Well the sun was shining as we left Koh Lanta and we were all hoping for a great day. The conditions looked good and whilst we had concerns about the current we were optimistic. During the 2 hours journey to Koh Haa the Blue Planet Boat Boy set up the gear in readiness for a midday start. Our judges, Richard and Sarah, put up the announced performances and times. Announcement ranged from 20 metres to 50 metres.
We stopped just past Koh Haa where we know from past competitions 50 metres is easily obtainable. Whilst we were setting the anchors, Christophe, our Photographer, spotted a few Remoras circling our boat (must admit there were a few Shark jokes at this point and at least one concerned face.
As organizer I had managed to secure an awesome position to watch the competition, being the safety SCUBA diver, settled at 15 metres underwater so I could see the whole dive of our competitors.
Enzo, our Italian competitor, took the first dive, to an announced depth of 20 metres, despite this being his first competition and only getting his lanyard 30 seconds before; he managed the first white card of the competition.
Vivian announced 20 metres for her ever depth dive and turned early gaining a yellow card for a terrific 15 metres dive.
Walter gave Richard, the judge in the water, a cheeky wave on his return up from 20 metres.
Alan was so keen that he started before he was supposed to, but apart from that he managed 21 metres no problem.
I took real delight in watching Michelle Ooi complete a 22metre dive but unfortunately, to everyone’s disappointment she did not quite manage the surface protocol and was red carded.
Andrew was the first to take the rope to 30metres and completed a perfect white card performance.
Elisabeth H, who gave a lot of encouragement to a lot of other competitors and made sure that completed the surface protocol, put in a solid performance of 33 metres.
The award for the most stunning freediver has to go to Elisabeth M, who looked so cool as she dove. She also managed to set a National record for Austria of 35 metres, but unfortunately for her, her title lasted about 15 minutes as Karin went to 38 metres and stole the Austrian title from her.
Julian who had not trained since competing, for the first time, 2 years ago, got a fantastic white card at 38 metres (he best ever performance).
Azam our star from last year, who holds at least 4 Malay National records, beat his best performance and achieved 40 metres and promises 50 metres for next year.
Trond, made me worry, just by the slowness of his diving, but completed a perfect 40 metre dive and said he felt fantastic after his dive.
Ken, who has been providing Yoga for all the other competitors, attempted 50 metres but turned early and still performed a magnificent 41metres.
Rossi, gave a tremendous performance, reaching 50 metres, but unfortunately was our first blackout and was magnificently handled by our safety divers.
And finally Mr D did the deepest acceptable dive at 43 metres but unfortunately turned earlier than his announced 50metres.
As ever the competitors were magnificent and after the first of six rounds, the competition stands at:
1st - Karin
2nd Elisabeth M
3rd Elisabeth H
1st – Azam and Trond joint leaders
3rd – Julian
All very much still to play for this year and amazing first day, and well done guys and girls