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Sébastien Murat Q&A

As ‘blogged previously, Sébastien Murat is planning a series of dives below 703 feet, using an extremely unusual “empty lung” technique. His venture (the French Job) is being sponsored by Maurice Lacroix, and he’ll be wearing a Pontos S Chrono Diver during the dive (as well as other equipment discussed below). Through the English Blogger on French Job, Denéa Buckingham, I was given the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Apologies for my lack of interviewing prowess:

Séb, what you are attempting might be considered to be pretty extreme by some people: why do you want to take a sled to 703feet on a single breath of air?

I don’t entertain such abstract and circular ideas. The answer is in the question.

With each metre of depth, the technical, as much as physical / mental, challenges of No Limits Diving (NLD) seem to increase: what special technology is assisting you in this dive?

The special technology involves a means to lower metabolic rate below what are otherwise considered basal rates; a lowered metabolic rate = reduced inert gas absorption, enhanced inert gas dissolution, increased hypoxia tolerance, amongst other things.

I see that you are wearing an ML Pontos S watch: have you always been interested in watches? Do you remember the first watch you had?

No. No.

You have spent many years exploring the MDR (mammalian diving reflex or response): how does your diving technique differ from the more classical forms?

My approach is modelled on a universal strategy employed by animal divers.

You appear to have a very strong group of people working with you on the French Job: how important is teamwork – especially given the inherently solo nature of Freediving?

You have to have good group dynamics and it has to be completely egaliterian, otherwise its not really a team. Above all you need to penetrate to the soul of your team mates and speak frankly and candidly without fear of ridicule or negative criticism.

What dive computer will you be wearing? What functionality would your ultimate Freediving watch / computer have?

UWATEC. I suggested to Uwatec many years ago they make something for freediving. I offered some suggestions and they came up with the Galileo Apnea [now made by ScubaPro and marketed as the Galileo Sol, with Apnea Upgrade].

The mental / spiritual side of apnea is often emphasised: how do you think your Freediving has helped in your life above the water?

I’m able to strip people and things of their excesses and penetrate to their essential nature.

What do you think about on a deep dive? Do you have time to look around / enjoy the experience?

It’s enjoyable on the way up as I’ve nothing to do but hang around. On the way down its absolute focus on equalisation: over-pressurisation, mouth-fill, and switch to water equalisation.

Freediving needn’t be about depth / records: what advice would you give to someone who is considering Freediving as a hobby?

Don’t fixate on time and depth… easier said than done of course.

What would you consider to be the most important piece of equipment for a Freediver?

To not forget his brain on the shore.

Please could you explain the basic approach to the actual record-breaking dive? How long, how deep, what safety protocols, etc?

No warm-up, don’t think too much, release the 120kg, focus on equalisation  +3′, release the weights, relax and look around on the way up, release the float near the surface, surface, don’t forget to breathe, go and have breakfast

There are other attempts taking place at the same time – indeed one has ended with the Freediver needing recompression treatment. Does this concern you?

No. The comparison is apples and oranges.

Many thanks to Séb, Denéa and all at the French Job. Best of luck!

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