Tell us about yourself.
Hi everyone, it is my pleasure to tell you more about myself. I come from the Czech Republic and I am a freediving and yoga instructor (For those who don’t know, freediving is diving on single breath and the world record in this sport is 131m deep). Even though we don’t have the sea in my country, I always did my best to be close to it and have been a representative for a Czech travel company for the past ten years during the summer season. I am also absolutely in love with healthy human movement and I was teaching yoga in the Philippines, Zanzibar and Egypt. Most of the time I live on the beautiful Island of Lefkada in Greece and because of my love for the ocean my partner and I plan to open a Freediving centre in there next year.
Where did your love of the ocean come from and why do you do what you do?
I was always very active and three years ago I tried scuba diving for the first time in my life. The underwater world is so different and absolutely amazing. I felt like I had discovered another planet. Nearly two years ago while traveling in Asia I got the opportunity to teach yoga in the Philippines at the Blue Freedom Apnea Freedive Centre. Where I completed my first Freediving course. During the first training session in the pool, my coach told me that I was a natural and I could even be a freediving instructor one day. I was laughing about it that time but a year later while in Egypt I got the opportunity take part in a three month instructor training course. Some time has passed since my first pool training and we want to open our centre next summer.
The reason why I do what I do is simple. I want other people to experience the underwater world and everything it has to offer. I want our community of freedivers to grow so we have more people who can experience this natural wonder and gain all the benefits it provides. I want to have more people who really care for our ocean.
Tell me a bit about your sport? What is it about this that thrills you the most, and what are the challenges?
As freedivers we dive while holding our breath and it is up to us how deep we go and how long we stay underwater. Freediving is an interesting hobby and professional sport that is very different to way most people perceive it. There are several disciplines in freediving and all of them have one thing in common: they are apnea based – breath holding. To reach a longer breath hold you need to be totally relaxed. Not only with your body but with your state of mind as well. It sounds simple but it can be a difficult skill to learn on command especially with all the rush and stress that most people face in their day to day lives. Freediving helps me to be relaxed and feel calm and focused.
Of course, like any sport, freediving is challenging too, especially if you want to dive deeper and longer. It took me two months of intensive training to do 40 meter dives repeatedly. However the nice thing about it is, as I said before, that you are practicing how to relax and how to clean your mind completely most of the time. So it wasn’t so bad 😊
Has there ever been a dangerous situation? A meeting with a shark or something similar?
Believe it or not freediving is much safer than scuba diving in terms of the possible things that can go wrong. Usually dangerous situations arise if people don’t follow the rules. But by taking courses and diving with other qualified freedivers we can dramatically reduce the risks by preventing them in the first place.
I personally have never had the chance to swim with sharks although there are people like Ocean Ramsey who dive with sharks nearly every day. I am not sure if I would like to meet a carnivorous shark although I would love to dive with Whale Sharks one day.
Where are your favourite places to dive?
So far I have been diving in Philippines, Zanzibar, Greece and Egypt. I have to say, Egypt is absolutely haven for corals and underwater creatures and it was my favourite place to dive. Sadly the sea is very polluted and full of garbage and fishing nets. I have a big pocket on my wetsuit and in our dive buoy and it would be filled with rubbish each time we came in. My pocket was never big enough. The fact that Egypt has no recycling system and most of the garbage ends in the desert or the sea is alarming.
Becoming an ambassador for OceanЯ makes me feel very happy. We need more companies in this world with sustainable products, made from recycled plastics.
What has been your favourite experience as a free diver so far?
I am always happy to dive with turtles and dolphins. A little bit cliche I know but these creatures are simply beautiful. I wish I could dive with sperm whales one day.
What do you pack for your trips?
In 2020 I decided to visit Asia with my 40L backpack which isn’t too big. So I actually didn’t pack much. I lived for one month in a Buddhist temple in the North of Thailand, a few days in Singapore, a few weeks in Malaysia and 4 months in the Philippines. I still don’t understand how I managed to live with so little but that trip was one of the best experiences of my life.
Haha… For a good look they had some secondhand shops in the Philippines.
Though since starting to dive more seriously, my bags have become much larger to carry all our diving equipment. Now along with the normal things, I’ll take two wetsuits, free dive fins, mask, snorkel, weight belt, dive computer and maybe a spear gun to catch dinner.
Why OceanЯ? Is there something about the brand that really resonates with you?
Miles Taylor from Protography approached me with an offer for an underwater photo shoot for a new OceanЯ collection. It was at the end of this summer and actually at the time I didn’t know how special this company is. I really liked the rash vests and swimwear during the photo shoot. Later on Miles told me that OceanЯ was looking for an ambassador and asked if I would be interested. So I met with Adam Chubbock and he introduced me to OceanЯ. There are more things that really resonate with me. The concept of sustainability, environmentally friendly approach, custom service, amazing designs and new interesting projects. All of this kind of match with my lifestyle and I feel happy to share it and support OceonЯ.
Do you have a favourite OceanЯ product?
Of course I do. I had an opportunity to try a few things and my favourite are the hoodies and swimwear. The organic cotton hoodies are just so soft and warm, beautifully designed and great quality!
What products are you looking forward to testing out?
I would like to try everything! I do yoga every day so I would love to try leggings. I am curious how they look like and feel on my body and if they are good for walks.
Can you tell us about any upcoming events/trips/activities you will be taking part in?
Hopefully I will be teach skiing in Italy this winter. I used to teach skiing before but four years ago I slipped 4 disks in my spine and it took me two years to get back to my normal life. I still cannot do any extreme sports, like for example windsurfing. But I was good at snowboarding and ok at skiing, so hopefully it should be fine. Cross your fingers guys.
Anyone you would like to thank who has given you an opportunity to allow you to be where you are?
It would be my parents. They always stood by me. And a big thanks to Brian and Catherine Crossland from Blue Ocean Freedivers. They taught me a lot and helped me and my partner with our freediving instructor course. Big thanks to them and to my partner who is very supportive and believes in me.