In the chapter free diving and Cyprus, whatever stone you lift, you will find George Pavlidis below. What free divers can take for granted today was won and established with his contribution: first clubs, first races (where the first safety rules were given), first free diving schools, first races to create the first National Cyprus, first free book diving and first documentaries but Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
George Pavlidis, the “teacher” as he is called by his hundreds of students all over Cyprus – both those of free diving and those of First Aid -, emphasizes that free diving, ie staying at the bottom with the holding of breath is not is talent or charisma. Man, he says, as a being who has the pulmonary hemoconcentration and the ability to equalize, also has the right, like the seal, the whale, the dolphin, to react with his body properly under pressure. And he stays as long as he can or wants at the bottom, always in the context of security. Where for 25 years he has spent almost every day of his life, exploring, filming, hunting, training or just relaxing.
From the images he obtained, he assures us that the Cypriot seabed is ten times more beautiful than the land of Cyprus, a finding that at the same time upsets him, since – and here he speaks with the voice of a loneliness – this is something that the Cypriot does not know . “The purpose of my life is to leave behind something from such a beautiful part of free diving,” he emphasizes. He adds: “Do you know anything? I think about it and I am constantly offended by a true conversation that Andreas Kariolou once said in an interview: We are an island without islanders! “
“You gave respect to the sea, it will respect you”
George Pavlidis is known for his deeds, a source of experience. She will emphasize by repeatedly tapping her fist on the table that “the sea pays you cash whatever you give it”. Although he holds a law degree, he never served. On the contrary, as a trainer of free divers, he chose to deal with the laws of nature, which he points out that – and here he reminds of the ancient tragedies – go beyond human laws. “You can not change nature. Abuse her, yes, but she will give back everything you give her. You gave respect to the sea, it will respect you. This is the sea, let's not forget “.
He remembers in 1995 that he was a founding member of the Friends of Free Diving Group (OFEK) and then the organization of the first spearfishing hunting competitions in Cyprus. “Then for the first time we gave the safety rules: to take part you have to be with your partner, it is forbidden to dive both, the boat must be at a certain distance, it is forbidden to approach the other team at some distance, to have buoy mandatory. Thus, the first rules slowly began to enter a previously anarchic landscape. “After five or ten races, the divers finally started diving with their suitable pair.”
Then, in the face of the phenomenon of dangerous incidents and accidents, in a quest to set some limits, the aim was to create free diving schools. He, as an active member of the group committee, took the initiative and invited to come to Cyprus a certified trainer of trainers from abroad, who then on the terrace of his house (he says and laughs) trained the first students, and so began the first schools. Today in his school he does not stop emphasizing it: security is the A and the Z and the one who returns home is better!
Training free divers.
Hunting with ethics
From 1995 he also took part in the underwater hunting competitions, even doing championships. But in 2000 he stopped completely, expressing for the first time his personal position that he maintains to this day: “I would never go to a fight again if I had to kill something.” He believes that hunting is an activity that should not be put under competition, nor competition, but a coexistence in nature that everyone chooses to do what pleases him, in moderation, morality, safety and always within a legal framework. He emphasizes this to this day to his students as well. George Pavlidis, realizing that we must respect the seabed, teaches that as predators we must now be selective, specific, with knowledge.
At creation time while crouching on the snorkel counter. “The weapon of 'ANASA' is the first in the world which is a pure Cypriot in the sense of inspiration”, he emphasizes.
In the video that follows, Giorgos Pavlidis beats a rib with a snorkel:
“Hunting” with the cinematic lens
“In the movies we did things that were overdone. I could dive 25-30 meters, about the size of a ten-story building, sit down, pick up the camera and film a family of fish playing with each other and be there for two or three minutes. “Then I had to step up and go to the director to see if it was useful.”
The three documentaries of George Pavlidis are the first professional productions of filming the hunting at the bottom, “a way of hunting that carries education and ethics”, he emphasizes. They are movies that one enjoys without necessarily engaging in snorkeling. They have the titles “Carter and Immobility & Hunting in Shipwrecks”, “In the Shadows of the Rocks & The Journey to the World of Silence” and “Myth & Reality”. They include his films on the Cypriot seabed, which started in 2003.
George Pavlidis is in possession of hundreds of hours of underwater shots with his associates. Something that requires hard work through many thousands of scuba diving, in an effort to highlight his wealth and the knowledge he gained through many years of observation. The experienced predator – cinematographer will give you an idea. It will transport you to what you see and experience, with objective and subjective shots. It will take you to the bottom, where between the rocks there are chambers, places where several species of fish are hidden. Sooner or later the first millstones will arrive, the “most mysterious prey”, as he describes it, and his favorite. He advises you to be patient and wait for the right moment, because these are the “goals” and then the “cleaners” before the big herd arrives. It also presents to you frame by frame the confidence, calm and comfort of the movements of large prey, their impressive elements, which according to him should characterize the human figure that moves on the seabed.
“During the filming,” he says enthusiastically, “we've gotten to the point where instead of popping up and being told, 'Did you play it?' And he goes on to say that there he saw that something had changed, he took a turn. “In other words, it opened another door to the fact that we could explain to the world that it does not equate free diving exclusively with snorkeling. No. “Diving with apnea is the trunk and the snorkel is one of its branches”.
The trailer of the movie “Myth & Reality”:
Author – columnist
George Pavlidis has to show a remarkable writing work on the world of the seabed and snorkeling. It should be noted that the edition of his book “Instinct in Blue – Travel with a Breath” has been sold out. However, he is better known to the public of Cyprus and Greece as a columnist in the magazine “Vythos”, to be precise from 1998 until today he is the only Cypriot contributor of the Greek magazine for underwater hunting and free diving. “I started writing because I wanted to explain that we may have a small island where our coastlines are minimal, fishing grounds are minimal, stocks are reduced, however when you are a good hunter you can catch good fish and consequently Cyprus can is on the map of the world spearfishing “.
Encountering ancient shipwrecks
In a quarter of a century in the depths he assures that his eyes have seen several treasures. Apart from those that belong to nature, it encounters scattered ancient shipwrecks, known only to a few.
“Think that from Limassol, 6 shipwrecks are known to the general public and we know 14,” he says. “When with other divers we find an ancient shipwreck in a place that has not yet been approached and touched by man, then we prefer that no one ever finds out,” he said, explaining that until the competent authorities go to take responsibility and the process provided, the archaeologists will probably leave nothing.
“Unfortunately, that deprivation syndrome left to us by wars, poverty and other problems, made us act like the dog that keeps its food to have later,” he observes. “But I have the pleasure to say that of the ancients that are at our bottom, very few have been identified. I pass by every now and then and I see them “.