In-depth freediving competitions are rarely held on the territory of Russia. The annual AIDA Azure Depth Open Championship was a great opportunity for freedivers to compete at home.
Competitions in the Lazurny quarry of the Sverdlovsk region have been held since 2017. Since then, the diving party in Lazurnoye has become a kind of freediving festival – since the beginning of July, trainings and courses have been held in the quarry, and by the beginning of the championship many have been there for several weeks.
Competitions are held in deep disciplines – constant weight diving (CWT / CWTB) and free diving (FIM) – according to the rules of the International Freediving Development Association AIDA.
The championship is organized by the Aqualibrium club, often in collaboration with other clubs and volunteers in the region. Competitions are held in July – at the height of summer in the Urals, when the nights are warm and the water warms up well.
Lazurny quarry is located 20 km from Nizhny Tagil and 130 km from Yekaterinburg. It is famous for its high transparency of water, depth and beauty of the surrounding nature. By the middle of summer, the water near the surface warms up to 22-24 ° C, but by a depth of 20 m the temperature drops to 4 ° C. They dive in a 5-7 mm suit, socks and gloves, and usually in a mask – in a clip the face is very cooled at a depth. Moreover, here is one of the best diving places in Russia.
With a maximum pit depth of more than 60 m, the depth under the platform is limited to 54-55 meters. This limitation was adopted due to the features of the bottom topography. There are large boulders on it, and due to the movement of the platform, it is difficult to position the guide wire in the deepest place to ensure a safe dive.
During the competition, a security system with counter-ballast is installed on the platform. An ambulance with a defibrillator and everything needed to provide medical assistance is on duty on the platform, and an off-road vehicle is waiting on the shore in case it becomes necessary to transport the injured to the hospital.
The arterial oxygen saturation of the participants is measured after the dive. This method allows detecting even asymptomatic cases of pulmonary barotrauma in order to provide immediate medical attention.
Of course, the participants are greeted under water and safety freedivers are always with them in the water.
Freedivers from different cities of Russia take part in the competition. Usually, participants come to Azure in advance – to get ready, dive and relax before the competition.
Freedivers usually apply for participation in the competition no later than a week before the start. Competition regulations and registration forms are published in the announcements of the AIDA Azure Depth Championship. Before submitting an application, participants must undergo a medical examination and make sure there are no contraindications to diving.
The winners of the competition will receive valuable prizes – usually freediving equipment. But the most valuable thing that all participants take away is the impressions of communicating with like-minded people and with nature.