105m/345ft. Continental Record at the 2019 Asia Cup

 

DOB: 08/16/1987

Height: 6’1

Weight: 175lbs.

Years in competitive freediving: 3 years

Sponsors: Double K wetsuits- Korea, Suunto Watches, Cetma composites-Italy,

XDubai

 

Bio

 

Daniel loved the water as a kid and grew up in Orange, California, always an

athlete through out his childhood starting with Soccer and moving from sport

to sport trying to find the sport he liked the most. He had a hard childhood as

his parents split up at the age of 12. Due to the split his family was poor staying with other families while his mom worked as hard as she could to keep her 3 kids in private schools. With the chaos of the divorce that lasted 5 years going back and forth from home to home, Daniel's only escape was sports, and once in a while waking up at 4am to catch some surf before school with his brother.

However, because the ocean was an hour away the inconsistency caused Daniel to never really find his place in the water when he was surfing, trying to compete with adults for waves.

Using sports as an outlet to combat what was going on in his life, Daniel wanted to disappear from the world, and realized that when he was underwater all the troubles in his life would cease to exist. After a trip to Hawaii with his grandparents to the same spot where he now trains full time for his competitions, Daniel realized this is where he wanted to be, it was so quiet beneath the sea and in nature. On Daniel's 19th birthday with $1000 in his pocket he moved to Hawaii to change his life.

 

After a few years of spearfishing by himself, Daniel reached out to Martin Stepanek (13 time freediving world record holder) with Freediving instructors International (Fii), he took Daniel under his wing to show him the ropes of deep diving in 2010. Daniel became a freediving instructor and made huge progress when working alongside Martin, who later became a role model, guide and close friend.

 

He progressed quickly in spearfishing and was placing top 10 in every spearfishing tournament he entered and placed first in the Triple crown of spearfishing tournament against the best spear fisherman in Hawaii. The French international diving company “Beuchat” put Daniel on their international spearfishing team becoming the first American ever to be brought on the team. 

He was committed to their team for 3 years when he decided to pursue a career in competitive freediving.

 

Daniel is now entering his 4th year competing internationally among the best freedivers in the world. His relentless drive and passion for the sport has led him to become one of the top freedivers in the World.  He coaches himself along with his partner Kristin Kuba who is also one of the top female freedivers in the US.

 

In 2017, Daniel unofficially became the 3rd American to reach -100m/328ft. Almost exactly 1 year later he achieved breaking the U.S. national record and officially becoming the deepest self-propelled freediver in America diving to 102m/335ft. on a single breath of air in the most recognized freediving discipline, constant weight with the monofin.

Take a look at the Diveye video of Daniel's U.S. national record dive to -102m/335ft.

At the 2018 Cmas Freediving World Championships in Kas, Turkey Daniel set 2 new USA national records -85m Constant weight with Bi-fins and -95m/ 312ft. in the discipline of Free Immersion which also landed him the bronze medal. The 2018 Cmas freediving World Championships was the biggest competition of the year with 150 freedivers from over 30 countries and the first appearance of Team USA at the Cmas World Championships.

At the 2019 Asia Freediving Cup in Bohol, Philippines, Daniel set 2 new Continental Records in 2 days receiving a Gold and Silver medal in the disciplines of CWT and FIM. After a disappointing dive on the first day of the Asia Cup turning early on the dive, Daniel came back the 2nd day and ended up breaking the North American Continental CWT record diving to -105m, breaking legendary Eric Fattah's long standing record since 2011. The last day of the 3 pack Asia cup competition he continued to break the FIM continental record to -101m pushing the record -1m deeper than USA diver Kurt Chambers record on the previous day of the Asia cup.

In August of 2019, Daniel competed in the Caribbean Cup and Cmas World Championships. During the Caribbean Cup, Daniel received 2 bronze medals, one for his record breaking dive to -108m CWT and another for a -95m CWT bi-fins dive. Following this competition was the cmas freediving world championships where Daniel once again received a bronze medal for the second year in a row at the CMAS WC with a dive to the same depth in the Caribbean Cup to  repeating his-108m CWT NR. Daniel continues to represent the USA to the best of his ability year after year getting stronger and hopefully soon setting a World Record.

Records  and Medals

07/18/2018 USA NR CWT -102m/335ft ---- Vertical Blue Freediving Competition at Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas

10/06/2018 USA NR CWT Bi- Fins -85m/279ft ---- CMAS Freediving World Championships in Kas, Turkey

10/07/2018 USA NR FIM -95m/312ft ---- CMAS Freediving World Championships in Kas, Turkey

10/07/2018 Bronze Medalist ---- at the 2018 CMAS Freediving World Championships in Kas, Turkey

06/10/2019 USA CR and NR CWT -105m/345ft. ----2019 Aida Asia Freediving Cup in Bohol, Philippines

06/11/2019 USA CR,NR and Pan American record FIM -101m/331ft. ----2019 Aida Asia Freediving Cup in Bohol, Philippines

06/11/2019 Gold and Silver Medalist----2019 Aida Asia Freediving Cup in Bohol, Philippines

08/04/2019 USA CR and NR CWT -108m/ 354ft.---2019 Caribbean Cup in Roatan Honduras

08/07/2019 2x Bronze Medalist in CWT and CWT Bi-Fins ---2019 Caribbean Cup in Roatan Honduras

08/11/2019 Bronze Medalist in CWT ---2019 CMAS Freediving World Championships in Roatan, Honduras

DANIEL KOVAL

© 2018 by Daniel & Kristin.

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