Vertical Blue's first MASTER CLASS

This year, between October 5 - 9 Vertical Blue is proud to host the 'Master Class for Freediving,' a world first in elite freediving instruction.

The course will combine three world experts in the fields of yoga, mental coaching and deep freediving, and will be held over five days in the idyllic location of Dean's Blue Hole (site of the recent Vertical Blue competition, in which five new world records were set).

Principal instructors are: William Trubridge, BSc, double world record holder (CNF & FIM) Simon Borg Olivier, MSc BAppSc - founder of Yoga Synergy Tim Carroll, ACMC, NLP trainer & meta-coach - director of Self Insight

The course fee is US$995 or €655. For more information write to:

SIMON BORG-OLIVIER Simon was introduced to yoga at age six, learning breath retention from his father George Borg-Olivier, who was also a freediver (George was awarded a medal from the queen for freediving into the Mediterranean sea on a cold winter night in 1954 to rescue an unconscious bus driver stuck in a school bus that had driven off a cliff). Simon was later taught the main bandhas (which he practiced with empty lungs) from Basil Brown, an Olympic athlete. The result was that Simon could swim a lap of an Olympic pool underwater before he could swim on top of the water. At age 17, a Tibetan Lama introduced Simon to the philosophy of yoga. In 1980, Simon started the physical practice of hatha yoga, going on to learn from the great masters BKS Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois and TKV Desikachar. Simon commenced teaching in 1982 and in 1988 he developed the unique Yoga Synergy system. Yoga Synergy style is designed in accordance with applied anatomy and physiology, but it can also be very dynamic and fluid. Simon developed much of his yoga by practicing complicated exercises whilst holding his breath underwater. Hence, the advanced form of Yoga Synergy includes a precise breathing system that uses powerful breath retentions whilst moving and in stillness, making it an ideal practice for freedivers. In 1998 Simon trained the Australian freediving team sent to the World Championships in Sardinia. Since 1995 Simon has been teaching courses throughout the world in the Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga, and he is co- author of ‘Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga’, the main text book for a course he developed and lectures at RMIT University in Melbourne.

TIM CARROLL Tim is a former elite athlete and has represented New Zealand in Barefoot Waterskiing at 4 world championships. He is working today as a Leadership Coach and Trainer and is a mental coach for the Swedish Golf Team. As an internationally certified Meta-Coach, NLP/Neuro Semantics trainer and speaker, Tim has worked as an expert in the field of cognitive behavioural sciences and self actualising technologies for the last 10 years. Tim is the co-owner and Director of Self- Insight a rapidly growing cutting edge coaching and training company focused on actualising leaders, teams and organisations. He has worked with CEO’s, entrepreneurs, leaders and athletes, including some of Scandinavia's most successful companies and elite sporting organisations such as the Malmo Football Club and the PGA of Sweden. Tim's genuineness, experience, passion for growth and “down under” personality make him a natural and comfortable person to work with who supports athletes in creating outstanding results.

ORCA - fashioned for speed

For the last 3 years I have been using Orca wetsuits exclusively for training and record attempts. At first it was a personal choice to use the wetsuit that I considered most effective for constant weight freediving, now I am fortunate enough that Orca have also become my sponsor.

Although they are originally developed for New Zealand's world-beating triathlon team, Orca's suits are currently better than anything else on the market for freediving, especially for no-fins disciplines, where a high performance suit is critical. The main reason is the minimal neoprene used in a one-piece suit. With less neoprene, and therefore less buoyancy, the freediver can get away with less ballast weight, and will have a reduced buoyancy change during the dive. Now most one-piece suits on the market are worthless to freediving due to the amount of water they let in, but Orca's exceptional neck seals and streamline zip cover mean that you stay completely dry inside the suit. Also, leaving the neck and head exposed to the cold water will enhance the dive reflex (not to mention make it easier to hear your dive alarm!)

past, present and future? Orca's developments for triathlon seem to bring them closer to the perfect suit for freediving also.

The first Orca suit I bought was a Pflex, but this has since been replaced by the far superior Apex2, the suit used in my recent 86m CNF and 108m FIM world records. Amongst its many advantages, the Apex2 has such an incredibly flexible underarm panel that there is almost zero resistance to arm extension in the recovery phase of the arms. Other benefits include:

- tapered neck seal: this is not only watertight, but airtight too! That's right, you have to lift the neck seal to let air bubbles out of the suit!

- SCS silicon coating: the surface of an Orca suit has the best hydrodynamic properties of any neoprene. Wearing this suit I can complete a 25m length in 1.5 strokes (push-off, armstroke, legkick) - this may sound infeasible, but I assure you the Apex2 just keeps on gliding!

- grab panel on forearms - a pitted surface that captures water during the armstroke. During the glide or freefall these panels are turned inwards, meaning they don't disturb hydrodynamics.

- foolproof stitching & seams: what other wetsuit manufacturer offers a warranty on their stitching and seam work? In 3 years I have yet to have a seam open or split, and we are talking delicate panels of 1.5mm neoprene.

The Apex2 is a composite suit, made up of panels of 1.5mm, 3mm and 4mm neoprene, giving the benefit of weightless arms and legs but a warm core.

However if you are diving in very warm water (more than 27oC or 78oF) then I would recommend the RS1.

This is Orca's newest arrival, a suit made entirely out of 1mm neoprene. With the RS1 you benefit from the hydrodynamic properties of the SCS coating, but with an almost zero buoyancy suit. Water can enter to a certain extent through the stitched seams, but I find this prevents overheating in dynamics or in the excessively warm water of the Red Sea in the summer.