Some people are real inspirations. Discover Eva André. She is a young French freediver in the CWT monofin category. 7th in the world championship and 3rd in France in 2021, Eva André has had an incredible season this year. She is already thinking about her future challenges next year, especially the 80 meters mark in the competition. Notice to prospective sponsors: discover here a talented young freediver with real ambition and passion for what she does. Click here to download her 2022 project. For LuxuryActivist, Eva André has agreed to play the game of our exclusive interview. More than a sport, freediving is a true Art and a philosophy of life.
LuxuryActivist (LA): Dear Eva, you are 24 years old and passionate about deep freediving. How did your passion come about?
Eva André (EA): I discovered freediving in 2017. It’s pretty cliché, but I fell in love with a freediver. He introduced me to this discipline that I knew absolutely nothing about. I quickly wanted to continue and train seriously.
LA: You practice constant weight freediving in a monofin (CWT). Why did you choose this type of event specifically?
EA: It’s my favourite discipline. When I first started freediving, I was completely mesmerized when I saw athletes diving with monofins. It’s a swim that I find magnificent, almost poetic. In addition, the grip of the fin gives the impression of power, glide, speed… These are delightful sensations.
LA: What are the qualities required to be a good freediver?
EA: I think that to be a good freediver, you have to have fun underwater first and foremost and have the desire. Of course, there are physical predispositions, some people cope better with pressure than others, or some have an easier time levelling their ears. But despite popular belief, freediving is a very accessible sport. Even when you are not very athletic, you can quickly have a lot of fun underwater and have great dives. This is, in my opinion, the most important point. When you focus on pleasurable sensations, you are more easily relaxed, confident, and these are the best ingredients for progress.
LA: What would you say to those who think it is too dangerous as a sport?
EA: It’s an image conveyed a lot in the media, and it gives a bit of a dramatic dimension. The truth is very far from that. Certainly, there can be incidents, just like in any other sport, but there is a big safety setup behind every deep dive. I never felt in danger!
The CWT, or Constant weight apnea, is a discipline of apnea. The freediver submerges and ascends to the surface without having the right to touch the guide line and keeping the same ballast throughout the duration of the apnea. It can be done with a single-fin, two-fin or without fins.
LA: With a performance validated in competition at 77m, you are continually pushing the limits of your body and mind. What do you think about when you dive? How to describe the sensations?
EA: When I dive, I have the feeling that I don’t think anymore. This is what is magic. My body carries out the automatisms I taught it, but my brain functions like “slow-motion”. He lets go completely, and it’s a bit like mindfulness meditation. Then there is this incredible feeling of free-fall and dizziness when the “free-fall” phase begins. After 20 meters, the air in our lungs is too compressed to make us float, so we let ourselves fall along the cable. It’s exhilarating!
“My body carries out the automatisms I taught it, but my brain functions like “slow-motion”. He lets go completely, and it’s a bit like mindfulness meditation”.Eva André – Freediver
LA: Which freedivers inspire you today?
EA: A freediver who inspires me a lot is Julie Gauthier. She is a former champion who has now turned to the more artistic side of freediving. She has made many short films around dance, exploration, and marine biodiversity … She knows how to sublimate freediving and the underwater world to offer it to the general public in its most beautiful form. I advise you to go and see her work; it’s pure magic.
LA: In 2022, your goal will be to validate 80 meters depth in competition. How to establish such a limit? Also, do you think you have a limit?
EA: That’s a number that seems consistent with my progress. I did 79 meters in training, and I think the 80 meters in competition would be accessible to me with good preparation. It’s a beautiful depth that leaves you dreaming!
Of course, there is a limit; I think this one is fluid. It can be fought off with rest and practice, and sometimes it approaches with fatigue or when the conditions are not right. To identify this limit and check that I am not getting too close to it, I try to be vigilant about my feelings. Did I have clear ideas when I went out? Was my diving enjoyable? It’s also about listening to the people watching me dive and keeping me safe. They have the kindness and the hindsight to warn me when they feel that my dive was not under control.
LA: You are also a science teacher. How do you combine these two activities?
EA: I was lucky enough to cross paths with Christelle Caucheteux, founder of the school I worked in, Life Bloom Academy. She understood my project and offered me flexible hours to simultaneously live my two passions, freediving and education. I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who support me.
LA: We talk a lot about ocean pollution. Do you see any differences during your dives? If so, why?
EA: I do see that the seabed in which I dive is quite poor. On my timescale, I am not in a position to say that biodiversity has diminished, but when I see images of Port Cros, for example, a reserve, it has nothing to do with it. Human activities have had an impact for sure.
Click on the video below to see the incredible performance of Eva André at the last world championships. She reached the 77m mark. We can appreciate both the athletic performance, the beauty and the fluidity of the images.
LA: Tell us something about yourself that few people know and whose interest is worth highlighting here.
EA: When I was younger, I was passionate about horseback riding, and I took part in the French showjumping championships for two years in a row with my little horse, “Cocheese”, to whom I was very attached who died a few months ago. To be honest, we weren’t a perfect competitive duo, and I have very nice memories of those years.
LA: What advice would you give to a young girl who would like to start freediving?
EA: I would tell her to put aside her limiting beliefs like “I’m out of breath” or “I’m not sporty enough”. It’s ultimately a very accessible sport. I would also advise her to come and try freediving in my club, CIPA in Nice. This club saw the birth of deep apnea, which has trained the greatest champions like Loic Leferme and Guillaume Néry. There is something magical about starting and growing in this environment!
LA: What can we wish you for the future?
EA: Wish me to have such great dives as the ones I could do this summer!
We thank Eva André for her time and the generosity of her responses. She is an accomplished athlete and very passionate about her sport, and it represents a wonderful benchmark of perseverance, authenticity and surpassing oneself—a fine example for the younger generations.
You can download Eva André’s 2022 project by clicking here.
Information sourced by the author for luxuryactivist.com. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are the courtesy of Eva André for the strict usage in this article and its promotion.