Hi again everyone,
Wanted to start this blog off right with some important factoids about freediving. I thought about calling this one “Five MOST Important Things Everyone Should Know About Freediving,” but you know how that goes- I’d read it later and think of something more important! So anyway, being a little ambiguous, but these are some important things to know about the sport! If I think of stuff that’s more important later, don’t worry, I’ll update.
1. The first thing- to clarify for those of you for whom this is a first introduction to freediving- this is not cliff jumping. It’s not high-dive diving. Freediving is the sport of holding your breath and taking it with you underwater, be it to spear fish, reach depths, or just for the heck of it. It can mean many different things to many different divers, but however you come across the sport and however you enjoy it all of us freedivers have one thing in common- that one breath.
2. Secondly, no matter what you’ve heard, there’s no ONE top authority in the sport. There are lots of different opinions on techniques, gear, etc. out there and it’s important to hear all of them! Now, it’s possible that some folks are more informed and experienced than others, but that’s one thing I love about this sport- that no one knows it all. Sure, I like to think that I’m pretty knowledgeable about it. I mean, I learned from some top folks in the sport, got some records, teach…but every now and then I hear some new idea that could just challenge something I already “know.” That’s the great thing about being part of a past time that’s growing so rapidly and about which we’re gaining so much knowledge every year. That’s also why it’s important we all keep talking and discussing new ideas.
3. But here’s one thing for you freedivers that are already out there trying your hand at this whole apnea thing. You’re probably a lot more dangerous than you know. Yep, I know what you’re thinking. I’m supposed to say that because I teach courses, right? Well, yeah, but it’s 100% true too. I know because I was the prime example of a scary dangerous freediver before I got trained. I dove by myself, got close to blackout a few times without any trained safeties around…and now that I have proper training I realize how unnecessarily dangerous that was. But, since many of you have probably heard this before I’m not going to belabor the point. Just let me say this- at least check out your options for getting training. There’s a few agencies and lots of folks out there but at least do some safety training somewhere along the line. You won’t be sorry you did and you’ll probably get a bunch of good technique tricks along the way too.
4. But once you’ve done all that and want to start working on improving your depths/times, etc. one of the first steps to doing so is to GET GOOD GEAR! Now, that doesn’t just mean expensive gear. Not everybody needs carbon fiber blades and fluid goggles, but you should get things that fit you and work for what you’ll be doing. So save your pennies and buy a freediving suit- not the cheapest one you can find online, but one that you’ve tried on and fits YOUR body. (PS- ladies, there’s no such thing as unisex! Get a women’s suit or a custom suit!) Get fins that fit your feet and work for your budget. Get a mask that doesn’t leak when you try it on and isn’t big enough for goldfish to swim around in. I’ll go into more detail if you guys want in future posts, but the key is to get the right gear for you. Lots of dive shops that carry freediving gear are great for helping you pick it out.
5. Here’s a little-known secret: you can freedive almost anywhere. I know it seems like something only tan scuba instructors in the Keys get into, but it’s sooo much bigger than that. For example, the first time I freedove? In a quarry in the middle of Virginia. (Yes, it was VERY cold and dark but we can talk about that another time). Most of my students come from places like Rhode Island, Texas and Canada. So wherever you are, even if you’re reading this at your desk at work in the middle of Nevada, don’t discount the possibility that there’s a booming freediving community right in your area. And don’t worry, I won’t tell your boss you’re daydreaming of diving in the middle of the work day.
6. I know, I said FIVE things, but I thought I’d give you a little bonus for reading all the way to the bottom of this post. Just wanted to add this in too: freediving is a sport for everyone. Tall, short, skinny, fat, old, young…it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to be the fittest person out there to enjoy it. In fact, it doesn’t even always make you the best one out there anyway. I often see 70-year-old guys come into class and rock the 20-year-olds at static apnea. The best thing to do, be it in a class or just out recreational diving, is to relax and enjoy it. If you dive to 15 feet and never go deeper than that, no worries. If you’re trying to hit 100 feet, great, but never let a certain goal (and the pressure that comes with it) take the enjoyment out of a dive for you.
Anyway, hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Feel free to post comments/questions and I’ll keep on putting new stuff on here! Heading to Kona Tuesday for classes so I’ll try and put some good pics up too.