ABOUT DONNY MAC
At the age of 12 I found an old VHS tape in my fathers cabinet. On that tape was the movie Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue), directed by Luc Besson. This movie evoked in me some very special feelings and I was drawn to this romantic idea of the freediver.
While this is the most cliched of freediver origin stories it is true in my case. The idea to learn freediving resurfaced many times over the years. Discovering the beauty of the underwater world for the first time on Crete, snorkelling, still too scared to go deeper than my height in the water.
Again in Thailand, I saw a freediving school and considered going there. I practiced breath-holding in the shallows of the beaches by myself, but at the time I was suffering severe anxiety attacks and was worried about what might happen to me under the water if I lost control.
Not until the age of 33 did I take my first course, at Freedive Gili, the amazing school of Mike Board on Gili Trawangan in Indonesia.
From the very first time I was dropped into the open ocean I felt like I was returning home. The longing I had felt for a place that suited my soul had come to an end.
In the 6 years since then I have fully devoted myself to the amazing world of breath-hold diving. I started the Freediving Café Podcast, setting out to interview the worlds best and most interesting freedivers to learn everything I could about going deeper, more comfortably.
I started the first real ‘international’ freediving school in Taiwan on the tropical gem of an island, Xiao Liuqiu. Freedive Taiwan is still going strong and welcomes you to learn freediving in this beautiful and surprising little country.
I have continually strived to improve myself, wear down my negative habits and become healthier in body and mind, in part to improve my freediving, in part as a result of freediving.
I love diving deep, and wish to dive as deep as my potential allows, enjoying the challenge, the stillness, the attention and the flow of the deep ocean. Returning to the surface after a deep dive is like being reborn, refreshed and recentred.
As an eductaor and coach, I aim to teach freediving with the benefit of my unique perspective. After teaching hundreds of students I have realised that most freediving courses are too rushed for most students.
I offer courses that take a little longer, but give the person more time in the water. This allows me to work with them more personally and we incorporate complementary practices into the courses such as yoga and meditation, which loosen the body and mind-stuff of the learner, allowing them to yield more to the water.
As someone who has struggled with traumas, anxiety and addictions through my life, I believe the water and the depths are healing on many levels. I believe we can all benefit from the healing of the ocean and try to open my students up to that possibility.
Feel free to contact me to talk about anything freediving related, I will always take the time to answer your questions. And dive safe!
Emerging from that first 70 metre dive at the Taiwanese Cup followed by the ‘safety angels’. Notice the current affecting the line!
With his beloved Roxana at Freedive Taiwan.