At the age of 3, while lying on my back on the sea surface holding on to a rock, waiting for new waves to come, I decided to let go. This meant I am floating. I liked to think of it as swimming. Turning the other way around I considered diving. From that day forward, most of my time in the water was under the surface, exploring through my mask the underwater world, and more importantly, myself.
Growing up in Kvarner, Croatia, exposed to the sea, salty skin was my second nature. I was a peculiar child, easily lost daydreaming around island’s coast on a hot summer day. Soon I realized I can challenge anyone my age in diving for distance or depth. I found pleasure in spending time underwater. Having no wetsuit or limits in my mind, this frequently resulted in colds.
As the school friends became important, I was more tied to the city, training various sports and living the street life with a ball under my hand. Summer jobs bought my first wetsuit around the end of elementary school, hoping to dive in the winter around Rijeka. Without a car, company or a hot shower, I realized the suit itself is not a problem solver, so I focused on other sports, being logistically beaten.
Molchanovs Instructor Trainer developer
Strength & conditioning coach
Base training program director
Molchanovs education board
National team Croatia
Multiple WR freediver
AIDA, CMAS, NAUI INSTRUCTOR
ADRIATIC FREEDIVING TROPHY DIRECTOR
“Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”
Times went by, I circumnavigated the Balkans, then Europe, then the World, studied IT, physics, photography, tried out in many different sports, jobs, projects and activities, built great friendships and had the biggest adventures. As movement was my passion, I also went to study sport science. In my introduction class, I heard a colleague presenting himself as a freediver. The word stung me immediately and I stood up to remember him. It was clear the sport developed and there were others out there. I immediately challenged him, as I apparently was refusing to grow up. This was my first proper dive on a rope with a buddy, I did a 30m no suit CNF, not knowing it’s called like that at the time. I was intrigued, but also semi-professionally involved in other sports, and with no time on my hands. Freediving found me again during a stunt adventure race with “special assignments”, one of them being a pool distance dive. I did my first pool DNF dive, of course with no gear, and scored 100 meters.
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
— Edgar Allan Poe
Although always interested in the world under the surface, life took me elsewhere, perhaps only to make me better prepared for my freediving journey. Shuffling between quite successful careers in various sports as an athlete and a coach, I eventually found most of my joy in extreme sports combined with travel. I organized and led several expeditions on all continents, and after my contract as a professional climber expired, I went around the world to explore my horizons. During this time, I got a chance to be a part of a WR freedive under ice, which I accepted with joy. I added some pool training to my busy schedule in New Zealand, where I was living at the time. I guess I had to come to the end of the world to fulfil my childhood prophecy, as my mother and closer family used to predict that if I continue living my thing I’ll end up digging trenches or in a circus. This is just what I did for a brief period in NZ. Unfortunately, while performing at a local circus, I got injured, ripping my biceps tendon out, which needed immediate surgery, and quite changed my plans. But also, opened up space to get involved in freediving.
My first season training and competing got me to making world record distance training dives, unfortunately not verifying them in competition, but making the national team and ranking 5th in pool and 4th in depth CMAS Europeans. I became NAUI freediving instructor. Next year I managed to repeat good performances in competition, although never on a competition with WR status. I became AIDA instructor and I joined team Molchanovs. I finished 5th in CMAS World depth competition and 3rd in AIDA World pool. I got actively involved at medical research center at the university, trying to understand better the mechanisms involved in freediving. My third season got me verification on 3 world records by AIDA and CMAS. I also became president of AIDA Croatia, AIDA judge and Molchanovs Instructor Trainer and started to work more hands on in freediving education development and competition organization. At the end of my third season, I ranked 1st in AIDA overall ranking 2019.
“The only constant in life is change”
In 2020. at the age of 35, I decided to let go again, and immerse into myself, to find peace, love, satisfaction and harmony. After chasing the winds for many years, the time has come to let them fill my sails and push me forward. Freediving has been and will be one of important mediums for finding this path, which will definitely not be a beaten or an easy one, but undoubtedly, it will be a wondrous experience and a journey of a lifetime.
“You will never be younger than you are today”