AIDA Spotlight - Meet Jang Jihun: The first Korean to set a 100m record and Double K athlete!
How did you get into freediving?
I started freediving seven years ago with a level 1 instructor course in 2014 and by 2015 I was participating in my first depth competition.
At first, I went to the valley and sea every weekend while I was working, and once I bought snorkeling equipment, I felt a peace of mind while watching the quiet, clear water. I had watched Guillaume Nery’s video and thought it was amazing, so I joined a club and sought additional information for over a year to learn how to freedive properly.
What is your favorite freediving discipline?
I like all the depth disciplines; CWT is my current favorite. The reason I like it so much is because I can go deeper than any of the others. When I do CWT, I follow the depth of CWT as much as the depth of FIM and practice CNF during periods of stagnation.
Tell us about your 100-meter dive.
When I was in Bohol, the Philippines from 2014 to 2015, I reached 79 meters for the first time, but as I tried to increase my depth I suffered my first lung injury, so I went back to Korea to work and rest for six months.
At the end of 2016, I went to Dahab and started training again. At the end of 2017, I achieved 90 meters for the first time and then the season ended. I succeeded at many low-90-meter dives and believed that I would reach 100 meters in a little bit, but I was tired of training so long and ended my 2018 season.
In 2019, I dove 98 meters in Bohol and attempted 100 meters in a competition but failed due to an underwater blackout. In November 2019, I did the Dominican 94-meter CWT and went back to Dahab, then COVID hit, so I had to return to Korea. After that, I took a year off from diving before starting to train for the AIDA Depth World Championship in Cyprus.
When I arrived in Cyprus, I changed my unused diving masks, warm-up breathing and mouth-fill methods because of the water temperature and I didn’t feel comfortable diving. But I didn’t have time, so I went to the competition and managed to get a white card.
Then I changed my diving methods to the way I usually do them for the next event and I felt comfortable diving again, so I applied for the 100 meters on the last day of the competition because I was confident I could go farther.
How do you feel about being the first Korean to successfully reach 100 meters in freediving?
I am very happy that my long-time wish to dive to 100 meters has come true. I don’t want to get complacent, so I will keep researching and improving to make it more comfortable and safer.
You are sponsored by Double K, why do you recommend their gear?
Double K is a top gear company with constant research and improvements. They help divers become more comfortable and set better records. As Korea’s first freediving gear developer, I am confident that it will become a globally recognized company in the future.
What is your favorite Double K equipment?
My favorite piece of equipment is the wetsuit. It’s no exaggeration to say that wetsuits are the most important thing in freediving. Even before I was sponsored by Double K, I always bought the best equipment, so I’ve tried on many different types of wetsuits, but no suit is more comfortable than a Double K wetsuit.
A representative for Double K adds, “South Korea is becoming a strong country in the world of freediving. Double K hopes that Korea’s freediving will grow significantly in the future and Jang Jihun’s 100-meter record will be the first step in its historic start. Our company is expecting to play a big role in our country’s development, and we can’t wait!”