Freediving Youth Programs with NSW Police and PCYC

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Breathe For Life

Breathe For Life – A program empowering the youth of tomorrow and giving them the chance to engage in cultural activities, master breathwork, and relaxation techniques for managing daily anxieties, embracing the ocean, and fostering enriched relationships with youth support services.

Freediving Central has collaborated with New South Wales Police, the Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC), Ngemba youth of Bourke and the Darkinjung youth of the Central Coast for an exciting few days of breathwork, freediving, and ocean exploration. 

The program aimed to introduce the youth to the benefits of breath work and breath holding to help manage stress and anxiety, the calming effects of the ocean as well as creating better relationships with services.

Captured by Matt Horspool @Etchd Photography.

The Breathwork

Breathwork and breath-holding techniques have been used for centuries by people from all walks of life and various groups for their physical and mental benefits. In recent years, these techniques; controlled breathing and breath holds have gained popularity as a way to reduce stress, anxiety, increase focus and improve overall well-being. Freediving is a sport that teaches you to be present and allows people to experience mindfulness. In addition to the positive mental health benefits, breath-holding can also improve physical endurance and lung capacity. This makes it a useful technique for activities such as freediving, where individuals need to hold their breath for extended periods of time while underwater.

Bourke – Stage 1

Over Christmas, Freediving Central and Brisbane Water Youth Command made the long journey out to Bourke. Bringing with them a ute full of freediving equipment; masks, snorkels and fins all generously donated by Adreno Outfitters -$3000 worth of equipment. Bourke is a historic outback town on the banks of the Darling River located 10 hours inland from Coffs Harbour.

The morning began with Dan Parsons Facilitating breath work at the Bourke PCYC. The results were incredible, PCYC Manager George Dickson said he had never seen any of the kids so quiet, engaged and relaxed at any one time. The Freediving breath work techniques are designed to lower your heart rate, and increase lung mobility and flexibility but also allow you to breathe deeper. Some of the youth were able to hold their breath for an impressive 2 minutes!

After lunch we jumped in the pool for some games followed by some underwater activities. Bourke pool is 4 meters deep which is perfect for Freediving training. We even did some exercises while holding onto some kettlebells and walking on the bottom of the pool. The kids loved it! 

Central Coast – Stage 2

In March we caught up with the Darkinjung youth on the Central Coast. Once again they responded in the exact same way as the Bourke mob. All completely relaxed, silent and experiencing mindfulness. Its truly an incredible moment to witness!

We were able to gain access to a 4-meter deep pool giving the kids a chance to try on the equipment that was donated by Adreno in preparation for getting into the ocean in a few weeks’ time. For some of the kids, it was their first time ever seeing underwater while wearing a pair of goggles and it is an example of the benefits of water emersion, which encouraged instant calmness and mindfulness to all of the participants. Cool water on the face engages mammalian diving reflex-facial immersion naturally lowers heart rate bringing calmness.

Bourke meets Central Coast – Sydney – Stage 3

A few months later the Bourke kids piled onto a PCYC bus and made the 10-hour journey to Umina Beach on the Central Coast, for some of them having never left Bourke this trip was big! Tuggerah Lakes Youth Command had arranged beachfront accommodation at Umina caravan park.
From Outback Bourke to the Beach!

This part of the program was the most important. It was filled with Cultural activities and walks, smoking ceremonies, BBQs, and an opportunity to meet the Darkinjung mob and build new friendships. Brisbane Water Police even organised a day on the Hawkesbury River where the entire group went out for some fun in the sun, an opportunity to hang out with the boys in blue and see how fast the police boats can really go!

On the last day, we all made the journey to Sydney. We stopped in at Hornsby PCYC for a group breakfast, then returned on the road and headed for Sydney’s famous Shelly Beach! The weather and ocean couldn’t have been any calmer the conditions were stunning!

This was the part that everyone had been waiting for, we were all finally going freediving! We did 10 minutes of breathwork under the trees, donned the freediving gear, and headed for the water! We broke into groups and jumped in the water with Freediving Central Instructors. We spent the time looking at fish checking out the shells and creatures before letting the dive lines out and descending to depths of up to 8 meters deep! It was full of laughter, relaxation, and for some of the group even learning more about equalisation.

The journey from Manly Beach to the city of Sydney was an adventure filled with awe and excitement. For many of these kids from Bourke, it was their first time leaving their hometown and experiencing the bustling city life of Sydney.

The journey began as they boarded the Manly ferry, the ferry ride offered them stunning views of the iconic Sydney Opera House and the majestic Sydney Harbour Bridge. As the ferry glided across the sparkling waters of the harbour, the kids couldn’t contain their amazement. The sight of these world-famous landmarks against the backdrop of the glistening blue waters left them in awe.

The Sydney Opera House, with its distinctive sail-like architecture, was a sight to behold. Its presence on the harbor’s edge was a symbol of culture and creativity. The kids marveled at the grandeur of the Opera House, perhaps never having imagined they would one day stand in its shadow.

Upon arriving at Circular Quay, the heart of Sydney’s waterfront, the group embarked on a walking adventure through the city streets. The cityscape was a stark contrast to the rural tranquility of Bourke. Skyscrapers pierced the sky, and the bustling city streets were filled with people from all walks of life.

Their journey through the city led them to the Sydney Aquarium, a world-class marine attraction that would leave a lasting impression. As they entered the aquarium, they were greeted by a mesmerizing underwater world teeming with vibrant marine life. From colorful tropical fish to majestic sharks, the kids were entranced by the diversity of creatures that call the ocean home.

Throughout the day, the kids absorbed the sights and sounds of the city. They saw how diverse and dynamic Sydney was, and it sparked their curiosity about the wider world. The trip was not just a fun outing but a transformative experience that broadened their horizons and offered them a glimpse of what lies beyond their hometown of Bourke.

Since the time of this program Freediving Central has completed a further eight programs and is now merging with NSW schools and Surf Life Saving Australia.

A very special thanks to, as this program would not be possible without the support of:

PCYC Bourke
PCYC Bateau Bay
PCYC Umina
PCYC Hornsby

Indigenous Joint Program
Tuggerah Lakes Police Force
NSW Police Force Youth Command
Brisbane Water Police District
Adreno Outfitters
Matt Horspool

Interested in a youth program for a school or organisation?

Get in contact for information on what we have to offer. We can tailor the experience to individual needs and wants.

Freediving Central, we offer beginner, intermediate and advanced freediving courses, as well as freediving courses for instructors.

Even if you already have freediving experience, our courses can help you refine your technique and help you add freediving for fitness and add it to your health routine.

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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.

Downloadable (#10)