Competition Rules Update

Published: 24/01/2019

Dear Freediving Community,
With the latest assembly vote of November 2018, a new range of rules have been implemented starting from 01.01.2019.
The rules will be part of the new regulations document. For an easier understanding and overview, please find the most important changes:
The disciplines DYN and CWT each have a subcategory for bi-fins and are seen as a different discipline for the AIDA ranking list and AIDA record lists.
· In the DYN subcategory BIFINS, the athlete is prohibited to use a dolphin kick for his / her propulsion, using a dolphin kick while wearing bifins will result in disqualification (DQOTHER).
· In the CWT subcategory BIFINS, the athlete is prohibited to use a dolphin kick for his / her propulsion, using a dolphin kick while wearing bifins will result in disqualification (DQOTHER).
Note: CWT and DYN rules remain the same as before – meaning a monofin or bifins can be used and the technique is irrelevant. These new rules refer to CWT BIFINS and DYN BIFINS. The abbreviations CWTB and DYNB are used.
Note: A benchmark has been set for world record recognition:
Women 182 m  80 m
Men 225 m  98 m
National Records recognition
If a performance exceeds or matches a national record in an AIDA International Competition (meaning the result will appear in the AIDA Ranking List) and the athlete receives a white card, the AIDA National must accept / recognize the performance as a national record. The athlete must be a member of that national and be allowed by the National to become a member of that National. If the athlete is not a member of that National at the time of the performance, they must become a member for the record to be activated by the AIDA National.
Note: An AIDA National is obliged to recognized a new national record if it has been validated within an approved international AIDA competition following the AIDA regulations.
Restrictions on multiple roles at competitions & scuba safety
The following prohibitions apply for all AIDA International events:
· It is prohibited for a judge to enter as an athlete in the same competition they are judging. It is allowed to switch from a judge to the role of a safety, however, it is prohibited to perform the duties of a judge and safety simultaneously.
· It is prohibited for a safety diver to enter as an athlete in the same competition where they act as a safety freediver.
· It is prohibited for the event medic to enter as an athlete, safety, or judge in the same competition they are working as the event medic.
· It is prohibited for organizers of World Championships to enter the World Championships as a judge or an assistant judge.
For depth competitions, a dedicated line operator is mandatory and this person’s ONLY task must be to set the line and operate the CB-system. The line operator communicates directly with one of the judges to confirm that the line is set correctly. The judge has the right to request the line be moved or adjusted as the judge desires, including moving the line prior to or delaying a start in order to confirm the depth is set correctly. Then, the line will be made available to the next athlete.
The use of scuba safety divers is prohibited except on special request to AIDA International with a detailed plan of the set-up, routines, and the needed qualifications of divers and supervisor(s).
Airways Rules
Upon surfacing, the athlete’s nose and mouth must remain out of the water until the jury has communicated their decision to the athlete, if any part of the athlete’s airway fully dips below the surface during this time, the athlete shall be disqualified. (DQAIRWAYS).
Change in
Each of the following symptoms will disqualify the performance for Black-Out (DQBO);
· Cardiac arrest
· Involuntary respiratory arrest
· Loss of consciousness
· Conscious but unable to maintain airways out of the water.
Rationale: Following up the BO rules below, it is necessary to make a difference between Airways and BO. In former regulations an athlete who dropped airways by mistake, environment (waves), LMC or a combination of those was disqualified as DQBO. Since the BO rules includes a possible disqualification from the event, a distinction between a drop of airways and a BO is necessary. Whether a red card/DQ must result from Airways or BO is up to the judges to decide.
Additionally, this rule allows the public to better understand about what happened to the diver when reading the result list.
Surface Protocol extensions (Wipe, OK-Sign, Double OK)
  • In addition to the provision in, AIDA International allows a facial wipe and / or the removal of the hood / swim cap without disqualification. Although, if repeated this will result in disqualification (DQSP).
Rationale: An athlete should not be disqualified by making himself more comfortable during recovery. The TC tried to avoid over-definition of the rules as well as false interpretation on what the SP is about: Giving the athlete a test to prove being OK after a difficult dive.
  • OK-signs given with a tag or facial equipment between the touching finger and thumb are allowed. Which fingers are in contact with the thumb to form the OK sign is not relevant to validate an OK sign.
Rationale: Since the OK sign has never been defined in the rules, there have been many cases of red cards by giving inaccurate OK signs, although the athlete was fine and finished the dive clearly. The TC tried to avoid over-definition of the rules as well as false interpretation on what the SP is about: Giving the athlete a test to prove being OK after a difficult dive. Additionally, an athlete might give the ok sign with the tag in the hand, throws it away and gives another okay sign which would be considered as a double OK sign. These rules would eliminate misunderstanding and wrong decision making by the athlete (i.e. the athlete should simply give the ok sign and should not be worried about the tag).
  • Following, visual OK-signs given simultaneously with both hands, repeating of the visual OK-sign after releasing it, or putting the OK-sign below the surface of the water and bringing the sign back out of the water, or repeating of the visual OK-sign with the other hand are considered as a double OK-sign and thus result in disqualification (DQSP). Movements of the hand giving the visual OK-sign are not considered as multiple OK-signals and are allowed.
Rationale: Following up cases in the past, definition of a double OK is necessary. The TC tried to avoid over-definition of the rules as well as false interpretation on what the SP is about: Giving the athlete a test to prove being OK after a difficult dive. Shaking signs of hypoxia shall not be interpreted as a double movement, as long as the diver was able to willingly make the ok sign once.
World Championship Rules (A and B Finales + Team Event)
4.2.1 **Change**
Each discipline can include qualifying heats and finals or direct finals. In the case of qualifying heats and finals the number of athletes participating in the finals will be determined by the jury and organizers on the basis of infrastructure and should be at least two athletes to a maximum of sixteen athletes. In the case of a separate A and B final, the athletes in the A final will remain in the result list in front of the athletes in the B final; except in the case of World Championships, if there are insufficient finishers in the A finals for all medal positions, the highest ranking athletes from the B final will advance to fill in the missing places.
For example, if all but one A finalist were to be disqualified in the A final, two B finalists would be moved into the remaining medal positions based on their finish in the B final to fill the podium as silver and bronze medalists. The A finalists will always place in front of any B finalist being advanced even if the B finalist had a better performance.
Rationale: Following up the controversy of the WC in Belgrade 2018.
Following the provisions in 4.2.16 the winners of the AIDA International Team World Championships is the team collecting the largest point total. For AIDA International Team World Championships, the points earned to decide the winner are as listed below. Although, the results entered into the AIDA International Ranking list must be done according the performance scoring as listed in section 4.1.22.
· Static apnea (STA), 1 second of immersion = 0.2 points
· Dynamic apnea (DYN), 1 meter in distance = 0.4 points
· Depth apnea (CWT), 1 meter in depth = 1.0 points
Rationale: Over the years the development of performances in dynamic led to an imbalanced distribution of points resulting from the three relevant disciplines in the Team World Championships. To re-balance, we downgrade points from DYN accordingly.
5.1.15 LANYARD
The safety lanyard has to be constructed according the requirements below and is systematically checked by the jury for these requirements and strength during registration as described in provision 5.1.15 and 5.1.16.
· A carabiner, without screws or locking mechanisms, in which the opening (minimum 16 mm) is big enough to allow the carabiner to be placed and hooked to the line without difficulty. The maximum internal size of the carabiner has to be such that it cannot slide over the lanyard stopper on the candy cane.
· A non-elastic link between 30 cm (minimum) and 120 cm (when stretched), made up of a material designed to not make knots, e.g. a cord or a cord covered with plastic.
· A wrist or ankle band that cannot be removed inadvertently, or a belt other than the weight belt, which cannot be removed inadvertently for those wearing the lanyard on the waist. The belt holding the lanyard must be situated higher than the weight belt. The waist belt, if used, cannot be made of a stretchable material (e.g. rubber weight belt, etc.).
· The lanyard must have a quick release system. A Velcro band is seen as such. In the case of absence of a Velcro band a quick release snapper must be placed on the side that connects the lanyard to the athlete.
Rationale: Judges will need to check whether or not self-made lanyards are able to pass the stopper of the candy cane. Furthermore, the TC believes that a 120cm line is long enough for athletes. The TC furthermore had a discussion on the quick release which resulted in the opinion that quick releases should be mandatory. The TC is aware that quick releases or the activation of the quick release evolves additional risks, but the sum of incidents with ghost lines or entanglements of the lanyard show how important a quick release system is to athletes.
Medical Checkup
Any BO or pressure related injury witnessed by officials, i.e. jury, safety freedivers, staff, during competition or official training will result in a mandatory medical check-up with the competition medic prior to diving again.
For any mandatory or voluntary physical / neurological examination, the event medic needs to use the appropriate AIDA International examination forms. The organizer is responsible for providing these forms.
The organizer is responsible to provide the event medic detailed descriptions of the physical and neurological tests to be executed by the competition medic.
In order to protect athletes from increased risk of injury AIDA International applies the following provisions and consequences for athletes after suffering from a blackout.
For all athletes who suffer from a blackout during their performance, a physical and neurological examination as described in and is mandatory and will be used by the medic to decide if the athlete needs to be examined further. The initial examination must to be performed immediately after the blackout occurs.
Intermediate medical assessment(s) may be performed any time, at the discretion of the event medic, to follow up on the athlete’s status and the dynamics of symptoms. The results of such examinations may be taken into consideration for decisions related to the athlete’s diving status.
The event medic assumes ultimate responsibility to restrict an athlete as set forth in this provision, if they believe that such restriction is required to protect the diver’s health and safety. If an athlete refuses to be examined by the medic, the athlete will not be allowed to dive again at the event and must obtain medical clearance to dive before entering another event sanctioned by AIDA International.
The quick neurological examination is a 5 minutes neuro check for freedivers by Dr. Juan Valdivia, that is applied by a medic or physician on-site, but does not exclude or replace a full neurological examination that may be performed, if necessary, by a licensed professional.
The physical examination consists of a pulmonary and cardio test, including SpO2 measurement, respiration rate, auscultation, heart rate, and blood pressure. Any athlete who has experienced a severe or extremely severe BO, following the blackout scale in provision, must be thoroughly assessed for any pressure related injuries with special attention being paid to the lungs and ears.
In the event of a restriction, such as limitation of AP’s or disqualification for part or the rest of the event, there will be no refund of the competition fees.
Prior to being allowed to dive again in the event, the athlete must undergo a medical follow up by the event medic. If any abnormal signs or symptoms in the athlete’s physical or neurological state are found, the athlete is not allowed to dive again in the competition and must obtain medical clearance to dive before entering another event sanctioned by AIDA International.
For all performances, AIDA International uses the following reference table after a blackout:
· Mild, surface BO and / or recovery time 0 to 10 seconds.
· Moderate, underwater BO, 0 to 10 meter and / or recovery time 10 to 20 seconds.
· Severe, deep water BO, 10 to 20 meter and / or recovery time 20 to 30 seconds or any BO associated with decompression illness, or neurological symptoms.
· Extremely severe, deep water BO, more than 20 meter and / or recovery time more than 30 seconds or any BO associated with any life threatening condition(s) such as i.e pulmonary bleeding.
In the event that an athlete suffers from a second BO in the same competition it will be assessed as ‘one step up’ in terms of the blackout scale. For instance, a moderate blackout after a mild blackout should be treated as a severe blackout in terms of medical examination and consequences for the rest of the competition. A third blackout of any severity will result in a dive ban for the rest of the competition and must obtain medical clearance to dive before entering another event sanctioned by AIDA International.
For all performances, AIDA International uses the following consequences after a blackout:
· Mild: no more diving on the same competition day, medical check up on next day in the morning.
· Moderate: minimum of one rest day (day of BO and day after), medical check up 24 hours after BO, and the next morning before entering the competition again. In the case of any abnormal signs or symptoms there will be no more diving in the competition.
· Severe and extremely severe: no more diving in the competition and medical follow up until the end of the competition with a recommendation for follow up with their personal physician after the conclusion of the competition.
Rationale: These rules have been designed in cooperation with the Medical Committee (MC) and the Safety Committee (SC). There was consensus that a BO per se shall not be leading to immediate disqualification, due to several reasons: The reason for a BO is not entirely determined by the athlete’s ability and self-assessment (i.e. organizational issues and environmental issues can influence). Furthermore, in case of a WC event, the last discipline has a different risk outcome, resulting in imbalance on how athletes chose their announcement (i.e. at the beginning the diver announces low and, in the end, he announces high).
We strongly believe that a conservative announcement is incentivized by the surface protocol. Nevertheless, besides medical arguments, the committees also believe that athletes who show wrong self-assessments (i.e. too high announcements) need to be disqualified from the event.
A deep blackout below 10m, as well as repetitive blackouts show either a concerning medical condition or such wrong self-assessment that it needs consequences to induce safer conduct.

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