Making Love to the Ocean with Davide Carrera
The interview can be listened to HERE
Davide Carrera was born in Turin in Italy and began freediving as a child during his summers spent in Leguria.
He has was part of the World Championship winning teams of 1996 and 2001 and a established FIM world record shortly after when he dove to 91m.
He moved away from the competitive sphere in the end and went on to study yoga extensively and he integrates that into his freediving, and it was his tale of solitary wandering across the mediterranean in his 28 foot trimaran that inspired my first interest in Davide.
Now he is returning the the competition world and bringing what he has learned with him and he is here today to share a little of his philosophy of life and freediving.
Donny: So first of all, Davide, maybe you can just tell us, just give us a little introduction about where you’re from.
Davide: OK, so I’m from Italy, from Turin, and I spent all my summer when I was a child in Leguria which is between Genoa and the French border, Nice.
Donny: Turin is up north in Italy and Leguria is on the coast, south of Turin, right?
Davide: Yes, it’s like one and a half hours, two hours from Turin. So, my grandparents they have a house there, so from when I was born I spent all my summers there. And so during summer I started playing, and the sea is made me curious, and I started playing, exploring, going looking for shells, and all my time, it was like this.
Donny: So from a very young age you were fascinated my the ocean already. So at what point did you discover freediving? Did you meet some people? Did you do a course? Or did you just start when you were a kid and experimenting yourself?
Davide: Yes, mainly experimenting, because at that time there were not many courses about freediving. Freediving at the time was just a kind of propaeduetic for scuba diving, but my uncle, he liked to go snorkelling. So when I was 4, 5, 6 years old I was going with him and I liked it very much, to spend time in the water. And then every summer I was going a little bit further and in the winter time I was swimming in the swimming pool in Turin. And so the love for the water grew, and also the love for the sport and trying to push myself a little bit. I remember when I was a teenager I was like, swimming in wintertime, doing some little competition so also the competitive part came out, because when you are a child you are just playing and then when you are a teenager you start to focus on performance because you want to do it better and so I started to….I asked my parents for a watch, which at that time was the Citizen Aqualand, it was the only watch that had a depth meter. So I was going out and trying to go a little bit more and a little bit more with some friends and playing like this. And at the same time it was the time of Mallorca and Mayol, and then also Umberto Pelizzari had just started doing his records, so I was reading in the magazine and in the newspaper about these records and I was starting to dream about being a record-man one day. And I was training and going running and started to read some books about yoga because I remember in these magazines Mayol and Pelizzari they were speaking about some yoga to help freediving, so it was all about that.
Donny: So when was the first time that you really met some people who were maybe more serious about freediving, who were doing competitions and stuff like this?
Davide: Yeah, at that time there were not that many competitions, at that time there were only record attempts, so I was watching on television, Pipin Ferreras, Umberto Pelizzari, they were competing and doing records and then when I was 18 years old I was training with a person, a friend who was much older than me in front of the beach where we were spending the summer and one day we went out windsurfing and enjoying the sea and when we came back we were there together and he saw a friend of his that was a scuba diver, and so he said to him….’you know, this guy is going to 40m in freediving’ and this other person that was a scuba diver he got curious about out that so he invited me to take a coffee together….I don’t drink coffee, but anyway we went to talk about what I was doing and he was also a little bit anxious because he saw me, I was young, I was going deep, but a couple of years before a friend from my family that was also a scuba diver was also a little bit scared about the depths I was reaching and I was like 15 or 16 years old so he gave me his book to study, to know which kind of dangers there are, black out and this and that. And, so, because I was very passionate I read the book well……
Donny: Sorry, which book was this?
Davide: It was a book from FIAS, Italia Underwater Activites Federation, it’s not FIPSAS, FIPSAS belongs to CMAS but in Italy there are very different federations for diving, so at that time there were mainly FIPSAS, that is CMAS, FIAS, then PADI. Yeah, it was more than 25, 27 years ago. So this guy asked me some questions, if I knew about the dangers in that, I answered, and then he said to me ‘Would you like to meet Umberto Pelizzari?’ and to me he was my idol, so I said ‘Of course’ and so two days later he comes to me and says I have a friend that knows him so he gave me his telephone number, we can call him and see if you can go training with him for a little bit. So we called Umberto and Umberto was in Elba island training for his next record and he invited me to go there, so I went there. I was 18 years old, I just got my driving license, I took my mum’s car, a tent, a sleeping bag and I went there and saw Umberto. I spent one week with him training. I also met Jacques Mayol so it was a dream. And Umberto saw how much I loved freediving, so he told me ‘Yes, keep in touch’ and then next year I went to see his record in Sardinia and then the next year when I was 20 he called me and he told me ‘Look, Geronimo Gianlucca (?), that was his safety diver before, he decided to start to do his own records, so I need a safety diver, are you free for the summer?’ And I said, ‘Of course!’ And so I became his safety diver and so this gave the opportunity to get a lot of experience to follow all his training and all his records and the team, the safety team was very professional at that time and so it was a great experience, and travelling, I never took a flight before, and my first flight, I took it with Umberto to go to the Caribbean in wintertime to train, to prepare for the ( … )
So it was, everything was a dream. I met again Mayol also in the Caribbean, training and that with him and I met Jojo, the dolphin that Mayol was talking about in his book. And then, the same year, it was in 1996 we had the first competition in freediving. That was the team World Championships in Nice, in ’96, organised by AIDA. And so we took part in this competition, like Italian team and Umberto he wasn’t competing, he was just coaching the Italian team and we won, and yeah it was a very nice feeling. And then I went on. I went on training with Umberto for different years and started to compete, yeah. At that time we had one competition every two years and then slowly, slowly the freediving world grew up and now there are so many competitions and so many freedivers and that is nice.
Donny: I understand that for quite a time you were an assistant to Umberto. Can you tell us a little bit about that time and what did you learn from training with him?
Davide: Yeah, I always say the first lesson I learnt from Umberto, it was the humility, like the human side, because to me he was an idol so when you think of a person as a god then when you meet them and you see they are a normal person, it is inspiring. And he is a very simple and humble person, so this is what I like more from the beginning about him. And he was always very serious in his training and preparing everything and training hard and also what was nice was his way of combining the athletic side with a kind of, I don’t know how to say, but with a meditative way. He had his own kind of spirituality and his own approach to the sea, that it was a gentle approach, so he was really flowing in the water, not fighting against the water.
Donny: I was speaking to Aharon Solomons, he was here in Taiwan actually, not that long ago and I met him and he was speaking very highly of you. Aharon suggested that perhaps you were maybe held back by Umberto a little bit because you had such good potential yourself but perhaps working with Umberto stopped you from going as far as you could have. Do you think that’s fair?
Davide: I don’t know how to answer this. I think …. could be, could be. I think that it’s not a problem, because when you are also held down then to act, to come out you have to work so much harder, so you become stronger…No, Umberto, I think he never held me down, it was a more myself holding me down because I like competing, I like sport, I had a dream when I was a child and a teenager to be champion. But in my way of living I don’t like to fight too much. Maybe I’m learning now that I’m 42 to fight a little bit more, but I always liked to be like ‘peace and love’, ‘let it go’…I think that being able to let it go is something important but sometimes of course we have to find a balance and this is what I was saying before about different points of view… Umberto, he was always saying to me, you have to fight for what you want to do, and I was more like, OK, I’ll train and then I’ll see what happens. And now I understand that he was right too, if you want to reach a goal you have to put your goal in your mind and work for that hard, and anyway, at a certain point I was feeling that, I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain but, I started to do competitions, aI did a world record in 2001 in FIM with 91m and then I was young, I was feeling a little bit stressed because I felt like the pressure, like Italian people, friends, Umberto, they were expecting from me results. And this, it was a little bit heavy, and so after a few years I decided to stop and to do freediving just for myself, for my inner search, so I bought a little trimaran, a little sailboat and I started to travel like a vagabond around the Mediterranean, and just freediving, it was my meditation, it was my way without other stress around, just to know myself better in the water and to study what is freediving for me. At that time I was living on spearfishing, because it was the way that allowed me to spend many hours every day in the sea and at the same time to make some money for living. And before, I was working as a skipper on a sailing boat and I was always with people and I was always, like, not free to sail my way, I was sailing the way of the customers. And when I had my own boat I liked very much to try to find this connection with the ocean and to trust life and to abandon, and to sail where the wind was pushing me and dive as much as possible and find a way to sell some fish and make some money for living. It was a dream, it was pure freedom and I spent so much time in contact with nature and yeah, it was nice. But then, at a certain point in this kind of life I was feeling…not alone, because when I’m in contact with nature and my own spirituality I never feel alone but I was feeling like I would like to share a little bit what the sea and this kind of life was giving to me, so I decided to come back again a little bit more in contact with my old friends and start again also competing. And at that time also I had a kind of spiritual dream. I went to school when I was a teenager in a catholic school and I know very well about this saint, Dom Bosco, he was an Italian saint, he worked very much with the youth, and when I was not competing any more and I was maybe also missing it a little bit, the motions of competing and also I think competition is a little bit a part of myself, also it’s in my name, because Carrera in Spanish means ‘race’, so it’s a little bit my destiny. So this saint comes to me in this dream and he told me ‘Realise yourself in sport and approach to religion.’ So I tried to understand what it meant. And I said yes, use the sport and use the model you can be, like a champion to inspire the youth to sport, because I think I was lucky when I was a teenager that I met a good swimming trainer and some people that taught me a love for nature and for sports. And this kind of thing keeps me always on the right path. But I see when you are a teenager and you start to have some weakness and you start to feel not free, it’s easy to fall into drugs or to alcohol, so from that dream I felt a little bit like my mission is to compete, because I love to compete and also competition gives me the motivation for my inner search, because to go one meter deeper I need to learn more about myself and to overcome my fear and be more free and then to share this with the youth. So this is what I feel now is my mission in this life.
Donny: Right, so you kind of took a long period of time just to be on your own and live on the ocean and look inside and now it’s like you’re re-emerging back into the business of the world and you have something that you want to give to people.
Davide: Yeah, yeah.
Donny: So your plan is now to compete regularly?
Donny: So where do you train now or where do you train most often?
Davide: It depends. I train where it happens! Now I’m in Asia. I like very much Asia and the culture you find here. At this moment I’m in Thailand. I’m here for some courses I’m taking part in because I like to teach and I like also to learn, so I go to workshops to learn more, anything that is about awareness, body consciousness and this kind of thing. But then here is not very deep for deep training so I will move to Bali and The Philippines later to train and, yeah, so this winter I will be around here. And in summer time normally I live in Sardinia. I have a school there, so I teach and I train there and in spring time there are some competitions going on in the Caribbean, so maybe I will move there a little bit before to train there. Caribbean Cup and we’ll see. We’ll see if I find some sponsors, because of course going to compete and training, you need some sponsors too. I’m looking for them but I’m not very good in marketing and in selling myself. It’s not very easy normally, but at least here in Asia life is not too expensive so it’s very nice also for that.
Donny: So where are you in Thailand right now?
Davide: At this moment I’m on Koh Phangan.
Donny: Yeah, I spent a bit of time there, it can be really nice there, in some places. So when are you planning to go to Bali?
Davide: In two days I’m leaving to go back to Italy because there will be the premiere of a movie that I’m in. It’s a documentary about extreme sports and I’m in the freediving part, it will be out in Milan on the 25th of January.
Donny: What’s the name of that movie?
Davide: Don’t Crack Under Pressure, Season 3.
Donny: Don’t Crack Under Pressure, Season 3. Right, that’s a kind of series of documentaries about different extreme sports?
Davide: Yeah, it’s (….Muy delagris???) it’s a French production of extreme sports. So I will go back for 3 or 4 days, I will go to say hello to my parents, family and then I come back to Bangkok and then from Bangkok I will fly on the …. I have to still decide, I will see the forecast for these days about the rainy season, this and that, but I think I will go to Bali on the 30th or 31st of January, or before a little bit in The Philippines and then Bali, yeah I will see.
Donny: Will you be training at one of the freediving schools in Bali?
Davide: Yeah, I see there are many friends there, the freediving community is nice there and so I will train mainly with Julia, in Tulamben, because there it is easier to find depth and then I like very much the guys in Amed so I will hang out with them and maybe do something together and doing yoga together, yeah it’s nice there I like it.
Donny: A few more questions about the way that you train. First of all, tell me what your nutrition is like. Do you have a special diet for freediving? I’ve heard that you’re pretty much a plant-based athlete, that you prefer to eat most a vegan or plant-based diet. Is that right?
Davide: Yeah, look, I’m obsessed with freedom, and freediving to me it means also to work on our own freedom. So I don’t want to put a name on myself, like ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’.
Donny: Yeah, I understand that completely, of course.
Davide: I spent times that I was really happy eating big salads and I grow my own salads in my garden in Sardinia, and so it’s 100% organic. And I like it very much and I feel good, I feel a lot of energy, and then it depends, depends how I feel. I’m totally free in eating meat or fish or anything that comes from animals. What I think is, we have to respect nature. So killing, I think is also part of life, death is part of life and we have to accept it, but always with respect and balance and also if I eat meat I will eat meat that comes from natural farming and as much as possible, that kind of consciousness.
I know that it can sound like a paradox, that it can sound strange for vegan people or vegetarians, but I think we cannot stop that. That is really a part of the cycle and so sometimes we just become, also a predator, and it’s OK.
When I was living on fishing then I stopped because I was feeling that it was too much. Because if you live on spearfishing you have to kill everyday and I felt it was too much, and I started feeling guilty and now I’m very happy that I’m not doing that any more, I just take, if I really want to go eat a fish with my son and some friends I go and I fish.
Donny: Yeah, I agree completely with what your saying, I think one of the big problems we have in our society today is that everybody feels that they need to attach a name the lifestyle that they live and then stick to that almost as if they’re part of a tribe and then they become tribal about it and possessive and defensive and sometimes even violent when another person’s ideas are even just a little bit different. And it takes away, like you said yourself, it takes away that freedom to be flexible and adjust our priorities from moment to moment based on what’s happening at that particular moment in time, right?
Davide: Yeah, and also I think it’s not what you it but it’s how you eat. If you become greedy about tofu, it’s, I don’t know, it becomes an obsession. And also there is some vegan food that maybe are not so healthy and also they are not so eco-friendly because they have to come from the other side of the world, and so I think if we try to be lovely with what is around us it is OK.
Donny: When you’re training, are you one of these divers who is very serious about following a routine and training a certain number of times a week and following this schedule or are you more flexible and relaxed about that? What does a typical week of training look like for you when your are preparing for a competition, say?
Davide: Yeah, I don’t like too much routine, because I think if we are more free from routine, also, the day of the competition, if something changes, you are ready. If you always do the same thing then if something is different that day then you freak out, and if you are ready to do different kind of training and train in different ways, you are more ready in any different situation. I like to spend time in the water, so I feel sometimes, the more I stay in the water the more I’m connected to the ocean, the easier it is, the more I flow and the less I fight, and it starts to kind of flow, I don’t know if you know about the flow (state). Yeah, when you let it go and you just feel an energy coming into your body and moving you freely and you feel strong, but you know, it’s not only your strength, let’s say…. the Force of Star Wars. And it happens to me when I’m a little bit tired maybe and training and yeah, I like sports so I like also going running and bicycle and swimming and something I understood in myself because I like so much sport and feeling a little bit stoned by sport, the feeling of being a little bit tired and a little bit like, I don’t know how to say it… a little bit mellow. But I saw, at the same time, that when I allowed myself to rest, also, then everything is easier, so I think there it is also about balance. Train hard and then allow also yourself to be soft with yourself.
Donny: I understand you’re deeply involved in yoga and I hear you spent some time in India and in Mysore to learn there.
Davide: Yeah it was thanks to Aharon (Solomons).
Donny: Did you go to Pattabhi Jois’ place?
Davide: Yes, the first time yes. Because in 2001 I know they were doing yoga, him and Maria Teresa and so in 2001 in Ibiza, for the World Championship I went to them and said OK, tell me where I have to go. And yes, it was nice.
Donny: Is yoga still a part of your life? I mean I understand you’re also doing some teaching, right?
Davide: Yes, I like very much, for example I was practicing almost twice a day in the morning and the afternoon with the guys there, from Apneista, because Apnea Bali is Julia (Mouce) in Tulamben. I was training with Julia in the water and then Apneista was organizing some classes of yoga, so I was going there with them. And they’re nice too. And now when I will be back I will see Ocean Prana because I know also Yoram (Zekri), I know Yoram for so many years, from the first competition in Nice in 1996 and when I was there he wasn’t there and so I will meet him when I go now and, yeah, I think yoga helps very much.
Donny: And are you talking about just like the physical asanas or are you also interested in pranayama and yogic meditation, and things like this?
Davide: Everything, everything, because yoga is steps, steps to freedom, so any part helps, from the asana, from the pranayama, from the meditation, and meditation is becoming more and more part of my life, but of course, also just being in the water when I was working as a spear fisherman, it was a meditation, because spending so much time in silence, looking to the blue, facing your fears because when you go a little bit deeper you know you can die at any moment, and so it’s a kind of meditation.
Donny: And how do you integrate a yoga practice with your freediving?
Davide: Yes, sometimes I like to practice yoga and then go to the ocean, sometimes I do the opposite, sometimes I rest totally, I try to listen to my body. When I feel more tired I know I need some more rest and so maybe I just meditate. When I feel a little more tension in my body I know I have to stretch more, so I practice more asana too, but for example, at the moment, because then, a part of my life I was so concentrated on the yoga that I was just doing yoga and freediving and then I arrived to a point that I was missing the heart bit. So I really love also to feel also my heartbeat going fast, so I go running uphill in the mountain in the jungle just to feel, to sweat, to feel the rhythm of the breath and of the heart going like high, and I think also this is a good training.
Donny: Yeah, I love to run too. We have a mountain here in the city where I live and it’s like a jungle mountain with some really nice steep trails and it’s hot and humid and yeah, I’m never going to give that up. If I can live next to the water that has a big mountain right next to it that would be perfect for me.
At some point you said that you bought this little trimaran , and you started wandering around the Mediterranean. And you supported yourself with spearfishing. While you were living on the boat and you were supporting yourself with spearfishing, I guess most of the time you were diving alone, right?
Davide: Yes I know there is much talk about that, about diving alone, we should not dive alone. I know that I’m still alive because when I was young I wasn’t diving alone, because this friend of my family, when I was like 14 and he heard that I was starting to go like 20 meters, 25, he was scared, and he came to me and he asked me, promise to me that you will never go in the water alone, and so at that time I was always going underwater with some friends and watching each other. And then I always went with somebody in the water. At that time when I decided to buy the trimaran to go, it’s not easy to always find somebody that can follow you, so at that time, I faced, I spoke also with my mother, I said, OK, this is my life and my path and I know I can die and I will try to do my best, I will pray every day to be safe and to not do crazy things and to be in touch with my friends and to listen, because we have a natural instinct for survival, so if we try to stay as much as possible like animals, in touch with our self, we are not in danger very much, we are more in danger when we are too much in our brain, our rational side and we forget our animal side and we think with our ego that we can go wherever we want to do our best, you know? But at that point we don’t listen any more to the instinct, we don’t obey any more ourselves and so we push ourselves, because maybe the body is telling us, OK, turn and go back to the surface, but the mind and the ego they say, NO, you have to be a champion, you have to push and ‘no pain, no gain’, you have to go more and more and this then is dangerous. But if we try to keep in touch with nature, with yourself, and with your spirituality then there are not so many dangers and then of course, in life I think we have to accept the idea of dying in any moment because I can pay a lot of attention to not diving alone and then when crossing the road I can die.
So I think it’s right to teach people to not go alone because also nowadays in freediving there are so many people pushing, pushing, because many people think that freediving is something about numbers and you are good if you go at least a certain number, but it’s not about that. To me freediving is about feeling good in the water and feeling connected to the ocean and then everything comes. When you feel good in the ocean, the ocean welcomes you and you feel you can go deeper and deeper and training is like purifying your body to deserve the depth, to make the ocean accept you in his depths more and more.
Donny: Did you ever, from spending that time, so much time spearfishing did you ever experience the symptoms of decompression sickness from doing so many dives?
Davide: Yes, I had also had a blackout when I was still young and I was fishing and it was a serious blackout and I had a predate (?) experience. I was with a friend so he saw me and saved me and so also from that time I know vulnerable I am, and we are, but at the same time I accept the idea of dying more and then I love life, I hope to live to more than 100 years, and I love to be with my son, but just to accept is also again feeling more free.
And about the the DCS, the taravana, I had one in 2010 and I was in Greece and yes, on that day I didn’t dive very deep and or for many hours like I was doing at other times, but many things together, like I was cold, I was a little bit stressed, a little bit tired and yes, I got taravana and I was paralyzed over half of my body. It took some months to recover.
Donny: Quite serious, but you’ve fully recovered now?
Davide: Yeah. I was a little bit crazy before and I’m still a little bit crazy so it’s OK.
Donny: Right OK (laughing), nothing’s changed in that sense.
Right, OK so Davide I have a couple of questions from listeners of the show, a couple of my Freedive Cafe tribe who support the show through Patreon, they have a couple of questions they’d like to ask you.
Arthur Kudla, he’s in Sydney (actually Arthur is based in Townsville, oops, sorry Arthur!), Arthur thinks that you have one of the best finning techniques in the world, actually, when I was speaking to Aharon Solomons, he siad there were very few people in the world who had a truly great mono fin technique, he said that you were one of them and I think he also said Alessia Zechinni was another one, so how did you develop this amazing finning technique?
Davide: Yes, I remember in 2001, in Ibiza, The Italian team, we were the few diving without the monofin, so I said I think we have to start to think about it, because everybody who was going deeper than us, they were using a monofin. So as soon as I went back to Italy I went to a monofin team and I started to train with them, and I was a swimmer so I also had the dolphin kick technique already in myself. And then I think just spending time in the water and feeling, the feelings of the water passing your body are so nice when you do the dolphin kick, so this also helps. Sometimes we think about technique in again, in a rational way, about how to move your body, don’t bend this, stretch there, but to me, freediving is more about feelings, because dolphins, always, they don’t have a school for learning how to swim, they just feel and they just follow. And so I think the more we try to be in a kind of meditative status when we train, with all our senses open and feelings, you can learn how to flow and how to glide more in the water.
Donny: Right, so there you go Arthur, just get your monofin out and get in the water and start feeling it.
And I got another question, from Jean Turquois from Canada. Jean wants to know, what impact do you think age has on freediving practice? What are the positives and negatives of getting older as a freediver?
Davide: I think… I like to think of freediving as a martial art, like Kung Fu, and you see there are Kung Fu masters, like Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda (laughing) no, there are Kung Fu Masters who are old but they are very strong because they spend all their life learning and feeling and discovering the energy within, not only the technique. So, I think freediving is a little bit the same, so when you get older you know more about yourself, and also the heartbeat slows down and your mind, and so you have these kinds of things that are helping you. And then about the body…of course when you are older maybe recovery takes a little bit longer, but I think it also depends how you use your body and how you take care of your body, because if you eat properly and you keep your body clean it can still work very, very well also when you’re old. This is a little bit like doing maintenance on your car. If you clean the filters and everything, the engine, the engine it works well. If you put a good gasoline it works well. So it’s just taking care of the body.
Donny: How deep do you think humans can go? Do you think that we’re nearing a limit of our potential or have we barely started to discover how deep we can go?
Davide: I think we can still go deeper. And I don’t know how to say in numbers but yes, I feel we can go deeper still and I think we still have so much to learn about ourselves, about freediving, about equipment. I think there are still many things to develop.
Donny: I’m going to ask you a really difficult question now, please don’t get mad at me. If you had dive in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
Davide: A warm Mediterranean. (Laughing) That is impossible, but no, I love the Mediterranean very much. The problem is, of course, the season is very short and the rest of the year is cold. I cannot really answer this question because there are so many nice places in the world and all of them are nice for different things and I love many places in the world for diving. At this moment whales come to my mind, because diving, listening to the sound of whales is something that is also magic and is also a kind of therapy.
Donny: And where did you do that?
Davide: I did that in Hawaii at different times, in Maui and Big Island, winter time when it is the whale season there and also I did that in Tahiti, French Polynesia in September, that is the whale season there and yes, it is a very nice experience.
Donny: Yes, I think that’s quite a bit of a dream for a lot of freedivers and especially myself too, I hope I can realize that dream one day.
Davide: Yes, the whales, they bring you in like a different state of mind and just listening to them, it’s like listening to a mantra. You enter into meditation.
Donny: So talking about the whales and from your experience having lived in the Mediterranean and being in the water, fishing every day, and being up close and personal, very personal, with the life there…what is your your opinion about the health of the world’s oceans now? And what can we do to improve the situation?
Davide: Yes, there is, like fishes, I still see plenty of fishes. Of course, in the place where there is a lot of diving, maybe they are a little bit stressed out so they move a little bit, and then of course there is so much industrial fishing and so there are some certain species of fish that are less and less, like for example, amberjack in the Mediterranean (…) anymore. But then I think one big problem is plastic because we see more and more plastic in the ocean and this year I took part in a program that is called One Ocean Foundation, organised by the Porto Cervo, Yacht Club Costo Smeralda, in Sardinia. And so I think, what is good is that many people they are becoming aware of that so they are starting programs how to reduce the plastic and how to recycle, so I am positive about that.
Donny: So you think that the situation is not hopeless at the moment?
Davide: No, I think it’s good, I think that many countries are already, they have already understood how it is important to preserve, and we still have to spread the word, maybe to some countries where there is maybe less awareness about the damage that plastic can do. So I think that we, who love the ocean, all of us we are ambassadors, and sometimes when I go to the shop and I buy something, and I buy one thing and they give me a plastic bag, I say “No, I don’t need it, keep it.” And I tell them there is already so much plastic around the world so try to not use it too much and I see when I say something like this with a smile, the other people they understand and they say, “Yeah, you are right.” So, it’s just to help people to become more aware.
Donny: Yeah, I live in Taiwan and I just noticed a few weeks ago that I went in to the 7-11 to get my coffee or whatever, they didn’t give me a plastic bag, they gave me a kind of like a paper bag, like a very kind of rough paper, durable material, and I noticed that that was the same in all the 7-11s so yeah, they’ve actually stopped giving out these plastic bags in the 7-11 which I think is an incredible step because if you have a country of 25 million people and everybody is getting one of those bags every day, and so many of those bags end up in the ocean and then all of a sudden you take those away, those are the really big global changes that we need to see to really have a chance …
Davide: And also about plastic bottles, I think it’s crazy that we buy plastic bottles to drink and we really have to try to find a solution to, how to filter water or to find a distributor and to refill cans or to, yeah and just save plastic bottles because we are so many in the world that if everybody takes one or two bottles per day, it’s a tsunami of plastic.
Donny: Yes, it’s just a mid-boggling amount of plastic, isn’t it? So, I mean, I think you’ve already kind of made it clear that there’s a deep, spiritual dimension to your life and the part that freediving plays in your life is, you know, there’s a spiritual dimension to that.
Donny: Tell us, do you kind of have a little personal philosophy of happiness? What would that be if you had to explain it?
Davide: I think it’s about feeling love and freedom, around, and peace, and so I think if we do our best in our lives, we try to be nice with other people and the planet and with ourselves, to reshape the world and trying to do something that is useful for everybody, I think we can reach this kind of happiness.
Donny: Are there any people who have been especially influential in your life that you would like to mention?
Davide: First of all, my family and then, yes, so many people, I think that any interaction we have in this life makes us what we are today, and maybe also it’s strange but maybe also the people that make you suffer more in life, also they are great teachers.
Donny: Yes, they’re the best teachers aren’t they? Davide, do you have a morning ritual? Is there something that you do every day to start your day. Is there a process that you go through when you wake up or do you just wake up and see what happens?
Davide: Yes … I go to the toilet! (Laughing)
Donny: Yes, that’s the number one thing that every one of my guests has said!
Davide: Yes, my ritual is going to the toilet.
Donny: Right, and that’s the end of your routine?
Davide: Yes, and also is the end of the day, before going to sleep.
Donny: That’s very healthy!
Donny: Do you get a lot of time to read? Would you be able to recommend a book or an author that you would like the listeners to check out?
Davide: Yeah, I like to read very much. Sometimes during the year I have more time, like for example when I am close to a competition, that I allow myself to rest a little bit more, I do more quality training and then more time for resting. And so at that time I read a little bit more. Then I have other times, or I’m training, or I’m teaching, I’m staying and playing with my son or I’m doing other things so I don’t have much time to read. Anyway, I just finished a book that is You Are The Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter by Dr. Joe Dispenza and it was very inspiring. It’s about how our minds can influence everything, also the genetics within ourselves and so it was very interesting and then, yeah, I read so many books about nutrition and about yoga and about..I love also very much Elkhart Tolle, The Power of Now. Yeah, these kinds of books.
Donny: You Are the Placebo by Joe Dispenza, and I’ll put a link in the show notes if anyone’s listening they can check that out. And if the listeners haven’t heard of Elkhart Tolle already then I’ll put a link to that as well.
Davide: Yeah, and there are so many, but now in this moment I thought about them, and many books about yoga are nice. Yeah, of course, when I was young I was reading Homo Delphinus from Jacques Mayol and it was a gift from Umberto, that at the end of one season, after his record he comes to me with this book and he brought this book for me and so I still have it and also it was incredible how many years ago Jacques Mayol already, he was speaking about things that are also still so actual, nowadays, about freediving.
Donny: Yeah, I just want to ask you quickly…you don’t drink coffee, have you never drank coffee before? You’re just not interested?
Davide: No, I’m a strange Italian, because I don’t look too much at the food bowl and I don’t drink coffee.
Donny: Right, do you eat pasta?
Davide: Yes, normally, yeah, anyway I prefer like whole grains and so I prefer to cook whole grain cereals than refined. Yeah, but of course I love pasta because in that side I am Italian. But about coffee, no, normally I don’t drink and normally I don’t like but a few times I really enjoyed, for example, before I was speaking about Hawai’i, once I was with a good friend Lu Maroca(?) on the Big Island and he stopped at a coffee place and he said “Do you want a coffee?” And I said, “No, I don’t like coffee.” And then he took a coffee and he said “You want to taste?” I tasted and it was very good, and it was like medium toasted coffee and that I liked.
Donny: What are your plans for the future and what are you dreams for the future, if you have any? You mentioned that you have a school in Sardinia. Could you just tell us a little bit, whereabouts is the school and if anyone’s interested in coming to visit you there, you know, why should they come and train with you?
Davide: Yeah, the school is near Olbia in the north-east of Sardinia and the sea is nice there and in Sardinia there is a nice energy, I like to be there. The thing right there is, it’s not too easy to find a lot of depth, I mean, until 85, 86 metres it’s easy to find, and more we have to go out a little bit more, but yes, it’s a good place where to spend some time in summertime. And then I’m still trying to figure it out where maybe to do or cooperate with somebody else for the winter time because I like also teaching and training in a place. And then about dreams and programs, yeah my dream from when I was a teenager is to do a world record in Constant Weight. Then, when I had the first opportunity to do a world record in 2001 and I shared the boat with Umberto and he did the record the day before in Variable Weight and I did Free Immersion the next day, at that time I wasn’t feeling ready to do the Constant Weight, so I did the Free Immersion. So my dream is still to do the world record in Constant Weight. I did a couple in CMAS but they were just to … they were training for the idea of world records and also they were kind of an opportunity to do something to put it into the CV to find some sponsors and they allowed me to train more seriously to do a real world record and so my dream is to go deeper than Alexey (Molchanov). We are good friends and we see each other in the competition and yes I am training with this idea and I hope one day to be able to do it.
Donny: Right, so how deep are you diving in Constant Weight now, at the moment?
Davide: My best is 116m and I was feeling good, I was feeling easy and I did many dives more than 110m in the last two years, feeling good and I feel like I can do more, also because for the problem of sponsors, I till now couldn’t take really a long period to train properly and in summertime I always have to teach and when I teach I don’t have much energy left for deep training, so it’s a little bit difficult. Of course, if I found a sponsor that allowed me to be a little bit more concentrated, with my mind more calm about the economy of my family it would be easier to train, yes.
Donny: Well, I wish you all the best in catching up with Alexey, just another 15m to go I think. I’m sure you can manage that. I wish you all the best.
Davide: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Donny: So just before we finish up, if people would like to find you online, where can they find you?
Davide: I’m on Facebook and Instagram. Like Davide Carrera. I have on Facebook three pages, one normally is (full?), one is the fun page, so they can follow me there, and then I have another one that is Davide Carrera Freediving and then I have also a website to see a little bit about my BIO and this is davidecarrera.com.
Donny: OK, nice so I’ll put links to those in the show notes of course so everybody can find you, so just to take us out Davide, could you say in a few words for us, why do you freedive?
Davide: For emotions, for emotions to feel free. I started like that when I was a child and I’m still going for that reason and in the way of making loving with the ocean.
Donny: Davide, I’m going to let you go now, I’m going to let you enjoy he rest of your evening there in Thailand. I would just like to say it’s been fantastic talking to you. I think you have a wonderful and unique relationship with the ocean and the way you talk about it is very inspiring and it reminds us all not to, it reminds us all to look into the deeper possibilities of the relationship that we can have with the sea and thank you so much for sharing that with us.
Davide: Yes, sometimes we think the ocean is like water, but it’s much more, it has it’s own soul and I like to think that the ocean is my master.
Donny: I hope that you continue to have a such a wonderful relationship with your master in the future.
Davide: Thank you.