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The Maldives archipelago is overflowing with cultural traditions, culinary secrets, and an unparalleled underwater kingdom. With more than half of the Maldives’ surface covered by water, it is no wonder that the ocean nation harbours some of the world’s richest marine biodiversity. The Maldives warm waters teaming with tropical marine life and deep-sea exploration provide the pinnacle in diving adventures. Perhaps the purest ocean odyssey lies in the islands tradition of exploring the Indian Ocean’s hidden depths naturally through the art of freediving.
Freediving, also known as apnea, consists of submerging underwater without the assistance of an external air source, and has an ancient heritage in the Maldives Islands. For thousands of years, freediving was used for gathering food and other resources such as pearls, sponges, and corals from hidden beneath the waves. Long before scuba diving, free divers were challenging their ability to dive deeper to obtain treasures from the ocean depths. Permitting a deep connection to the ocean, many Maldivians learnt the techniques of freediving from a young age growing up in the islands. Today, freediving is not only about the depth, duration, and technique but also about mindset, health, wellbeing, learning and challenging the body.
As the pioneering freediving instructor and PADI freedive professional training centre in the Maldives, Freedive Maldives (freedivemv) is set to execute the second Neyvaa event which will take place on 1 October 2022. Neyvaa, translates to breath in the local Dhivehi language. The Neyvaa 2 event will attempt to set a new Guinness World record for the most people performing static apnea simultaneously. The Maldives clear tranquil waters are an idyllic locale for this record-breaking event. Freedive Maldives plan to have approximately 500 people performing static apnea in the warm waters of Male’ Atoll with the official Guinness World record judges present to appraise the spectacular and first of its kind event.
The first Neyvaa event was initially held on World Tourism Day on 1 October 2019 and successfully broke the Guinness World Record for the highest number of freedivers diving together simultaneously with a total of 521 participants. The event was also participated by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Cabinet Ministers, Parliament Members and World Champion Freedivers William Trubridge and Jonathan Chong. This record marked the sole world record held by the Maldives in the field of sports.
Freediving has certainly reached new depths in the Maldives with the upcoming Neyvaa 2 event anticipated to highlight the Maldives on the map for freedivers worldwide. The multi-location event is targeted for resorts and resort colleagues. While talking with Freedive Maldives owner and the first Maldivian freedive instructor, Fahd Faiz, he explains more about the sport and the upcoming Neyvaa 2 event.
“The goal is for the freediver to be at one with the water. Relaxation is one of the most important aspects. You need to completely relax and sink into a meditative state. There are no tricks or magic breathing techniques. To advance in freediving, you need to get completely out of your comfort zone.”
– Fahd Faiz, Freedive Maldives
To prepare for the upcoming Neyvaa 2 event and to offer freediving in the resorts, Villa Hotels & Resorts arranged for all dive instructors to be trained by Freedive Maldives. The training took place across all of the Maldives properties, commencing at Royal Island Resort & Spa, located in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll, an idyllic location to practice freediving in the various protected dive sites around the atoll. The training started with learning the theory of freediving, equalisation, visualisation and stretching. Combining all these techniques allow one to become a successful freediver.
“The Neyvaa 2 event aims to ignite the passion for freediving in the Maldives and worldwide and bring the highest number of divers together to perform static apnea simultaneously. The incredible thing is, you don’t need to be an athlete to enjoy freediving because the sport is more about mind-set and technique.” – Fahd Faiz, Freedive Maldives
To experience the underwater wonderland in its purest form is a feeling like no other and in addition to all Villa Hotels & Resorts dive instructors becoming certified to teach, they will also prepare to take place in the record breaking Neyvaa 2 event alongside other resort colleagues.