It is a sport that is exhilarating and many who understand what is freediving will agree that it is even more exciting than scuba diving. Indeed, many scuba divers will practice free diving to improve their breathing and their skills under water.
It is mainly done for sport
While there are different ways of enjoying the marine life and the underwater world, such as scuba diving, swimming or snorkeling, free diving is not intended for leisure purposes. The goal is to dive down as far as possible and is more often a competition.
In scuba diving for example, divers can stay under the water between 45 minutes and an hour but in freediving this takes only a few minutes depending on how long an individual can hold their breath.
Another great benefit of learning how to free dive is that the diver need not worry about nitrogen narcosis. This is because as the diver goes under, he or she will not be taking in any more volume of air than the one breath they took.
The lungs thus do not over expand and the body doesn’t absorb extra nitrogen because there is really no extra nitrogen to absorb in the first place.
Because of this, divers can go down into high pressure depths and ascend as fast as they would like.
Free diving requires very few gear if any. Of course, if the water is very cold then a wet suit is ideal. Divers may also benefit from having a snorkel mask with goggles to cover the eyes. To propel themselves forward, they will require freediving fins.
But that is pretty much all the gear they will need. Compare this to a scuba diver who will need scuba tanks, dive fins, a wet suit or dry suit, regulator, sometimes a dive compass, and a dive watch to mention a few.
Granted scuba divers can stay down for longer but free divers achieve a more exhilarating experience even with just a few minutes under water.
One of the most exciting things about learning all about what is freediving is the pleasure of reaching and breaking a previous record.
In fact, most people, engage in free diving simply for the rush of it.
Diving while relaxed
One of the most important skills to have when diving or swimming is knowing how to control your breathing and remaining calm and relaxed. This allows the heart rate to drop which means the body will consume less oxygen.
For free divers this efficient consumption of oxygen will allow them to go as deep as possible under water. In fact, some of the worlds free diving records are highly impressive which you will agree after reading the 5 deepest free dives in the world.
These techniques are also highly useful to scuba divers as they allow them to control their air intake resulting in a more efficient dive.
Learning how to free dive
The first thing that you ought to know is that it is absolutely crucial to have a buddy when you are free diving. In case things do not go to plan and you need help, the buddy at the surface can dive in and retrieve you.
Second always ensure that you have the right equipment. Not only should the gear be comfortable to wear but it should also be able to resist the pressure from the depths as well as keep you warm.
The freediving mask should attach to a snorkel for a more enhanced dive and it should be made from tempered glass to be able to handle the pressure.
Free divers can also choose between double finds and monofins. The latter is more effective at propelling yourself under the water but takes quite a bit of experience to master.
Then there is the weight belly which prevents you from floating when learning how to free dive and the lanyard which allows you to attach to the line. This makes it easier for the buddy to find you and retrieve you.
Take a class
Freediving when done wrong can come with a lot of health hazards and could even be life threatening. This is why it’s important take a class with a qualified technician.
Here you will learn how to control your breathing as you learn techniques to make your body handle the high carbon dioxide concentrations.
When you are practicing freediving breathing control, lie on the surface of a swimming pool horizontally with your head above the water. Have a partner with you. Breathe in and out a few times and then take a final large breath.
Then your buddy will roll you over such that your face is submerged. Hold your breath as your partner times you. Your body may begin to feel tense with the buildup of carbon dioxide. Ignore the feeling.
After an agreed interval time, your partner will be tapping you to check if you are still okay and you will respond with a sign to show that you are indeed okay.
A freediving watch is highly useful for the activity of freediving. Not only will you use it during practice but you will also use it when you are performing the actual freediving.
Try and hold your breath for as long as you can. When you reach your limit and you come up to the surface to take a breath, avoid taking big gasp of air. Instead, inhale gradually. Take short breaths with the support of your partner. Often your lips may have turned blue but this is common with learning what is freediving.
Go to the side of the pool and maintain slow gradual breathing until your normal heart rate is reached. When you are ready you will repeat the same process while your partner records the time. You will notice your time improving with each new attempt as the body gets used to the high carbon dioxide levels.
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As exhilarating as freediving is, it needs to be approached with care as there are inherent risks involved. One of the most important things that you can do is take a training program and practice your breathing with the help of a buddy.