PADI Freediver AmbassaDiver Renee Blundon

With PADI Women’s Dive Day on the horizon, we spoke to freediving PADI AmbassaDiver Renee Blundon on why she thinks it to important to raise the awareness of freediving, particularly with women…

How important is it to you to raise awareness of Freediving?

I think raising awareness of freediving is very important. It’s an incredible sport and underwater activity. Not only does it put you in touch with marine life and Mother Nature but it puts you more in touch with yourself. I’m just amazed at how transformative it is.

I’ve seen so many people, myself included, go from an extremely unhealthy, overworked,  stressed-out and somewhat introverted lifestyle to a lifestyle that’s more active, social, outdoorsy, healthier and as a result are much happier!

People also become more aware of the current state of our oceans since they see first-hand all the plastic and garbage floating around. This has us just naturally making changes in how we live from an environmental standpoint.

Freediving as a form of self development

And from a self-development perspective, do you think freediving has a big effect on people?

From a self-development perspective, freediving is really quite magical. When I’m breathing up on the surface, getting ready to freedive, I become so relaxed in my mind and body. My worries completely fade away like rain sliding off of a roof and my body becomes fully de-tensioned, loose and fluffy, moving and flowing with the water. It’s really quite meditative!

All of these sensations from the relaxation and de-stressing to living fully present in the moment permeate into everyday life. I’ve found people become more relaxed at home, at the office; they tend to be happier, and more pleasant to be around, often people get into yoga or meditation just to experience the similar relaxation and peace of mind.

Encouraging women into Freediving

As a woman in a mainly male dominated field how are you hoping to encourage more females in to the sport?

Although I don’t notice it very much, as men and women are treated quite equally in the sport, there does tend to be more male freedivers than women. I’ve done some competitions where I was the only female athlete!

I hope that by sharing my personal experiences, thoughts, and reflections about freediving through social media as well as blogging that it will help inspire and motivate women to get into freediving to overcome their fears, especially fear of the water and to use freediving as a tool to build courage and self-confidence.

I’ve also created a Facebook group called Freediving Girls so that women who freedive or are interested in freediving can join it and connect with one-another.

Another thing I have done is put myself forward for Ms Health and Fitness. Through this process and if I win (fingers crossed) I hope to inspire more women to join the world of Freediving

american freediver renee blundon
Photo: Daan Verhoevan

How would you recommend people wanting to become freedivers go about it?

I’d recommend, if you can and if you have access to the ocean, to first get yourself comfortable in the water by swimming or snorkeling.

Once you’re comfortable in the water and a sufficient enough swimmer, then I’d recommend taking the PADI Freediver course so that you can learn the freediving techniques (the proper breathing techniques, relaxation, finning, equalization, etc) to freedive in a safe way. This will get you going in the right direction and will prevent you from having bad habits which will save you time and energy down the road.

If you’re a scuba diver, most likely you’re already comfortable in the water and a sufficient swimmer so you can probably go right into a freediving course, but I’d always double check with your instructor.


Fitness is an intrinsic part of being an athlete, but how do you keep it fun and interesting?

I think it’s great if you can find activities / workouts that are challenging for you but that you can also enjoy! This way you can get fitter while you’re having fun and enjoying yourself, and this way you also stick with it!

For example, before I got into freediving I used to workout 2-3 times per day, yet year after year I never got the results I wanted. Then I started training for freediving. Basically my only goal was to become a good freediver, I had no intention to get fitter, leaner or lose weight. I just wanted to freedive with ease and hold my breath longer.

After about 4-5 weeks of freediving training, I noticed I felt fitter, happier, healthier and stronger, as I was also doing yoga regularly as well. Life is just crazy sometimes. The moment I just did an activity for the pure sake of enjoyment and with a completely different goal in mind, I ended up achieving my fitness goal. And without even trying!

So this is why I’d recommend doing an activity you enjoy and allow your fitness results to come just naturally, while you’re having fun!

If you pick a few different activities it’s great because you can mix it up and make it more interesting for yourself! For example, I like doing crossfit in the morning and freediving in the afternoon. If I were to do freediving  two times a day, it would be a bit too much and I would become quite bored and unmotivated.

Lastly, I’d recommend that once you find the activities that you like, to build a community around you so you have friends and buddies to workout with. When you have a friend relying on you or meeting you at a certain time it really helps you to stick with it! Plus it’s a lot more fun doing these activities with other people :)

Inspired? Find out more about becoming a freediver, on our information pages here.


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