For this Malaysian female freediver, the sport is therapeutic and meditative
THERE’S a saying among freedivers that they are all lousy swimmers.
While swimmers move fast in water, freedivers – those who dive underwater without breathing apparatus – do quite the opposite; they dive vertically into the deep blue and hold their breath for as long as they can. When they sense that the oxygen in their lungs is starting to deplete, they swim upwards and breathe again.
Syafidatul Azua Shafii, 38, does this for leisure and also for a living. A freediving trainer, she currently holds the national record for freediving, at 41m without fins, which she accomplished at the International Association for the Development of Apnea (AIDA) Freediving World Championship in Limassol, Cyprus in September.
That’s about three minutes of holding her breath underwater – 90 seconds diving down and 90 seconds going up again. She can go down to 61m with a monofin (that looks like a mermaid’s tail) or 51m with bi-fins (fins with long blades).
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Azua Shafii is a Malaysian Female record holder for multiple discipines for freediving in Malaysia. She is also the first SSI Freediving Instructor for Singapore, Malaysia Brunei.