Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Diving Solo – An Update

Well, my editorial on diving solo definitely raised a few eyebrows to say the least.

Let me clarify some things.

When I said that freediving solo was a personal choice, it is just that. Too many politicians and certifying agencies want to let you think that you cannot make a decision like this for yourself. That you somehow need there help, as if you were a child, not being capable top make decisions for yourself.

That you would make a decision for yourself without their permission – how dare you?

Over the last several months, I have gone through some personal growth that had me reexamine why I thought the way I did, why I didn’t think about certain things, etc.

Reality – I had given away my right to think for myself to someone else. I now choose to think for myself and make my own decisions. And deal with the results of those decisions, whether positive or negative.

It’s called taking personal responsibility, and if more people did just that, the world might be a better place.

Let’s face it – If you dive, you could die. No Ifs, Ands, or Buts – it could happen.

You could die for no apparent reason, as what occurred with the recent tragedy of Terry Maas’ son, Loren, who while diving with a buddy, apparently went down and never came back up. All the while, doing all that was considered the safe way to dive.

I personally think that a very serious evaluation of one’s condition physically and psychologically is necessary if one is going to dive solo. But there are no guarantee’s on something not going wrong.

So where does that leave you?

Yes, it is true that diving with a buddy will improve your chances of survival when out diving. When I do dive solo, I always set guidelines by which I operate, and never exceed them – the Scuba diving adage of "Plan your dive and dive your plan" is just as appropriate for freediving as it is for tank diving. And that is more responsible than diving haphazardly with a dive buddy.

The positive aspect of freediving solo comes from a sense of self-reliance. But always in the back of my mind is that fear – that fear that something could go wrong. And it is that healthy fear that keeps me from doing something inappropriate while diving. At the end of the day, I want to be able to come home to my wife in one piece.

I look at freediving with this personal motto I have: Color outside the lines – but not too far.

Cliff Etzel
Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.