Simon Reid discovered freediving in 1971 when he was bought a big old oval diving mask. Even though he couldn’t swim, many hours were spent ducking underwater investigating all that the shallows had to offer.
In 1972 he moved to Ibiza to live. By now he had learnt to swim and with a simple snorkel and a pair of heavy rubber ‘flippers’, spent as much time as possible in the sea, freediving and spearfishing to great depths, knowing nothing of the risks. At this time Simon also worked as a resident club DJ in the burgeoning Ibiza dance scene.
In mid 80’s Simon left Ibiza to follow a career in the UK and many years passed without even getting in the water to dive, until he saw freediving sessions advertised at the SETT (Submarine Escape Training Tank) and went along to see what it was all about. After a few dives he found himself 30 metres down at the bottom of the tank as if there had been no gap in his freediving career.
In 2001 Simon entered his first competition. It was held in Portsmouth and rather optimistically inscribed -40 metres in constant weight never having dived that deep before! On the day of the competition the conditions were far from ideal. Cold, a two metre swell 7 miles out to sea and with far too much weight on his belt he found himself breathing up on a rope which was being pulled up and down madly by the pitching boat. The seconds counted down and Simon dived, falling through the water like a stone due to overweighting. At about -20 metres, picking up speed he realised what a mistake he had made. Seeing the Trimix diver below, he arrested his freefall, grabbed his tag, kicked for the surface, and simply sank… Panic set in and a high speed sprint to the surface ensued. At the surface and upon successfully completing his competition protocols he was shocked to see that the whole dive had been a mere 58 seconds!
Simon went on to compete internationally at the French National Competition in Nice and two open competitions in Cyprus in 2002 and 2003. He trained as an instructor in 2007 and joined Emma in Kalymnos to run the freediving summer school.
He has found that teaching freediving is so much more rewarding than competing. “Seeing someone progress and overcome their fears and achieve things they never thought they would is very uplifting.” He is also an amazing underwater photographer, having had his photos published in many magazines and officially documenting the summer schools and holidays.
He continues to use his DJ skills providing the mixes for our parties as well as the London Friday Night Skate. A furious ‘round the streets of London’ skate with some 300 participants, for which is also a marshal. His love of skating has also seen him skate from London to Brighton in one go…