No-limit apnea is an AIDA International freediving discipline of competitive freediving, also known as competitive apnea, in which the freediver descends and ascends with the method of his or her choice.[1] Often, a heavy metal bar or "sled" grasped by the diver descends fixed to a line, reaching great depths. The most common ascension assistance is via inflatable lifting bags or vests with inflatable compartments, which surface rapidly. The dives may be performed head-first or feet-first.

This form of diving is considered extremely dangerous by diving professionals.[2] No-limit apnea has claimed the lives of several divers.[3][4]


The three main differences between free diving disciplines that involve diving to depth and those that occur at the surface are that you can not interrupt the dive, there are periods where work is performed and the diver is impacted by direct effects of pressure.[5]


The current no-limit world record holder is Herbert Nitsch with a depth of 214 metres (702 ft) set on 9 June 2007, in Spetses, Greece,[6] however, in a subsequent dive on 6 June 2012 in Santorini, Greece to break his own record, he went down to 253.2 metres (831 ft) and suffered severe decompression sickness immediately afterwards[7] and subsequently retired from competitive events.

See also


  1. ^ McKie, N (2004). "Freediving in cyberspace". Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society. 34: 101–3. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-05.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ "A limit on 'No-Limits' freediving". 2021-06-21. Retrieved 2023-08-20.
  3. ^ Clarey, Christopher; Tribune, International Herald (2002-10-19). "A free-diver's death : Tragic plunge to the limits". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-08-18.
  4. ^ "French free-diver Loic Leferme dies in training accident". 12 April 2007. Retrieved 2019-08-18.
  5. ^ Schagatay E (December 2011). "Predicting performance in competitive apnea diving. Part III: deep diving". Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine. 41 (4): 216–28. PMID 22183699. Archived from the original on February 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-10.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ "AIDA | Symbol of Freediving".
  7. ^ "Herbert Nitsch receiving treatment after failed Record Attempt |". Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2022.