Herbert Nitsch is the current freediving world record holder and “the deepest man on earth”. This prestigious title was given to him when he then set the world record for freediving at an incredible depth of 214 meters (702 feet) in 2007 in the No Limit discipline.
On June 6th, 2012, Herbert surpassed his own record with a No Limit dive to 253.2 meters (830.8 feet), but suffered from decompression sickness. Herbert can hold his breath for more than 9 minutes and has set 32 world records in all of the 8 recognized disciplines – unrivaled achievements in the freediving history. He holds an additional world record in the traditional Greek freediving discipline Skandalopetra. Unlike other elite freedivers Herbert is self-taught. He is a pioneer in every way. The highest security level and detailed planning are always part of every dive Herbert makes. He was working as pilot for Austrian Airlines Group where check-lists and worst case scenarios were on his daily schedule. This highly security related and risk avoiding attitude helps him to achieve his ambitious goals within freediving. Furthermore he is keen about every technical detail of his equipment.
Herbert´s motives are about the unknown, about crossing physiological boundaries, achieving goals that seem beyond the limits; overcoming mental challenges; and exploring, understanding, controlling and fine-tuning his own body and its bodily functions (heart rate, blood pressure, blood distribution, oxygen intake and consumption, understanding energy efficiency, etc.).
Together with his international technical team he designs and produces highly innovative gear with hydrodynamic shapes and lighter materials. He also developed his own freediving techniques over the years, a methodology that largely differs from the common styles.
Herbert is one of the few freediving athletes who cooperates with a scientific advisory board and medical doctors. Very little scientific research has been done so far on the physiological effects of freediving, especially as deep as Herbert is diving.
Print and TV media world wide have covered Herbert’s freediving adventures. He has graced the pages of Red Bulletin, Men’s Health, GQ, Playboy, ESPN, Spiegel, Apnea, Deep, Tauchen, Stern, Paris Match, L’Equipe, HOME, Profil and others. He has appeared on various TV shows. Documentaries were made for CBS 60 Minutes Sports, and for RedBull/Stern TV. Sponsors included Breitling watches, Canon cameras, Trygons freedive equipment and FilmOne productions, SeaCam cameras, Subal underwater housing, UK-Germany underwater housing, Suunto depth gages, SubaPro freedive equipment.
His unique freediving career started with a single coincidence. In the late nineties, while Herbert was on the way to a scuba dive safari, his diving equipment got lost somewhere in transit. So Herbert went snorkeling instead of scuba diving during the entire vacation. There Herbert discovered his natural talent for freediving very quickly. He was fascinated by the nature of this sport and was progressing fast. After freediving for two weeks only, he was two meters short of the Austrian National record.