Friday, May 02, 2008

Pierre Frolla - the Michael Schumacher of Freediving

Pierre flirting with "Ella"
Photo: Wolfgang Leander (2008)
Click on image

Pierre Frolla was not seven times world champion, only four. That in itself is most remarkable as competitive freediving has got to be one of the toughest disciplines, and largely depends on exceptional physical and mental fitness.

We met Pierre and his buddies (Fred Buyle, William Winram, Jerome Espla and his wife, and Christophe Vyncke) in South Africa recently where they were doing a documentary for the French TV.

I loved being around these guys, very down to earth, very refreshing, very European. Pierre has no inhibitions innocently exhibiting his
loulou (= family jewels) in front of girls - I did that, too, in my prime years.... The young man is gregarious and loves to entertain large groups of people, he likes to rigoler, and is just 'foen' to be with.

'Foen'? Well, that is how Pierre, and all Frenchmen, pronounce 'fun'. Now you know how it sounds when Pierre uses the very common and widely known English four letter word --- hahahaha!

Pierre fell in love with the tigers right away, as did all the others.
Un coup de foudre - love at first sight. Verry passionate and ssedoective seesse Frrench loevers, just as they are supposed to be. Just look how graceful Pierre moves in front of Ella, our huge tiger Lady, as if to tempt her...

Indeed, Pierre impressed Ella so much that she let him hold on to her dorsal fin once long enough to take him down to 32 m.

Another world record!!
Incredible!!! A breath-hold diver reaches a depth of 32 m attached to the fin of a 4,5 m Tiger shark!!

I have seen it - well, not all the trip as in about 15 m Ella and Pierre disappeared into the murky abyss of Aliwal Shoal.

I know that tiger sharks don't eat people - still, I was kinda relieved to see Pierre surfacing after about a minute or so.... :-)

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