There are a lot of myths about freediving, especially among divers. It’s insanely dangerous. Only super fit people can do it. You have to be a Yogi to do it. If you hold your breath for more than five minutes your brain cells will start dying. And by the way: isn’t it actually just the same as snorkeling?
So what is the truth? And why is it getting more and more popular?
What is freediving?
Let’s start from the beginning. What is freediving and why do people do it?
The first part is easy to answer. Freediving is diving with only a single breath of air. The second part is more complex. For some, freediving is a way to enjoy the depths of the ocean without the need of heavy, clumsy and uncomfortable SCUBA equipment. Others see freediving as an extreme sport with the uniqueness of requiring deep relaxation and peace in contrast to most other adrenaline-pumping extreme sports. Some see freediving as an instrument for hunting underwater. Many see freediving as an art form, a form of self-expression; and many others see freediving as the way to become one with the ocean and the rest of nature.
Regardless of what draws one into the practice of apnea (freediving), it is a form of meditation and relaxation which very often leads to a positive change in one’s awareness of oneself and the surrounding environment. Freediving very often leads to a better physical and mental condition for those who practice it, not only because of the activity itself but also because of the change in lifestyle very often associated with it. That’s also the main reason why it is getting more and more popular. It’s a modern lifestyle for people who love to be underwater.
Never dive alone, never hyperventilate
Now some of the myths should be answered already, but just to be sure: like SCUBA diving, freediving is a safe sport when you follow some basic safety rules of which the two most important are: “Never hyperventilate” and “Never dive alone”.
Yes, there have been accidents but these happened in the discipline of No Limits where lots of technical equipment is involved and can fail. Sadly there are also accidents in public pools with people who don’t know the above mentioned two basic safety rules. What about the fitness myth? Just one sentence: There are also freedivers who smoke and are overweight but they still are good freedivers. No brain cells die in freedivers since the circulatory system is still pumping blood to all the organs.
And the last myth: No, freediving is not the same as snorkeling. Freedivers have techniques to go down much deeper and stay down much longer than snorkelers do. The HOW is answered by doing a freediving course with a qualified instructor.
Within only two days you can learn the basic techniques for becoming a freediver. Training will be done in the pool and on the house reef which is just 30 metres in front of the resort with a drop-off wall going down to 40 metres and more. The reef is the home of a big population of turtles, and if you are lucky you can also see a whale shark during your training dives. After this basic training, students can easily hold their breath for more than 2.5 minutes and dive down deeper than 15 meters. Some Students even reach three minutes and 20 meters. Students will also realize that one of the biggest challenges will be in your head.