RSSAll Entries in the "Competitions" Category

Safe Our Fins Event – Join us to save the sharks!

Shark Fin Race

Grab a buddy and join us for a three-legged fin tournament, to help raise awareness about shark finning. We’ll meet on 17th July, 5.30pm at White Rock Resort, Klong Nin Beach.

The event is organised by Scubafish, Narima Diving, Blue Planet Divers and Fish4Divers.com. Posters and shark-fin shaped leaflets in Thai and English will be distributed around the island the publicize the event and Ko Lanta’s dive centres come together to form teams and enthuse their divers to take part. We’d like to invite all divers, locals and holiday-makers from all over Ko Lanta to grab a buddy and join us for a three-legged fin tournament.

White Rock Resort & Mr. Bean are supplying free beer and curry for the participants. And we guarantee lots of fun!

Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins and the discard at sea of the carcass. The shark is very often still alive when it is tossed back into the water. Unable to swim, the shark slowly sinks toward the bottom where it suffers predation from other fish, starves to death, dies from blood loss or suffocates and drowns, since most sharks need to keep moving to force water through their gills for oxygen. Sharks can take hours or even days to die after being finned.

Fishermen are mainly interested in the fins because shark meat is of low economical value and this conserves room in the hold. Up to 99 per cent of the shark is thrown away, a process as wasteful as slaughtering an elephant for its tusks.

Shark Fin Race

Shark fins are used as the principal ingredient of shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy which is often served at wedding celebrations so that the hosts can impress their guests with their affluence. Shark fin itself is tasteless, it just provides a gelatinous texture for the soup which is flavoured with chicken or other stock. It has also been shown to contain high levels of mercury which is detrimental to our health. Many people, especially the consumers, are unaware of the suffering that finning causes.

Sharks’ life history makes them vulnerable to exploitation. Sharks take between 7 to over 20 years to reach maturity, and produce few young over long lifetimes meaning that it takes populations a long time to recover once depleted. Fishermen report that sharks are getting smaller because they are not being given time to mature.

Sharks are “apex” predators, eco logical stablisers, when they are removed from the ocean the entire eco-system suffers.

Please say “No” to Shark Fin soup and join our three-legged fin tournament to show your support for sharks!

Breathless in Ko Lanta!

Breath Holding Competition

Residents lounging by the deluxe pool at the luxurious Rawi Warin Resort and Spa on Koh Lanta last month were treated to the bizarre sight of a select group of enthusiasts, from a variety of countries, who managed to hold their breath underwater for up to six and a half minutes at a time.

After elaborate warm-up and relaxation rituals, the competitors lay face down at the edge of the swimming pool and focused on holding their breaths as long as possible under the watchful eyes of internationally approved judges Richard Wonka (Germany) and Sarah Whitcher (England).

Andaman Freediving Challenge Breathholding CompetitionIt was the second day of the Andaman Freediving Challenge, Thailand’s only annual competition for Freedivers, and followed a day out on the Blue Planet Divers’ boat in which competitors managed to reach depths of between 20 and an astounding 53 metres in the open sea.

What was most striking about this year’s competition was how friendly the competition was throughout the three days and how keen the divers were to help each other out with advice and tips to enable rivals to extend their time underwater.

Freedivers learn how to hold their breath for long periods without the aid of scuba equipment and the annual Koh Lanta competition, organised by Blue Planet Divers, is the only one in Asia to take place outside of Japan.

Eight male and four female divers took part this year, many of them competing for the first time, in six distinct events over three days.

At 52, Italian Andrea Richichi may have been older than the other competitors, but his breath-taking times in all disciplines – including an incredible 53 metre dive from the boat – saw him collect all of the major prizes.

Andrea grew up spear fishing and snorkelling on the island of Sardinia. Amazingly, he has never undertaken any formal courses in Freediving, despite his breath-taking times, including a six minute and 33 second breath-hold in the pool.

“I have never been a scuba diver, but I have always loved being under water. When I grew up, scuba diving wasn’t an option. I have never done any courses, but you really do learn a lot at competitions and you get to meet very good people.”

“I was in Thailand for work this month, but I decided to come to Koh Lanta for this competition. People make friends very quickly at these competitions and I get asked a lot of questions because I have been Freediving for six years and I have taken part in over 25 competitions. This competition has a wonderful atmosphere and it’s in a country that I love!”

He said that world championship Freedivers might not help each other out to the extent that the competitors do on Koh Lanta, but the whole ethos of the Andaman Freediving Challenge is to encourage beginners and intermediates to challenge others (and themselves) in an extremely friendly environment.

Ossien Pekkala, from Finland, was thrilled to reach 30 metres on a single breath. He only took up Freediving four months ago, because he wanted to stay longer under water while snorkelling.

“The longer I can stay underwater, the more fun I can have!”

The women’s competition was won by Jacinta Colvin, from Melbourne, who was inspired to come to Koh Lanta after hearing about last year’s competition from friends in Australia. She was delighted to reach depths of over 30 metres in her first ever competition and managed to hold her breath for just under four minutes in the pool.

“I had never been to Koh Lanta before, I decided to come on a two week holiday, especially for the Andaman Freediving Challenge. It’s been really, really good and really friendly and I feel I have learned so much over the three days. It’s great to get to hang out with other Freedivers and I feel so much more confident now.”

Freediving Competition

One of the competition’s three Thai competitors, Petchrung Sukpong (or Aey), only undertook a Freediving course with Blue Planet Divers two weeks before the competition. She was encouraged to come back and take part by coach Richard Wonka, who told her it would be a great way to make new friends and improve her technique.

Aey works in Marine Conservation in Phuket, and was delighted she had made the short journey back to Koh Lanta for the competition. She was thrilled to reach a depth of 20 metres on a single breath, a personal best, and found that the experience was akin to meditation under water.

“I think Freediving is more relaxing than scuba diving because it is so peaceful and you don’t make any noise underwater, This competition is perfect for the beginner, because it’s so friendly, and I think I’ve learned a lot about Freediving over the three days. I’d never even thought about going into a competition before and now I’m thinking of going on and doing the Advanced Freediving course.”

Aey said that she would definitely be back next year to challenge her new friend, Jacinta, for the Andaman Freediving Challenge title!

Blue Planet Divers on Koh Lanta run regular Freediving courses throughout the diving season. Check out their website, www.blueplanetdivers.net, or telephone +66 (0)75 668 165 for details.

Enter the 2009 Freediving Competition

Freediving with Monofin

Blue Planet Divers would like to invite Freedivers of all levels (even beginners) to enter the Andaman AIDA Freediving Challenge 2009. The competition is being held on Ko Lanta from 10 Feb-12 Feb 2009.

Freediving Event and Competition Program:

Guillaume Nery8 February:

  • 10:00 – Presentation by Guillaume Nery (World Record Holder in Constant Weight), an Introduction to Freediving presentation and his world record.
  • 11:00 – Monofin Demonstration & Free Trial.

9 February:

  • Freediving Trip to Ko Haa with Guillaume Nery. Constant weight training and Free immersion – Cost = 1,500 THB

Pool Training Session10 February: Opening ceremony of the AIDA Freediving Challenge

  • 08:00 – Meeting at Blue Planet Divers office in Saladan
    – Registration and payment for entry fee
    – Transfer to Rawi Warin Resort & Spa
  • 09:00 – Opening Ceremony at Rawi Warin’s pool
    – Preparation and explanation of AIDA competition rules
    – Practise sessions in the pool
  • 12:00 – End of the day

Freediving Sea Competition11 February:

  • 07:30 – Meeting at Blue Planet Divers shop
  • 08:00 – Departure to Koh Haa (breakfast served)
  • 10:30 – Deep Sea Competition – Dive site Koh Haa Yai: Constant Weight and Free Immersion
  • 14:00 – Break with Evaluation – Interviews
  • 15:00 – Deep Sea Competition: Constant weight and Free immersion
  • 17:00 – Back to Ko Lanta

Freediving practise in the pool12 February:

  • 08:00 – Meeting at Blue Planet Divers shop
  • 09:00 – Pool Competition – Static and Dynamic
  • 12:00 – Evaluation – Winner announcement – Prizes sponsored by Mares and Rawi Warin Resort & Spa
  • 13:30 – Lunch by the pool – Closing ceremony

Competition Prizes:

Rawi Warin RoomPrizes sponsored by Mares and Rawi Warin Resort & Spa.

Overall Winner – First Prize:

The overall winner will receive 4 night’s accommodation in a Deluxe Room at Rawi Warin Resort & Spa for 2 persons. Breakfast for 2 people is included.

Mares Nemo SportDeep Sea Competition:

  • First Prize – Mares Nemo Computer
  • Second Prize – Mares Razor Pro Fins
  • Third Prize – Free Dive Bag

Pool Competition:

  • First Prize – Mares Mission Watch
  • Second Prize – Mares Razor Pro Fins
  • Third Prize – Free Dive Bag

Participation Fee:

  • 3,500 THB – includes; Hotel Transfers; Open Disciplines; Insurance, Blue Planet Apnea T-shirt, Breakfast, Lunch, Fruit and Soft Drinks

Freediver with Featherstar

Participation Conditions:

  • Each athlete must have a medical certificate prior registration. The certificate can be done by your personal physician or by a specialist in diving.
  • Fees must be paid before the 10th of February 2010 (4,500 THB).
  • If an athlete comes without Freediving equipment, we can provide them with bi-fins, mask, nose clip, belt and wetsuit. The rental cost is 400 baht per day.

To participate it is mandatory to follow the AIDA rules and a safe practice. Please check the AIDA website http://www.aida-international.org/ and click on “Downloads”, then “Documents”, then click for AIDA Competitions and Record Regulations. You can also try this link:

AIDA Judges:

JudgesRichard Wonka – Germany
(Judge level E, AIDA Instructor)

Sarah Whitcher – U.K.
(Judge level E, AIDA Instructor)

Contact Information:

If you have any queries, feel free to contact Blue Planet Divers
Email: blueplanetdivers [at] gmail.com
Tel: +66 (0)75 684165 / +66 (0)813 701 303
Web: www.blueplanetdivers.net

More information can also be found at: http://www.andamanaidafreedivingchallenge.blogspot.com/