Lindy Taverner

I am Water

2011-08-10 14:29
Sport24 columnist Lindy Taverner (File)
Lindy Taverner

Hanli Prinsloo is an 11-time South African freediving record holder, filmmaker, Stand Up Paddler and avid ocean environmentalist and adventurer. She can hold her breath in excess of five minutes and is sought out by watermen around the world to teach them at her school 'I am Water'.

Free diving is the sport of diving as deep, as far or as long as possible on one single breath of air. Hanli started freediving over 12 years ago in Sweden where she was studying at the time, having met a very good Swedish freediver who introduced her to the sport. She has been a competitive swimmer and water lover her whole life.

She is preparing to leave for Dahab in Egypt for a few weeks to train for the World Championships in Greece in September.

Hanli passionately says, “I love the ocean and everything about it; the flat days, the crashing storms, the peeling waves, the reefs, kelp forests, sandy bottoms, cold grey or crystal blue. I couldn't live without surfing and freediving as they are my tickets to the ocean, this greatest love.”

“I do think that surfing and freediving are lifestyle sports; from the way I eat to the way I think and how I use my body, health is more than performance or not being sick. The first thing that affects our lifestyle is our thoughts. I have been on quite a journey working with my way of seeing myself as a waterman.”

“Cape Town with her majestic mountains that loom over the two oceans is a very special place. Capetonians are nature lovers; we hike, surf, dive, climb, mountain bike. It’s hard not to be with so much nature surrounding you.”

“The rest of South Africa looks at Capetonians as being ever late and a little lazy, but I think we just have our priorities straight; if the waves are good... you surf. Life can wait... no, Hold on! That is life, right?”

“So I think that's why we have some great sport people from this area. We also have very challenging oceans, stormy seas and big breaks that have, for example, bred the likes of big wave chargers Chris Bertish, James Taylor and the other Dungeons locals.”

The ‘I Am Water Trust’ was founded in 2010 by Hanli and fellow passionate ocean lovers who believe that mankind and nature cannot survive without each other.

“To hear, read or see the beauty of the ocean environment can never replace the personal transformation of putting on a mask and fins, taking one breath and experiencing the salty majesty of the ocean, the strength of the currents, the playfulness of a dolphin or the curiosity of a seal.”

As all humans are over 90% water, we are drawn together by the aquatic within us. We are all water, and we all share the opportunity and challenge to protect our last wilderness beneath the waves.

Lindy Taverner is the editor of the RUSH magazine that was based in the Eastern Cape and recently relocated to Cape Town. Previous issues and updated extreme sport news can be found on her site

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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