Meet our team

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Arnaud Simons

After living for a while in Morocco where he worked for the Dutch embassy as a press and cultural affairs attaché, Arnaud resumed his studies in management, environment and development in Belgium then headed to Southeast Asia.

 

He’s since then been sharing his time between environmental projects and freediving. 

 

He became a freediving instructor late 2017 under Apnea Total, and then crossed over to AIDA a year later.

At the time he co-founded Apnea Green late 2019, he was working for the environmental organization Ocean Quest Global on a campaign to better involve local communities in the processes of reef rehabilitation through freediving.

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Patrick  Swartenbroekx

Patrick started freediving in 2013 and was directly hooked. He became an instructor four years later and continues training, competing and coaching until today. In 2019 he grabbed a Belgian national record in the "constant weight bifins" discipline... Definitely hooked. 

 
Discovering freediving was a radical change in his life. For the last eight years, he had been working as a logistician and a project coordinator for the medical NGO “Médecins Sans Frontières”, in different emergency contexts and conflict zones. After this intense period, the practice of freediving gave him the opportunity to breathe and to find another perspective of development.


He arrived in Panglao end of 2017 and settled down there, with the idea of practicing freediving and developing a project in permaculture and bioconstruction.

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Imam Eldio Gulisan

Eldio is a member of the Sama tribe, and the imam of his community in Sagrada Seaside, Davao.
 

He made a name for himself in 2013 when he competed in the First Kadayawan Sama Free Diving Contest where he dove an underwater depth of 157 feet for three minutes on the first round and 199 feet on the second round for two minutes.
 

While many freedivers engage in this activity for fun or development, Imam dives for his family, as a spearfisher. He and his wife have ten children.
 

During his whole life, he’s been organizing numerous programs to help his community, and over the last few years his diving and social work brought him the interest of international media companies such as HBO or more recently, Netflix.

 

Elaina O'Brien

Elaina is an AIDA and SSI level 2 freedive and mermaid instructor from Ireland. She founded and developed the Eco Warrior Mermaid program, an organization that raises environmental awareness through art. The program focuses on environmental concerns and best practices among children and young adults by reaching them through mermaid-related activities.
 

Elaina is an ocean advocate currently studying Coastal and Marine Management in Iceland. She is editorial coordinator and ambassador for the Arctic Youth Network and member of ORCireland. 
 

Sports enthusiast, lifeguard, outdoor adventurer, spinning and freediving instructor, Elaina is a national record holder with a static breath hold of over 6 minutes. 

Grace

Grace comes from the Manobo Indigenous tribe in Mindanao. She started her career with the NGO's “Balsa Mindanao" and "Community-Based Health Services Association - Mindanao" in order to bring help and relief to the  local communities in need in the rural zones around Mindanao.

There, she organised different social services and support programs like primary health care, food and basic needs distribution, shelter development support, logistic support, and environmental education. She also gave several lectures in different Universities in Manilla as an advocate for human rights, climate justice, and genuine sustainability for the rural communities in Mindanao.

Once in Panglao, Grace learned to swim and got her level one freediving certification. With Apnea Green, she found a way to link local community development, environmental justice, and freediving.

Jose Puma

Jose is a passionate freediving instructor, born and raised in the beautiful Northern Mindanao area.

Like almost every one of his friends, after finishing university he went to a big city and started a career in the corporate world. After a few years into that stressful life, his doctor told him he had a life-long autoimmune condition called psoriatic arthritis, that got triggered by his stressful lifestyle.

At that point, he decided his life had to change. It was in 2015. He went back to live in Mindanao, made health his priority, and… discovered freediving!

Freediving enabled him to deeply connect with the beauty of nature, with the beauty of our ocean and its inhabitants and made him realize that our bodies are meant to be treated as sacred vessels.

Jose provides free safety and freediving training to the spear fishers in Northern Mindanao.