Safety Enhancement Projects

AIDA freedivers, I would like to update you on AIDA’s activities following the fatal accident of diver Nicholas Mevoli at last November’s Vertical Blue competition.  This was the first fatality at an AIDA competition since our founding over 20 years ago, and we are working hard to learn all we can to prevent serious accidents in the future.

As you may know, AIDA asked a team of medical experts to review the evidence relating to the accident, to identify factors that contributed to the accident, and to make suggestions as to how to mitigate such factors in the future.  This team completed their review of the evidence in January (other than autopsy reports, which had not yet arrived), and reported their findings to the AIDA Board; AIDA Board then delivered those findings to the AIDA Assembly on 31th of January.  Once the autopsy reports are received, the medical experts will review them and update their findings.

The AIDA Board has also commenced a multi-part safety enhancement program to make changes based on what we have learned from the accident.  The first part of this project will address changes to the AIDA Competition Rules and safety guidelines.  The second part will address changes to the AIDA education system, to help students better understand the dangers from squeezes, and from “goal oriented” freediving.  The third part will be the implementation of a web-based Incident Reporting System, which will allow AIDA to monitor major and minor accidents, and work proactively to prevent address patterns of problems.  A fourth part will be medical research into squeezes and freediving funded by AIDA, and by Professor Erika Schagatay (an expert in this area).

I will report back to you this spring on our progress on this important program.  I hope to have key parts in place by the time diving season starts in the Northern hemisphere summer.

Kimmo Lahtinen
President, AIDA International


January 2014 Board Meeting

The Aida Board met on January 12 via Skype call.

The first subject was the results of the December vote for officer elections : Kimmo, Jean­‐Pol and Antero had been reelected for President, Education Officer and Technical Officer, respectively, for the 2014­‐2015 term. Due to travel, non‐ executive officer appointments would be made by February.

The Board is actively reviewing candidates for the AIDA Disciplinary Committee for 2014; if your national would like to recommend a candidate for the DC, especially those with a legal or compliance background, please have him/her send a CV and short statement of interest to Kimmo Lahtinen (President) or Claude Chapuis (AIDA DC secretary).

The Board discussed the fatal accident at the 2013 Vertical Blue competition in the Bahamas last November (U.S athlete Nicholas Mevoli)—the first fatality in over 20 years of AIDA competitions. The team reviewing this accident—Technical Officer Antero Joki, medical doctors Rik Rosken and Johan Dahlström, and medical researcher Erika Shagatay—has completed their review of the evidence and reports from personnel on site. The Board reviewed a draft report from Johan Dahlström, noting that it provides an excellent analysis of the accident. The Board plans to distribute a final report from the review team to the Assembly by end of January.

Due to the unusual severity of the accident, the Board expects to obtain information on a number of areas in which safety may be increased at future competitions. Relatedly, the Board is planning to fund a supplemental autopsy to determine if any additional information may be gained regarding the nature of the injury and cause of death.

The Board is currently planning at least three projects to take what is learned from this accident and use that information to increase diver safety. First, a Safety Enhancement Project will propose changes to the Competition Rules, Competition Safety Guidelines and Deep Diving Guidelines, in order to provide organizers and judges with additional tools to prevent divers from attempting dives that may carry unusual risk, an in order to document best practices for safety and accident management in competitions and in training; as always, Rules changes are subject to review by and approval of the Assembly. Second, Education Officer Jean-‐Pol François will modify AIDA’s course offerings to place additional emphasis on the risk of squeezes specifically, and safe diving generally. Third, AIDA will develop and implement a web­‐based Incident Reporting System, which will be used to electronically collect and analyze data on accidents in competitions (likely on a mandatory basis) and in competitions (on a recommended basis). Separately, as approved in the 2014 budget, AIDA will fund a study by medical researcher Erika Shagatay relating to squeezes (this had been planned prior to the accident in November). We will be communicating with you on these important items through the course of this year, and especially over the next several months as the projects move toward completion.

The Board reviewed priorities for 2014. In addition to the safety projects noted above, the Board plans to prioritize the following matters: Update of the AIDA Competition Rules; Revision of the AIDA Judge IOP; a number of IT projects (including upgrades or redesigns to the EOS and CARS systems); the 2014 AIDA Team World Championships in Sardinia; and the Strategy Project, which will focus on how AIDA may change in order to better meet its mandate of developing, safely, the sport of freediving world-‐wide. This is a full agenda for a volunteer organization. Nonetheless, we would like your input on additional matters that you feel are critical to AIDA’s, or your National’s, operations: as always, please let us know of any items that you would like us to address this year.

The Board reviewed financial matters presented by Kimmo and Rob. 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 @

Kimmo noted that AIDA is implementing a new management tool, and a new project manager, in order to manage projects (including by not limited to IT projects) more effectively.

The Board reviewed matters relating to the 2014 AIDA Team World Championships, to be held in September in Sardinia, Italy. The organizer, Riccardo Mura, has organized two previous AIDA World Championships (in Sharm el-­‐Sheikh in 2007 and 2008), and has been working actively with AIDA in preparation for the event. The organizer is currently using real time video capability for the depth event, which may allow for enhanced media coverage and athlete videos (more to come on this). The Assembly has been sent a set of Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) regarding this event, which can also be found on the Aida website and on the AidaInternational Facebook page. More information will be coming this spring.

The Board reviewed a number of items relating to the AIDA education system. Jean­‐Pol announced that the Education Office is working on an Instructor Trainer course, which will be given to
all IT candidates on a go­‐forward basis. Jean­‐Pol also reviewed issues relating to inactive ITs, and ways to get ITs to instructor candidates who currently are not able to travel to attend an instructor course.

Carla Hanson reported that a vendor has been identified to provide instructor insurance in the United States and Canada markets; the Board is currently reviewing the available policies, and plans to roll out this offering to interested instructors this spring. Kimmo noted that DAN offers instructor and student insurance in Europe and possibly other markets.

The Board will work with medical researcher Erika Shagatay to complete a study on the risks of squeezes in freediving. We will communicate the time frame for completion of this study as soon as possible.

Antero and Rob provided an update on the project to update the AIDA Competition Rules. A clean up version, intended mainly to clean up ambiguities and resolve known problem areas, is projected to go to the Assembly for review and approval in March or April. Separate from the clean up version (but possibly at the same time), several larger issues (e.g. possible changes to the grab rules) will also be sent to the Assembly for individual line-‐item review and vote, prior to inclusion in the competition rules.

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


Another World Record for Goran Colak !


Goran Colak of Croatia has added another World Record to his impressive list of accomplishments. He swam underwater without the aid of a fin to a distance of 225m. He moved in a relaxed pace with a time of 4:30.

Goran had hoped to add more meters to this record with attempts in days following this dive but he was not feeling well and was not able to do so. Goran now holds the World Records in both Dynamic Apnea with fin and without. He also holds the Croatian National in record in static apnea.

Congratulations to Goran, the undisputed KIng of the Pool !
This record will be official pending doping test results.


Team Worlds 2014

Collage_CagliariThe vote is in the the venue for the 2014 Team World Championships will be Cagliari, Sardinia. The competition will take place in the fall with official registration on September 16 with competition ending on the 26th.

The competition fee is € 250 per athlete; this includes official training days and oxygen. Fees for additional training days and room and board are not included in this fee. A twin room with full board is €60 per day.

For more info:
The Organizer is Blue World Apnea ASD (www. blueworld
official contact is Riccardo Mura ( blueworldasd@gmail)


Technical Officer Antero Joki to Lead Accident Review

As many of you know, United States freediver Nicholas Mevoli passed away yesterday after a competition dive at the Vertical Blue Competition at Dean’s Blue Hole, Bahamas.  On behalf of AIDA International, I would like to send my deepest regrets to Nick’s family and friends.  Nick was a Silver Medalist at this year’s Depth World Championship, and a man who brought warmth and humor to the freediving world.

Safety is the highest objective to AIDA in both freediving education and competition, and this tragic accident is the first fatality in over 20 years of AIDA competitions.  Accordingly, I have asked AIDA Technical Officer Antero Joki to lead a review of the accident, in order to learn what we can do to prevent further serious injuries.  Working with Antero on this effort will be AIDA Medical Officer Rik Rösken, diving medical researcher Erika Shagatay, and elite freediver and physician Johan Dahlström.

I have asked Antero to complete his review and report his findings to the Board in early 2014.  I plan to communicate the results of this review to the AIDA Assembly and freediving community by February, before the start of the Northern hemisphere’s summer diving season.  Please join me in giving your full support to Antero and his team on this critical project.

Kimmo Lahtinen
President, AIDA International