Free Dive, or Fee Dive?

November 30, 2017 | 09:14

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This is a common question. You might have your doubts about training. Why not just go out and dive down? And the only challenge could probably just be trying to hold one’s breath longer than usual. Some people start freediving but prefer not to take a freediving course simply for saving money.

Freediving appears to be relatively easy, therefore people get into the sport by learning from friends or family. In fact, one could be a veteran of freediving and yet not know safety guidelines, which will carry serious risks if not learning from a qualified instructor. 

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As is true of scuba diving, there are safety considerations and techniques that only training by a certified instructor can prepare you for.

“Freediving is difficult and dangerous to learn from books or the Internet,” says Freediving Instructors International founder Martin Stepanek, a 13-time world-record holder who has dived to 400 feet on a single breath. “Even learning from more experienced (non-instructor) freedivers might not be the best idea, as they might omit crucial skills or knowledge in their teachings, because they are natural and automatic to them, but not necessarily to beginners. Bad habits or incorrect information can have grave consequences.”

Mastering the sport is not just buying a shiny new pair of long-bladed fins, low-volume masks, smooth-skin apnea wetsuits, sucking enough air, and then directly going downward. To ensure a fun and safe dive, rookies must learn correct freediving techniques and safety protocols from a competent instructor, who can also guide you through the selection of your gear. Furthermore, they may teach you an angle of the sport that you never thought about.

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Instead of being self-taught, you can skip weeks of misunderstanding, frustration, and trial and error by taking recognized courses. It would be ineffective to try and learn entirely on you own, because there’s no way to check if you will perform the skills correctly underwater. Practical demonstration, feedback, and corrections from certified professionals will help newbies to learn the sport step-by-step.

Freediving is much more relaxing and enjoyable with less gear and stress, as long as you acquire the relevant knowledge and practice.

Now, are you still asking yourself if you should take a freediving course or learn on your own?

- Elena Wu, Senior Editor 

2012

This is spot on. I think the safety aspect is also massive -- self-taught freedivers are still hyperventilating, though no course condones this. I took a course not just to be a safe diver for myself, but to be a responsible buddy. ... More