Free Diving and World Records: A Chat with Christian Redl

Jun 01, by Clara in Interviews

Christian Redl has been certified as an Apnea Academy Instructor by Umberto Pelizzari's Apnea Academy, and he is also a Freediving Instructor with the SSI, IANTD, CMAS/TSVÖ and PADI associations. Christian Redl has been training people to freedive since 1999. More than 5,000 people have attended his courses in Austria, Cyprus, Fuerteventura (Canary Islands), Turkey, Switzerland, Germany, the Maldives and Egypt.

How did you get started with free diving?

When I was six years old I received my first swim fins and diving mask from my uncle. Every summer I spent more time in the water than on land. I was ten when I started scuba diving…in my parent’s swimming pool. It was three meters across and one meter deep. I really I have no idea what I did in there every day. Then I took a diving course. When I was 17 I saw the film “The Big Blue” – it’s the story of two free divers who are both going after the world record. I fell in love with the sport immediately, and that’s why I started free diving.

Goals are important for me, however the path to the goal is more important.

You have set a number of world records – what motivates you when it comes to setting new records? Where do you get your inspiration?

My records are always projects, and for me it’s much more about the project than the record itself. Every project starts with a vision, a dream. That’s why it’s not difficult for me to find motivation. The more unusual an idea is, the more I like it. Additionally, I always wanted to do things that not a lot of other people have done before.

How did you come up with the idea to organize the first ice hockey championship under ice?

I have always been fascinated with free diving under ice. In 2002 I had the opportunity to dive under the ice for a music video. I enjoyed it so much that I set my first world record in 2003: “distance diving under ice”. It was a great experience, and I’d like to go under the ice again next winter. I don’t want to try to outdo my own record though. I was just thinking about the different sports that one does on the ice and if it would be possible to turn the playing surface 180 degrees – that’s how we ended up trying underwater ice hockey…

free diving apnoe tauchen

What is the most important thing that you would like to pass on to your diving students?

Never go free diving alone!!! I think free diving is really the safest sport – I can’t break any bones or anything like that, but if something does happen one can lose consciousness. If you’re alone when that happens, it always ends in death. Also one should really attend a course…it doesn’t take long at all to double the amount of time you can stay underwater.

Were there moments when you were discouraged or you wanted to give up? Why did you stick with it?

For more than ten years now I have been self-employed as a professional athlete. Before that it was just a hobby that I pursued intensively. I earned my money as an investment banker. At first I had some financial reserves, but after two years things were getting difficult. I was just about to give up. Once again, my friend Felix Baumgartner helped me out. He was the only one who encouraged me when it came to my decision to become a pro athlete, and he also helped me get through that first difficult phase. I am very thankful for his help, and after the third year things have really been going better and better.

I am convinced that one can achieve anything if there’s enough will.

What value do goals have for you?

Goals are important for me, however the path to the goal is more important. First comes the idea, so the goal. Certainly the more difficult the path is, that is to say the greater the complexity of the project, the more I throw myself into it and the more I want to achieve the goal. At first when I have an idea, I try to collect as much information about it as possible. Part of that is finding out that few people have tried to do it before, or maybe no one else has tried it before me. When I’m organizing everything, I normally find out why that is: it’s is too expensive, to difficult, etc. Be that’s exactly what motivates me!

What do you think about using tools or apps that can help you to reach your goals?

I use apps for training…there are special free diving apps for charting training  for example. The most important thing for me is the mental training – I am convinced that one can achieve anything if there’s enough will.

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