By Nayera El-Zeki
“Napolean said impossible is not French, I say impossible is not Egyptian”, that’s what Ahmed Gabr said when we first asked him about his breaking of the Guinness World Record for the deepest dive in the male category.
Egyptian Dive Instructor, Trainer and Examiner Ahmed Gabr currently holds the Guinness World Record for the deepest dive, after he broke South African Diver Nuno Gomes’ record of 318.25 meters last September in Egypt’s very own Dahab. Only three people in the world have managed to carry through such a challenging feat, and now 40-year-old Egyptian Officer of The Armed Forces Ahmed Gabr is proudly taking lead.
In our interview with him, he discussed the importance of discipline, the significance of sports in a human being’s life, and of course the beauty of diving.
1. What encouraged you to pursue the sport, even though it wasn’t widespread in Egypt back then?
It was curiosity. Just knowing that there is a parallel world down there that is unexplored yet did it for me. We’ve explored the land element of the world already, so I thought I should explore the water element
2. How does it feel when you’re so deep under the endless meters of water?
You don’t have the luxury to feel anything under great depths, you have to be robotic. Everything has to be carefully calculated and accounted for; you lose your life with the slightest mistake.
3. How many locations have you dived in?
I dived in the states when I was there on scholarship, and in several spots in Egypt, Deep South including Quoseir, Marsa Allam and Sinai. Sudan is also one of the great spots.
4. Where was your favorite diving spot?
I learned how to dive in Hurghada, so that’s always a favorite. And Marsa Allam.
You get more mature in diving with time. There’s no place for a big ego when you’re in the depths. I usually don’t go for the dive if I’m overly confident about it.
6. Why did you decide you were going to try and break the Guinness World Record?
There were two reasons, the first being a spiritual one I would like to keep to myself, and the other is for the sake of scientific research. I wanted to know how far the human body can go, now we know 332.35 meters is possible.
7. What was the worst situation you’ve ever encountered under water?
During the record dive, I got High Pressure Nervous Syndrome at 290 meters so I had to stop and reassess myself for a couple of seconds, but then I went on and broke the record. It was a very stressful dive.
8.What are your upcoming plans?
I’m currently making a documentary with National Geographic which will be released sometime around January, and I’m going on the deepest shipwreck dive also around the same time. We’re also having an environmental cleanup event where we will be inviting all Egyptian divers to join us in Magawish sometime around February.