North Carolina native, Ashley Futral Chapman, is leaving her mark on competitive freediving. She took interest in the sport in 2008 as a means of spearfishing the North Carolina waters with her husband, Ren. After struggling with shallow 50 foot dives she decided to accompany Ren to the Cayman Islands for their first PFI Intermediate freediving course. In just 4 days, Ashley propelled herself from 50 feet to over 122 feet. Hooked, she trained for the summer and traveled with Ren to Egypt to compete for the first time as an alternate with Team USA. While in Egypt, with the help of PFI founder, Kirk Krack, she managed to increase her depth to 180 feet. The US women earned the silver medal.
Ashley and Ren spent 2009 earning their PFI instructor certifications. In 2010 Ashley got back into the competitive circuit. Since then she has competed in multiple competitions around the globe including PFI’s Deja Blue where she has earned 2 world records and 5 national records, all in depth. In 2012 she traveled to Nice, France to compete in the Team World Championship this time as a competitor and co-captain. Here she earned a national record in the pool. 2012 also brought her to Suunto’s Vertical Blue. In November of 2012 Ashley managed to clench 4 more depth national records making her the deepest woman in the US. She also earned another world record in CNF. At Vertical Blue she plunged down to 220 feet surfacing confidently and clenching a new world record.
“ 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 — he takes care of everything else so I can simply just dive.”
Ashley has been teaching freediving with her husband, Ren, in NC and abroad from their sailboat. They spend most Summers back home in NC where courses include tips on spearfishing and diving with sharks! Winter and Spring months are spent abroad focusing instruction in the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Roatan Honduras and the Florida Keys. Ashley has begun a new and possibly the most challenging adventure of her life as she and Ren have welcomed a new addition, Ani, to their family October 5, 2013.