There is nothing like the feeling of diving into the deep without the constrictions of a tank on your back and regulator in your mouth. And you can sneak up on fish without the bubbles! This sport has gained a lot in popularity in the last few years.
How to be a Freediver
Most people have been freediving without instruction for years. The International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers (IANTD) has now introduced a whole range of freediving courses to choose from to increase the particular skills this sport involves. All the courses will be taught at IANTD facilities only and range from one to three days in duration.
The course will teach comfort and breath holding abilities, create and understanding of the history, physics, physiology and psychological factors involved in freediving. In-water training sessions in constant ballast techniques are part of the curriculum. This program will also increase the diver’s safety through breathing procedures and emergency procedures.
There are four courses to choose from:
Snorkel/Skin Diver (surface to 15ft/5m)
Open Water Freediver (max. 33ft/10m)
Advanced Freediver (max. 66ft/20m)
Master Freediver Course (max. 99ft/30m)
Instructor and Instructor Trainer programs for the above are also available. Get more information from IANTD (The International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers).
The term used to describe breath holding.
On only one breath of air, freedivers attempt to reach their maximum depth. They must be weighted perfectly so that they are able to sink but are not too have to fin back up. Freedivers cannot use the line to which the tag is attached to assist them.
The freediver descends with the aid of a ballast-filled sled that runs down a line. At the required depth, the diver stops and inflates a lifting bag that assists in the ascent.
Currently medical experts are predicting that death will follow if freedivers push the limits any further. This is perhaps the most controversial form of freediving, and is not recognized by any official sporting bodies.
The record is held by Pipin Ferreras.
As the body goes into blackout, the arms and legs convulse, giving the appearance that the diver is dancing the samba.
Involves swimming horizontally as far as the freediver can on one breath of air. Monofins are a popular means of propulsion, as opposed to normal fins.
Mammalian diving reflex
This phenomenon is common among diving mammals (dolphins, seals, etc.). Human retain this reflex, which causes the heartbeat to slow down when the face is immersed in water.
Shallow water blackout (SWB)
Caused by a dramatic reduction in the partial pressure of oxygen during an ascent, leading to hypoxia. As a result, the freediver experiences unconsciousness. There are no indicators to predict the onset of SWB.
For safety reasons, freedivers never train alone. Their buddy is referred to as a spotter and will step in to assist if there is any sign of a problem. The spotter is trained in the necessary first aid techniques.
Takes place in a swimming pool, with freedivers lying in a position in which it is impossible to breathe, and remaining in this position until they need to breath. Towards the end of their attempt, they must indicate to a spotter that they are OK by responding to physical signals.
Yoga, meditation, hypnosi…
Many freedivers use these techniques to slow their heartbeat and breathing rate. Many practice visualization techniques to empower themselves with the belief that they can achieve their target. World-record diver Pipin Ferreras visualizes that he is being injected into the ocean’s depths by a syringe.