Through participating in uncommon and untraditional sports for the region, many Saudi Arabian youths have become deep-sea hobbyists. The so-called digital natives have given the tech life a rest to be in touch with nature. Yarob Bashraheel, a management information system student and diving instructor in Jeddah, has obviously been taking part in the global trend. In an exclusive interview with DJ, he tells us how his interest in free diving arose and what he intends to do with his newly found passion.
What prompted you to start free diving?
I started snorkeling with relatives just for fun at first. Every time it seemed like a big, different and colorful world under there. When I started to dive regularly, it meant that I would need a lot of resources and all the proper equipment to do so. At first I didn’t quite know what I was doing, but later I realized that there was actually something called Free Diving.
What does it mean to you now, on a personal level?
Now it has become everything to me, my life, my work, my own beautiful world. Plus my sport and my hobby.
When did you start working as a free dive instructor and what do you have to teach?
I’m the youngest free diving instructor in the Arabian Gulf at the moment. From the age of 21, I started teaching free diving courses. As an instructor, I train my students to perfect holding their breaths for a long time.
Do you give lessons on how to overcome the fear of drowning?
Yes, we do. First of all, we hold theory sessions where we teach them to understand the urge to breathe and control the body system through this mechanism. Then, I teach them the techniques for holding their breath and how issues relating to the fear of drowning could be tackled. After that, we go to the pool and apply all that there with the safety steps put in place. Finally, we head towards the sea.
How much time does it take to free dive without a hitch?
It depends on environment and the experience of the person and the instructor. But it takes the full course, which lasts around 3 days. During this short period, the instructor will be developing all the necessary skills that a free diver needs.
Are there any prerequisites that must be met with before trying this sport?
Absolutely, you need to be healthy and all your body organs should be in good shape. Nonetheless, anyone can do free diving if he learned the technique. That’s why there are certain courses made for it. It’s simply basics: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. We recommend age 16+ when the person is already grown enough to go for it and understand it. For those under that age, they can take basic training classes. In fact, all this is ensured for safety reasons.
Is there a craze among the youths of Saudi Arabia towards sport like this?
Yes, there is a huge craze among the youths here. But the problem is that sometimes they don’t take safety rules seriously. Ignoring them could lead to catastrophic consequences.
What camera do you use to capture the images of incredible life underwater?
I use GoPro Hero 3+Black Edition and Canon 7D EOS Ikelite housing fish eye big doom.
What types of exercises do you have to do to keep yourself fit for this?
I do swimming and jogging to keep myself fit. Besides that, I also do slow exhaling and inhaling exercises and lots of stretching. Most importantly, I do yoga to relax my mind and release negativity.
In what way can one increase his lung capacity in order to go far deep?
You need to make sure you practice breathing and stretching exercises to adapt the mind to high concentration of CO2.
Why is the Red Sea the perfect destination for free dive activities?
It is considered one of the best seas in the world because of its crystal clear visibility and its magnificent corals.
Are there any other locations on your mind where you would definitely like to go?
Yes, I wish I could go to the deepest hole in the world i.e. the Bahamas. Then who can forget Dean’s Blue Hole, it’s the deepest underwater hole in the world. I would also love to visit Indonesia, because it too has a favorable environment for free diving.
Are you looking forward to opening your own free diving academy?
Yes, I’m already looking for the good location now to open it.
Cover Photo Credit: arabnews.com