Champion freediver Eric Pan joins the Bay Area freediving community
It’s only been one and a half years since Eric moved to the Bay Area. While still getting used to the cold water at Lake Berryessa, Eric has already embraced the vibrant passion within the freediving community here and plunged into freediving training and organizing.

As a ‘stereotypical’ Bay Area resident, Eric has a full-time job unrelated to diving: data scientist at a tech company. Therefore he’s only able to train in the ocean for about two months each year. To make up for that, Eric utilizes his data science background to design and manage his freediving training program, including pool and altitude training. He collects and analyzes the training data which underpin his rapid progress in the world of competitive freediving, adding 6-7 meters to his personal best each year.
Eric is one of the deepest divers on the West Coast and the U.S. He is famous for his stability, consistency, and endurance in intensive competitions where divers only have a single chance to hit their target depth.

Eric set four National Records for China in Vertical Blue 2021 and represented China in the 2023 World Championship. He was among the few athletes who competed in all four disciplines and received four white cards. Once again he claimed four national records: CWT at 88m, FIM at 83m, CNF at 55m, and CWTB at 82m. Soon after that, he participated in the 10th Azul Freediving Challenge in the beautiful cenotes and won 2 gold medals in FIM and CWTB.

Eric dives 72m at Vertical Blue

One of the most unique features of Eric's style is his equalization technique. Utilizing a hands-free approach with a mask, he is able to dive to a depth of 88m, making him one of the deepest divers globally using this technique. This distinctive method requires him to equalize not only his ears but also the mask, a challenge that, in turn, rewards him with unparalleled relaxation and clear visibility in the deep blue. For Eric, wearing a mask during the dive creates a meaningful and cherished connection to the aquatic world.

Freedivers savor their underwater odyssey through various lenses—the enchanting camaraderie with inspiring individuals, the amazing marine animals, the shared tales and laughter over beachside beers, and the profound tranquility and joy found in the deep blue expanse. Yet, for Eric, it transcends the ordinary; his passion extends to a therapeutic communion with the sea. He becomes entranced by the free fall into the ocean, sensing his integration with nature and harmonizing with equilibrium within his heart. Each of these elements serves as a powerful catalyst, fueling his unwavering determination to fall deeper.

Growing up in a landlocked city in northeast China, Eric had never dived into the ocean until he was 22. Despite being an avid swimmer for many years, he never thought one day he would be that obsessed with the ocean. It was his first freediving class in an aquarium that made him realize his love and talent for freediving. From there, his freediving journey officially began. This journey has taken him far far away, and he wants to spread this joy to more and more people around him.

That was Eric’s initial motivation to become an instructor. He used to teach freediving in Chicago, Hawaii, and LA. Later he also started to train intermediate freedivers by organizing pool training sessions. As an experienced bilingual instructor, he is respected and valued by his students and he is looking to begin teaching again in the Bay Area.

Beyond his roles as a competitor and instructor, Eric serves as a judge and event organizer, and has judged the 2023 UNU Tampa Bay Challenge (U.S. National Pool Competition). He is currently collaborating with Fins and Foam to organize the first depth competition in Northern California, support beginner and intermediate level athletes, and share the water bliss with a broader community.