Kirk Krack

For over two decades, Kirk Krack has developed education and certification programs with one goal. This is to improve safety in freediving. Through his leadership and participation in various projects, Kirk has contributed to the advancement of the scientific study of hypoxic effects on the human body and to the conservation of our oceans and its creatures. In 2016, in recognition of his sustained and valuable contributions, he was named the Diver’s Alert Network (DAN)/Rolex Diver of the Year.

Kirk always had an affinity for the water. He became scuba certified at 15 and, within four years, he owned and operated the first of several dive shops across the world. By age 20, Kirk had progressed through the instructor ranks of recreational scuba and become a devoted technical diving enthusiast, progressing to the level of instructor trainer.

While teaching tech diving out of his dive shop on Grand Cayman (and diving deeper with tanks than all but a handful of humans on the planet), Kirk became enthralled by freediving. Kirk’s knowledge of water-related physics and physiology that had been honed through his scuba and tech diving career. With a motivation to test himself and explore human potential, Kirk trained athletes in competitive freediving. At the time, freediving was known mainly in Mediterranean Europe.

Kirk has trained seven athletes to 23 world records and dozens more to hundreds of national records. Chief among these is Kirk’s wife, Mandy-Rae Krack. Kirk trained and coached Mandy-Rae to seven world records and 13 Canadian records. Never one to rest on his success, Kirk continued to distill the knowledge he gained by testing techniques, refining the process, and improving his methods.

In January 2000, Kirk formed Performance Freediving International (PFI) to create and implement freediving safety and training standards. PFI is the second oldest freedive-specific training and certification agency in the world. It is the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.

Through its over 100 highly trained and rigorously qualified and insured instructors, PFI has trained and certified over 10,000 freedivers. With PFI’s intense focus on safety and problem prevention and management, these courses have saved countless lives and contributed to generations of divers who respect and protect our oceans. Under Kirk’s leadership, PFI instructors offered recreational and professional level courses ranging from Snorkeler to Advanced Instructor Trainer at locations worldwide.

Kirk used the body of knowledge he gained from over two decades of teaching and training freedivers to develop specialized training programs. These allow athletes and other specific groups to gain the benefits of breath-hold training.

Kirk developed the first Breath-Hold Surf Survival (BHSS) course. This trains the world’s top big-wave surfers to survive violent “hold downs.” These occur when surfers become trapped for long periods underwater beneath mountainous waves.

Top sponsors like Oakley and Red Bull send their athletes through Kirk’s BHSS program. He has trained world-class athletes ranging from Olympic downhill skiers to motocross riders to endurance racers.

Through Kirk’s training, these athletes not only realize distinct physiological benefits and adaptations, but they also develop the mental strength and focus. This allows them to withstand the intense discomfort brought on by minutes of activity performed without breathing.

The success of Kirk’s BHSS program led to developing other programs for professionals. Specifically those who must perform under extreme duress on a single breath.

Kirk developed PFI’s Breath-Hold Special Operations (BHSO) program to train elite military special operations team members. It focuses on the techniques and mental fortitude skills required to withstand minutes underwater on a single breath. This is while the body is in a state of high metabolism and distress.

This training is invaluable for civilian and military personnel such as:

Swift water rescue teams
Search and rescue teams
Military special forces operators
These are individuals for whom surfacing to take a breath may not be an option. Today, Kirk develops programs for the Special Forces Operators of three nations’ militaries: the USA, Canada and Great Britain.

In 2016, Kirk and his PFI instructors developed the first ever freedive training course for individuals with disabilities. That same year, Kirk developed safety protocols for Technical Freediving. This involves the use of mixed gases to prolong breath-hold, reduce fatigue, and speed recovery.

In January 2017, Kirk led the first ever freedive expedition to explore the sunken World War II shipwrecks of the Truk Lagoon in Micronesia. This combined technical freediving with underwater dive propulsion vehicles (DPVs) to achieve breath-hold dives of greater than six minutes.

For over ten years, Kirk has hosted an international freediving competition known as Deja Blue in the Cayman Islands. Kirk has pioneered the development and use of multiple redundant safety systems including

Deep sea rebreather divers
Highly trained safety freedivers on breath-hold
This helps ensure the safest conditions possible for the athletes, many of whom have set world and national records at Deja Blue. Kirk’s unique wealth of experience and talent for teaching have made his services highly sought after by those who want and need the absolute best. Among the individuals Kirk has trained are:
Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson for their underwater roles in the blockbuster feature film Mission: Impossible–Rogue Nation
Margot Robbie and her stunt double for their underwater roles in Suicide Squad (in which Kirk also served as a credited on-screen stunt double for Batman)
Endurance performer and illusionist David Blaine for his world record breath-hold attempts live on the Oprah Winfrey Show (he survived over 17 minutes on a single breath of oxygen-enriched air)
Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn, and Woody Harrelson.
Most recently, he’s worked with actors on the set of James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar 2, the sequel to the epic Avatar film. Kirk’s expertise has also been sought by highly regarded organizations to aid in their specialized missions related to dive safety, scientific study and freedive education. Kirk sits on the Board of Advisors for and has advised on the development of Oceanic Safety System’s lifesaving Freediver Recovery Vest. Diver’s Alert Network (DAN), the world’s largest dive safety organization, and the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), the world’s leading non-profit diving association, have both formed educational alliances with PFI to give their members access to Kirk’s knowledge and expertise. Kirk has given lectures to groups around the world including the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS), Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), and the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) on topics related to apnea, freediving safety, and breath-hold training. Kirk’s and Mandy-Rae’s breath-hold abilities (each in excess of seven minutes) have made them uniquely qualified for a variety of projects in the motion picture industry. They served as underwater videographers and on-screen talent in the movie The Cove, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2010. Kirk served as principal videographer and on-screen diver in numerous other films and projects including:
Oceanic Preservation Society’s Racing Extinction (2015)
GoPro’s Whale Fantasia (2013)
PFI’s Defending the Vandenberg (2011)
Waterborn’s Wreckage and subsequent shorts beginning in 2014.
Kirk has devoted his professional life to the improvement of safety, the advancement of knowledge, and the proliferation of education in the sport and recreation of freediving. He is a pioneer in his field and his exceptional qualifications speak for themselves:
Open water scuba certified since 1984
PADI Master professional scuba instructor since 1988
Nitrox and technical certifications since 1992
Founded and operated the second International Association of Nitrox and Technical Diving (IANTD) facility in Canada in 1993
Appointed Director of IANTD Canada in 1994
Founder and operator of Dive Tech, the first technical diving center in the Cayman Islands, which opened in the late 90s
IANTD/TDI Trimix Instructor Trainer certified in 1997
IANTD/TDI Rebreather Instructor Trainer certified
15 mixed-gas dives to depths over 150 m/500 ft
Logged over 1,800 scuba dives
Director of Safety for legendary freediver Pipin Ferreras’s “Cayman Challenge” no-limits event in 1997, which involved deep safety and videographers at 120 m/400 ft
Trained and coached Tanya Streeter and Brett LeMaster to one national record and one world record between 1997 and 1999
Founded Performance Freediving International in January 2000 to develop safety and standardized education in the sport
In 2000, Kirk trained Mandy-Rae Cruickshank and Martin Stepanek. They eventually held 16 world records between them. Kirk has trained seven athletes to 23 world records and dozens more to hundreds of national records in all disciplines of the sport. Kirk’s other accomplishments include:
Founder and President of the Canadian Association of Freediving and Apnea (CAFA). As Team Captain for CAFA’s Team Canada, Kirk coached and managed the women’s team to two first place finishes and three third place finishes at AIDA (Association Internationale pour le Développement de l’Apnée) World Championships in Spain, France, Cyprus, Hawaii, Egypt, and Canada.
Founding member of the United States Apnea Association (now United States Freediving Association) for which Kirk organized regional and national competitions.
Primary organizer for the 4th AIDA Individual World Freediving Championships in Vancouver, Canada in 2004. Kirk pioneered the use, for the first time, of live bottom-to-surface cameras with underwater communications for the attending spectators.
Member of the executive board of AIDA International, serving as Vice-President Americas from 2002-2005.
AIDA International Judge qualified to judge AIDA sanctioned national and world record attempts.
AIDA Level A Trainer and Five Star Trainer.
Kirk helped to develop AIDA’s first Judge in Learning protocols and CAFA and AIDA’s first Safety Protocols for Competitions and Records. Formed the Simon Fraser University Advanced Freediver Research Project with Dr. Andrew Blaber in Vancouver, BC, Canada, which studied the amazing physiological adaptations gained by individuals practicing freedive-specific breathing and stretching exercises over a 12-week period. The study was conducted annually for four years beginning in 2004. Kirk continues to work with many of the world’s most respected freedive researchers and physicians on various aspects of freediving safety including decompression illness (DCI), pulmonary barotraumas, the physiology of blackout, and the statistical evidence surrounding blackouts and fatalities in freediving. Achievements here include:
Secured the first professional liability insurance for a freedive-specific training and certification organization in North America.
Board of Advisors for org.
Technical Advisor to Oceanic Safety System in developing their Freediver Recovery Vest.
Formula Three Freediving (F3F) President and Founder.
Now Kirk is co-owner Kèo Nhà Cái Tenisweb

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