It has been announced overnight that the Canadian based freediving training agency 'Performance Freediving International' will be joining International Training, Inc.
Currently International Training, Inc. (ITI) is made up of three training divisions: ERDI (Emergency Response Diving International), SDI (Scuba Diving International) and TDI (Technical Diving International). It is logical that ITI would want to branch into the freediving market, and it makes business sense to acquire high level expertise, rather than re-invent the wheel.
When the opportunity to join with what we believe is the premier freediving agency in the world, PFI, we jumped at it. Brian Carney
Kirk Krack (pronounced Krock) is the founder and CEO of PFI. He is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the professional aspects of freediving education, instruction and safety. Krack is also Hollywood's 'go to guy' for bespoke freediving education and he has trained the likes of Tom Cruise and Sigourney Weaver to freedive for specific film roles. What is less well know is that Krack has a solid tech diving pedigree. During the mid 90's Kirk Krack ran IANTD's second Canadian technical training facility, before relocating to work as an IANTD trimix instructor trainer at Dive Tech, and avidly exploring Cayman walls to a depth of 150 mt / 500 ft. He also served as a Director for IANTD Canada.
I knew from a very early age when I was skin diving off the family sailboat, that I would spend my life in the water. Kirk Krack
Kirk has always had an affinity for the water. He passed his open water scuba diver course in 1984 when he was 15, having spent his early teens as a lifeguard and swimming instructor in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. In 1988 he attended PADI Canada College in British Columbia and completed the PADI Pro Plus program. When he wasn't diving he was freediving, and he would often spend his day's off embracing his freediving passion when he worked as a full-time pro in Cayman. It was inevitable that Krack would become a freediving Pro.
In 1997 Kirk Krack was appointed head of safety for the 'Cayman Challenge'. This was a Pipin Ferraras no-limits freediving event and Kirk was responsible for organising the safety team and videographers throughout the water column to 120 mt / 400 ft. to 400fsw. Kirk continued to build his in-water freediving experience. He subsequently combined his knowledge of water-related physics and physiology and began training athletes in competitive freediving, chief amongst these was fellow Canadian, Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, who later became his wife.
Mandy-Rae Cruickshank-Krack is also a water baby and loved being in the water from a very young age. Aged 9, Cruickshank-Krack started competing as a synchronized swimmer, and she did this for four years, competing nationally. As soon she was able to learn to dive, she became a certified PADI scuba diver at 15, subsequently qualifying as a PADI Instructor on 3 December 1994.
It's this sense of calm and belonging. The ocean draws you in and makes you want to come back. Mandy-Rae Cruickshank-Krack
Mandy-Rae also worked as a fulltime dive professional. She started at the bottom and worked her way up. Along the way she got into more adventurous diving and became one of the first female gas blenders in Canada. She attained her PADI Course Director qualification in September 2000, and worked for PADI Canada and managed Rowands Reef Scuba Shop in Vancouver.
Cruickshank-Krack got into freediving by accident in 2000. She had already done her nitrox and deep air training with Kirk Krack in the mid-90s. When Kirk Krack left Cayman and returned to Vancouver he met up with Mandy-Rae and started talking about freediving. She decided to see what freediving was all about and later stated "it was an instant addiction and a challenge I had been missing."
Mandy-Rae was soon successfully competing and taking records. In 2004 she captained the Canadian free-diving team that competed at the AIDA World Freediving Championships, where the women's team (Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, Jade Leutenegger and Jessica Apedaile) took first place. Mandy-Rae Cruickshank-Krack subsequently achieved seven world records and 13 Canadian national records.
The philosophies of both companies are very much in line with each other, high standards taught by professional educators. Brian Carney, ITI
PFI joins ITI
Not many people are aware that Brian Carney, President of International Training, started freediving in 1989 when he was at the University of Rhode Island. He ended up competing in a number of freediving / spearfishing competitions, including three national championships.
Brian Carney stated "We have been looking to develop a freediving programme for a number of years. When the opportunity to join with what we believe is the premier freediving agency in the world, Performance Freediving International, we jumped at it. What Kirk and Mandy Krack have developed is the basis for all the freediving programmes everywere. Very much like TDI for technical diving. The philosophies of both companies are very much in line with each other, high standards taught by professional educators."
Our focus on innovative and industry ground breaking educational products instead of market share has always been our hallmark and why we have the highest instructor training standards out there. Kirk Krack, CEO / Founder PFI
Kirk Krack stated “I’m excited that PFI is joining the ITI brand of companies that include TDI and SDI. I’ve been a TDI instructor trainer since the late 90’s and have always been impressed with their forward thinking, adherence to the highest standards and industry leading customer service. We’re looking forward to taking PFI to a new level both for our customers and our professional members.
Our focus on innovative and industry ground breaking educational products instead of market share has always been our hallmark and why we have the highest instructor training standards out there. ITI recognizes this and now PFI with a full time customer service center, product development department, a professional marketing group and an amazing management team, we can now realize the full vision for PFI that we’ve been working towards since it’s inception almost 20 years ago. Watch for amazing things ahead.”