Archive for August, 2014

August board Meeting

The Aida Board met on Saturday , August 9 2014 via Skype conference call.

The first item discussed was AIDA’s financial status, as presented by Kimmo and it was noted again that the old PayPal account should no longer receive payments; instructors will be notified to send payments only to the new PayPal account. AIDA Nationals: when making payment to AIDA International by PayPal, please use only the following payment information: bank @

The Board reviewed a proposed competition in Crimea, which was sanctioned by AIDA Russia, but opposed by AIDA Ukraine. The Board noted that the United Nations and IOC currently recognize Crimea as a region of Ukraine; accordingly, the Board voted unanimously to remove the proposed competition from the AIDA calendar unless and until AIDA Ukraine sanctions it.

The Board reviewed SSI’s recent appointment of former AIDA Education Officer Lotta Ericson as Freediving Training Director of SSI (, noting issues relating to the protection of AIDA intellectual property (primarily in AIDA’s education system). The Board voted unanimously to terminate Ms. Ericson’s status as AIDA instructor/instructor trainer, and access to the AIDA’s Education Online System; this termination also applies to Ms. Ericson’s business partner, Linda Paganelli. The Board noted that during the first 7 months of 2014, together they had certified only three AIDA students; accordingly, access to AIDA’s systems was unlikely to be used for valid training purposes. The Board also voted unanimously to maintain both Ms. Ericson’s and Ms. Paganelli’s current AIDA judge status, with the following caveats to prevent possible favoritism toward SSI or SSI‐affiliated athletes:  (1) neither may judge at AIDA World Championships; (2) before acting as senior judge for any AIDA world record performance, each must request advance approval in writing from AIDA International, not less than two weeks prior to the performance (with respect to the latter, the only records currently possible to break in the Dahab Blue Hole­‐max depth 90m­‐is woman’s CNF; accordingly, the Board has pre‐approved both judges for performances by recent woman’s CNF record holders Natalia Molchanova and Ashley Futral).

The next topic was the selection of judges for a World Record attempt. By email vote, in July the Board appointed the following judges for the upcoming Winram record event (30 August – 6 September): Senior Judge, Petar Bojovic; Junior Judge, Radoslaw Gaca. Due to issues relating to Mr. Gaca’s availability at the event site on the event days, the Board voted unanimously to replace Mr. Gaca with Denys Rylov as Junior Judge for the event. Robert King and Petar Bojovic recused themselves from this vote therefore the vote was done by the other Board members.

The Board reviewed results of the recent vote on the Safety Proposal, noting that numerous changes were approved, and that the items on feet first descents and consequences of blackouts were not approved. The Board would like to thank all Assembly members and members of Nationals that took part in the review of and vote on this Proposal, and also the safety work group that prepared the proposal: these changes respond to the risks identified with the fatal accident of diver Nick Mevoli last November, and should increase safety for AIDA divers worldwide. The Board noted that approved changes will become effective on 1 January 2015, and will incorporate them into AIDA’s Competition Rules by that time. Please note that there will be NO CHANGES affecting athletes at the upcoming 2014 AIDA Team World Championships in Sardinia; though the AIDA Board will work with the organizer to implement some organizational items (e.g. use of Sonar and pocket masks), there will be no rules changes that will apply to athletes. At least two Nationals requested that with respect to approved item #4 (“consequences of squeezes”), that AIDA International provide guidance to organizers on how to implement the changes effectively and uniformly. This recommendation is well taken, and AIDA’s Medical and Science Officer will be working on a set of guidelines for working with athletes with squeezes by end of year.

The Board noted that Item 1 of the Safety Proposal (“limitation of announcements”) resulted in a tie (10 for, 10 against); in accordance with AIDA’s Statutes, this item will be sent back to the Assembly for revote (with the proposed changes for the Competition Rules). The Board also noted input from Nationals on this item, however, will be included in the revote. First, if an organizer wishes to limit announcements, the limitation will be to no greater than 10m below the depth done in training (previously, announcements could be limited to no greater than 3m below that depth). Second, recent dives will be considered even if not done onsite or on the ranking list—essentially allowing the second option, which is the athlete stating what depth he/she has done, and who the safety diver/witness was.
The Board voted unanimously to reflect the above input from Nationals when the item is sent for revote.

Kimmo and Robert reported on progress on the AIDA Incident Reporting System; Per Westin, also working on this project, was unavailable due to a scheduling conflict. Per and Robert are working with developer Simo Kurra to prepare a prototype version of the Organizer Reporting Form for demonstration in Sardinia. The organizer reporting system will be mandatory—i.e. organizers are required to report serious incidents—and this component should allow for statistically based reporting of incidents (i.e. number of incidents of each type per 1000 starts). Work is also progressing on an optional athlete reporting system that will not be statistically based (i.e. it will not be possible to determine the frequency of incidents in detail), but which may be useful in identifying types of incidents warranting additional attention. For both systems, personally identifying information (e.g. name) will not be captured.

Jean­‐Pol Francois , Aida Education Officer , reported on safety‐related updates to the AIDA education system. Jean‐Pol noted that safety updates on the 1* and 2* courses should be ready by this fall; revisions to the AIDA Safety Diver course should be ready by late fall as well.

The Board reviewed matters relating to the 2014 AIDA Team World Championships, to be held in September in Sardinia, Italy. The organizer has set up a website and Facebook page for the competition:


Please take note of these pages. Aida will also be posting on the Aida Facebook page unofficial ‘live results’ as the dives take place. Robert reported that the Assembly has approved two courses to be given in Sardinia: a judge reactivation course, and a judge continuing education course. The AIDA judge reactivation course will allow inactive AIDA judges to reactivate their judge status (at a nominal fee). AIDA believes that reactivation of inactive judges, without the expense of retaking a judge course, is important for judges in a number of countries. AIDA will also offer a continuing judge education course (free of charge). The AIDA Judge Continuing Education Course will provide AIDA judges with important information on judging at higher‐level events, and common judging issues generally. AIDA believes that continuing education is critical for the training and promotion of judges. Experience points will be granted to judges attending this course.  AIDA Board will also host an open meeting in Sardinia, like the open meetings that took place in Belgrade and Kalamata last year. All persons will be invited; Board members will review several important items, and other items will be discussed as requested by participants.

Please note that the AIDA Board is accepting proposals from organizers to host the 2015 AIDA Pool and Depth World Championships. Please request any organizers that may be interested in hosting a pool world championship in the spring (April-­June) or a depth world championship in the fall (August – November) to forward proposals and questions to The Board voted to require that all proposals be delivered not later than 30 September, in order to allow them to be finalized and sent to the Assembly for vote in October.

Kimmo reported on a new Assembly web tool, to allow members to update their contact information: similar to functionalities in the EOS and JOS systems. Kimmo also reported that the IT group is working on a new email distribution system (to replace the Yahoo Groups service): the Yahoo email service is experiencing significant issues (including dropping members, and not delivering messages and/or attachments). This project is aimed at implementing a new service to solve those issues, and at better integrating Member data with the current AIDA web‐based tools (EOS, CARS and JOS). Note: If you are not receiving emails from or are unable to send them to the Assembly group list, please contact AIDA Secretary Carla Hanson ( so we can keep you copied until the new system is implemented.

The Board voted unanimously to recommend to the Assembly that organizations in the following countries be considered for Observer Membership: Slovak Republic; Iceland; Peru; Latvia; and the Philippines. Each of these organizations meets the requirements for Observer membership (including statutes, and number of members). The Board also voted unanimously to recommend to the Assembly that the following Observer members be upgraded to National membership: Romania; Malaysia. Each of these organizations meets the requirements for National memberships (including statutes, number of members, instructors and judges). The Board plans to ask the Assembly to vote on these membership items in October, in connection with the vote on 2015 World Championship locations.

The Board is pleased that three observer members—South Korea, Romania and Malaysia—have grown to meet the standards to be upgraded to full National members. We remain concerned, however, that most observer members have not demonstrated significant growth. A larger number of observer members over a period of years have not been able to reach 25 members, one instructor and two judges—the minimum requirements for an AIDA National. AIDA International’s mission is the development of freediving world wide, and we see the development of organizations in countries without AIDA Nationals as a key component of that development. The failure of most observers to grow into Nationals is a concern for AIDA. We plan to review this matter further, and recommend to the Assembly actions that may be taken to better promote growth. Such actions may include AIDA International sending instructors, instructor trainers and judge instructors to countries with observer members, as well as to other countries with or without AIDA organizations, who request access to instruction in order to develop the sport of freediving.

If you would like further information on these or other topics, please do not hesitate to contact Kimmo, Robert, or any other Board member.

AIDA Board


Results of the Assembly vote on the Safety Proposal

Members of the AIDA Assembly, I would like to present you the results of the Assembly vote on the Safety Proposal.  First, I would like to thank the Assembly representatives and other members of AIDA Nationals that reviewed, commented constructively on, and voted on this Proposal—your efforts make freediving safer for all AIDA athletes.  Second, I would like to thank the other members of the Safety workgroup, who donated significant time and expertise to this project:  Dr. Johan Dahlström, Dr. Per Westin, Erika Schagatay, Stavros Kastrinakis, Antero Joki, and William Trubridge.

We join together in AIDA International because we love freediving.  The fatal accident of Nick Mevoli last November—the first in an AIDA competition—has led us to reexamine our sport.  We don’t want freediving to become like alpinism, where death is accepted as an inherent risk.  Your efforts make freediving safer.  The proposals you approved are one of many steps AIDA is taking on safety; others include changes to the AIDA education system, an online AIDA Incident Reporting System to gather data for analysis, and funding for medical research relating to freediving.  At September’s AIDA Team World Championships in Sardinia, we’ll have presentations regarding the changes that you’ve approved, and also a beta version of the Incident Reporting System.

This Safety Proposal is a first step, not the last.  Next year, we’ll review how these changes are working, review incident data, and return to you with items that may benefit from change: to update items that need improvement; to delete any that aren’t working; and to recommend items to address new issues that may be identified.  To that end, please continue to provide input on the Safety Proposal, and safety related matters generally (send to; we’ll collect your input, and the Safety Workgroup will review it in 2015.  Our goal is to present you with a Safety Proposal v2.0 mid to late next year—safety is an continuous process.

The changes you approved will take effect 1 January 2015.  That said, we’ll be working on a number of the items informally (e.g. Sonar and other equipment and training at this year’s Team World Championship), and William Trubridge will be piloting a number of these items, with agreement of the athletes, at Vertical Blue in November.

Vote Results

1. Limitation on Announcements

Item 1 on limitation of announcements received 10 votes for, and 10 votes against: a tie. In accordance with AIDA’s Statutes, this item will go back to you for vote (along with the Rules proposal to be presented to you in about another week—see below).

2. Sonar

All three items were approved, by large margins.

Item 2A requires organizers to train with and use Sonar at AIDA World Championships and World Record events (18 for, 2 against).

Item 2B requires organizers to train with and use Sonar at AIDA competitions with world record status (18 for, 2 against).

Item 2C recommends (but does not require) organizers to train with and use Sonar at other AIDA competitions for depth disciplines, unless the maximum competition depth is within sight of safety divers (16 for, 4 against).

3. Prohibition on Recommencing Descent; Feet First Descents

Item 3A was approved (11 for, 9 against), prohibiting athletes from turning back down once they have started to ascend.  As previously noted, the competition gauge and bottom camera can be used to apply this rule—both to verify information from Sonar, and to inform judges of infractions.

Item 3B was not approved (8 for, 12 against), so the proposal to prohibit feet first descents (recommended by AIDA Germany) will not go into effect.  AIDA Nationals with an interest in this rule are requested to provide AIDA with any additional information they may obtain on feet-first descents.

4. Consequences of Squeezes

Item 4 was approved (11 for, 9 against).  The Executive Board and Safety workgroup recognize that this rule is a significant change for AIDA, but also an important one to protect athletes.  Squeezes appear to be worsening in recent years, as athletes get to greater depths faster; it once took a decade to reach 100m, but divers now have reached that depth in a year.  Lung squeeze was a large factor in last year’s fatal accident, and AIDA International believes that this new rule is important in helping protect athletes from thoracic barotrauma.

AIDA Finland noted the importance of applying this rule objectively and uniformly, and requested that AIDA International provide guidance on how to apply this rule.  Those points are well taken.  Safety is critical, but this rule must be applied fairly. To that end, we will request that the AIDA Medical Officer (with support as needed) provide guidance to the Assembly on different types and degrees of squeezes, prior to 1 January 2015.

5. Consequences of Blackouts

Item 5 was not approved (2 for option 1; 1 for option 2; 5 for option 3, and 11 for no change).  Accordingly, no change will be made regarding blackouts.  AIDA International will continue to monitor data regarding blackouts, and watch for trends that could indicate increased risk.  Interested Nationals are requested to provide input on this matter.

6. Training & Equipment

All four items were approved, by large margins.

Item 6A requires minimum training for doctors at AIDA World Championships and World Record events (17 for, 3 against).

Item 6B requires minimum training for doctors at competitions with world record status (16 for, 4 against).

Item 6C requires minimum equipment at AIDA World Championships and World Record events, and at competitions with world record status (18 for, 1 against).  In particular, AIDA believes that training with and availability of pocket masks will protect safety divers from the risk of blood borne pathogens, and allow them to provide rescue breaths without risk of disease.

Item 6D recommends (but does not require) additional equipment at AIDA World Championships and World Record events, and at competitions with world record status (17 for, 2 against).

7. Incident Reporting System; Rest Days

Item 7A was approved (19 for, 1 opposed), so beginning 1 January 2015, AIDA will require organizers (with input from head judge and doctor) to report safety related incidents at AIDA competitions on the online AIDA Incident Reporting System.  We plan to have a pilot version of this system available for use and comment at September’s AIDA Team World Championship in Sardinia.  If you are in Sardinia, please join us to learn more about this important addition to AIDA’s safety services.

Item 7B was approved (17 for, 3 against), so AIDA will recommend that organizers add rest days to competitions where possible.

8. Judge Continuing Education and Reactivation Courses

Item 8 was approved (18 for, 2 against); this item is not part of the Safety Proposal, but was time sensitive, so was included in the recent vote.  AIDA will offer a continuing judge education course during the AIDA Team World Championships in Sardinia (free of charge).  AIDA believes that continuing education is critical for both the training and promotion of judges, as world record points are impossible for most judges to obtain (and accordingly, under the current Judge IOP most judges cannot be promoted to higher levels).  Experience points will be granted to judges attending this course.

AIDA will also offer a judge refresher course during the AIDA Team World Championships in Sardinia, to reactivate inactive AIDA judges (at a nominal fee). AIDA believes that reactivation of inactive judges, without the expense of retaking a judge course, is important for judges in a number of countries.

Next Assembly Vote

As you determined in July, the next matter for the Assembly’s consideration and vote will be the update of the AIDA Competition Rules; the Rules have not been updated since 2009.  This vote will come to you in approximately one week.  The update will be presented in two parts:  a “clean up” version of the Rules (in general, cleaning up ambiguities, grammar, and the like), and line item changes for individual items. To facilitate your review, nothing has been added to the “clean up” version that you reviewed in May and June.  In general, items that you requested a line item vote on will be removed from the “clean up” version, and given a line item vote; a small number of items that raised larger concerns will be removed completely (e.g., the “Level D judge requirement”).  All items removed from the “clean up” version will be marked (likely highlighted in yellow) so you can see them easily. The vote on the Rules update will be open for four weeks, to allow sufficient time to translate, review, and vote.  We understand the concerns raised by a number of Nationals in May and June, and hope to address them with this vote.

Finally, thank you again for your review of the Safety Proposal, your comments on it, and your votes—your time and effort are appreciated by AIDA International and AIDA athletes worldwide.

Best regards,

Robert King
Vice President, AIDA International