Lung Packing – Safety Update!


From your Training & Safety Officer Liv Philp

The BFA are really happy to see so many new and renewed members in 2015. Part of our role is to improve safety in UK Freediving as well as to promote it as a sport. Thousands of pool and depth dives are completed safely and enjoyably each year, and we would like that to continue.

In order to be safe during your pool, depth and dry training as the recreational and competitive season kick off, please be aware that the practise of lung packing (dry or in water) should be avoided. Lung packing is a risky technique that involves inflating the lungs above their natural vital capacity. Packing may injure the lungs, and cause serious injury–even death.

At least three serious incidents have been caused by lung packing recently, one during dry training, and one pre-dive stretching during pool training. We now know that problems are not confined to deep water training and that lung packing can increase the dangers of pneumothorax and embolism.

The BFA & AIDA do not recommend packing; if you wish to pack, please do so moderately and safely. – Dr Per Westin AIDA International Medical Officer.

British Team Fly the Flag at the Freediving Depth World Championships in Greece & Liv Philip brings home a Medal!

Sunday 29th September 2013; — Between the 15th and 22nd September the AIDA Individual Depth World Championship took place in the deep waters of the bay of Kalamata, Greece. Around 150 athletes from more than 30 nations took part to challenge themselves and compete for the deepest dive in Constant No Fins (CNF), Constant Weight (CWT), and Free Immersion (FIM). Each discipline stood alone and encouraged specialists in each area to excel.

Great Britain was represented by a team of 10 divers, many of whom have sprung from the busy freediving clubs around the UK. The first competition day was CNF, and athletes awoke early to find a cloudy, chilly day in contrast to the sunshine of previous days. Competition was scheduled to run from deep to shallow for safety reasons allowing the deeper dives to commence early, when conditions are generally better. After a fast transfer boat five minutes from shore, athletes arrived at their allotted time to prepare for their dive in a fantastic set-up provided by Stavros Kastrinakis the Organiser. An incredible crew of safety divers watched over the divers on the warm-up lines, towed them to floating dry areas to relax, and onto one of three competition lines which were manned by teams of AIDA International judges.

The surface water temperature had dropped by two degrees from previous days and was dark and shadowy because the sun was hidden by thick cloud. This did not deter the Brits however as although many of the team had spent some months training in Dahab, a large number had travelled direct from the UK having had limited training in the cold quarries back home. Two such athletes represented Team GB in the challenging CNF event. John Moorcroft completing a valiant 61m dive to be disappointed by a DQ for an unfortunate pull on the line which the rules do not allow in this event. Liv Philip, a London based athlete decided to go for a tactical depth with a dive to 50m: ‘I knew this would be a challenging but safe dive and I had to factor in such things as conditions, and the water had been getting colder by the day’ Liv explained. This paid off as Liv surfaced from a strong dive to get a white card from Californian judge Grant Graves. She beat competitors from Russia and Japan to bring home her first bronze medal from a World Championship. Liv said ‘I’m really happy, getting the medal gives a nod of recognition for all the hard work and dedication of all the UK self funded freedivers, plus I really like bling!’. Natalia Molchanova did it again setting a new World record and winning gold with a dive of 69m, and Morgan Bourchis of France did a beautiful 87m dive to take gold in the men’s competition.

After two days allowing athletes to rest and train, the tension of CWT day built as the announced performances were published. Two men, Dave Mullins (NZ) and Alexey Molchanov (RUS) announced World records of 128m adding to the excitement. The sun came out and the conditions started off calm, but slowly conditions got bumpy, testing the athletes who could best deal with the nature of this ocean competition. There were good dives from London freedivers Gary McGrath 67m, Liv Philip 62m, and Georgina Miller 47m and from John Moorcroft who put a fin on to dive 67m for the northern contingent. The Biritsh divers held their own in rough seas and showed great strength of character. The British athletes were keen to point out that their much liked team mate Mike Board, who looked on-form to be the first British man to 100m in CWT ‘is really strong and we know he will be back to do it next time” after he suffered an ear injury during the pre-comp. The CWT was won by Alexey who set a new World record, and his mum the Russian grandmother, proved unbeatable yet again in the women’s category!

By the final day, many of the athletes nerves had subsided, and the ocean rewarded them by giving them perfect conditions to take part in the final discipline of Free Immersion. Gary McGrath had a beautiful dive to 70m bringing him a white card, an excellent 10th place and a wonderful days diving to remember. John Moorcroft dived to 61m showing what a strong all round athlete he is by completing all three disciplines. Newcomers Richard Bevan and Louisa Collyns both dived to 56m and Chris Laycock to 36m with excellent results in their first World Championship. Liv Philip completed her run of white cards with a PB of 66m bringing her into 7th place in this discipline. The gold medals were taken by William Trubridge and Natalia Molchanova.

All that was left to do was to thank the organisers, judges and safety team, collect the medals and PARTY down on the beach until the small hours under the shadow of the Kalamata mountains and next to the big blue sea that had kept all the divers safe throughout their dives!

The BFA would like to congratulate all the Freedivers who took part and entering into the spirit of this fantastic bi-annual event. We hope they all enjoyed the experience and have a greater understanding of the sea as a result. We would also like to thank Elios wetsuits on behalf of the British Freediving Team for their support (

Full results can be found on the British Freediving Association Facebook page (

AIDA 2013 Individual Depth World Championships, Count Down to the Start of the Competition

Sunday 8 September 2013; The Individual World Championships are less than a week away, so the countdown is on! The World Championships ( are being organised by Stavros Katrinakis of Freediving Club Greece and are taking place in Kalamata, Greece. The first official competition day is on Monday 16th September starting with Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) followed by Constant Weight (CWT) on Thursday 19th and finishing off with Free Immersion (FIM) on Saturday 21st. Many of the UK team members have already arrived and are taking advantage of the pre-competition training, with some taking part in mini competitions on Monday 9th, Wednesday 11th and Friday 13th September.

The BFA are pleased to announce the UK team members are: Richard Bevan, Mike Board, Louisa Collins, Alison Crawford, Dave Kent, Chris Laycock, Georgina Miller, Gary McGrath, John Moorcroft, Anna Paraiyar, Liv Philip and David Tranfield (Coach).

We wish each and everyone one of our athletes enjoyable and successful dives!

BFA Safety Divers

The British Competition Freediving scene has really been hotting-up in the last few years, with UK athletes becoming competitive with the best freedivers in the world. Combining that with some excellent clubs and Instructors back home who are successfully helping more people into the sport, and providing safe and fun training places, even more freedivers are able to practise and make new freediving friends than ever before. Perhaps this is why so many people have participated in local and national competitions, discovering the fun of being part of a larger freediving community.

With record numbers of people competing in the UK already this year, the BFA want to make these events the safest places that you can go freediving and would like to announce that all safety divers at BFA endorsed competitions in pool and open-water, will now have a minimum safety diver qualification of AIDA 2*. We will be increasing this in September 2012 to a minimum of AIDA 2* plus the AIDA Competition safety diver course, or pool safety diver course (except for qualified & renewed instructors).

We have had positive feedback from swimming pools about this development and hope that it will help give the safety divers the support they need to continue to give the very best freediving safety to all of our freediving events. The BFA will be assisting clubs to organise AIDA Competition safety diver courses, or pool safety diver courses. If you would like some assistance or you would like to find out how to enrol on a safety diver course please email

You can download the associated safety images, for printing out, here.

New AIDA Instructor Trainer Announced in UK

The British Freediving Association is pleased to announce that Steve Millard has been approved as a new AIDA Instructor Trainer by AIDA International.

After making his application to the BFA where Steve showed exceptional
levels of commitment, skill and experience as an AIDA Freediving Instructor
to the AIDA education system, he was recommended to AIDA International as a
candidate in 2011. When Steve got the good news last week that he had been
approved as an Instructor Trainer he said ‘I am really happy to be given
recognition of all my hard work teaching using the AIDA education system
over the last several years’. Steve has worked alongside the BFA & AIDA
International to help develop freediving as a whole within the UK , and he
had to show achievements in his own freediving. Whilst teaching he
has upheld AIDA recommended safety guidelines and developed his freediving
school to provide opportunities for freedivers across the UK.

Steve will now be offering AIDA Instructor courses to suitable candidates in the UK. We look forward to seeing the same high standards of teaching from Instructors who train with him.