The sport of freediving lost one of its premier athletes this week. Esteemed Russian freediver Natalia Molchanova was diving recreationally off the eastern coast of Spain on Sunday, when she attempted to descend, untethered, to what for her was a modest depth. She never resurfaced.
Guillaume Néry is a champion freediver, and his sport exposes practitioners to carbon dioxide narcosis, which can lead to, among other symptoms, powerful hallucinations. This short film is inspired by Néry's experiences and the things he thinks he sees during a deep water dive.
It's amazing to me that professional free divers can hold their breath for 15 or 20 minutes while swimming into the ocean's depths. It's even more amazing that, sometimes, they push themselves so hard that their superhuman efforts end in their own death. Robert González explains how they do it in io9.
Illusionist and stunt performer Harry Houdini was famously capable of holding his breath for over three minutes. But today, competitive breath-hold divers can squeeze ten, fifteen, even twenty minutes out of a single lungful of air. How do these divers do it — and how can you train to hold your breath for longer?
In this remarkable clip, world freediving champion Guillaume Nery stands at the edge of the world's second deepest underwater sink hole. And he jumps. The ensuing photography is a hypnotic adventure into the impossible.