath the ocean.
‘No luxurious of any fancy gear’
As kids, Mario and his siblings would discover the depths of the ocean, all the time with none gear. “Even with none correct masks and gear, what I noticed beneath saved me fascinated. I wished to discover extra and that curiosity saved pushing me,” he says.
He continues, “The primary time I went underneath water with a respiration equipment, it left me speechless. The visuals I received to see stay etched in my reminiscence and no phrases or description can do justice to it.”
Seeing the great world down there made Mario take into consideration taking this up professionally.
Belonging to a household that was closely into sports activities was useful, he says. His grandfather was recognized to be a very good footballer in Goa. “I feel being a sportsman is part of my DNA. I additionally performed skilled soccer to start with following my grandfather’s footsteps. Thereafter, I additionally participated in desk tennis and numerous athletic meets.”
In 2013, when Mario was 26, he took up scuba diving for the primary time. Nonetheless, the prohibitive price of studying saved him away from it. That is what led him to have a look at freediving as an alternative. Regardless that he comes from a household the place sports activities was given a variety of significance, the concept of taking on freediving did trigger them considerations.
“I keep in mind they have been nervous. We had a number of conversations and they’d all the time request me to be further cautious in my pursuits. They by no means stopped me although,” he says.
Breaking data, one step at a time
Mario says that he solely feels protected whereas diving, and has by no means had an occasion the place concern has taken over and left him paralysed. “Provided that whereas in water I’m in a totally completely different atmosphere, I take utmost care to make sure full security whereas diving,” he provides.
In 2013, Mario met Milena Mezhuieva, a Ukrainian underwater goal shooter and spearfishing teacher who impressed him to discover freediving. Like Jacques Yves Cousteau mentioned, “One of the simplest ways to look at a fish is to grow to be a fish.”
Impressed by this, he went on to grow to be a dive skilled and spent his life financial savings to coach in Thailand (Koh Tao), the place he additionally did his level-1 freediving course.
“I did really feel that freediving was more durable when in comparison with scuba diving, nonetheless it was a extra pure and economical manner of exploring the ocean,” he says.
He went on to grow to be India’s first and solely SSI (Scuba Colleges Worldwide) level-2 freediving teacher. India has a shoreline of seven,516 km and a inhabitants of over one billion, and but the nation has not been featured on any of the worldwide freediving or diving maps.
To vary this, Mario labored within the Andaman Islands for eight years. Right here, he met and related with many freediving world champions who got here to India to be taught yoga and enhance their athletic efficiency, however had by no means imagined the potential of freediving in India. This led Mario to tackle aggressive freediving extra critically and put his nation on the worldwide map.
In Could 2022, he gained four nationwide data for India in Israel with AIDA (Worldwide Affiliation for the Improvement of Apnea). It was right here that within the Static Apnoea (STA), the place Mario rewrote the report by registering a 4 minutes, 29 seconds maintain underwater to eclipse the beforehand held 4 minutes, 11 seconds report.
“Whereas my private greatest breath maintain is seven minutes, for the nationwide report I broke the earlier report of 4 minutes and 11 seconds. My coaches recommended that I stay conservative and take it simple in the course of the competitors. I now intend to proceed coaching and break my very own report quickly,” he says.
At current, he runs Freedive India, his personal freediving schooling system to show freshmen into elite free divers. “I’ve systematically recognized problematic features and structured a collection of dives to handle these areas, offering suggestions on efficiency after every dive.” To make sure personalised consideration, he ensures that the variety of college students be saved to a minimal.
Mario’s recommendation to anybody seeking to make a profession in freediving:
- All the time do not forget that security comes first — whether or not you’re diving for enjoyable, competing or pursuing it as knowledgeable.
- Don’t be hasty in pushing your limits. Be conservative in your method. You’ll somewhat wait and obtain your objective or break a report than do one thing that places your life in danger.
- Get pleasure from every expertise and be taught from each dive. On this subject, all the time do not forget that you’ll stay a pupil for all times. Be receptive to studying and don’t go chasing after numbers or data.
- Compete with your self. With every dive have a look at bettering your personal earlier quantity and depth reached.
In India, one can be taught scuba diving and freediving in Bangalore, Chennai and Andaman at
Freedive India, Temple adventures and Scuba Love Academy.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)