FELIPE MASSA TAKES ON FREEDIVING WITH RECORD BREAKING PIERRE FROLLA
Monaco, Tuesday 23 October 2018
VENTURI Formula E Team driver Felipe Massa swapped land for sea as he joined quadruple world record holding freediver, Pierre Frolla for a diving masterclass on Monday 22nd October. The two disciplines may seem worlds apart but Formula E and freediving share some similarities, as demonstrated by the two athletes when they met for Felipe’s introductory subaquatic session off Roquebrune-Cap-Martin near Monaco.
The two sportsmen met bright and early on Monday morning at L’École Bleue, Pierre’s freediving club on Larvotto beach in Monaco. The lesson began on the beach as Pierre showed Felipe the basics of ventilation, a key part of the discipline. By blocking their diaphragm, freedivers are able to manage both the lack of oxygen beneath the surface, and their stress. Next up, there were a few yoga exercises including sun salutations, a series of postures which the sportsmen performed on the sand, facing the sun.
With the capricious weather conditions causing strong swells – typical for October – Pierre FROLLA almost called off the operation but their patience was rewarded and after a lengthy wait, the sea finally calmed, allowing them to take the plunge. The four-time world freediving champion and the former Formula 1 vice-World Champion boarded an inflatable boat and headed out to the waters off Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, dropping anchor a few minutes later.
Felipe’s first freediving experience began with a warm-up as he descended to a depth of 7 metres along a cable, using just the strength of his arms. A series of dives later, the VENTURI Formula E Team driver made it down to 14 metres with the help of a sled, a weighted device attached to the cable to allow the diver to descend.
WHAT THEY SAY
“Felipe did well for someone who is a total novice in the discipline. I’m sure that with a bit of training, he could do even better. Why not make it past 19 metres, his favourite number? But seriously, I could see within the first few seconds that he’s gifted, determined, and intelligent. Felipe is exactly the kind of student you’d love to have every day.”
Pierre FROLLA, four-time world freediving record holder
“What did I take away from the experience? I was more nervous about this day of freediving than for the past week of testing! I accepted Pierre’s invitation not just because I wanted to learn about this incredible discipline, but also because he works closely with H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco on the protection of the seas and oceans. As a father, a resident of Monaco but most of all a human, I’m very concerned by the issues environmental protection and sustainable development.
Surprisingly, although you might think that freediving and motor racing are two totally different sports, I saw some clear similarities: the preparation, managing your breathing, the desire to always go further and the quest for the best possible performance. During races, we sometimes have to hold our breath too. Next up it’s my turn to share my experience as a driver with Pierre FROLLA!”
Felipe MASSA, VENTURI Formula E Team driver
The freediver will soon visit VENTURI’s headquarters in Monaco, and will be a guest of the Monegasque team at the 3rd Monaco E-Prix on 11 May 2019.
+33 (0)6 40 61 00 80
Photos Credit: Bruno BEBERT / Bestimage