Have you ever wondered how people can dive into deep water for long periods of time without any breathing apparatus? Or maybe you have questioned whether there are actually any differences between freediving and snorkeling? Despite your knowledge of the sport, you’re bound to have some questions before you take the plunge to become a PADI Freediver™. Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about learning to freedive.
What Is Freediving?
Diving into deep waters on one breath and without any breathing apparatus is referred to as ‘freediving’. Freedivers use inward control, discipline and power to descend into the ocean while holding their breath until they resurface. Freediving is both a recreational and competitive sport, with many freediving competitions being held regularly around the world.
What Is the Difference Between Snorkeling and Freediving?
Although both freediving and snorkeling require the use of similar equipment, the two activities are quite different. Snorkelers remain on the surface of the ocean looking down with their mask while breathing through their snorkels. Whereas, freedivers dive deep beneath the ocean’s surface holding their breath until they resurface. Freedivers only use their snorkel at the surface of the water and instead, remove this piece of equipment before they descend.
If I Can’t Hold My Breath for a Long Time Does That Mean I Can’t Freedive?
This is one of the most common misconceptions about freediving. With proper training you will learn breath-hold techniques that will likely result in you being pleasantly surprised by how long you can hold your breath.
Do I Need to Know How to Swim?
While you don’t need to be an Olympic swimmer to take the course, it is important that you feel confident in the water. To become a PADI Freediver you will need to be able to swim 200 meters/218 yards. This swim will be untimed and can be completed using any stroke, so you can take your time. You’ll also need to learn multiple breath-hold techniques, some of which involve swimming underwater and at depth.
How Old Do I Need to Be to Start Freediving?
To enrol in the PADI Freediver course you must be at least 15 years old. However, if you’re younger than 15 years old but want to learn how to freedive, we have modified courses available. Those aged 12 years or older can enrol in the PADI Basic Freediver course and anyone aged 8 years of age or older can start their PADI Skin Diver course.
How Long Does It Take to Get Certified?
PADI courses are constructed so that the required skills can be mastered irrespective of set time periods. Some people may find these skills easier to achieve while others may need a little more time. Despite your natural ability, the PADI Freediver course will ensure that you’re equipped with the appropriate skills needed to safely freedive.
What Are the Course Requirements?
To become a PADI Freediver you will need to complete three main phases of the course:
- Knowledge Development – This is the theory portion of the course that you will need to complete before you start your confined and open water sessions. You can complete this independent study either through PADI Freediver eLearning or classroom sessions with your PADI Freediver Instructor.
- Confined Water Sessions – During this section of your course you will learn multiple breath-hold techniques in order to achieve a static apnea of 90 seconds and a dynamic apnea of 25 meters/80 feet.
- Open Water Sessions – This is where you will practice your breath-hold techniques during both free immersion and constant weight freedives to 10 meters/30 feet. You will also complete a range of buddy and safety procedures.
What Are the Different Types of Freediving?
There are four different types of freediving that you will practice during your PADI Freediving course.
- Static Apnea – This discipline requires the diver to hold their breath for as long as possible while floating face down in confined water. The diver’s respiratory tracts must be submerged during this activity.
- Dynamic Apnea – In confined water, divers will need to swim in a horizontal position underwater to cover the greatest distance possible. This discipline can be performed as either a fins or no fins activity.
- Free Immersion – During this discipline the diver will use the guided rope to propel themselves down as far as they can and then back up to the surface. This activity can also be performed with or without fins.
- Constant Weight – In this activity divers use control and power to push themselves down as far as they can next to the guided rope. During this discipline the diver is not allowed to touch the guided rope. Performed in open water, divers can either complete this activity with or without fins.
Do I Need My Own Freediving Equipment?
Not at all. Freedivers only require a few equipment items; mask, snorkel, fins, weight belt (if required) and wetsuit (depending on you’re location), so most PADI Freediver™ Centers will have gear available for hire. Of course as your love for the sport develops, you may decide to purchase your own equipment.