Enzo Majorca learned to swim when 4 years old and soon began to dive, although, according to his own confession, he always had a great fear of the sea. In 1956 a friend showed him an article about a new depth record to 41 meters set by spearfishing champions Ennio Falco and Alberto Novelli. Majorca was strongly influenced by the article and decided to begin competing in order to achieve the title of "man who reaches the deepest. He achieved this in 1960, when he reached 45 meters to beat Brazilian Amerigo Santarelli. However that same year, Santarelli reclaimed the title by reaching 46 meters, which Majorca soon surpassed by reaching 49 meters.
In 1967 Majorca ceased spearfishing, although still competing in freediving. He explained in an interview how he abandoned spearfishing:
"It all happened suddenly. I was diving in the shallows not far from the cape that reaches out to the open sea south of the bay of Syracuse. That morning I happened to spear a grouper. A strong and combative grouper. On the bottom a real titanic struggle broke out, between me who wanted to take its life and the grouper who tried to save itself. The grouper was caught in a cavity between two rocks, trying to understand its, I ran my right hand down the fish's belly. Its heart was pounding in terror, mad with fear. And with that pulsing of blood I realized that I was killing a living being. Since then my speargun lies like a derelict, an archaeological item, in the dusty basement of my house. That was in 1967."
On 22 September 1974, in the Bay of Ieranto (or 'Jeranto') at the Western end of the Gulf of Salerno, Majorca attempted to establish a new world record for freediving, aiming for the depth of 90 meters. The event was televised live, for the first time in the history of RAI (the Italian national broadcasting corporation). Just 6 meters (20 feet) into his dive, Majorca bumped into Enzo Bottesini, an expert scuba instructor, and upon resurfacing he let out a string of strong expletives, many of which were clearly audible to the television audience, before the director could intervene by turning off the audio signal. His outburst cost him a ban on television for many years, and led to his retirement from competition freediving for over a decade.
In 1988, on the occasion of his daughters Patrizia and Rossana (both known for holding a number of freediving world records in their own right), Majorca returned to freediving to take his final record of 101 meters.
During his career, Majorca had some well-known rivalries: the most famous were with the Brazilian Amerigo Santarelli (who retired from the sport in 1963), then Teteke Williams, Robert Croft and Jacques Mayol.
Subsequent career and activities
From 1994 to 1996, he was elected to the Senate for the Alleanza Nazionale party. Majorca also appeared on Lineablu, a RAI broadcast news series, from 2000 to 2002.
1960 September depth 45 Meters
1960 November depth 49 Meters
1962 August depth 51 Meters
1964 August depth 53 Meters
1965 August depth 54 Meters
1966 November depth 62 Meters
1967 September depth 64 Meters
1968 August depth 69 Meters
1969 August depth 72 Meters
1970 August depth 74 Meters
1971 August depth 77 Meters
1972 August depth 78 Meters
1973 August depth 80 Meters
1974 September depth 87 Meters
1986 depth 91 Meters
1987 depth 94 Meters
1988 depth 101 Meters
August 1961 50 Meters
August 1972 57 Meters
August 1973 58 Meters
September 1976 60 Meters
1978 52 Meters (new regulation)
1979 55 Meters
Gold Medal of the President of the Republic (1964) for athletic prowess
Ustica Golden Trident
CONI's Literary Award for his book "Headlong into the blue" (1976)
Sport merits Gold Star from CONI
Gold Medal of Merit Marina (not only for sports but also for the defense of the environment, 2006).
His 80th birthday was celebrated in La Spezia with the conferring of the Award of the Maritime Festival.
Majorca is the author of several books:
A headlong into the blue: the life and business of a world record. Milan, ed. Murcia, 1977.
Under the sign of Tanit. Milan, Rizzoli, 1980.
School apnea - let's dive with the greatest diver of all time, photographs and technical advice from Guido pegs. Rome, ed. Cuba, 1982.
Majorca co-starred as himself, in the film Challenge on the Bottom, directed in 1975 by Melchiade Coletti. For the occasion is voiced by Pino Locchi.
The match between Maiorca and Jacques Mayol inspired the fim Le Grand Bleu, by Luc Besson. Dated 1988 The Big Blue, the movie was shown in Italy only in 2002 due to the resistance to it by Enzo Majorca. Recognizing his own caricature into the character of Enzo Molinari, Majorca considered his appearance as grotesque and detrimental to his image. After the death (2001) of Jacques Mayol and the Majorca's retirement from competitions, he relented, and the film was shown.