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Daniel Koval

Daniel Koval

Hawaii

Athlete

Daniel loved the water as a kid and grew up in Orange, California, always an athlete throughout his childhood starting with Soccer and moving from sport to sport trying to find the sport he liked the most. He had a hard childhood as his parents split up at the age of 12. Due to the split his family was poor staying with other families while his mom worked as hard as she could to keep her 3 kids in private schools. With the chaos of the divorce that lasted 5 years going back and forth from home to home, Daniel's only escape was sports, and once in a while waking up at 4am to catch some surf before school with his brother.

However, because the ocean was an hour away the inconsistency caused Daniel to never really find his place in the water when he was surfing, trying to compete with adults for waves.

Using sports as an outlet to combat what was going on in his life, Daniel wanted to disappear from the world, and realized that when he was underwater all the troubles in his life would cease to exist. After a trip to Hawaii with his grandparents to the same spot where he now trains full time for his competitions, Daniel realized this is where he wanted to be, it was so quiet beneath the sea and in nature. On Daniel's 19th birthday with $1000 in his pocket he moved to Hawaii to change his life.

After a few years of spearfishing by himself, Daniel reached out to Martin Stepanek (13 time freediving world record holder) with Freediving instructors International (Fii), he took Daniel under his wing to show him the ropes of deep diving in 2010. Daniel became a freediving instructor and made huge progress when working alongside Martin, who later became a role model, guide and close friend.

He progressed quickly in spearfishing and was placing top 10 in every spearfishing tournament he entered and placed first in the Triple crown of spearfishing tournament against the best spear fisherman in Hawaii. The French international diving company “Beuchat” put Daniel on their international spearfishing team becoming the first American ever to be brought on the team. He was committed to their team for 3 years when he decided to pursue a career in competitive freediving.

Daniel is now entering his 4th year competing internationally among the best freedivers in the world. His relentless drive and passion for the sport has led him to become one of the top freedivers in the World. He coaches himself along with his partner Kristin Kuba who is also one of the top female freedivers in the US.

He is currently the US national record holder in multiple disciplines with his current deepest record of 108m/354ft in CWT with a monofin. His achievements in competitions have earned him many medals including a bronze medal two years in a row for the CMAS World Championships putting America back on the podium at elite level international competitions. Daniel is continuing his training and preparing himself for more years of competitive freediving and seeing what new depths he will be able to achieve.


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