Lubomir Stefanoff | freediving and UW photography

Thessaloniki Indoor Apnea Games, 28-29 May 2011

by on Jun.01, 2011, under Freediving

In the end of May I participated in a competition for a second time. It was under the CMAS rules (not AIDA) – Thessaloniki Indoor Apnea Games, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Concetrating before the startIt was a new experience for me to do DYN in 25 m pool, but things went fine. I was the first to start. After a nice relaxation (almost fell asleep) before the start I felt confident that finaly I’ll make a good dive (150+ meters). In training, I’ve done several long dives but I also aborted many dives early…So it was just a question of getting in the right mood and do what I can.

I did 165 meters in 2:08. Swimming in a 25 m pool confused me a bit – at some point I couldn’t realize how many laps I’d done. It was a nice feeling – swimming accross the line and not thinking about anything…I wanted to do 175m, but chose to exit safely at 165.

You can see the video of the swim below:

I made a mistake at the start (did not push off the wall), so -10 meters penalty. I took 2nd place, first was Aldo Stradiotti from Italy with a nice 200 m dive and third was Dimitrios with 150m.

Tha atmosphere was great, we really enjoyed those 2 days with the guys from Thessaloniki Freedivers Association and the other competitors. Definitely I’ll participate again in such events :)

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Naissub Freediving Cup 2011

by on Apr.10, 2011, under Freediving

Bg_team Last week I took part in my first competition – Naissub Freediving Cup 2011, held in Nis, Serbia.

I thought that I’ll be the only Bulgarian at this comp, but soon my friends Ivo and Peter decided to participate, despite the short notice and the limited time for training.  I took part only in DYN discipline; Ivo and Peter competed in both static and dynamic apnea with fins. First, It was Peter’s turn at static – he did a solid 5 minutes with room for more – white card :) . Ivo didn’t manage to show what he does in training and exited early, but again a white card and positive emotions.

Lubo_glide I had announced 1 meter in DYN and was the first to start. I was relaxed and knew before the start that I’ll make a good swim.  Before the competiton I thought over the two options: to exit early for 100% clean dive well below my personal best or go for a near max attempt. I chose the second option…The wall at 50 meters came éarly’ and after that moment I stopped thinking, I was just swimming along the black line. At 125 I considered exiting, but I was completely OK, only my legs felt a bit heavy. I didn’t plan to turn at 150, but at the wall mind control said ‘make the turn’ and I did, a few more meters and I came up at 154, very close to the limit. I made the surface protocol immediately and saw some strange expressions :) . For a moment I thought that I screwed up sth, but soon I got my first white card. 154 meters, 4th place (third was 157m, first – 172).

Lubo_white_card peter_white_card

That’s in short my experience from the competition. I want to thank the organizers Naissub, my buddies and Divetec Ltd for the support for this trip. Next time the results will be better :)

P.S. Photos by Tihomir Rachev for DivingBG magazine


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Freediving presentation @ ‘Days of the Challenges’

by on Dec.04, 2010, under Freediving

Last Wednesday, 01.12.2010 I delivered a presentation on freediving during the ‘Days of the challenges’ (Дни на предизвикателствата) – a 3-day event with presentations/videos about extreme sports. Traditionally the event is associated  with mountain sports, but I’m glad that Vera invited me to talk about the sport of freediving.

Lubomir Stefanoff presenting @ 'Dni na predizvikatlstvata' 2010 I was surprised to present before a wide audience – the Aula Maxima Hall at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia was full. Well, that might be so because of the interesting topics before my presentation – I was impressed by Vladimir Donkov’s narrative about his photo expedition in Greenland – check out his website VerticalShot.

Still, the audience seemed to be interested in the short video and 15 minute general presentation of freediving. A mini discussion followed and several people asked me for further information afterward.

It was just a small step to make freediving more popular in Bulgaria and raise awareness about the sports side of it. Who knows, maybe some great freedivers will come out of that hall :)

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Freediving vacation in Thassos, Aug 2010

by on Sep.08, 2010, under Freediving

Just saw the visitors statistics of my blog…I’m surprised that it still gets some decent visits (incl. regular visitors), considering that I’ve ceased posting in the last months. There is a lot to tell, but since I’m short of time two videos from our freediving vacation to Thassos in August 2010 will do. Cameraman and post-production: Ivo Zagorchinov.  Enjoy!
First part of the video – mostly CWT diving along the rope:

Some UW sceneries from Thassos:

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Freediving/having fun at Dianabad swimming pool

by on Jun.14, 2010, under Freediving

For the past two weeks we’ve been training at Dianabad outdoor pool in Sofia. Water is getting warmer (was 20-22 degrees last week), so I might try a longer dive with my new Blueseventy suit (thank you, Eric and Sanne!). Ivo made another UW video – check it out:

P.S The Orca wetusit isn’t mine, I just borrowed it from a friend for a test swim :)

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Finally some real freediving

by on May.12, 2010, under Freediving

Can’t really believe I started open water freediving in May…usually March is good month to open the season, especially if one has the opportunity to travel to ‘warmer’ destinations.

We chose Thassos again and spent 4 days freediving there, surprised by the low visibility (it was much better at the same time last year). I went without any expectations – my goal being just to have fun. Although I haven’t dived for a few months I felt really good in the water and increased the depth each day – just to see how far I can go comfortably. On the last day I did an easy 40m CWT dive, which felt fantastic. Honestly, I would have gone a bit further if I hadn’t hit the bottom at 40 meters – equalization was OK and  I had plenty of air left for coming up. Next time I’ll try 42-45 to see if my ears are fine and then proceed to greater depths – the season has just started, there is a lot of time for ‘deep’ diving…

Here is a short video from Thassos. Cameraman: Ivo Zagorchinov. Enjoy!

One more thing – my Greek friend Dimitrios reminded me today that ‘loving’ apnea is probably the most important factor – how simple and true…Thank you Dimitrios, sometimes we seem to forget the most obvious things!

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Song of the Sea video by Ivozag

by on Apr.25, 2010, under Freediving

Here you can find out what I missed by not going to Thassos for the Easter holidays (too much work…) Ivozag – remember that name :) – I’m sure he’ll become a quite good underwater videographer. Stay tuned for the next video coming in May, featuring Luigi ( my new Glidefin)!

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2010:Goals in freediving

by on Jan.05, 2010, under Freediving

I’ve never fully understood the practice of setting goals only in the beginning of the new year… Setting, achieving and monitoring set goals is a continuous process. Still, I’d like to share my ‘bigger’ freediving goals  for 2010. I’ve thought them over since late November when I started a more organized training.

0) Have fun, travel a lot, meet new people, improve constantly

1) CWT  – 60 + m

2) DYN – 150+ m

3) DNF – 100+ m

4) STA – 6+ minutes

I know that these goals are ambitious, but at the same time they ARE achievable. I remember what Wolfang  Güllich (among the greatest sport climbers of all time, died in 1992) said about training: ‘The hardest part of the training is making the decision to start training at all”. Nicely said. It really turns down to finding and understanding your motivation and devising a plan to lead you along the way. I guess that’s how it works, considering my experience with committing to a set of goals…

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Back to basic training

by on Nov.23, 2009, under Training

It’s been a while since I last wrote in my freediving blog. I’ve been quite busy recently and didn’t keep my promise to post regularly…
Anyway, what I am up to at the moment? I’m taking a step back from freediving and doing longer apneas. Well, I still might go once a month to Greece or the Black Sea for some easy freediving. Now I started the basic training – swimming and running regularly, almost no breath holds…
I’m trying to do good aerobic workouts in the pool – totaling 3-3,5 km for the moment. I haven’t done pure swimming for quite a while, and I’ve forgotten how much fun it is (I can feel the water much better without a wetsuit). A triathlon coach (the president of the Bulgarian Triathlon Federation) is advising me how to structure my training and that makes a big difference! I hope that in 2-3 months I’ll see the results…
As far as running is concerned, I’m a complete newbie and my technique is far from perfect, but I’m catching up on that. In a month when my body would be adapted to the training load, I’ll insert some apnea exercises (controlled breathing) and gradually my training will be more focused on anaerobic exercises…till mid summer, when I plan to freedive a lot!
Well, that’s for now…I’ll keep you updated about my progress in swimming and running.

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Skandalopetra in Porto Koufo

by on Sep.29, 2009, under Freediving

Skandalopetra dive - TanassosIn the beginning of September Nikolas Trikilis inivited us to the Skandalopetra event in Porto Koufo. We didn’t hesitate much, just borrowed a friend’s car (thanks Boko!) and took the 6 hour drive on Thursday night. The event was the First Panhellenic Skandalopetra championship, organized by Nikolas Trikilis and the Freediving Association of Thessaloniki.
For 3 days we had the opportunity to try Skandalopetra diving and enjoy the company of some great freedivers and friends. We want to thank them for the hospitality and the great time we had (Nikolas, Dimitris and the other divers that participated)! The event was organized very professionally (it’s usual, since Nikolas is behind it) – and we all felt safe while diving despite our (the Bulgarian group) limited experience with Skandalopetra. Well, that’s the nature of this type of diving – it’s really safe and enjoyable (I won’t describe the safety features here, if you want to find out more check out the Skandalopetra group in Facebook).
Skandalopetra - preparing for the dive Skandalopetra - coming up from a diveI still need more practice in order to do decent dives with the petra. I don’t feel very comfortable with the noseclip (I think I overequalize my ears) and no wetsuit…I couldn’t concentrate well during the dive and reached only 15 meters…my right ear betrayed me several times. On Sunday I went with Vov for an early constant weight session and did easy 25 m dives without any EQ problems, but later with the Skandalopetra I’ve got the same feeling in my ear…Anyway, it was fun. Peter was doing great dives (I’ll make a short video about the whole event when I have the time). With Peter we’ll order a real petra (9-10 kgs) and will practice more :-) .

Skandalopetra - peter - Nikolas - Lubo Bulgarian group and the organizersSkandalopetra in Porto Koufo - winnersSkandalopetra - ending ceremony


I noticed that it’s the second year in  row that I do Skandalopetra diving around my birthday (after last year in Lindos). So, that’s what I wish for myself in 2010 – I want to participate in Skandlopetra games/event again with those guys :) .

P.S More Skandalopetra pics from Porto Koufo coming soon on Facebook.

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