Updated: May 15
It seems like such a natural thing and we can all do it in some capacity. It's when we start to push boundaries, it becomes extremely risky.
The most common comments from internet trolls are ‘pay money to someone to tell me to hold my breath and dive, I can do that on my own’ or ‘it’s called Freediving, why do I need to pay’. People have died trying on their own so please do not attempt this sport without proper training and certification! Please do not shame or discourage someone interested in taking a course; their safety is at risk. Paying for time with an instructor is an investment that can save lives.
Remember: If someone tries to mock you for paying to take a freediving course it's because they aren't courageous as you and they know it!
Freediving is the oldest form of diving where a diver dives by holding their breath and usually without equipment. A lot of cultures for centuries have dove for food and pearls. This sport has been modernized since and science has helped understand the changes the body goes through. There has also been a lot of development with equipment to make diving easier and safer. Divers now are diving greater depths than before, the world records today are truly amazing!
Ama, a pearl diver in Japan
Is Freediving safe? Yes, as long as you’re properly trained, you practice responsible diving and dive with other certified divers. Everything has risks, it’s no different than riding a bicycle or walking down the street. Proper training will also help minimize risks and the more you train the more you get to know your body’s limits. It's also important to condition your body to the changes that are happening when you begin to freedive.
Why do I need an instructor when I have countless blogs and YouTube videos bookmarked? The issue with blogs and Vlogs is that information can be out of date, it's time-consuming to research and can be overwhelming. When you have an instructor they can explain everything you need to know and if you have questions they can quickly answer you. What’s available online is great as supplemental but doesn’t replace the need for an instructor. When it comes to practicing what you’ve learned, an instructor plays a more important role. If there are any issues with your technique it can be corrected immediately before bad techniques become bad habits. Doing certain skills incorrectly can be a liability to you and your buddy's safety.
People have died in Ontario attempting to teach themselves Freediving and trying to retrieve items dropped in the lake. A pool lifeguard doesn’t qualify as a dive buddy. They are responsible for everyone at the pool and must be able to watch everyone; swimmers are at the surface, freedivers are below. Freediving requires someone with experience and must be in the water looking at the diver for subtle signs of blackout and other issues that could occur while freediving. People have died in public pools with lifeguards present. These accidents are tragic and absolutely preventable.
Not only families struggle with the loss, so do the lifeguards and other people present at the pool.
There’s a lot of science in Freediving and there’s still room to learn more. There are antiquated techniques that have been proven to cause more harm than good. An instructor would also ensure that you have the most up-to-date information. When selecting an organization to get certified under check to see how often do they update their learning materials. Your progress should be gradual so your body has time to adapt to changes happening in your body.
Training and practicing shouldn’t be about hitting your personal best every time or training till you black-out. Moderate drills have been proven effective and preferred.
A trained Freedivers knows not to dive with someone without proper certification, it puts them at risk. You will not be able to participate in chartered dive trips as they check for certificates, this is a huge liability for the company providing the excursions. Not being certified also mean you won’t be covered by insurance, all divers should have personal dive insurance in case something happens. This isn’t just for you, it’s for your family. Regular life insurance may not cover accidents caused by diving, I highly advise reading through your policy to double-check.
Your life has value, not only for yourself but your family and loved ones. Never dive alone and get proper certification. The cost of the course should be your last concern, finding the right instructor for you is most important. Do not attempt to dive without an experienced instructor present. Most instructors offer trial sessions, I highly suggest trying it out to see if this is something for you in an appropriate controlled setting such as a pool. Avoid open water for trial sessions.
Best fishes and sea you in the deep!