UK Freediving National Record Holder (CNF) Dean Chaouche

1. Do you remember how and when did you find out about freediving? What made you to start freediving? What were your 1st steps in this sport?

I believe the very first time I found out about freediving was through a documentary that was hosted by Tanya Streeter. At the time I was very young and not in the position to go out and find a course at my own leisure, though I remember thinking that this must one of those very unique activities only reserved for a special few people.  dean3

I later stumbled across “Freedive Gili” while I was searching for a Yoga classes, at the time I was in New Zealand and I’d broken both my wrists, I decided to book flights to Indonesia once my wrists had healed, plus I also needed things to look forward to and this happened to be one of them. The course took place around April 2012 and originally this was meant to be a single course and afterwards I’d planned on surfing around Lombok and Sumatra, I ended up surfing a bit of Lombok but after only 2 weeks I returned back to the school and since then I haven’t looked back. I completed SSI level 2, 3 and a period of personal diving and assisting. Eventually  I completed my Instructor course there and was lucky enough to be offered a job, so there I remained for roughly a year and a half.

2. What is your favourite discipline in freediving and which one you don’t like? And could you explain why?

dean2My favorite discipline in frediving has to be CNF. It is also without a doubt the most rewarding for me as the sense of accomplishment I feel after a deep no fins dive is incomparable compared to the other disciplines. It’s down to the simple fact that we are achieving great depths by simple using our arms and legs, William Trubridge puts it best when refers to no fins “as a true measure of humans aqua potential”. I also love the feeling that if gives me when I’m moving through the water.

I wouldn’t say I had a discipline that I didn’t like as they’re all great in their own manner. I personally don’t enjoy pool disciplines not nearly as much as depth but that’s normal considering that I began freediving with depth and that predominantly that’s what I do. I can see myself in the near future participating more with pool and I’m sure that I’ll find aspects that I really enjoy once I have more experience.

3. Tell please few words about your freediving trainings approach: How many times a week do you train? And do you have a fixed schedule or you just wake up in the morning, look into mirror and depending on your mood, body condition or weather decide what to do today?

My training approach or frequency of training would completely depend on what stage of the training that I’m in. Gone are the days where freedivers believe that only depth diving will give you greater depth, this and the fact that not everyone has easy access to depth, so this leads us to adopt cross training plans and stages in our training. I would have quite a fixed plan about what I train each day and the amount, I work by micro cycle’s of 3 days on 1 day off. This may change closer to a peak or competition once I start diving max depths. I also like to maintain a certain amount of flexibility in order to slightly tailor what I’m training in tune with what I feel that I need to work on the most.dean5

4. And how often do you try something new in your freediving trainings?

At the beginning it would seem that I’d be trying something new each session, but as my training became more refined I found that less and less changes were present. Now when I begin a training stint I usually have one or two aspects which I’d like to improve on or incorporate so that I’m not drastically changing what I do but at the same time not letting my freediving become stagnant, which is very important.

5. The next question – what makes you day after day to go to train in a pool/sea? What motivates you to train hard? How do you fight humans’ laziness?

That’s quite simple, I enjoy my training. I enjoy the feeling that little by little I’m improving and conditioning my body to perform how I would like myself to perform. It gives me pleasure to see small increments of change which collect over time and result in a big improvement. I also try and focus on the session at hand, not about the sessions that are coming or the sessions that have been, only what’s happening that day. It’s harder than it sounds as we all like to dream, but what matters most is what we’re doing in the present.

6. Do you believe that some food products could influence the ability to equalize? Like gluten or lactose for example create more mucus which is not good for equalizing? Do you personally follow any diet?

dean1I think this is circumstantial to the individual. Some people can eat dairy until the cows come home and they wouldn’t see a problem with equalising, however this isn’t the case for everyone. Personally I can afford to eat a little dairy here and there but I avoid it for reasons other than equalising. I’d personally find that when I drink even a little bit of alcohol it congests me more than any kind of food. I wouldn’t say I followed a strict diet, however I would try and eat as much alkaline forming foods to counter the acidity that occurs in our body from freediving and training hard.

7. Let’s talk about money 🙂 Do you have any support from sports community of your country or may be some trade brand?

Money is definitely an issue for most freedivers and I’m certainly no exception. I try to make enough money to fund my training through instructing, although this is always a balancing act due to the fact that it’s very difficult to train and teach at the same time. So I only ever allow myself to take the minimum amount of time out of my training for instructing. I’ve recently been lucky enough to find a regular sponsor from a former student of mine Bentinho Massaro who has generously decided to offer me a regular income to supplement my training and way of life. He has just started a free spiritual academy online called trifinity academy, check it out via this link, it’s well worth a look.

8. What about your targets in freediving? What would you like to achieve and how deep would you like to get?

I try not to have a specific target in mind as I find that this is limiting in a way, if I did have a target I wouldn’t really discuss it with anyone as this also creates a sense of reward for something that I haven’t already achieved. If I had to say what I’d like to achieve it would be to continue with the progress that I’ve seen in myself while continuing to enjoy what I do with the same enthusiasm.

9. What do you do except freediving? Do you have any hobbies?

Before Freediving I was quite an avid surfer, I still like to get a surf trip in here and there but it’s become a little sparse since I’ve decided to dedicate more time to training. I also enjoy snowboarding and I’m keen to hopefully get back on the slopes again maybe next winter. I’ve been practicing yoga a little longer than freediving and I’d say that I love it just as much.dean4

10. What would you advise to people, who just discovered this sport?

To enjoy the learning process as much as possible and not to try and progress to fast, it’s easier said than done and I’m the first to admit that I was guilty of that. If I had another opportunity to begin again I’m sure I’d take it a little slower, try and learn as much as possible before making rash judgments. But most of all enjoy!


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