The longer I’m in this crazy freediving world, the more variety it seems to have. Far have we ventured from the days of freediving being only a way to acquire food or reach depth (though those remain two of my favorite purposes!). The most incredible part of all this variety is who most often shows it to me- my students.
So even though most of us will continue to think of freediving as primarily depth diving or spearfishing, I often find myself thinking of friends and students who have brought the sport into whole new categories.
I guess Houdini was really the guy who made underwater escapes legendary, but after teaching Alexanderia the Great to increase her breath-hold and seeing her go on to show off her skills on America’s Got Talent, I’m realizing she’s bringing the magic back to freediving.
Several years ago I taught a student who was seeking a new adventure after an ice-climbing accident shattered his legs in several places. Unable to pursue climbing any longer and looking for a way to increase his depth instead of his altitude, he came to freediving with an amazing outlook.
Now I don’t just mean that freediving is a great way to get in shape, though that’s mostly the case, but many friends and acquaintances of mine have pursued
freediving and breath-holding to help in other sports. Swimming has obvious advantages, but apnea can also increase your ability to handle high levels of carbon dioxide during sports where athletes engage in anaerobic respiration.
Navy Seals, Coast Guard rescue swimmers and other special military units have gone through our programs and found a variety of applications for both increased breath-hold and under-water stamina.
Well, this doesn’t exactly happen underwater, but I’ve seen several students go one to create some beautiful ocean-inspired jewelry. Shell Eisenberg, a past student and now fellow instructor, hand crafts silver unique pendants in the shape of mermaids, rays and more. See her online store here.
Yes, mermaids ARE real! And they have their own websites and everything. My good friend Linden Wolbert runs a company called Mermaids in Motion and has the most amazing custom tail. While this sounds like a definite niche, I’ve met many women who practice mermaid diving and swimming (ie no-mask, no wetsuit monofin swimming) in places like Kona, HI and even at local pools where I train.
Freediving may mean different things to everyone, but it’s so exciting to see people taking it, reshaping it and making it their own. You don’t have to dive to 100+ feet to be a freediver and you don’t have to spear fish. You just have to love it.