During the month leading up to the release of the PADI Freediver Program early November at the DEMA show PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson talked to a few truly inspiring Freedivers and explorers about their love for the ocean and beyond. First up is Annelie Pompe, a Swedish adventurer, motivational speaker, coach, author and photographer. Amongst her achievements is a world record freedive to 126m, as well as being the first Swedish woman to summit Everest from the north side.
When did you fall in love with the ocean?
– I was very young and it was love at first sight. I have always been a bad swimmer and afraid of getting water in my eyes. But my father, who is both scubadiver and freediver, gave me a mask and snorkel when I was five and I fell in love with the underwater world.
What inspire you to climb Mount Everest or to break Freediving records?
– I love challenging myself, and it’s part from curiosity. I want to see what the world looks like from the highest mountain, and I want to see if I can push my mind and body to reach a world record in freediving. I’m also inspired by people around me and beautiful natural sceneries.
How did you start Freediving?
– I started freediving before I knew it was called freediving. Then I finally saw the movie “the big blue” and realised that’s what I wanted to do! So I left scuba diving for a few years to go into competitive freediving. But I still enjoy most to just freedive by a beautiful reef or with sharks and other fish.
What you recommend anyone interested in Freediving?
– Do a course as soon as you can. You will learn all the tricks directly and not waste (dangerous) time trying it out. Also it really helps to start stretching and become more flexible.
Tell us about your new book ‘Otroligt högt och extremt djupt’?
– My book is about adventures from all around the world, all of them beautifully combined with some breathtaking photos and words of wisdom. It’s not only about hardcore adventures, but about the softer part; how to become more brave, find more adventures in your everyday life and develop your inner strength. But also about goal-setting, how to handle change, how to breathe better and focus exercises.
What is your plans for the coming year?
– I will guide a trip to Ecuador to climb two mountains (volcanoes) and do some surfing and freediving. Then I will finish my 7-summit project of climbing the highest mountain on each continent by going to Papua new Guinea and climb Carstenz pyramid, as well as going to Antarctica and climb mt. Vinson. I will also stick around in Antarctica to do a freediving sailing expedition of a month. I really look forward to that. As I get back I will work a bit in Sweden doing motivational speaking jobs and preparing to do a guided charity hike in beautiful Nepal. After that I’m not sure yet. I might have another go at getting my freediving world record back at 128m.
What would you tell any of our readers who dream about exploring the world?
– don’t wait too long. Start small by exploring the world around you! Being a tourist in your own country is great fun. Then I think it’s a good idea to start prioritizing. If you really want to explore you might save up some money by selling stuff and living more simply for a while. It will take a lot of sacrifices, but it will be worth it! 🙂
Thank you Annelie. You are an inspiration for a generation of new explorers around the world. Looking forward to follow your upcoming adventures.
Photo credit, Olympus Cameras:
Nick Van Zanen