|Born||January 18, 1962
|Other names||Francisco "Pipin" Ferreras|
Francisco Rodriguez, better known as Francisco 'Pipin' Ferreras (born January 18, 1962) is a Cuban free-diver renowned for his achievements in deep free diving and his relationship with his wife, Audrey Mestre.
Ferreras was born in Matanzas, on the northern coast of Cuba, and began to practice free-diving at the age of 5. "Pipin" was his nickname from childhood, and years later he added Ferreras.
Not much is known for certain about Ferreras's personal life in Cuba. He begun his underwater career in the little known sport of spearfishing. Pipin was introduced to the sport of free diving by some Italians who were visiting Cuba. They immediately recognized his talent. He fell in love with the sport and soon realized that, while spearfishing and diving for black coral, he routinely went as deep as the free diving champions. He decided to start competing in the sport and established his first world record at the age of 27. That was only the first of the 21 different world records he has set. From the late 1980s and onward he made a name of himself in the so-called "No-Limits"' discipline of freediving where he established his first known world record of 112 meters (367 ft) depth in November 1989. Shortly thereafter he defected to Italy and later migrated to Florida, United States. Through the 1990s he established a long series of World Records, often in close rivalry with Italian Umberto Pelizzari. During this phase, Ferreras' last logged record dive reached a depth of 162 meters (531 ft) in January 2000, 12 meters deeper than Pelizzari's deepest record.
In 1996, Ferreras established the sports association International Association of Freedivers (IAFD) in direct opposition to the organization AIDA, but this had limited sportive success and closed in 2004. All of Ferreras' record dives of this era were conducted within the ambit of IAFD.
Relationship with Audrey Mestre
Ferreras had two defunct marriages behind him when in 1996, he met French-born Mexican-national Audrey Mestre who was also a freediver herself. In 1999 they married, and quickly the two became a regular record-breaking couple in the sport of freediving, dividing men and women's records between them.
On October 12, 2002, Mestre died in an early attempt to break the 160 meters no-limits world record that Tanya Streeter had established a few weeks before on August 17, 2002 (it was at the time both men and women's official AIDA record), in a setup that didn't match common freediving safety standards. Much of the diving community critique went to Ferreras who had hurried an underfunded organisation for this new record attempt that was previously planned at a later date, notably with too few safety divers, lacking proper rescue equipment, with no doctors at sea and shore. In a no-limits freedive, the standard diving method is holding on to a weighted sled to the target depth, and there open a pressurized air tank that fills a large inflatable balloon which carries the freediver back to the surface. On Mestre's fatal dive, this air tank was empty when Mestre reached her target depth of 171 meters (561 ft). Ferreras was in charge of Mestre's air tank. Mestre was not recovered to the surface until nine minutes into her dive, and at that point it was too late to revive her. It was Ferreras who dove from the surface in scuba gear and recovered Mestre's passed-out body.
A year after her death, Ferreras completed a no-limits dive to match Mestre's depth of 171 meters.
Relationship with Nina Ferreras
On June 21, 2012, in Miami, Florida, Pipin married Juscelina Cacau Melo, a Canadian former South Beach model, also known in the diving world as Nina Ferreras.
After Audrey’s accident, Ferreras wrote “The Dive”, which became an international bestseller. James Cameron then acquired the movie rights and will be producing the film. Oscar Winner actress Jennifer Lawrence, star of The Hunger Games, Silver Linings, Joy, has been casted to play Audrey Mestre, Francis Lawrence, director of "The Hunger Games", is directing. This movie is being compared to James Cameron’s earlier blockbuster movie, Titanic, and is scheduled to be released in 2017.
Pipin Ferreras holds a total of 21 registered world records and 41 overall world records.
Constant weight ( descent and ascent without auxiliaries )
On 1990 - 63 meters. On 1992 - 68 meters.
Variable weight ( descent with ballast of 30 kg and lift arms )
On 1990 - 92 meters. On 1993 - 96 meters.
Tilting absolute "no limits " ( descent with ballast from the free weight and lift with ball )
On 1989 - 112 meters. On 1991 - 115 meters. On 1992 - 120 meters. On 1993 - 125 meters. On 1994 - 126 meters. On 1994 - 127 meters. On 1995 - 128 meters. On 2000 - 162 meters. On 2003 - 170 meters.
Ferreras’ last record setting dive was to 171 meters in 2003. He refused to go any deeper at the time, as he only wanted to match his late wife's (Audrey Mestre) last and deepest dive, in honor of her memory. Then he went into a period of mourning. A few years later, he has reemerged and refocused his energies. On February 20th, 2016 he will attempt to set a new Guinness World Record. This event and scientific experiment is called "The Challenge of Science", which has been 15 years in the making.
- Alejandro Avilleira (2002). "'Pipín' Ferreras homenajea a su mujer bajo el agua". El Mundo. Retrieved 2015-08-06.
- "Audrey's last dive". 2002. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
- "Audrey Mestre - The Truth Behind the Deep (HD)". 2013.
- "After wife's death record setting diver Pipin Ferreras announces comeback". 2015. Retrieved 2013-09-25.
- Justin Kroll (2015). "Jennifer Lawrence Dives Into James Cameron-Produced Biopic". Variety. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
- Deeperblue.net, a popular website for discussion and news
- Website about The Last Attempt, a book by Carlos Serra
- Youtube clip with Ferreras
- Youtube clip with Mestre and Ferreras (Italian)