The IAFD (International Association of Free Divers) is one of the very few organizations worldwide to organize, supervise, recognize, ratify and publish world records in the different disciplines involving apnea diving. Some minimum requirements are required (see list below). The standards and rules listed here apply also for competition and tournaments. Records will be recognized in three different levels: national, regional and worldwide.

REGIONAL: Performance in this level will be declared as a record for the general region or continent in which the record has been broken. These regions are, Americas (North, Central and South), European Region, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Indonesia and Africa.

NATIONAL: Performance in this level will be declared as a record for the specific country from which the athlete gets his nationality or citizenship, regardless of what the host country was at the moment of the event.

WORLDWIDE: Performance in this level will be declared as a record for the entire world (World record) regardless of the nationality, residency or citizenship of the athlete. At this level the final result must be the best performance ever at the moment of the event by any athlete in the history of the specific category in which the athlete is competing. For the record and the athlete to be ratified as the world record holder for any of the categories recognized by the IAFD, rules and stipulations as set by the IAFD must be followed.

Internationally recognized IAFD Judges are:

Bernabé, Pascal (France)
Floden, Chris (Sweden)
Serra, Carlos (USA)
Friscione, Alberto (Mexico)
Ladrón de Guevara, Fidel (Mexico)
Hodgins, Dan (Canada)
Didato, Nuncio (Italy)


In addition to all specific rules established previously, the following general rules and procedures apply to all free diving records and events to all the different categories recognized by the IAFD.

1. Three (3) IAFD judges must be present the day of the event and supervising all activities, including but not limited to, measuring of the line, setting of the equipment, informing the Notary Public of the regulations for the event, safety diver’s dive plan, etc. For in-depth attempts or competitions, two of the judges will be on scuba equipment, in the water and in different depths previously determined by the judges. Important: This rule does not apply for pool or confined water events.

2. A third judge will remain at the surface to supervise the development of activities in the surface. As part of his responsibilities he will, coordinate and supervise the application of the rules for the event with the physicians, safety divers, the athlete, security personal and the Notary Public.

3. The presence in site of a qualified and recognized physician in site 2 hours prior to the event and 1 hour after the culmination of the event ratifying the good condition of the athlete before and after the event is required. The physician must be other than the athlete.

4. The athlete must present to the IAFD Headquarters the results of an anti-doping test completed no later than 5 days after completing the event. An independent medical laboratory must perform the test.

5. The presence in site of a Cardiologist or a team of qualified paramedics with training in CPR and with all the necessary equipment to provide reanimation is required.

6. A Medical Form signed by a physician and dated within thirty (30) days before the date of the event, establishing that the athlete is in good medical condition and finds no medical condition to endanger the athletes health for performing free diving activities is required. This form must be presented to the judge designated by the IAFD.

7. The presence of one the local authorities (police, national guard, etc.) for control of public order is not required but highly recommended.

8. The presence of the local naval authorities as support for safety and evacuation is required since irresponsible boaters in the area can endanger the safety of the athlete and/or the safety divers.

9. The presence of a Notary Public authorized by and functioning under the local laws must present at the moment of the event as the Official Notary Public of the event. Such person must be familiar with the regulations to ratify free diving records as set by the .

10. The assistance of the safety divers to the athlete at the surface is accepted by the IAFD regulations, as long the assistance does not interfere with the judge’s position to verify the athlete’s general conditions. For safety reasons, the athlete’s personal assistant may be support him/her by the armpits only, but if the athlete is laid down or placed in horizontal position, the athlete’s performance will not be validated. The judges, in coordination with the medical staff will determine the good physical and mental condition before validating the performance.

11. In the event of loss of consciousness (blackout) the performance will be invalidated previous concordance between the medical staff and the IAFD judges.

12. In the event of mild convulsions from which the athlete recovers without any external help or assistance*, the event may be validated. Loss of mental awareness longer than 15 seconds will disqualify the athlete’s performance.

13. Preparation, measurement and marking of the line will be done the same day of the event. The line will be measured in a flat surface at full extent and without any stretching or tension of it. After the measurement and marking, the line must remain under direct supervision of an IAFD judge or a person determined by the main judge of the event until the setting of the line.

14. The use of oxygen, alcohol, and drugs to enhance performance and/or illicit drugs before or during the event is strictly prohibited and will disqualify the athlete or competitor and any record or performance registered during the event will be annulated.

15. The athlete must have an electronic and accurately calibrated device attached to his/her person and with the sensor of depth located at the thorax (chest) level or below. The device must be calibrated for the specific waters in which the event will be conducted (salt or fresh water). This rule does not apply for pool or confined water events.

16. At any point during the dive, breathing any kind of compressed gas by the athlete’s part will automatically invalidate the event.

17. For the Constant Ballast Category, a “Mark” or “Confirmation Card” will be fix at the specified point of the line for the specified depth by the IAFD judges right after the measurement of the line. The judges will set the “Mark” or Confirmation Card” in a way that will be easy to remove with minimum effort. The “Mark” or “Confirmation Card” should have a “loop” for inserting the athlete’s arm easily or by any other meaning that will be appropriate for the athlete and approved by the IAFD judges.

For categories 2 through 7 (except for Underwater Hunting in which the minimum age is 15) the ages and divisions of the athletes is:

Masculine Division:

Junior: 18 to 21 years old.

Adults: 22 to 45 years old.

Senior: 46 years old and older (No limits of age other than the limitations established by the medical examination and the approval of the Board of Directors of the ).

Feminine Division:

Junior: 18 to 21 years old.

Adults: 22 to 40 years old.

Senior: 41 years old and older. (Same rule as the Senior Masculine Division apply)

For records to be ratified by the IAFD but without the presence of the IAFD Judges and verified by another recognized free diving organization, in addition to the previous General Rules and Procedures, the following standards and/or conditions are required:

1. The athlete or his designated spokesman must notify the IAFD of his attempt in writing at least 30 days prior to the date of the event.

2. The presence of at least 3 judges authorized by a recognized free diving organization is required.

3. The athlete must have completed his/her performance according to “General Rules and Standards for Free Diving Competitions” of the IAFD.

4. The athlete or his designated spokesman must send to the IAFD headquarters, within 30 days after culmination of the event, all required documentation as set by the IAFD under “Required Documentation for Validation of Free Diving Records”.


1. A copy of the medical form signed by the physician and dated within thirty days before the event.

2. A copy of a legal document signed by the Notary Public designated for the event validating the successful completion of the athlete’s performance, accompanied by a copy of his/her credentials as a Notary Public.

3. A complete unedited copy of the tape of the event in any standard formats (PAL-VHS-8MM-MiniDV).

4. A list of the names and titles of the judges ruling the event.

5. A list of the safety divers with a log of the dives, including bottom time, depths and gas used.

6. A document signed and dated by the judges with their testimony and verification of the event.

The IAFD at the present moment only recognizes seven (7) categories in free diving competitions or record attempts to be validated. These seven categories are:

Underwater Hunting

Static Apnea

Dynamic Apnea (Fins or mono-fins)

Constant Ballast or Constant Weight

Variable Ballast or Variable Weight

No Limits

Tandem (Parallel Descent)

All seven categories are validated in two different areas, fresh water and salt water. They can also be validated in three different divisions, Male, Female and Mixed (for Tandem).


For any question regarding these regulations, please contact the .