Filming for The Wild Weekenders – Channel 4 freediving

Sometime in early August 2016 we were contacted to see if Ian was available to teach freediving to the Arthur Williams for a new Channel 4 programme called The Wild Weekenders. The only issue they had was that would it be possible as he was paraplegic? No problems at all there, we have taught many people to dive with a variety of physical challenges and there has always been a way.
The fact that Ian works directly with the Royal Marines (Arthur is an ex Royal) as an apnea instructor also helped make a solid connection.
We worked with the production team for a couple of months, agreeing a filming schedule, what Arthur could and possibly couldn’t do and generally getting everything straight and safe. Originally the team wanted Arthur to gather scallops or lobsters, but Ian explained that the combination of learning how to freedive and gathering scallops may be a bit much on day one! So it was agreed quite early on to just stick to the freediving aspect. We would do free immersion dives and maybe use an underwater scooter.
We then organised for our instructor Alastair Scarlett to do the underwater filming as well, given that he does all of our photography and has been working with us for years, we knew it would be a good team.
A few days before the filming in October we received a call which highlighted an ‘administrative error’ on the production teams side which meant that Ian was no longer needed to do the filming… Alastair however was still scheduled, so here is his story for the day!

Ian gave me a bell one morning, asking if I would be interested in filming the underwater footage for Little Gem’s new series, called ‘The Wild Weekenders’ .

The series explores some of the more unusual activities available to anyone over a weekend. The brief was to film Paralympics presenter Arthur Williams ( a former marine and paraplegic) freediving off the Devon coast. After a few glitches early on, including the weather, we finally rescheduled for a weather window in November. This was the last chance we had to film.

Arriving to glorious Torquay sunshine I met with the director and the rest of the team and basked in the unseasonal November sun, watching the film crew going through the motions until it was time to board the boat. Donning my Epsealon suit I knew I was going to be toasty and couldn’t wait to get in the water. By the time it came for me to start rolling, it had clouded over and the light was beginning to drop so I knew my time was limited. I used my Nikon D810 in a Nauticam housing and had a Gopro attached as another POV.

Arthur was given his freediving theory, including equalisation and breath hold techniques. He put on his wetsuit and weights and was ready to go – I think we were all a bit nervous not knowing what was going to happen next. Incredibly we were all blown away by the ease he dived down to 12M using just his arms. Absolute legend! Now he had the taste there was no stopping him. We explored the ‘sea grass’ and went in search of a wreck and finally had a blast on an underwater scooter.

If you want to learn to freedive, in the sea, just like Arthur did, then you have come to the right place. All FreediveUK courses are conducted in the Atlantic with highly experienced and accredited instructors. Spend a day on a boat, exploring the amazing underwater world with FreediveUK.
Start with the AIDA 1-2 course and we will guide you in to the wonderful world of freediving!

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