Meet the Freediving Couple Who Hang Out with Sharks

Diving is an exhilarating experience.

Exploring the deep blue sea in all its majesty is unlike anything else in the world. However, a few go the extra mile and ditch the scuba gear altogether. These people are known as freedivers — arguably the coolest badasses in the world.

Case in point: Freediving couple Eusebio and Christina Saenz de Santamaria. The couple has been discovering the world, one vast ocean at a time and minus the gear. In a recent interview, Christina talks about the wonders of freediving and what it’s like hanging out with sharks.

Why did you originally decide to become a freediver?

I have always been in love with the ocean, since I was a child growing up on the shorelines of Sydney. While travelling in my early twenties I stumbled across the little island of Ko Tao in Thailand, where I started to teach scuba diving as a way to pay for my travel and enjoy the ocean.

My passions were quickly ignited once I discovered the sport of freediving at my future husband’s school, Apnea Total. I quickly became addicted to the pure sensation of freedom in the ocean and the challenge of breath-hold diving.

What are the risks associated with freediving in comparison to scuba diving?

If you abide by the safety rules then freediving is one of the safest ocean water sports. In scuba diving you are relying on equipment that can potentially fail, whereas in freediving you are relying on and respecting your own body’s abilities. Among all the rules of freediving, the most important is to never freedive alone, which must be respected at all times.

What has been the most dangerous scenario you have encountered during a dive?

Eusebio and I always freedive with respect to our own physical and mental abilities. We never push ourselves beyond what we are physically and mentally capable of. So although we have completed very challenging freedives to over 100 metres in depth, we have never been in danger while training or establishing new records.

In terms of freediving with marine life, this is a different aspect that can be considered potentially dangerous. Whenever you enter the ocean with large predators such as bull sharks or tiger sharks, it is essential to be knowledgable about the species you are diving with and their behavioural traits. We have a lot of experience freediving with different types of sharks, but we always remember that we have entered their environment. There is a risk, and we must respect their territory and behaviour.

Check out the full interview here. Perhaps it will be enough for you to finally ditch your gear and truly experience the waters.


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