Austrian deep-diver Christian Redl also known as the 'iceman,' dares to follow his dream - GulfToday

Austrian deep-diver Christian Redl, also known as the 'Iceman,' dares to follow his dream


Austrian ice diver Christian Redl dives with green turtle Puppi at the aquarium of the Haus des Meeres Zoo in Vienna.

Everyone has a passion and would love to follow it, but very few dare to.


It takes a lot of courage to stand on the other side of the road, while people criticise you and try to pull you down for thinking differently from them.


But the ones who hold on to their dream, achieve greatness.


Austrian ice diver and 43-year-old former investment banker Christian Redl is pulled out of the water after his blackout in his latest record bid.


Deep-diving record holder Christian Redl, also known fondly as ‘The Iceman,’ is one of a kind.


His determination and courage to take the road less travelled has made him a record holder and a renowned diver.


 His latest record attempt wasn’t meant to end this way: being hauled to the surface of Austria's frozen Weissensee lake after losing consciousness in the icy waters.


Redl  had suffered a blackout, something he sees as par for the course in his quest to break the record for the deepest dive under ice.


Christian Redl concentrates shortly before trying to dive.

The Austrian, who has had similar blackouts before, is part of a small group of freedivers in the world specialising in diving under ice.


His aim was to dive 71 metres (233 feet) deep into the Weissensee – itself covered in 30 centimetres (12 inches) of ice – braving the two degree Celsius (35.6-degree Fahrenheit) water wearing just a wetsuit and fins.


 Drowned corpse roles


At 30, Redl quit his job as an investment banker to become a professional freediver, supporting himself with teaching and occasional acting work.


His ability to hold his breath under water for up to six minutes has given him a somewhat macabre niche of drowned corpse roles.


Christian Redl reacts shortly after being resuscitated, as he is pulled out of the water unconscious.


His first record came in 2003, a 90-metre horizontal distance dive under ice.


In preparation for his latest attempt, perhaps surprisingly Redl only did one practice dive on the Weissensee itself, otherwise sticking to an indoor pool on the outskirts of Vienna.


' You will die'


As for his hardest dive to date, Redl says that came on Nepal's Gokyo lake at an altitude of 5,160 metres, requiring him to undertake six months of training to deal with the lack of oxygen.


"The first 10 doctors said 'it is impossible, you will die'," Redl said.


Redl was being hauled to the surface of Austria's frozen Weissensee lake after losing consciousness in the icy waters.


"The 11th one said 'yes, you will die, but it's a cool project'. So I concentrated on the second part of this sentence."


Ernest Turnschek, who owns a diving school at Weissensee and has known Redl for more than 20 years, says an increasing number of "hard core" divers have been coming to the lake to try their hand at ice diving.




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When he first considered teaching ice diving 30 years ago, many found it laughable.


Nevertheless, Redl has said he may not be able to resist another attempt to re-conquer the record.

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