Freediving, also known as apnea diving, is a form of underwater diving that relies on holding one's breath rather than requiring breathing equipment such as scuba gear. It can be done as a recreational activity or as a competitive sport.
Before freediving became a sport, taking a deep breath and diving underwater for minutes at a time was used to hunt for food (such as fish) or search for pearls and sponges. In the 1960s, divers started to compete against each other for fun - the "sport" of freediving was born.
Today, there are many disciplines in which divers can compete against each other, but only eight disciplines are commonly sanctioned for competitions. However, freediving techniques are also used in other recreational activities such as snorkeling, spearfishing, or for sports such as underwater hockey and wrestling.
But freediving is about more than "just" holding your breath establishing who can stay underwater the longest or dive the deepest. It is about quieting and controlling the mind, training your breath and the breathing muscles, understanding your relationship and connection with nature and the elements that surround you.
Competitive freediving is governed by organizations that oversee and regulate freediving competitions and record attempts, as well as education systems to learn freediving. Some organizations also promote their own education systems from beginning freediver all the way up till freedive instructor and instructor trainer. The most widely known organizations are AIDA, CMAS, Pure Apnea and SSI.