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BFA announces 2017 UK National Champions

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The British Freediving Association (BFA) is has announced that Michael Board and Georgina Miller are the 2017 UK National Champions.

The selection is based on UK and international competition results across all major pool and open water disciplines. Georgina and Michael have a long history of competitive freediving for Great Britain in individual and team championship events. Each of these talented divers have broken multiple national records and have competed at some of the world’s most prestigious freediving championships.

Georgina is a six-times national record holder, with a personal best of just over seven minutes in the Static Apnea discipline.

Michael has set sixteen British National records and is the current British record holder in two depth disciplines for Constant Weight at 108m and for Free Immersion at 100m.

Georgina said:

“I’m really pleased to get this award. It is pretty challenging to get competition points across all six disciplines, which were gained at just two events, one pool and one depth competition. Fitting in time to train around work teaching free diving is always a tricky balance, but it’s fun to try to practice all the disciplines! The cold waters of the UK are not always the easiest, but it does help to be able to dive as much as we can in the summer.

We have a wonderful community of free divers to help motivate and support us and meet some incredible, inspirational people, so I feel very lucky to be able to do this. I would really like to thank Daan Verhoeven for all of his knowledge and endless support, Porthkerris Divers for the space to practice and teach, and my mum for the dog sitting while we are away.”

Georgina and Daan Verhoeven run Aquacity Freediving at Porthkerris in Cornwall.

Michael said:

“I am so happy to be named UK Champion for 2017, and to have got the final points needed at the Bristol Blue competition in October. Last season was a difficult one for me, after an injury early in the season, I failed to achieve any good results in the rest of that year, I really felt that my performances had plateaued and it left me with many doubts when starting to train for this 2017 season. However, I decided to make some big changes, took on a new coach, and started training at a level that I had not previously managed. It’s been hard work, with many early morning sessions but the results speak for themselves – it has probably been my most successful year since starting to compete eight years ago.

The high point for me was coming 3rd place at Vertical Blue earlier this year in the Monofin category, increasing the British depth record to 108m, and ranking 5th in the world for 2017, and then also setting another new British depth record of a 100m in Free Immersion. Being awarded UK champion is a great way to top off this great year. Thank you to all my training partners, especially Kate Middleton and the instructors at Freedive Gili in Gili Trawangan, and to coach Goran Colak for his training and advice.”

Michael Board runs Freedive Gili, a Freediving School in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia and is on Instagram @mikefreediver.

The BFA would like to congratulate Georgina and Michael for their outstanding freediving achievements and wishes them every future success.

For more information about Freediving and The British Freediving Association (BFA) see www.britishfreediving.org.

Regular updates and news on UK freediving can be found at:

Photo credits: © Daan Verhoeven www.daanverhoeven.com

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Breaking News: Captain charged in Conception boat fire tragedy

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According to reports in the international press today, it has been announced that the Captain of the dive boat Conception, which was completely destroyed by fire last year, resulting in the tragic loss of 34 passengers and crew, has been charged with 34 counts of seaman’s manslaughter. 

The Captain Jerry Nehl Boylan was among five crew members to escape the blaze on board Conception, a dive boat operated by Truth Aquatics, which took place in the early hours of 2 September 2019 whilst the boat was moored offshore, close to Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California.

The BBC reports that Mr Boylan has not publicly commented on the charges, and is expected to surrender to the authorities at a later date. According to the BBC, each charge of seaman’s manslaughter carries up to 10 years in federal prison.

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Crossover to NAUI for FREE!

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As a boost to help the diving industry, NAUI are still offering a FREE Instructor cross-over course together with five free certifications to all Instructors. This can include Open Water, Advance, Rescue, Nitrox and various other specialities and can be mixed and matched so all five do not necessarily need to be for the same certification.

NAUI have also frozen the membership fees for 2021 for instructors crossing over or restarting.

NAUI’s Southern UK Rep Simon Lodge says: “Throughout this year, the diving industry has severely suffered so as a result, to help kickstart the diving industry NAUI will not be charging membership fees 2020/2021 to any new instructors.” 

Founded in 1960, NAUI Worldwide is one of the scuba industry’s largest not-for-profit agencies whose purpose is to enable people to enjoy underwater activities as safely as possible by providing the highest quality practical education, and to actively promote the preservation and protection of the world’s underwater environments. As a pioneer in diving education, NAUI has developed many of the programs and concepts accepted throughout the diving industry. NAUI: A Higher Standard!

For more details please contact Simon Lodge (Southern UK Rep) on simon@europe.naui.org or Craig Warner (Northern UK Rep) on cwarner@europe.naui.org.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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