Would you like to be a better Freediver?  Get deeper and for longer?  Or are you looking for an exciting read about the sport to keep your mind in the ocean whilst you are on the train to work?

Below we’ve gathered the top 10 essential books in the universe that any Freediver needs to have on his/her bookshelf (or kindle/e-reader these days).

The Books

  • 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 contains 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 film “The Big Blue”.  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 details his chilling perspective on the the run up to the tragic death of Audrey Mestre in 2002.

  • Neutral Buoyancy: Tim Ecott give 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.

  • Breatheology: 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.

  • The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis:  Elaine Morgan presents an amazing Hypothesis in this book – one that turns modern theories of man’s evolution on it’s head…that we went through an aquatic period where we lived in shallow water.  Heavy stuff, luckily Elaine is a rarity, a scientist who can write so that the layman can understand.


  • Freedive!: For many years before Umberto’s Manual came out, this was regarded as the authority on learning to Freedive.  Written in a very personal style with great underwater photography it’s easy to see why this book graces so many coffee tables and bookshelves.

  • BlueWater Hunting and Freediving: Like the above book Freedive! this book takes 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 ghost written 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 none the less.

  • Deeply: The newest of all the books on this list, Umberto 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.


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  1. There is a new book out from some finnish freedivers, book called Freediving, authors Lahtinen and two others. They have it at least in iTunes, where I picked it up. Good reading, a good textbook with great pics, and covers a wide spectrum what you need to know about it. I recommend, even on this list.

  2. After watching the documentary on what happened to his wife there is no way I would want to put any money in the pocket of Pipin Ferreras by buying his book. One seriously creepy guy.

    • I have read deep by James Nestor and it is one of the best books that I have read! It’s a great account of how a journalist explores science, learns how to freedive and learns how to “flip the master switch of life”.

    • This post was written in 2012 before Deep came out. There is also a lot of mis-information and bad science in Deep around Freediving which unfortunately means we couldn’t recommend it as an essential book for Freedivers.

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