Weh Island is a paradise north of Sumatra. Sabang is located on the island. (Shutterstock/File)
When thinking about beach destinations in Indonesia, the top-of-mind places are usually Bali and Lombok. Rarely does the Sabang City in Aceh make it into the list of favorite places for underwater activities, while in reality the city actually has plenty to offer for marine tourism.
Take the Sail Sabang 2017 event, for example, it’s one of the highly anticipated events by the Tourism Ministry and will be held from Nov. 28 until Dec. 5 in Sabang.
The event will have 24 activities, among which include Sabang Underwater Contest, fishing competition and freediving competition.
The latter one is a form of underwater sports that relies on divers’ ability to hold their breath as long as they can until resurfacing.
The competition will run from Nov. 26 until Dec.1 and it has so far attracted 40 international diving athletes to participate.
To compete in this sport, the athletes need to spare some time ahead of the competition to prepare themselves.
“The competition is next week and they are already here, they need to train. You can’t reach a certain level of depth in short time, you need to adapt and do a survey,” explained Stanley Sradaputta, a freediving expert who assists divers in the event.
One of the early-comers is world-record holder William Trubridge from New Zealand.
“I just finished my first training for Sail Sabang Freediving Competition, Sabang has a beautiful ocean,” said William.
During his first training, he managed to descend 90 meters down amid the nice weather. “Waves are great, the clarity of the water is good. The entire condition is exciting for us freedivers,” he added.
Through this freediving competition, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya is pushing for freediving to be developed by the locals in Sabang. He saw that the seas in Sabang are beautiful and deep enough to do this kind of sports activity. (asw)