SSI’s International Training Director for Freediving America’s Nick Fazah sat down with DeeperBlue.com at this week’s DEMA Show 2015 in Orlando to discuss upcoming additions to their Freediving program.
SSI was the first of the global SCUBA agencies to fully embrace freediving, developing a program in conjunction with freedivers that promotes a “learn at your pace” philosophy that encourages students to embrace this exciting sport without undue pressure or stress.
In keeping with that philosophy, and a recognition that the freediving program is an ever-growing and evolving adventure, SSI is introducing a new pre-requisite for their instructors.
The Freediving Stress and Rescue Training module will provide instructors with the tools they need to better interpret stress response in their students and advanced rescue techniques and training to maximize the instructor’s confidence and skills, and the student’s safety. This will join instructor-level courses on teaching Constant Weight and No Fins freediving disciplines.
The new instruction will be available to current instructors as well as being built into new instructor development course curriculum. There will also be a number (10-12) specialty courses available as well. These include training on using the monofin, Free Immersion, Turtle Ecology, and a number of SSI Instructor-derived courses.
There are currently three Tiers in the SSI Freediving curriculum: Basic Freediving Level 1, which introduces the student to the sport and builds a foundation of solid knowledge and skills; Freediving Level 2, where students acquire the proper skills and knowledge to participate in Freediving to depths of 60 ft. (20 meters) “in the most relaxed and safest manner possible”, and Freediving Level 3, which will take you to depths of 120 ft. (40 meters.) Well below the residual volume of the lungs, this is the specialist deep diving course and will equip you with the proper knowledge to take you into the deep blue and beyond.
Fazah made it clear that SSI Freediving wants to make freediving “accessible to the average person.” The type of training that a competitive freediver needs is “not the same as the level of skill that a recreational freediver or spearo should have.”
Fazah advises that SSI Freediving instructors build the student’s comfort and confidence through repetition and teaching at a pace that keeps the student’s unstressed.
A large part of the success of the program, according to Fazah, is that the instructors come up through the program and are encouraged to create a community around their SSI Freediving centers. By developing a sense of community, the divers have a stake in the success of their local center. Fazah says:
“They have continuity, they know each other, the instructor…when the weather is bad, they still hang out…do pool sessions, indoor work…they build a tribe.”
More information will be posted on the SSI website as it becomes available and the courses roll out nationwide.