Who is freediving for?
By Ted Harty
Let’s be honest, freediving is pretty cool. Anyone who watches a video of a freediver gliding down to the ocean floor, cruising around without all the scuba gear thinks, “ok, that looks pretty cool.”
Then comes the big….. BUT!
Of course, Ted, freediving looks cool, BUT….. I could never do that because:
- I’m too old
- I’m too out of shape
- I’m too overweight
- My ears don’t equalize
- I can only hold my breath for 30 seconds
I’ve heard these “buts” for over 12 years.
When people start explaining to me all the reasons they can’t Freedive, my response is always the same.
“All of these things are teachable and learnable skills that you will learn in your PFI freediving course.”
After teaching for 12 years, 95-99% of my entry-level students are able to hold their breath for 2.5 to 3.5 minutes. This is a teachable and learnable skill.
Enter equalizing struggles
Lots of people say they can’t equalize their ears while freediving. Again, once you learn the Frenzel method of equalizing, you will have no problems with your ears anymore. I teach a step by step method I’ve used to teach over 1,000 students how to Frenzel with my students. It’s my favorite method.
I have excuses, too
Lots of people say they are too out of shape or too old, etc. I personally have a body built by beer, bourbon, and BBQ. I’m not an elite athlete. Most of my students are in better shape than me, have lower body fat, and are better athletes all the way around, yet I can Freedive circles around them.
How is this possible? It’s because I have a good technique and my freediving physiology is in great shape.
I believe 2 things mostly determine your freediving performance.
Your technique. This has a huge impact on your freediving performance. The good news is this is exactly what you will learn to improve in your PFI Freediving class. In your class, you will learn a long list of things to make you freedive better.
- How to take a bigger breath.
- How to properly breathe up, so you can dive longer.
- How to kick more efficiently.
- How to make your entry more efficient.
- How to be more streamlined, so you do less work to get to depth.
- How to figure out the right amount of weight to wear.
These increases in your technique will give you instant improvements to your performance.
The second thing that impacts your performance is your freediving physiology.
How your body responds to high carbon dioxide / low oxygen, how you handle contractions, and your lung and diaphragm flexibility. These things must be improved through training.
If you want to be a world-record-holding freediver, then yes, you need to be a world-class athlete. If you want to enjoy the sport of freediving, you do not need to be an amazing athlete, you need to have a reasonable amount of fitness, and you need to enjoy being in the water… that’s it!
By the way, I’ve had over three 100ft freedivers over the age of 70, so don’t let age stop you either.
What about scuba divers?
Think about it, a scuba diver likes being in the ocean, is comfortable on boats, is not afraid of sea critters, loves being underwater, and enjoys everything the ocean has to offer.
“The biggest group of hidden Freedivers are all the scuba divers out there!”
These are all, in my opinion, the biggest obstacles to freediving. Suppose I have a student that is terrified of seeing a shark, or horribly seasick, or is terrified of being in the open ocean, or is not comfortable in the water. In that case, these are things that are very difficult for me to help the student overcome. Scuba divers have none of these issues.
In fact, there is only one thing separating a scuba diver from a freediver. They don’t know how to hold their breath. Any freediving instructor will tell you that is literally the easiest thing to teach a student!
They do the same things
Scuba divers and Freedivers do the same thing: we enjoy the underwater world. It’s just the way that we do it that’s different. I started as a scuba diver and turned into a freediver. Sure, I like freediving better, but man, it’s awesome to go down to a wreck at 100ft and stay there for 15 minutes! That’s pretty cool, and I definitely can’t do it while freediving.
I believe that every dive shop should pitch their students why they should take a freediving class during their scuba course, and then in every freediving course pitch why you should take a scuba course.
It’s just a matter of what is the right tool for the job.
If you are on the fence about becoming a freediver, I hope the article helps push you over the edge!
If you want to learn more about freediving check out my podcast Freedive Live at http://freedivelive.simplecast.com or your favorite podcast platform.