North Carolina native, Ashley Futral Chapman, is undoubtedly leaving her mark on the world of competitive freediving. She took interest in the sport of freediving in 2008 as a means of spearfishing the North Carolina waters with her husband, Ren. Years of competitive experience have culminated in 3 world records and 14 national records.
Of her last world record she said,“ I knew I had the dive in me. I executed the dive twice before in practice with ease. I just needed to get beyond the pressure that comes with announcing a world record and it being the first day of the competition. My greatest strength in training has been my husband Ren who is my safety, my coach, my life partner — he takes care of everything else so I can simply just perform the dives I need to do.
Ashley has been away from competitive freediving for a couple years after giving birth to their daughter, Ani, in 2013. The 2016 competition season has established that she is back in form and picking up where she left off. “This training season has been a humbling one … and I’m grateful for that,” Chapman said. “I’ve been struggling with depth, and my no-fins dives have felt hard, but I have used the setback to work on dropping any pride that I’m carrying around. After failing yesterday’s record attempt and letting my pride creep in and make me sour, it felt great to let it all go and just focus on relaxing and being grateful for my dives and my beautiful family.”
Ren was raised in Wilmington, NC. From day one he was immersed in coastal living and was fortunate enough to have been raised with his toes in the marsh and estuaries of the area. He began freedive spearfishing in 2007 and has since made a name for himself in the spearfishing community as a videographer and underground producer of spearfishing videos with Searen Productions.
Ren is also an experienced safety diver for various international freediving competitions including PFI’s Deja Blue and has acted as Chief of safety for Suunto’s Vertical Blue, Caribbean Cup, The Big Blue and to include this year the Bonaire Deepsea Challenge. Ren also boasts the position as coach to his world record holding wife. In 2014 Ren assumed his most challenging and rewarding position to date as Ani’s father. Check out her first freediving video here: http://vimeo.com/98591873
“Freedive instruction has to be the most rewarding thing that I have ever done. When folks come into these courses and completely blow the doors off of their expectations, it is just amazing to see their excitement and it makes me feel like a million bucks because I helped get them there. Not only that, the skills which they have learned could very well save their life or the life of other’s. That’s what it’s all about.”