Arnaud Gerald: “More men have gone into space more than 100 meters deep”

Don’t count on him to maintain the legend of Poseidon’s man, he flirts with danger for the pleasure of thrills or poisons the depths. “Bla-bla to flirt with girls,” decided editor Arnaud Gerald, 26 and already four world records holder at two-fin fixed weight. Amazing maturity. And the interested party admits: “More than a meter, score, years I earn underwater.” What a strange idea to deprive yourself of air for long minutes – seven minutes to be exact – to explore dizzying depths. He himself wonders, in the icy depths of the infinite blue, what hides this desire to become one with the water. Hope for self-transcendence? Infinity that fascinates? Free diving is above all diving in itself. Certainly, his race against the meters and the clock is not over yet. Meets.

Low Point: How did you discover apnea?

Arno Gerald: Thanks to my father. I accompanied him during spearfishing sessions. He signed me up for a free diving course to secure our holidays. It was a revelation. The shy, dyslexic and hypersensitive kid I saw a whole new world open for him. I found myself. I knew right away that I would make it my job.

Have your recent exploits changed your daily life?

On July 17, she broke the world discipline record for the fourth time on Long Island in the Bahamas, during a vertical blue, by descending to a depth of 117 metres. Four days later he reached – 116 meters and broke the previous world record (which was – 115 meters).

These last two records have a special flavor. I was afraid to get a profession “Shehab”: an achievement and then nothing. I’ve waited to stabilize my results, establish regularity, and polarize Richard Mille.

What role do sponsors play in the sustainability of your sport?

Today, they contribute to the financing of my very expensive seasons. Tomorrow, maybe they will allow me to improve my performance, by improving the diving and making it safer.

that by saying?

As soon as possible, I would like to have a boat that brings together the entire team following me (about fifteen people including hyperbaric doctors, physiotherapists, engineers, safety divers) and all the equipment (drones, cables, etc.) They can take me around the world during my competitions. At the moment, when I travel, I have to rely on the local teams, who know very little about my body’s reactions. I’m less calm. You have to push your physical limits, but apnea is 80% a mental issue.

Looks like you got close to Richard Mille. Why did the ideal partner seem to you?

Since Jacques Maillol, watchmakers have always been historical partners of editors. Probably because the records are recorded thanks to the hours. For my part, like many of Richard Mille’s enthusiasts, their watches were discovered on an athlete, in this case a driver at Circuit Castelt. I was seduced by this thing, the radicalization of the design, and I was surprised to learn that they offer practical watches in harsh conditions. I inquired to see if there were diving hours. I was pleased to learn that not only was it, but it was water resistant to 300m (the ISO 6425 certification giving the diver’s watch designation only required 100m, editor’s note). You called home, we’re seen, we’re happy!

Rafael Nadal, Alexis Bentorault, Charles Leclerc… The list of 42 housemates is enough to make you dizzy. Does this impress you?

She inspires me!

Wasn’t it embarrassing for you to associate yourself with a luxury brand?

On the contrary, it was my will. Freediving is still a relatively secretive sport. More men have gone into space than men who have gone to a depth of 100 metres. Contrary to popular belief, it is a sport that is 80% practiced in the head, which is why we are associated with yoga, meditation and universes with a strong spiritual dimension. To develop and gain fame, apnea must open to other circles. Luxury provides a launching pad.

Why does the RM 032 sound like the perfect watch to accompany you?

When it comes to athletic achievements, the number of meters is what counts, but when it comes to my safety, my watch is the key. This is why the RM 032 is an indispensable tool for me. As an editor, it’s not there to look pretty, I wear it because I trust it.

Freediving is a relatively young sport, so how do we explain its late rise?

This sport I am: 26 years old, but the practice has always been there, especially in the context of underwater fishing. Freedivers have gained notoriety with big blue. At the time, many records were claimed, without actually being approved as there was no formal structure. She was doing these dives without a frame, and that was very dangerous, and there were many deaths. Everything changed in 1996, when the first world championships were created, in the Bay of Villefranche, in Nice. Four disciplines have been created: bi-fin, single-fin, breaststroke, and freediving. One hundred athletes score, apnea has officially become a sport. But there is still a long way to go.

Do you have Olympic dreams?

We have been under surveillance for three years. Incorporating the Olympics would be a huge step forward for the discipline, which will increase visibility. But it is not an end in itself. It is important that we maintain our liberated spirit. Some sports, such as rock climbing, have recently been in the Olympics. However, I do not find the format chosen to be convincing.

If time is a luxury for ordinary mortals, it is vital data for you underwater, then there is no room for error. What is your relationship to danger?

There is a fantasy about the dangers we take underwater. However, in 26 years we have known only one death in competition. However, the performance is changing. Ten years ago, crossing the 80-meter threshold in double fins was a record. Today you have to go to – 118 meters. 99% of accidents occur during recreational diving when a person is diving alone.

Concretely, how do you protect yourself from danger?

Thanks to the protocols established with my team of doctors and engineers. Also thanks to the drones and agents who check me out while I dive. Diveye technology allows me to observe from the surface in real time thanks to an underwater drone that follows me to the bottom. I only went to -117 meters because fifteen people prepared me to go down to that depth without risk. I also choose to declare the depths I am proficient in, if I declare a record depth in competition, it is because I have done so many times in training. Serenity is the crux of the matter. More than a meter tall, these are the years of maturity I have acquired through my descendants.

Are you looking for depth poisoning?

I run away from her. Don’t count on me to uphold the legend of the Poseidon Man, who courtes death and thrills. This is bla-bla to flirt with girls!

However, depth sugar is a proven physiological phenomenon …

Anesthesia is a normal phenomenon due to the increase in nitrogen due to pressure. I have tested this case many times. A few years ago, in Greece while diving, I saw myself diving in front of me. This is how I contacted the Comex Hyperbaric Doctors to understand this phenomenon and do everything to prevent it from happening again.

We realized that sedation usually occurs between -80 and beyond 100 metres. So I had to work to limit my time in these depths. I checked my diving cadence, improved my usual times by 1 minute and never had any problems again. I have 100% control of the apnea. This serenity is priceless.

How long can you hold your breath?

Seven minutes.

Don’t you find the time too long?

In static apnea, in the pool, yes. It is very long. Three minutes later, I’m starting to get bored and my body feels so, I have cramps, and I’m fighting respiratory fatigue. I never repeated the experience because I found it very unpleasant. Strangely enough, none of this happened while I was at sea, and my discipline is not measured by the time I spent underwater without breathing, but by the meters covered. It’s very different.

What is the innate and learned part of your exploits?

I’m following closely. My results have improved a lot from the moment I was with the pros, but it is true that I have the ability to absorb lactic acid which allows me to rest throughout my downturn and be back completely again. The speed allows me to reach record depths, without feeling respiratory pressure and without risking sedation. It is a virtuous circle.

Has your race against time reached its limits?

The editors’ peak age is between 35-40, and I have high hopes of breaking a few records! Especially since Alexei Molchanov, my main competitor, is currently taking a minute longer to cover the same distances. This leaves me plenty of room for improvement.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: