How Do I Start Freediving (and What Gear Do I Need)?

Anyone can be a beginner freediver. You just need a friend to dive with, sufficient training, love for the ocean, and the right gears. It isn’t mandatory but if you get ahold of the perfect wetsuit, fins, weight belt, and mask you will have an even more enjoyable adventure underwater.
How Do I Start Freediving

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It takes a lot to become a great freediver, but everyone has to start somewhere. With complete and proper training and the best gears that you can get your hands on you can easily be on your way to becoming a pro.

What Does Freediving Mean?

Freediving is an underwater sport where you dive into great depth with only a single intake of breath. They also perform these dives without the help of any breathing apparatus.

Freediving is also referred to as free diving, free-diving, skin-diving, and breath-hold diving.

Is Freediving a sport?

Freediving is both a recreational and competitive sport.

Common recreational freediving activities include spearfishing, underwater photography, underwater hunting, and snorkeling.

On the other hand, competitive freediving may include competitive spearfishing and several recognized apnea disciplines.

At present, competitive freediving is supervised by two international freediving associations including the International Association for Development of Apnea (AIDA International) and Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques – World Underwater Federation (CMAS).

Is Freediving a Good Workout

Freediving is a good full-body workout. It is a sport that heavily relies on precise movements and focus.

With freediving, not only do you exercise your bones and muscles, but you also keep your lungs and brain fit and healthy.

How do you become a freediver?

To become a freediver, you must invest in a quality freediving training course. This includes the following three main phase:

  • Knowledge development – This phase is centered on learning about the principles of freediving. You will also learn your body’s reaction to breath-holding and the effects of water pressure on your lungs as you dive.
  • Confined-water session or pool training – In this phase, you will learn breath-holding techniques in the confines and safety of a pool. You will be tested in two apnea disciplines including static and dynamic apnea.
  • Open water training – In this final phase, you will test your knowledge in the ocean by practicing pulling yourself down along a line (free immersion) and constant weight where you dive headfirst while following a line. You will also learn proper buddy procedures and basic rescue techniques.

How Long Does It Take To Learn To Freedive?

Freediving training might take two to three days or even longer. The recommended course duration is 15 hours and at least three sessions will likely be scheduled on different days.

Ultimately, the goal of freediving training is not to finish the training quickly but to be able to be comfortable and confident in the water.

What is Freedive Certified?

After your three-part freediving course, your instructor will award you with freediving certification. This will certify that you are a competent freediver who demonstrated proper and safe freediving techniques.

There are also other freediving certifications which include Advanced Freediver and Master Freediver.

Do You Need To Be Certified To Freedive?

Because freediving is a dangerous sport in itself, beginners must earn their certification before starting their underwater journey.

It is also advisable to complete all training before going out in the open water to ensure your freediving safety.

How Can I Practice Freediving?

You should be able to practice your breathing down to a T. You should be able to gauge your breathing patterns to be able to gradually descend further or hold your breath longer.

Whether you are practicing in a pool or the ocean, always remember to bring a friend to closely monitor your progress and safety.

How Do I Get Better At Freediving?

Like all sports, you will need to practice, practice, and practice! You will need to exert extra effort into breath training and actual dives.

As you slowly ease into the practice, you will be able to find out what aspects you’re comfortable with and work your way down into greater depths.

How Do Freedivers Train Their Lungs?

Freedivers go to great lengths to strengthen and increase their lung capacity. You should learn the following to slowly increase your lung volume and efficiency:

  • Segmented Breathing – Used to isolate muscle groups to create a breathing pattern which maximizes the intake of air, the first part of this technique engages the diaphragm (the most efficient muscle for breathing!) by inhaling until you can’t inhale any further. The second part engages the chest by starting with your lower ribs and working your way up. The final part involves the proper lifting and dropping of your shoulders which allows air to go past your epiglottis.
  • Inhalation or Packing Stretches – This helps in stretching muscle and bone away from your lungs, thus, increasing your lung volume. There are four positions (kneeling/sitting, arms lifting, forward lean, and sternum lift) that you have to do in a single breath.
  • Exhalation Stretches – Like inhalation and proper breathing, proper exhalation should also be practiced. The stretch is performed sitting down or kneeling and this will engage your epiglottis and the stretch receptors in your respiratory muscles.

How Do I Increase Bottom Time For Freediving?

There is no sure-fire freediving technique that will magically make you a pro. But practicing these tips below will help you develop the skills to be able to increase your time at the bottom.

  • Try to relax – Make sure that you are relaxed before, during, and after the dives. Before diving, stretch your lungs by doing breathing techniques and psych your mind and body about the dive ahead. Ensure that you have a buddy that will look out for you during and after the dive. This will eliminate the uneasy feeling that you may be feeling underwater.
  • Make sure to pre-equalize – This is a rule of thumb in freediving. Even before you take your first dive, you must pre-equalize while taking your last couple of breaths.
  • Try to duck dive smoothly – This would take a lot of practice but a smooth duck dive can easily predict how your entire dive would pan out.
  • Streamline your body position – The secret is to not go against the current or the hydrodynamics of the ocean. Tucking your head towards your chest will increase glide efficiency and will make equalization easier for your airways.
  • Reduce big movements – While at the bottom, make sure that you reduce the movement of your eyes and head. Not only will that save you oxygen but it will also make the fishes comfortable enough to get closer.
  • Meditate – Do meditation techniques underwater! This will help you further relax so you can maintain more time on the bottom.

How Do Freedivers Sink?

Now imagine your lungs like a balloon. At the surface, after a full breath, they are at their total capacity. However, as you descend the volume of air decreases causing the balloon (your lungs) to shrink in size, thus, making you less buoyant.

As you go deeper, the volume further decreases also continuously decreasing your buoyancy that you become less than your weight, leading to freefall. The science behind this phenomenon is in accordance with Boyle’s law.

How Much Weight Do You Need For Freediving?

The weight that you should wear in freediving varies from person to person as we all have different body compositions. Through trial and error, you may be able to accurately determine how much weight you need.

In choosing the right weight, you should take into account the thickness of your wetsuit, the temperature and condition of the water, the weather, your body composition, and the depth of the dive.

What Gear Do You Need In Freediving?

You don’t need too many gears to get started in freediving. The following, while not mandatory, can make your experience underwater more remarkable:

  • Mask
  • Snorkel
  • Fins
  • Weight Systems and Weigh Belts
  • Freediving Computer or Freediving watch
  • Bouy and Line
  • Nose clip
  • Fluid Goggles

What Do You Wear For Freediving?

Freedivers often wear exposure suits to protect them against any underwater elements. Examples of these are wetsuits (the most common attire for freedivers), pool suits, and dive skins.

Wetsuits will help protect you from the sun, jellyfish, and other underwater hazards. It can also help you move more smoothly in the water. Wetsuits are normally made of neoprene and their thickness should depend on the conditions of the dive spot.

Pool suits also help you be more agile through the water. It fits tightly around your body and is made from neoprene on the outside and nylon on the inside

Dive Skins are made from the same materials as wetsuits. In choosing the right dive skin, you should always take into account the conditions of the dive spot.

What Are The Best Fins For Freediving?

There are two types of fins that freedivers use.

  • Bi-fins – This is similar to flippers and is the most useful for freediving. This enables you to glide more easily underwater. This is often long and it encloses your whole foot.
  • Monofins – To use this fin, you have to insert both feet into a single fish-like fin. Some features of monofins include foot pockets, stiff blade, and wings on the side edges. Once you’ve mastered the use of the monofin, you can achieve greater speed and depths.

Why Are Freediving Fins So Long?

One of the most distinctive features of Bi-fins is their length. Bi-fins are made as such because it adds more power to your kicks without exerting too much effort.

Aside from that, it helps you to glide more smoothly through the water. You should always remember to choose bi-fins whose stiffness is perfect for the type of dive that you are doing, your foot size, and your muscle strength.

Can You Scuba Dive With Freediving Fins?

You can use freediving fins for scuba diving. Since freediving fins are longer than normal scuba diving fins, they can provide you with more thrust while underwater in high current situations.

Although helpful in certain scenarios, freediving fins may not be suitable for wreck and cave dives. Due to its length, it is not recommended for use in smaller underwater environments.

How Should Freediving Fins Fit?

Your freediving fins should have a snug fit on your feet. Fins differ in size and make so remember to always ask for the right size chart or advice from store employees.

While fitting your fins, make sure to wear neoprene socks. Not only will these keep your feet warm underwater, but manufacturers also assume that you would be wearing neoprene socks and they have charted their fins according to the thickness of the socks.

How Do You Travel With Your Freediving Fins?

Here are some tips to make sure that your freediving fins are safe during your travels:

  • Make sure to stack your fins on top of one another, with the top sides facing each other.
  • Wrap and cushion your fins with your wetsuit for added protection
  • Make sure that the blades are facing down (with more padding!) when you put your fins in the bag.
  • Continue to add cushion around the fins with other clothes for protection.
  • Put a bunch of “FRAGILE” stickers around the bag.
  • Once in the airport or while traveling, explain to authorities why the bag is fragile so they can extend the same care.

How Do I Choose A Freediving Mask?

The best freediving mask should fit your face perfectly. Since we have different facial features, here are some features to check before buying one:

  • Low volume of air inside the mask
  • Clear lenses
  • Nose Pockets
  • Soft silicone skirt

What Are The Best Freediving Mask?

If you’re on the look-out for a new freediving mask, here’s a short list of the three top-rated freediving masks:

  • Aqua Lung Sphera – Boasting a hydrodynamic design and 180-degree visibility, this is the top-rated mask in the current market. Aside from its 180-degree visibility, the lenses also have anti-fog and scratch-resistant layers.
  • Mares Viper Mask – It is characterized by its hydrodynamic design, easily adjustable and very comfortable straps, and tempered glass lenses. It is also ergonomically designed to fit most facial structures.
  • Cressi Superocchio – One of the original freediving masks, the Superocchio is constructed to be durable. It also has a good seal that ensures the perfect fit for most faces.

Why Do Freedivers Use Snorkels?

Freedivers use snorkels for different reasons. Aside from maintaining a more streamlined shape in the water, snorkels allow you to breathe steadily from the safety of the surface.

Snorkels also help you especially in rough water conditions as it allows for a smoother breath-up.

Do Freedivers Wear Ear Plugs?

Freedivers use earplugs to help improve their equalization. Aside from that, ear plugs also protect the eardrums from the repeated flushing of cold water.

If you fail to use earplugs on your dives, the movement of water on your eardrum might lead to exostosis, a condition where a bone starts to grow on top of an existing bone. In this case, a bone on the ear canal would eventually grow across the entrance of your ears.