Tim Winton of the New York Times discusses the dangers of SWB and his experiences with the phenomenon: The Thrill of Breathlessness By TIM WINTON Published: November 22, 2013
FREMANTLE, Australia — NEWS of Nicholas Mevoli’s death during a free-diving competition at Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas earlier this week has shocked the sport’s devotees and touched many of us who spend time in the water holding our breaths. Doubtless some readers will have been puzzled as to why a young man put his life at such unnecessary risk in the first place.
Apnea or breath-hold diving is hardly a mainstream affair. Most will know of it only through the 1988 Luc Besson film, “The Big Blue,” which fictionalizes its greatest and most eccentric exponent, Jacques Mayol. By means of a weighted sled or under his own power, the free diver strives to achieve depths and breath-holding times unmatched by rivals, and having done so must surface unassisted and in good health. Like long-distance swimming, free diving is essentially an endurance art that persists at the very margins of organized sport, but unlike other extreme activities like base-jumping or big-wave surfing, it isn’t much of a spectacle and the spoils of success are modest....Click here to continue reading.