August 2015 Board Meeting notes

Published: 09/08/2015

Date: 9 August 2015, 16:00-18:30 CET


Meeting: Conference Call (Skype)



Kimmo Lahtinen (5/6)

Ute Gessmann (3/6)

Jean-Pol Francois (5/6)

Carla Sue Hanson (6/6)

Robert King (6/6)

Vedran Milat (5/6)

Per Westin (1/6)

Absent: Antero Joki (3/6)

Petar Bojovic (2/6)


The first topic discussed was the information regarding the disappearance of Natalia Molchanova. Board members send their thoughts to Natalia’s family and friends, and especially to children Alexey and Oksana.


The Board reviewed AIDA’s financial status, as presented by Vedran Milat, treasurer, which included possible alternatives to AIDA’s current bank account. The banking has become more difficult due to new regulations in Finland. Vedran and Kimmo are investigating possible financial institutions to handle Aida’s needs. No change may be made in 2015, but the Board will continue to review options. It was noted that the recent vote to approve the financial statements and the requirement to use independent accountants to produce financial statements, were both passed by large margins (28:1; 29:1). The Board thanks the Assembly and members of Nationals that contributed their time and effort to reviewing and voting on these items. The Board notes it that began using professional accountants to produce AIDA’s financial statements several years ago. Vedran and Rob then reported on PayPal fees. PayPal has raised its (already high) fees. Vedran and Rob noted that a way to reduce PayPal fees--for those paying money to AIDA from within Europe--is to have AIDA accept electronic funds transfers (EFTs). Vedran and Rob will provide additional information on this topic as soon as possible.


Kimmo reported that Antero delivered a draft of proposed changes to the AIDA Competition Rules. These changes will be delivered to the Assembly for review and comment prior to vote on them. Kimmo also reported on the possibility for Aida to purchase inexpensive housings for the GoPro4, usable to 300m. The Board is reviewing a proposal to buy a number of those housings, as well as the possibility of offering them to organizers at a reduced price.


Ute, Sport Officer, pointed out that defined changes to the World Record announcement process need to be implemented. The Board reviewed a proposal to enhance AIDA’s world record announcement process, which would clarify the procedure. The new procedure will be enacted in the new future.


The next item on the agenda was the promotion of a judge. The Board voted to approve promotion of AIDA judge Gabriela Contreras (Venezuela/Bonaire, Netherlands) to Level B. Gaby is a long-time judge and President of Aida Venezuela.


The Board then noted that Aida Australia will be holding a judge course at the premier PanPac competition in the fall. In support of the event, and to encourage participation from students in an area where there is limited access to taking judge courses; the Board voted to waive 50% of the judge certification fee. AIDA Australia and the judge instructor have agreed to offer this course at total cost of EUR 95 to the students.


In regards to the remaining Assembly votes this year, the Board will provide for a fourweek vote period for the annual officer vote (this provides additional time to AIDA Nationals needing to translate the vote prior to review). In order to complete the vote before the holidays (i.e. by 15 December, as in previous years), the annual officer vote is scheduled to begin mid-November. Offices up for election this year are: President, Technical Officer, and Education Officer. Interested candidates should send their CVs to AIDA—not later than 15 October--at:


The Board discussed numerous matters relating to the 2015 AIDA World Championships. The Board voted to approve €500 for filming and editing a short video on surface protocol, to be included as a plug-in in AIDA’s online judge renewal course (currently under development). At a previous meeting the Board had approved EUR 1,500 to fly Tom Ardavany to Cyprus, to manage the squeeze rule and provide additional training to event staff. Unfortunately, Tom’s work situation no longer permits him to attend. In order to manage the squeeze rule (e.g. post-dive SaO2 measurements), other safety items, and the Incident Reporting System, the Board voted to pay actual expenses (not to exceed EUR 1,000) to bring Mario Zuzic to Cyprus. The Board also voted to pay actual expenses (not to exceed EUR 1,000 each) to bring AIDA President Kimmo Lahtinen and Treasurer Vedran Milat to Cyprus to present at various meetings scheduled for the event (including the open meeting, judge continuing education course, medical meeting, and opening and closing ceremonies).


There will be a subsidized judge course offered in Cyprus, at a total cost of €70 per student; this is intended to allow judge students who must pay for travel to and hotel at world championships take an AIDA judge course at a reasonable price. Robert also noted that there will be a judge Continuing Education (“CE”) course in Cyprus (like the ones held in Cagliari and Belgrade).


The Board plans to hold an Open Meeting in Cyprus, as have been held at recent AIDA world championships. This meeting will be an opportunity for Board members to review important AIDA activities, as well as an opportunity for athletes, coaches and others to raise and discuss issues important to their countries. Medical researcher Erika Schagatay is planning to be in Cyprus (schedule permitting) to present her study on freediving and squeezes (including a practical discussion on implementation of the new squeeze rule). All will be invited to this presentation, and AIDA urges at least one member from each National attend, in order to report back to his/her National.


The Board noted that proposals to host the 2016 AIDA Team World Championship are due not later than 30 September. Please ask interested organizers contact AIDA International for further information (


The Board reviewed a proposal from a vendor referred by AIDA Austria to produce event medals: both larger “podium” medals (gold, silver, and bronze), and smaller “participant” medals (like those given to finishers of marathons and similar events). Pricing in the proposal appears very reasonable, and we will work with the vendor to get specific pricing for AIDA’s design and needs; this may be a good option for medals for the 2016 AIDA World Championships.


After discussion, the Board voted to approve Stephan Keenan (Ireland/Egypt) as AIDA Instructor Trainer. Stephen is also organizing Aida Ireland. We welcome Stephen to the Aida Instructor /Trainer group.


Jean-Pol reported on the eCertification program, in which student certificates will be produced in EOS, and be downloadable to smartphone (similar to the systems used by other dive agencies). This would both significantly lower card-printing costs, and decrease the environmental impact of producing and shipping plastic cards.


Medical & Science Officer Dr. Per Westin led a discussion of the risk of over-packing, particularly in the pool disciplines. Per reported on a number of serious injuries from over-packing, including possible pneumothorax and embolism. Per is working on a note to the freediving public about this risk, to be issued by AIDA before the start of the pool season.


The Board reviewed cases of DCI in the last year; several Board members expressed concern about the increasing number of cases of DCI. The combination of deeper and longer dives, plus certain warm up practices (e.g. deep statics), appears to be contributing to these cases. The Board will continue to review this matter, and is considering co-funding research in this area on at least two questions: (1) what freediving practices may have a higher risk of DCI, and (2) what method(s) of post dive decompression may be most appropriate for freediving (e.g. surface or at depth).


Further Information. If you would like further information on these or other topics, please do not hesitate to contact any of the Board members.

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