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, freediving is governed by organizations that oversee and regulate freediving competitions and record attempts, as well as education systems. There are many disciplines in which divers can compete against each other, but only eight disciplines are commonly sanctioned for competitions. Finally, 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.
Example of my own dive during a training session in the dive-tank of Nemo33, Belgium
HOW DO YOU PRACTICE FREEDIVING & WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES?
When you practice freediving, basically there are three kinds of different styles. Some of those styles takes place in the in standard pool facilities, normally a 25 meter of 50 meter pool. On the other hand, for depth disciplines the ocean is preferred. If this is not possible, alternatively dive-tanks can be used to have the required depth for the courses. Please see below the full overview.
This style in freediving normally takes place in a swimming pool. During this discipline, you will lay in the pool and hold your breath. The idea is to not move and try to stay as long under water as you can. When you conduct a course with Freedive4Me, a Static session will always be included as standard curriculum to get more comfortable with your breath-hold and to understand what is happening within your body during that breath-hold.
This style within freediving also takes place in a swimming pool, preferaby 25 or 50 meter long. The concept, as the name reveals compared to Static, means that you move within the pool horizontally, trying to go as far as you can on your single breath-hold. There are two disciplines in dynamic, either with of without fins to propel yourself forward. During each course offered by Freedive4Me, a dynamic session will be included to enjoy the movement under water and work on the diving technique and relaxation.
This style within freediving has multiple disciplines (with fins, without fins, pulling on a rope, etc.) and normally takes place in the ocean, where the goal is to dive vertically into the deep. Within The Netherlands we have some options to dive in lakes, but normally we choose to dive in dive-tanks where the visibility is good and water temperature is comfortable (see the video here). During the depth sessions you will fully experience freediving into the deep!
WHAT DO YOU LEARN DURING A FREEDIVE COURSE?
During a freedive course several essential topics will be covered. Depending on the course level, you will gain knowledge and practical experience in specific areas to either start your freediving journey or advance your level. In general, th following topics will be covered:
BREATHING & BREATH-HOLD
Learn proper breathing & breath-hold techniques to set a good foundation for each dive.
To conserve as much oxygen as possible and dive even deeper, you will learn and practice proper diving technique.
You will learn different techniques to cope with pressure differences that occur when descending into the deep.
Staying healthy and in good physical condition is important to dive safely and advance within freediving.
Relaxation from a mental, emotional and/or physical point-of-view can help you to stay calm and controlled during your dive.
Learn how to dive safely and what to do in case of emergencies.
All about the physiological background of freediving and how your body copes with a breath-hold.