Friday, July 19, 2024

10 Essential Books for Freediving


10 Essential Books for Freediving

This article is part 20 of 21 in the Beginners Guide to Freediving

Whether you are learning to freedive, or are a more experienced freediver – there are lots of books that can help you learn more about the sport and be a better freediver.

We’ve gathered the top 10 essential books in the universe that any Freediver needs to have on their collection.

The Top 10 Essential Books for Freediving

Manual of Freediving

This is generally regarded as the bible of Freediving.  The 362 pages are packed full of physiology, physics, techniques, and safety, but also contain a practical training guide developed by World Champion Umberto Pelizzari.

Homo Delphinus

Jacques Mayol is the grandfather of Freediving and is well known to a wide audience from the (albeit fictional) account in the film .  This book is straight from Mayol himself and takes the reader on a journey through his history of world record-breaking dives to 100m on a single breath as well as his passionate belief in the marine world.  Combined with stunning photos this is an amazing coffee table book for any Freediver.

The Last Attempt

Carlos Serra, the right-hand man, and confidant of Pipin Ferreras detail his chilling perspective on the run-up to the tragic death of Audrey Mestre in 2002.

Neutral Buoyancy

Tim Ecott gives the reader of this unique book a guided tour of the history of undersea exploration and the emergence of diving culture. He tells the extraordinary story of man’s attempts to breathe underwater, from the sponge divers described by Aristotle, to the development of sixteenth-century diving bells, to the invention of modern scuba equipment.


This unique book takes a different slant to others in that whilst it is an educational book it isn’t about diving specifically.  Inside this book, you’ll find smoothie recipes, stretches, visualizations, stories, philosophy, and lots and lots of science presented in an engaging style.

07/19/2024 09:28 am GMT

Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves

A more controversial entrant to the list as James Nestor takes a look at a number of ocean-related topics and how they relate to us as humans.  From Freediving to the deepest depths of the ocean.  The freediving sections did draw some criticism for accuracy at the time of publishing but the book has been a popular starting point for many getting into their freediving career.

Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves

Fascinated by the sport of freediving—in which competitors descend great depths on a single breath—James Nestor embeds with a gang of oceangoing extreme athletes and renegade researchers. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch-black waters, and other strange phenomena. Most illuminating of all, he learns that these abilities are reflected in our own remarkable, and often hidden, potential—including echolocation, directional sense, and the profound bodily changes humans undergo when underwater. Along the way, Nestor unlocks his own freediving skills as he communes with the pioneers who are expanding our definition of what is possible in the natural world, and in ourselves.

07/19/2024 09:14 am GMT

One Breath: Freediving, Death, and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits

Adam Skolnick, a writer who is often found on the pages of the New York Times or Outside Magazine, takes a deep look into the story of Nick Mevoli – the first US freediver to hit 100m who died in the Bahamas during the Vertical Blue freediving competition.  It reads like a thriller and is totally gripping from page 1.

BlueWater Hunting and Freediving

This book takes the basics of Freediving and explains how to take your first steps into Spearfishing and Underwater Photography.  Another coffee table hardback book that is very popular with readers.

The Dive: A Story of Love and Obsession

This is Pipin’s story of how he met, fell in love with, married, and lost his wife Audrey Mestre.  An entertaining read as ghostwritten by Miami Herald writer, it is annoyingly full of technical errors common in these sorts of books and by no means provides any closure on matters around Audrey’s death, however, does provide a very good read nonetheless.


Freediving legend Umberto Pelizzari this time took time to write a vivid narrative of the records and adventures that defined his life and sporting career: from the beginnings in the pool to the discovery of his own ability, the training, the teamwork, and acquaintances with the historic figures of the underwater world.

Deeply Deeply
07/19/2024 09:28 am GMT

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Stephan Whelan
Stephan Whelan
Stephan is the Founder of His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans. In 1996 he set up and has grown the site to be the most popular diving website and community in the world.