What is Freediving: The Ultimate Guide to Freediving

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So you’ve heard about freediving and want to give it a go. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about it for a while but never quite got around to it. 

Either way, you’re in the right place. This is your ultimate guide to freediving, your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about freediving – what it is, why it’s so great, and how to get started.

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what is freediving

What is freediving?

Freediving is a sport that involves diving underwater while holding your breath without any breathing equipment. This may sound dangerous, but with the proper training and safety precautions, it can be a very safe and rewarding activity.

But what exactly is freediving? In essence, it is a way to explore the underwater world without having to use scuba gear or other breathing apparatus. Freedivers descend to depths of up to 131 metres (429 feet) and spend anywhere from a few seconds to over five minutes underwater, depending on the discipline.

Freediving is not only a great way to explore the underwater world, but it can also be a very relaxing and meditative experience. It is a sport that requires focus, concentration, and breath control – all of which can help to clear your mind and reduce stress.

Why You Should Give Freediving a Go

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, freediving is the sport for you. Freediving is basically a combination of diving and swimming, so it’s a great way to explore the underwater world. It’s also a challenging and exciting sport that can improve your fitness and strength. 

When we’re asked by people why they should give freediving a go, we always bring up these 4 points, you can:

  • Explore – the underwater world.
  • Challenge – yourself with an exciting sport.
  • Improve – your fitness and strength.
  • Meet – new people and make new friends.

The basics of Freediving – How to Get Started

Freediving is a sport that many people are interested in, but don’t know how to get started. So we’ve put together the basics on how to start freediving.

The first step is to find a reputable freediving school. There are many schools throughout the world, so you should be able to find one near you. 

At Freediving Central, we have an awesome group of experienced freediving instructors, which is why we’re an industry-leading freediving school in Australia. If you’re looking to get started with freediving courses in Sydney or the Central Coast, there’s no better place to start. 

Freediving courses will teach you the basics of freediving, including safety procedures and techniques. Our freediving courses are split into 3 levels, Wave 1 for beginners, Wave 2 for intermediate level freedivers, and Wave 3 for experienced freedivers.

Starting a freediving course may seem daunting and scary, but we can assure you that it’s an incredibly safe and fun sport. Our team put a massive emphasis on the fun part, and we want you to have the best experience possible while learning how to freedive. Wherever you are in your freediving journey, our instructors will be there to encourage, support and guide you. 

So if you’re interested in picking up a new hobby that will quickly become an obsession, give us a call today!

Freediving Safety Tips

The one major concern we always hear about freediving is usually something along the lines of:

“Oh my gosh, how is that safe??”

But when it comes to freediving, safety is always our number one priority. If you’re enrolled in one of our freediving courses, your safety is our main responsibility.

However, if you’re freediving without a qualified instructor, you need to be able to manage your own safety. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe while freediving:

  1. Make sure you are well trained and knowledgeable about freediving before you attempt any dives.
  2. Always dive with a buddy.
  3. Make sure you are familiar with the area you are planning to freedive in.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings and any potential hazards.
  5. Use proper safety gear, including a dive mask, fins, and a wetsuit.
  6. Do not overweight yourself for diving.
  7. Make sure you have an emergency plan in place in case something goes wrong.
  8. Be prepared for the unexpected and always err on the side of caution.

By following these safety tips, you can help ensure that your freediving experience is safe and enjoyable. 

How to Improve Your Freediving Skills

If you’re looking to improve your freediving skills, we’ve got a bunch of handy tips for you. Here are some of the best ways to improve your performance in the water:

1. Practice Relaxation Techniques

One of the most important things you can do to improve your freediving skills is to learn how to relax. When you’re in the water, it’s important to be as relaxed as possible. This will help you stay calm and focused, and prevent you from tiring out too quickly.

There are a few different relaxation techniques you can practice, both in and out of the water. One popular method is progressive muscle relaxation, which involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in your body. This helps to release tension and can be very effective in helping you feel more relaxed.

You can also practice deep breathing exercises, which can help to slow your heart rate and calm your nerves. When you’re in the water, it’s important to take deep, slow breaths to oxygenate your muscles and keep yourself calm. Never hyperventilate for freediving.

2. Stay Hydrated

This might sound a bit novel, but it’s super important to stay hydrated when you’re freediving, especially in hot weather or during long dives. Dehydration can cause fatigue and make it difficult to stay focused underwater.

Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after your dives, or consume sports drinks or electrolyte-rich foods to replenish your body.

3. Improve Your Breathing

One of the best ways to improve your freediving skills is to work on your breathing. Proper breathing is key to staying calm and relaxed underwater. It also helps you to dive deeper and stay down for longer.

There are a few things you can do to improve your breathing for freediving:

  • Practice diaphragmatic breathing. This type of breathing helps you use more of your lungs, which allows you to take in more air. To practice diaphragmatic breathing, lie on your back with one hand on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose, filling up your stomach first and then your chest. You should feel your stomach expand as you breathe in. Then, breathe out through pursed lips, exhaling fully until your stomach is flat again.
  • Try nasal breathing. This helps to keep the air you breathe in warm, which is important for freediving. It also helps you to retain higher amounts of carbon dioxide within your body and encourages the gas nitric oxide which is beneficial to our body. To practice nasal breathing, simply breathe in through your nose and out through your nose.
  • Breathe in a controlled way. When you’re diving, it’s important to breathe slowly by using tidal or ratio breathing. This will help you to stay calm and avoid hyperventilating. If you start to feel anxious underwater, focus on visualisation and controlling your breath.
  • Do breathing exercises daily. This will help to increase your lung capacity and improve your overall freediving skills. There are a variety of breathing exercises you can do, such as the ones listed here.
  • Frenzel Equalisation. Frenzel equalisation is a breathing technique used by freedivers to help them descend deeper underwater. The technique involves closing off glottis, also known as the vocal fold, and using the throat and the tongue to push the air to the nasal cavity. With its ability to provide greater reserves of air and improved ear protection, it can help to make diving safer and more comfortable. See the video below for a quick how-to!

By practising these breathing exercises, you can improve your freediving skills and dive deeper and longer than ever before. So give them a try and see how you can improve your performance in the water.

4. Train Your Body

In order to improve your freediving skills, you need to train your body to be more flexible and stronger. This will help you stay comfortable underwater and prevent injuries.

There are multiple ways you can train your body for freediving, but we generally recommend that you:

  • Strengthen your core muscles. This will help you to better control your body underwater and make it easier to hold your breath for longer periods of time.
  • Do stretching exercises. This will help to increase your flexibility and range of motion, making it easier to move through the water and take bigger breaths.
  • Try yoga or Pilates. These exercises help to improve your breathing, flexibility, and strength – all of which are important for freediving.

5. Enrol in Freediving Courses & Join A Freediving Community

One of the best ways to improve your freediving skills is to enrol in a freediving course. These courses are designed to teach you the proper techniques for freediving, and they can help you to progress more quickly.

They also allow you to meet other freedivers and make friends who share your passion for the sport. One of the best ways to learn and grow in this sport is to be in a community of like-minded individuals, as they can provide support, motivation and advice.

At Freediving Central, we have an amazing community of freedivers, which provides us all with a place to connect with other freedivers, find cool diving buddies, ask lots of questions, celebrate smashing goals and PBs, or just chat about all things freediving.

The Long-Term Benefits of Freediving 

Not only is freediving an awesome hobby to have, but it has a number of long-term benefits. 

Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it can help you become stronger and more fit. This is because freediving requires a lot of strength and endurance, especially if you want to dive deep.

Another great benefit of freediving is that it can improve your mental strength and focus. Freediving can be quite demanding and challenging, both physically and mentally. As you progress in your freediving journey, you will start to face new challenges and obstacles. This can test your mental strength and resilience, but it will also make you stronger and more prepared for anything life throws your way. Freediving can help you develop a “never give up” attitude and a strong sense of focus. These are valuable qualities that can be applied to all aspects of your life.

Lastly, freediving can help you connect with nature in a very special way. When you freedive, you are entering the underwater world and communing with the creatures that live there. This can be a very spiritual and humbling experience. It can also help you appreciate the natural world in a whole new way. 

The Beautiful World of Freediving – The Best Freediving Spots Around the World

The world of freediving is a beautiful and fascinating one. 

There are many amazing places around the world where you can freedive and explore the wonders that lie beneath the surface. Here are some of the best freediving spots around the world: 

1. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

This stunning reef system is home to a wide variety of marine life, including dolphins, sharks, and turtles. It is also one of the world’s best freediving spots, with clear waters and plenty of interesting dive sites. 

2. The Red Sea, Egypt 

The Red Sea is well-known for its beautiful coral reefs and wide range of marine life. It is a popular destination for divers of all levels and is especially great for freediving. 

3. The Bahamas 

The Bahamas is a chain of islands that offer some of the best diving in the world. The waters are crystal clear and filled with coral reefs, fish, and other marine life. It’s no wonder why the Bahamas is such a popular freediving destination. 

4. The Whitsunday Islands, Australia

The Whitsunday Islands are a group of 74 islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia. They are known for their stunning white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. The Whitsundays is also a great place for freediving, with plenty of dive sites to explore and unlimited depth. 

At Freediving Central, we offer a 4-day and 3-night Whitsundays freediving trip where we will sail around the Whitsunday Islands on an ex-racing maxi yacht ‘The Broomstick’, exploring the tropical waters, fun diving the reefs, line diving and training.

5. Thailand

Thailand is another great freediving destination, with warm waters and plenty of interesting marine life to see. Thailand is also home to a number of world-class freediving instructors, so it’s a great place to learn or improve your freediving skills. 

6. Tonga

Tonga is a country made up of over 170 islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It is known for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and friendly locals. Tonga is also a great place to freedive, with plenty of reefs and fish to see.

If you want to tick ‘swimming with whales’ off your bucket list, join Freediving Central on our Humpback Whale Trip in Tonga!

Competition Freediving – Taking Your Freediving to the Next Level

Competition freediving is a great way to take your freediving skills to the next level. If you are looking for a challenge and want to test your limits, then competition freediving is for you. 

Competition freediving is governed by the International Association for the Development of Apnea (AIDA), and there are competitions held all over the world. 

In competition freediving, there are four main disciplines:

  1. Constant Weight (CWT) – In this discipline, you dive to a predetermined depth and then return to the surface using bi-fins or a monofin to propel yourself to the desired depth and to assist your ascent back to the surface. The dive must be completed within one breath and without any assistance. 
  2. Free Immersion (FIM) – In this discipline, you dive to a predetermined depth by pulling yourself down the dive rope and then return to the surface by pulling yourself back up the dive rope.
  3. No Fins (CNF) – In this discipline, you dive to a predetermined depth without using any equipment or assistance to propel yourself. The freediver uses a breaststroke style movement to propel themselves to their desired depth and assist with their ascent back to the surface. This is the purest form of freediving.
  4. Variable Weight (VWT) – In this discipline, you dive to a predetermined depth using a weighted sled. You then return to the surface without using any extra buoyancy devices. 

If you are interested in competition freediving, then Freediving Central can help you get started. We offer a number of courses that will teach you the core skills you need to succeed in competition freediving.

Frequently Asked Questions about Freediving

What is the difference between freediving and SCUBA diving?

Freediving is a sport that involves diving underwater without the use of SCUBA gear. Freedivers hold their breath and dive down to depths on a single breath. SCUBA diving is a different sport that involves using tanks of compressed air to breathe underwater. 

Can I freedive if I am not a good swimmer?

Yes, you can! Although being a good swimmer can certainly help, it is not a requirement for freediving. In fact, many people who are not strong swimmers find freediving to be a great way to improve their swimming skills. 

How deep can you dive in freediving?

The world record for the deepest unassisted freedive is 131 meters (429 feet), set by Alexey Molchanov in 2021 and the deepest assisted freedive is 214 meters (702 feet), set by Herbert Nitsch in 2007. 

Most recreational freedivers dive to depths of 30-40 meters (100-130 feet) – which is still incredibly impressive! 

What are the dangers of freediving?

The main dangers of freediving are hypoxia (lack of oxygen), nitrogen narcosis (dizziness and euphoria caused by the nitrogen in the air you breathe), and decompression sickness (the bends). 

However, with proper training and safety precautions, these dangers can be avoided and rarely happen. A general rule to follow is to allow 3 times your dive time to rest in-between dives. For example, if you do a 1-minute dive, rest on the surface breathing for at least 3 minutes before your next dive. This will reduce the risk of decompression sickness.

What is the ‘blackout’ phenomenon in freediving?

A blackout is a loss of consciousness that can occur when a freediver pushes themselves past their limits or past their hypoxic threshold. Blackouts can be prevented by knowing your limits, always diving with a buddy and educating yourself on the correct safety protocols by attending a freediving course.

Why is ‘ear equalisation’ important in freediving? 

The ears play an important role in freediving because as the pressure at depth increases we need to match this pressure in any air spaces in our body, including the middle ear. Equalisation can be done by ‘popping’ your ears.

It is important to learn how to equalise your ears properly before attempting to freedive and there are a number of equalisation techniques that you will learn based on the depths you are or will be diving to.

How much fun is freediving? 

Freediving is a lot of fun! It is a great way to explore the underwater world and to push yourself to new limits. Freediving is also a great way to meet new friends and to share some amazing experiences.

We can’t recommend it enough!

Freediving Course in Sydney

What are You Waiting For? Sign Up for a Freediving Course Today!

Now you know how awesome freediving is, what are you waiting for?

Freediving Central offers a variety of courses to help you get started in this lifelong sport. We have everything from beginner to instructor courses, so there is something for everyone.

So get in touch with us, and start your freediving journey today!

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3 Breathing Techniques From a Freediving Expert

Discover various breathing techniques that are commonly used in freediving and relaxation practices. Whether you’re an experienced freediver or someone looking to reduce stress and anxiety, these techniques can help you achieve your goals.

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