In the world of mere mortals, holding one's breath underwater over the length of a swimming pool is a feat to be proud of. For freedivers, however, that's just not gonna cut it; the current world record breath hold is 22 minutes.
Freediving, or diving without any breathing equipment, is all about pushing the limits of the human body: diving deeper, staying submerged longer, and developing a peaceful understanding of the ocean.
"Water Born," a new web series made by and about freedivers, pushes the boundaries of free diving in a new, more creative way. The series is filmed largely underwater -- with even the production team freediving -- and hopes to give the freediving community something to rally around.
Unlike other water sports like surfing, which already enjoy publicity and prestige, freediving is relatively unknown. According to Creative Director Goh Iromoto, the goal of "Water Born" is to inspire the freediving community while showing off the incredible beauty and athleticism of the sport.
"There is a bit of a pureness to the sport," Iromoto said. "In that it is our physical abilities to get down to depth, as opposed to relying on technical machinery."
The episodes themselves are only three or four minutes long, but behind the scenes footage shows the amount of work and planning that each episode requires.
The first episode, for instance, features an epic underwater fight scene complete with shipwrecks, sharks, and an evil wetsuit-clad villain. The two divers propel themselves through rusty ship skeletons as they act out complex choreography. The spar is not only beautiful, but amazing when you realize the divers are performing entirely on held breath, 50+ feet below the surface.
The second and third episodes focus more on storytelling, especially the intense sense of tranquility and harmony divers experience. While the second episode, which was shot at hypothermia-inducing depths, features an ethereal "Alice In Wonderland" theme and some trippy underwater scenery, the third episode has incredible footage of a whale shark and a storyline similar to that of "The Giving Tree." Both episodes shed light on the divers relationship with the ocean and give us land dwellers a glimpse into the oxygen-deprived state the divers seem to relish.
In the third episode, for instance, is it just us, or does the wise whale shark kind of sound like Will Ferrell’s impression of George W. Bush?
Either way, the super athletic and surreal world of "Water Born" is a breath of fresh air.
The next season of "Water Born" will be released in October/November 2015.