Underwater Freediving

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Right now, the sport of freediving in South Africa is alive and kicking. Freediving, as you might know, involves diving and swimming underwater while holding your breath. The sport combines a love for being in the ocean (and swimming pools, freshwater lakes, and the like), with the physical and mental challenge of learning how to hold your breath for an extended period of time. Similar to swimming, freediving also involves learning how to move fluidly and efficiently in the water. With only one breath of air, freedivers need to be as economical as possible underwater.

South Africans do tend to be a competitive bunch, and we tend to thrive on personal progress and success. If you combine this with the idea that freediving is also a competitive sport (Who can dive deeper under water? Further in a pool? Hold their breath for longer?), then it’s obvious why more and more South African freedivers are pushing the limits of the sport and setting records.

Two of these divers are Sophia van Coller and John Daines. Sophia has just broken the SA women’s record in the ‘free immersion’ deep diving event, and John recently set a new SA record in the pool-based ‘dynamic with fins’ event. Both divers are from Cape Town.

Freediving competition categories

There are two broad categories of competition freediving – the depth events and pool-based disciplines.

Depth events:

  • Free immersion (FIM): The athlete descends to depth and back up by pulling hand over hand on a vertical diving rope.
  • Constant weight (CWT): Constant weight involves diving to depth and back up with the aid of diving fins, but without pulling on the diving rope.
  • Constant weight no-fins (CNF): In this discipline, the athlete dives to depth and back up without the aid of diving fins and without pulling on the diving rope.

Pool events:

  • Dynamic with fins (DYN): In this discipline, the athlete swims as far as possible underwater on one breath, with the aid of diving fins. These days, most athletes use a ‘monofin’ and dolphin-kick style.
  • Dynamic without fins (DNF): Here, the athlete swims as far as possible underwater, typically using a modified breaststroke swimming style, on one breath and without the aid of diving fins.
  • Static apnea (STA): This involves athletes holding their breath and lying face down in water for as long as possible. This discipline tests a freediver’s breath-holding ability and is regarded as one of the most mentally challenging.

Safety first

Anyone can learn to freedive. But just like many ‘alternative’ adventure sports, freediving can be a deadly activity if done in the wrong way. The golden rules are to always dive with qualified and experienced freedivers (never freedive alone!) and from the beginning, seek out certified and experienced supervision and instruction.

SA Underwater Hockey Federation (SAUWHF)

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The South African Underwater Hockey Federation (SAUWHF) is a voluntary body responsible for the pursuance of all physical sporting matters related to underwater hockey.

South Africa participated in its first Underwater Hockey World Championship in New Zealand in 1992, finishing with a first and third place. In 1994 SA had three teams in the finals, walking away with a gold and two silver medals. Of the 11 International events participated in, the ladies Elite team has achieved a medal position 9 times.
South Africa underwater hockey has always performed exceptionally well on the international circuit with our Masters & Elite teams internationally recognised for their agility and competitiveness.

In the early 1950’s already Underwater Hockey (UWH) took off as a new sport in South Africa. South African Underwater hockey was born out of the desire for spearfishermen to keep fit when away from the sea or when sea conditions were undivable. It was an auspicious move as the two sports complement each other with more than just fins and water: Spearfishing provides UWH players with endurance and bottom-time while UWH improves the work rate and surface recovery of spearfishermen.

  • South African Underwater Hockey Federation - http://sauwhf.co.za.
  • Underwater Hockey Equipment
  • Gold & Silver for Under 19 men & under 19 ladies at Worlds 2011
  • South African National Elite Ladies Team - Worlds 2011
  • South African National Elite Men Team - Worlds 2011

SA Underwater Rugby Federation (SAURF)

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Underwater-Rugby is a ballgame played in a swimming pool of approximately 4-5 meters depth, where the playing "field" consists of the entire 3D-watermass. Each team consists of a least 4 players per side (everyone welcome). The goal (pun intended) is to put a ball into a round metal-basket on the bottom at the opposing team's end of the "field". Yes, the ball sinks. One of the things that makes this sport unique, is the 3D-aspect.

The tactics become more complex when introducing more freedom of movement. The ball is passed under water. Players are equipped with divers mask, snorkel, fins and water-polo hoods with ear-protection. UW-Rugby is a contact sport, but the rules and the environment (water) prevent severe injuries. The occasional bruise or scratches are the only usual "side-effect" of this game.

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  • South African Underwater Rugby Federation
  • South African Underwater Rugby Federation
  • South African Underwater Rugby Federation
  • South African Underwater Rugby Federation
  • South African Underwater Rugby Federation
  • South African Underwater Rugby Federation
  • South African Underwater Rugby Federation
  • South African Underwater Rugby Federation - SA Team
  • South African Underwater Rugby Federation

SA Underwater Orienteering Federation

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Competitions in Underwater Orienteering take place in deep, open water bodies and over various distances, as prescribed in the competition rules.  Competitors must, while remaining completely submerged without any contact with the water surface, reach specific points or pass specified points.

Competitions in underwater orienteering are based on the principle that orienteering and searching tasks are performed under water with the aid of a compass and distance meter.

The competitor may only use his/her own muscular strength to propel him/herself.

The breathing apparatus used may only be filled with normal compressed air.  Enrichment with oxygen is not allowed.

The only contact with the surface of the water allowed is a buoy line and a safety buoy.

  • Competitions are for teams of up to four persons, or for individual competitors.
  • Individual Competition (Five point finding)
  • Measuring the course
  • South African National Team 2003 (Jurie de Jager, Martin van Veelen, Leon Jacobs Jr, leon Jacobs Jr)

Underwater Fishing Federation (SAUFF)

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SAUFF is the South African Underwater Fishing Federation and is a Nonprofit Organisation (078-558-NPO). It is the body which provides support and a united voice for all spear and crayfishers. SAUFF is not an organisation that promotes only competitive spearfishing, its primary focus is to grow the sport of underwater fishing at a development and club level as well as to protect the interests of our unique sport at a provincial and government level.

SAUFF is committed to promoting positive publicity for our sport and promoting environmental sustainability for future generations.SAUFF is your voice when it comes to your rights as a spear or crayfisher in SA and is concerned with administering all issues pertaining to the sport of underwater fishing.

  • South African Underwater Fishing Federation
  • South African Underwater Fishing Federation
  • South African Underwater Fishing Federation
  • South African Underwater Fishing Federation
  • South African Underwater Fishing Federation