HelloMonaco : How did you get your passion for the sea ?
Pierre Frolla : My father was a spear-fisher and diver and my brother and I grew up knowing many stories about our father . He was an adventurer , a storyteller and was able to dive very deep in the water and catch big fish to feed all his family and friends . So , as youngsters , my brother and I wanted to discover his world share these adventures . But we were very young and they kept trying to put barriers to us to jump in the sea every day because we would go very deep and this is very dangerous for children . But we did it anyway . I was imagining that he was hiding a secret or a treasure or something like that under the wa ter . So when we were supposed to go to school , we would put our di ving gear in the bag and say , ok we ’ re going to school , and we didn ’ t ! We took the bag and went to the beach and started swimming and my passion started like that .
HM : How did you start your professional career as a free-diver ?
PF : It was totally unexpected because when I was very young I understood that adults had to work during the day and I saw them so sad to go work . I was afraid because I thought , oh my god , I will be sad all my life . But then I met adults that were happy and so passionate for their work . So I understood that if I wanted to be really happy I should follow my passion . I knew that my passion was the sea — marine sea life , diving and sport . So I decided to go to the university in Nice to become a teacher in diving and sports . And I was working very hard for that . While I was training for diving instruction , I broke the French record for diving . We decided , with my team , to officialise it . In 1997 , I did 72 metres , my first French record . I did a second and third French record . After , I did two European records , and became four world records for deep free-diving . But it was totally unexpected to become a world champion athlete . I wanted to be the best teacher in the world at diving and I became , for a time , the best free-diver in the world . And it was important for me to manage my career as an athlete while still teaching because it was really important for me to give lessons . Give the right tools to children and adults to help them build their own masterpiece and to share my passion of diving , marine sea life and protection of the environment .
HM : Do you differentiate your purpose in life from your job ? Or is it the same for you ?
PF : It is exactly the same for me . It is 100 % passion and pleasure . When I have a new goal , I try to find the possibilities and all the good tools that help make this goal come true . It ’ s very important to have challenges every day . Every month . Every year . Every time , you need a new challenge . And when you become a professional deep free-diver , it ’ s not like a tennis player , or a soccer player — they are great sports , but it ’ s totally different . In free-diving you have to think about something very important : when you go down , if you give up under the water , you die . If you are not well organised to do your dive , you die . And when you stop being an athlete and you jump into real life , it ’ s important you continue to do the same .
HM : What makes you happy ?
PF : I am very happy when I am happy . [ laughs ] Just decide to be . For example , two years ago , I had a big challenge : I had to make
If you are not in harmony , you are always fighting . And if you are fighting , there are only two issues : you win , or you die . If you are not fighting , life is cool .
a movie — not a doc but a real cinema movie with real actors . It was crazy . I was afraid , but I was so happy to be afraid for a new challenge . What made me happy was just to have a new goal and have difficulties to be able to reach it . Everyday life is a challenge . I don ’ t want to have things fall into my lap from the sky , I really want to deserve the things I get . Even a small thing — but if you have it because you deserve it , you ’ re the happiest person in the world . And I think I ’ m one of the happiest people in the world .
HM : Do you have difficulty moving from planning to action ?
PF : Yes , we all have the same difficulties when we plan something , but I think there are four important elements to be able to reach a goal : first of all , you have to make the unknown known . We are totally afraid about the things we don ’ t know ; but if we face it , if we make the unknown known , it is the first step . Next , you have to know who you are — that ’ s really important . You have to know what you want , but especially what you don ’ t want . The third element is you really have to be part of a team . Because alone , you accomplish nothing ; what you will be able to do is only because you will be helped by people who take care of you and you will take care of them . And after that , you need a plan . You need strong values and you have to follow a plan . When you have these four important elements , you can be ready to reach your goal .
HM : Do you need to be in harmony ?
PF : We all need harmony . When you free-dive , you go down very deep and the pressure is so strong and you can ’ t fight it . So you have to accept this pressure and become like water in the water . And to become part of the element , you have to be okay with yourself . You need harmony . And this is a lesson I ’ ve had every day since I was
Pierre Frolla with HSH Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco