Welcoming the New Kid on the Block

By: Chris Bustad and Joanne Rumbelow

Recently, PFI (Performance Freediving International) joined the SDI/TDI/ERDI family, bringing with them recreational, professional and skill development courses to fit all freediving abilities, goals and needs. 

An unlikely collaboration 

An ERDI public safety training team needed to do a photoshoot for a project that they were working on. This team had specific photos in mind that would require the assistance of people with a unique skill set outside of scuba diving. Contacts were made and through those contacts two members of PFI stepped up to the plate, eager to participate and assist the ERDI team with their project. 

PFI has a longstanding tradition of assisting those who serve through programs with military, law enforcement and rescue groups. 

Two forces combined 

The teams met and the ERDI unit outlined their vision of what they wanted to achieve during the photoshoot and provided a brief education of recovery diving. The PFI members educated the ERDI team on freediving and how those skills would be of benefit and help the ERDI team fulfill their vision. 

Safety safety safety 

SAFETY was the TOP PRIORITY of the day. In-depth briefings were provided by both teams, including a brief education on freediver blackout. Safety divers were with the freedivers at all times. The free divers were given time to get control of their heart rate and breathing rate and then signal when they were ready to start the scenario. The photoshoot took place in a freshwater lake with 75-degree water temp and reduced visibility, normal in the South Florida area. 

The scenarios had been planned out ahead of time to ensure that the freedivers did not have to spend a lot of time in the water. The divers were rotated through the scenarios to allow them time to warm up to reduce the risk of hypothermia since the photos required street clothing. 

That’s a wrap 

By the middle of the afternoon it was a wrap. A debrief was held and all agreed that the objectives of the day had been met and exceeded. The freedivers felt comfortable throughout their time in the water doing the scenarios. Both teams learned about the other’s discipline and were glad to have participated. All agreed that they would welcome the opportunity to work with the other again. 

Of course, no dive day is a dive day without the après dive meal. All retired to a local restaurant, enjoyed a good meal and reviewed the photos captured throughout the day. The photos were AWESOME!

So welcome to the new kid on the block. It was nice to meet you and have you here. This day was a perfect example of people of different backgrounds and disciplines working together to achieve a goal.

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