Hanli Prinsloo

Freediver and conservationist

Big Blue. That's the movie most people reference when they hear the word freediver. That is until they meet Hanli Prinsloo � 11 times South African freediving record holder, marine conservationist and professional storyteller. In the movie of her life Prinsloo's love affair with freediving starts in Sweden, aged 19, while she is completing a two-year master class in film and cultural project management. Enamoured, but not yet ready to settle down with her new love, she works briefly as an actor in Sweden before making her way behind the camera, first as a stringer for news channels and later as a filmmaker, shooting on the frontlines of sociopolitical conflicts in Burundi, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Fast forward to 2006 and Prinsloo returns home, eager to embrace her country and the oceans in all their depth, complexity and beauty. Today, at 32, Prinsloo still competes internationally, gives courses, is a motivational speaker and writes articles, mainly about her first love � the ocean. She has trained many of South Africa's top athletes and her work with some of the world's leading big-wave surfers has won her international acclaim. As the founder of the Water Ocean Conservation Trust, a programme that aims to foster ocean conservation through human experience, Prinsloo gets to share stories about her ocean adventures with people who wouldn't normally have access to the oceans' vast reaches. It's not always easy being the poster girl for minority sports and issues without any guidelines or support. But she's not complaining. For her efforts she has been nominated for Cosmo Awesome Women of the Year, Outthere Adventurer of the Year, Gsport Women in Sport and the Johnnie Walker Celebrating Strides Awards. And if you're wondering how long she can hold her breath, while floating face down in the water, the answer is sure to leave you gasping � five minutes, 39 seconds. It's the South African record. � Cat Pritchard

Website: iamwater.co.za Blog: hanliprinsloo.com Twitter: @hanliprinsloo