HERBERT NITSCH Breathing is overrated
by Robert Jelinek (Ed.)
The history of humans under the sea has little connection to their history above it. Apnea diving or freediving is the oldest and most primal form of human underwater activity. Thucydides (460-395 BCE) writes of frogmen and combat divers who did battle in the Peloponnesian War. The divers of antiquity, who discovered the absurd secret of a fascinating and otherworldly realm of creation in which reason could no longer triumph over nature's dangerous caprices, were in fact the very first space explorers. Menacing stillness, darkness, and the unbearable pressure of water received them in the depths.
Compared to scuba diving, freediving is now a small, specialized scene. In competitive freediving, ever-longer apnea or breath-holding times, and greater depths and distances, are sought through targeted training, which requires disciplined mental and physical practice. What exactly happens to humans under such extreme conditions often remains unexplained by science and medicine. And after the almost-complete exploitation of the earth's oceans, this lack of knowledge seems to be the last remnant of our erstwhile dread of the underwater world. It is the fascination and simultaneous contagiousness of temporarily surrendering oneself to the deep blue sea through personal passion that leads to new mental and physical human accomplishments both underwater and in general.
This fully applies to Austrian freediver, Herbert Nitsch, “the deepest man on earth.” Though he never acquired a diver's license, he has set 33 world records in all nine apnea disciplines. He can fill his lungs with 15 liters of air and hold his breath for over nine minutes. In 2012, Nitsch broke his own world record by descending to 253 meters (830 ft), a depth at which even diving watches break.
His record remains unbroken, but it led to severe personal consequences. Nitsch suffered multiple strokes, was paralyzed and briefly in a coma, and then had to gradually regain his memory and painstakingly relearn to write, speak, and walk. Yet his will to survive brought this Vienna native back from all that, for he had learned one thing: to never give up.
DER KONTERFEI 039 / Paperback / English / 50 pages / ISBN 978-3-903043-28-2
CHASING THE ELEMENTS
The Heart and Soul of Action Sport
by Liv Williams
With a background of writing about action sports on her extreme sports blog www.iLivExtreme.com and using her love of the great outdoors as a backdrop, Liv Williams, author of Chasing the Elements. The Heart and Soul of Action Sports, explores the power and might of the human spirit. With in-depth interviews from the worlds of BMX, Surfing, Snowboarding, Skateboarding, Freediving, Freerunning, Action Sports Filmmaking and Photography, this book celebrates the majesty of the natural world and those who inhabit it. A Welsh woman, twice national Triathlon Champion, and living in Brechfa Forest in mid-Wales, Liv surfs, snowboards, runs on forest and mountain trails, rock climbs and is always seeking out new wilderness and sporting experiences. In addition to her love of the physical world, Liv is a communications specialist and filmmaker working alongside NGO's, military personnel and people who have been affected by natural and conflict-driven disaster. From refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan to the earthquakes in Nepal, she has reflected the challenges facing those affected as well as their laughter, joyful memories and hopes for the future. The book includes interviews with Tia Blanco, Ryan Paul, Brett Novak, Luci Romberg, Chad Kerley, Alex Rademaker, Easkey Britton, Herbert Nitsch, and Ben Selway.
Meyer & Meyer / Paperback / English / 176 pages / ISBN 978-1782550914