Umair the Freediver - Cora Cora Maldives Skip to content
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Published 20 October 2020

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Meet Umair Badeeu – Curator and Cultural Heritage Manager of the dutch Onion® Museum and Outdoor Heritage Site and one of the most impressive and inspiring freedivers the island has ever witnessed.

Umair’s love and fascination with the ocean began at a young age, growing up in the picturesque island home of the Maldives, often skipping school to surf and enjoy the great outdoors. “I preferred the fresh ocean air instead of being stuck inside reading a book.” Then, just after high school, at the age of 16, Umair’s older cousin introduced him to snorkeling and began taking him out into the beautiful open ocean. His cousin was a pioneer in professional underwater photography and provided plenty of opportunities for Umair to join in and learn to snorkel. “He made me realize how much I loved the water.” He quickly decided to take up scuba diving as a hobby after realizing his passion for the ocean. “I really enjoyed discovering new reefs to explore, and I spent as much time underwater as I could.”

After years of exploring the sea via scuba diving, Umair discovered Freediving- one of the great loves of his life. He recently began competing at a professional level in the sport and has achieved a great deal in a short span of time. Freediving is when a person dives beneath the ocean’s surface without an oxygen tank for as long as she can, getting as deep as their body allows. “I remember thinking about it like I was in a new place. I felt like a new person like I found another space. And once you discover that, I think you know it, you know what you are and what you’re not, and that’s very liberating. Exploring this new sport was a pivotal moment in Umairs life “This hobby was less about exploring the ocean, I felt I had done that, but more, a journey of self-discovery.”

Umair explains how freediving is a lifestyle that pushes your body unlike any other, “Finding what my limitations are and finding the kind of barriers that I have within myself and then exploring ways to overcome those barriers and push myself further and further.” There are multiple categories of competitive Freediving; Free Immersion involves the diver pulling themself down to depths on a rope and pulling themselves up again without self-propulsion. Constant Weight Freediving is Umair’s preferred, and it involves plummeting to depths under their own body weight and propulsion without the help of a rope. This type of Freediving is often seen as …..

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“I really enjoyed discovering new reefs to explore. I spent as much time underwater as I could.

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