How Freediving is different than Fun Diving | Intern’s Journal by Jonas Preisler
This week I had the pleasure of leaving the office for two days and joining our team of divemaster interns for an over-night trip to the beautiful village of Amed on the north coast of Bali. The two days were to be spent doing an introductory freediving course, which all divemaster interns at BSB get to do, as well as several scuba dives, including one night dive and of course a fair bit of sun and fun.
After an early start on Tuesday morning we arrived in Amed at around 9 am and didn’t spare a minute to get into the water. Having already had the introductory theory session on freediving with instructor Oli on the bus, we geared up in our wetsuits and entered the pool for some relaxation exercises and breath-hold training. Freediving is all about efficiency, meaning, you only want to use those muscles which are absolutely necessary for what you are trying to achieve. In the case of simple breath-hold training in the pool, or ‘static apnea’ as it is called in freediving jargon, you want to achieve the longest possible time without taking a breath. Therefore any movement of or tension in your body is unwanted as it unnecessarily uses valuable oxygen.
As scuba diving’s golden rule is to never hold your breath underwater, doing this static apnea training in the pool required some rethinking and getting used to for some of our experienced scuba divers in the group. Nevertheless, everyone got the hang of it eventually, and it was time to try it out in the open water of Amed Bay.
We split the group into two and each day one half went scuba diving whilst the other half had their first freediving session in the sea. In my group of four we swam out into the bay and dropped a 20m rope with weights on the end and attached it to a float. It was time to get serious and after instructor Oli showed us a nice demonstration dive along the rope, we took it in turns to go down. Going deep in the open water on a single breath was even more difficult for some of us to get used to. It simply contradicts everything you learn in scuba diving, from breathing habits and body posture to finning technique and movement speed. So during this experience it became very clear to us that, even though scuba diving and freediving both happen in the underwater world, they are two completely different sports requiring a completely different set of skills. Looking back, it was a very interesting observation to make how some of us, who are usually so extremely comfortable underwater scuba diving, felt so at loss underwater during their first freediving attempts.
However after some time and with a very experienced freediving instructor by our side, everyone was eventually able to go down comfortably and some of us even managed to do the full 20m of depth on an incredible single breath! What a great experience!
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