From September 2 to 15, 2019, the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, in the Côte d'Azur, will host the Freediving World Championship for the fifth time since its creation in 1996. With the chance of trying freediving for the first time under the supervision of a professional, the public can also give it a try in the waters of the Mediterranean.
One hundred and thirty meters (426 feet): this is the freediving world record in Constant Weight Snorkeling with fins, held by Russian Alexey Molchanov. From September 2 to 15, 2019, nearly 140 athletes from about 50 countries will try to beat this, as well as other records of the Côte d'Azur, in the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, during the AIDA Freediving World Championship organized by the Nice University Club. Among these, Guillaume Néry, resident of Nice and multiple world record holder, is returning to the competition at 36 years old after retiring in 2015. In his videos and books, he unveils the enchantment of the deep sea, charming a large audience beyond diving amateurs.
The harbor of Villefranche-sur-Mer has been his playground for a long time and remains the birthplace of freediving in France with its exceptional sea drop. In the 1960s, it had already attracted Commander Cousteau to test one of his underwater habitat projects. During the World Championship, trials for three disciplines—Constant Weight Freediving, with and without fins, and Free Immersion Freediving— will be carried out on a floating platform set 200 meters offshore. Performances will be shown on a big screen at the official village of the event, located on the beach of Marinières.
An absolutely breathtaking day
This year, for the first time, the audience can get acquainted with freediving and live the competition down to the backstage. For a daily fee, they will be able to try freediving for the first time under the supervision of a professional, practice a nautical activity (paddle, kayak, lateen sail, etc.), visit the site of the boat competition, attend athletes' trainings on the beach, and have breakfast with them in the official village.
The AIDA Freediving World Championship is a yearly event similar to international competitions of the discipline. This recreational sports meeting was created in 1996 in the harbor of Villefranche-sur-Mer, and takes place every year in a diving place around the world. It also hosts scientific conferences, which are held in the village of the event.