By Nick Fazah, SSI Freediving International Training Director
When I first took a freediving class, it was because of a colleague and good friend of mine. I mean, freediving is just snorkeling, but a bit deeper right? Oh, how I was wrong! Nine years and quite a few classes later I still love the world of freediving, and I base it all on the lessons that I learned in my early classes. The world of freediving is filled with misconceptions, misconceptions that taking a good quality freediving class can help clear up.
So, Physics and Physiology!
By understanding how the water impacts your physiology, you can change the way you think about freediving. I found this to be the key to opening up depth. We typically fear what we don’t understand, that relies on comfort. Increasing your knowledge on what’s happening to you while being at depth helps remove that evil monkey that sits on your shoulder telling you to turn around, allowing for a calm, relaxed state of mind and better dives.
Learning about breathing and recovery breathing was the next significant impact on my freediving. A reliable, evidence-based approach to breathing and recovery breathing can extend your dive times and deepen your relaxation.
When you’re researching where to take your freediving class the right instructor/facility. Having a reputable instructor that you vibe with.
In my personal experience, I have found that programs that are overseen by a facility tend to be more consistent in the information and knowledge in which they provide. Of course, this isn’t true of every program that is out there. But, by looking for programs that are overseen by a freediving facility you’ll have a higher chance that the program you are looking at keeps within agreed upon industry standards and the instructors that teach it is being held accountable for their level of instruction by someone other than themselves.
Ask your prospective instructor/facility how much time you get for practice and receive critique.
The last thing I suggest looking for in your instructor is their ability to teach equalization. Not just any equalization, but the Frenzel method. There are instructors out there that believe that teaching new freedivers to get by with the Valsalva method of equalization is ok. If your instructor can’t show you how to Frenzel, even in your level 1 class, then you are going to struggle to get to depths below 10m.
Freediving is an incredible sport. One that can change your life on both a physical and psychological level. After years of freediving, I still love it just as much as the first day I placed my head underwater. There’s something that’s deep within us that speaks to the ocean, but to hear it we first must quite our minds to truly experience what it has to say. Taking the right freediving class will not only help you improve your skills in the water but will allow you to do so safely, putting your mind at rest and opening the gate to a lifetime of freediving adventure.
You can find out more via SSI Freediving page on their website.
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