Beth Neale, a four-time South African freediving champion,
is showcasing her passion for the open water in ‘Freediving Diaries’.
Beth Neale, a four-time South African freediving champion, is showcasing her passion for the open water in ‘Freediving Diaries’.
It’s no secret that South Africa is home to some of the world’s best freedivers. Beth Neale, a four-time South African freediving champion, hails from the KwaZulu-Natal south coast and she found that her passion for the open water and the freediving sport isn’t represented enough on television. So, she shot a first-of-its-kind reality television series centered around her freediving adventures.
After four months of shooting in and around Mozambique and the Maldives, Neale and her partner Miles Cloutier premiered their new series ‘Freediving Diaries’ on PPL°WX — People’s Weather on DStv and Open View, earlier this week.
The couple reveal that the new series was not simply created to promote ocean conservation and eco-tourism, but to also show that “freediving isn’t just an extreme sport for elite athletes”.
Neale explains that “it’s the fastest-growing water sport and simply requires you to hold your breath underwater. You don’t have to go deep or hold your breath for a long time.”
She adds that the duo chose to film in Mozambique and the Maldives because of the wealth of marine life, but also to showcase the territories after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the tourism industries there.
In the series, a pregnant Neale swam with nurse sharks, dolphins, gigantic tiger sharks, and even fulfilled her life’s dream of swimming with a dugong, all while showcasing the sport. “My heart exploded, especially because it is my life’s dream. We got to share this incredible, inspiring moment with our baby,” Neale says about her encounter with the dugong.
She adds: “We had quite a few night dives with the manta rays, whale sharks and nurse sharks, which was a bit surreal and eerie, getting in the water at night. But after a few minutes you forget about it and feel quite safe. I used to be terrified of sharks, it was my greatest fear, until I started freediving and saw my first shark.”
Neale, who is due to give birth at the end of June, admits that she was concerned about embarking on the expedition after discovering she was pregnant. “I contacted some world champion freedivers and spoke to them about it. They all said it was perfectly safe,” she said.
Stephan Le Roux, CEO of PPL°WX, said: “From the moment I
met Beth and Miles and heard about what they do I thought it was completely
crazy. Beth has had some unbelievable sports accomplishments in freediving, and
it’s so amazing the three of them are now sharing these
Image courtesy: PPL°WX
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