[Luxus Magazine] Jacques Mayol: the dolphin man’s sporting and spiritual quest

Featured in an Arte documentary, freediver Jacques Mayol has left his mark on the sport. With his extraordinary physiology and almost mystical approach, he became the first man to free dive to a depth of 100 metres.


The term “April fool” fits him perfectly. Born on 1 April 1927 in Shanghai, China, little Jacques Mayol spent his summers with his family in Japan. From an early age, the child played in the water and was fascinated by the sea. He was fascinated by the “amas”, or women of the sea in Japanese, who freed-fish for oysters and shellfish. At the age of 6, Jacques Mayol learned to dive and pursued this abyssal ambition throughout his life.


Born to be in the water


At the start of the Second World War, the teenager and his family moved to Marseille. It was an Eldorado for the young man who spent his time in the creeks. In 1948, Jacques Mayol, driven by his thirst for adventure, travelled the world. After visiting Morocco, Sweden, Denmark and Canada, he settled with his wife and two children in Miami, Florida.

While working at the city’s Seaquarium, he became close to the female dolphin Clown, with whom he formed a very powerful relationship. A bond that Jacques Mayol explains by the common characteristics between man and animal, in particular the ability to hold one’s breath to stay in the water. It was a revelation.

Jacques Mayol divorced his wife in 1957 and went off to live on his own, separated from his family.


The adventurer of all records


In 1961, the Italian Enzo Maiorca shook the freediving world by descending to a depth of just over 50 metres. It was both a sporting and scientific record, despite the fact that doctors and emergency doctors were convinced that his chest cavity would be crushed by the pressure.


Click here to read the full article on Luxus Magazine.

Front page photo: © “Jacques Mayol – The Dolphin Man”.

Picture of Pauline Duvieu
Pauline Duvieu
Fashion, hotels, gastronomy, jewelry, beauty, design... Pauline Duvieu is a journalist specializing in luxury and the art of living. Passionate about the high-end spheres that arouse emotion, she loves to describe the creations of the houses and tell the stories of the talents she meets.

Our services

©2023 Luxus Plus. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up now to receive sneak previews of our programs and articles!

Launch offer:

Your participation in the Camille Fournet Masterclass reserved for annual subscriber !

Luxus Plus Newsletter