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December 13, 2020 7 min read

There are many water-based activities and exercises that are becoming quite popular amongst many people. Swimming, snorkeling, underwater exploration and freediving are also getting hugely popular amongst many people. In this article I will try to understand the right reply to the question as to what is freediving. Put in simple words, freediving is an activity that needs the persons to hold their breath while diving. They also need to learn how to stay underwater while holding their breath. Many people would like to associate freediving with those people who would like to project themselves as super human beings. They believe that they can easily dive deep into the ocean or other water bodies with enough air in their lungs.

 

It is supposed to be the ultimate test for the body when it comes to holding one's breath and being in a position to stay without oxygen for a reasonably long period of time. It also perhaps tests the strength of the mind quite well. However, it is not as easy as it seems and you must therefore try and understand the various aspects of free diving. Hence, the effort in this article is to try and give our readers a reasonably good idea about the various aspects of freediving. It may help the readers to choose the sporting activity based on such information.

 

What Is Special about Freediving?

There are different types and forms of underwater diving. For example when a person dives without an aqualung it is referred to as skin diving or even referred to as snorkeling. In such forms of diving, it is common to see people using snorkel, fins and masks. However, when we refer to freediving it involves holding one's breath. It does not matter how deep or how shallow you are underwater. Freediving like all sports has a history behind it. Human beings went in for freediving more out of necessity rather than as a sport. They had to go underwater, holding their breath, in search of food and also for harvesting and finding some items that could be traded for money or even bartered for other items. However, over the years, freediving has evolved and today it is considered as a recreational sporting activity. It also is helpful to capture images and videos of underwater live, apart from catching some tasty seafood. It also is considered to be a good exercise in many ways.

 

What about Competitive Freediving?

As freediving evolved over the years, it branched out into different disciplines. Today there are many levels and types of competition that test a person's ability to be in water and hold his or her breath at the same time. A few other things were also added to it and this became a highly competitive and exciting sporting activity. During the early part of the 21st century and the latter part of the 20th century, there was a difference between freediving in fresh water and salt water. However, this has more or less disappeared.

 

Freediving Training

 

When it comes to professional freediving competitions, the competitors have to perform many activities. The most important activity is to perform constant weight dive with the help of fins. They are also required to swim with fins, apart from holding their breath in a static position amongst other things. Each such activity has some points set apart and the final score is then arrived at. There could also be some other activities that could form a part of the overall evolution of a person who is into freediving with a competitive bent of mind.

 

What Are the Types of Freediving?

It would be interesting to have a look at the most popular types of freediving. When you meet freedivers and hear them speak, you will find them using strange codes. This is perhaps in reference to the diving depth and other such things. It might be difficult to decipher it initially but if you are in touch with them and monitor the way in which they communicate you will be able to learn more about it. Here are some common types of freediving.

 

Open Water along with Disciplines

This is one of the most common and popular forms of freediving. It also is considered to be one of the purest forms of freediving. The diver is required to get into the water and come out of it using their own skill set, power and staying capability. Their body weights and other such attributes could determine as to how long they can stay underwater.

 

Free Immersion Freediving

Free immersion freediving also known as FIM is another popular variant of this sporting activity. Here the competitors do not wear any fins. The diver is required to pull a rope and back. This is often considered to be a warm up workout by experienced freediving professionals. It could help to conserve energy and give strength to the legs while the competitors are getting ready for the actual competition. On the other side of the spectrum, beginners are often seen making extensive use of free immersion freediving. Many students are taught this form of freediving. It could help them to gradually learn equalization skills at their own place. Many new entrants to freediving are known to have issues with respect to equalizing. They would like to get started and get used to freediving with the feet-first technique. Hence, they have to depend on the rope for moving under water. However, this does take some extra effort to normal freediving. Some divers also make use of fins as a safety precaution. This helps the beginner to ascend to the surface without much of a problem.

 

VWT or Variable Weight Freediving

This is a bit complicated and tough form of freediving. This discipline makes use of variable weights that helps the diver to reach different levels of depth. The diver also is required to get back to the surface through his own steam, energy and capability. With the fin and the weights weighing down on him or her it certainly is a tough task and only experienced freedivers will be able to do a good job of it. Though it is not in the list of competition disciplines, there are unofficial national and international records that have been set. It is a great way to learn and get trained on equalizations and also make efficient use of the fins even if the weight weighs them down.

 

No Limits Freediving or NLT

If you want to experience a freediving competition where the divers have to go the deepest, NLT could be the one. There are no limits and you make use of weights to ensure that you go as deep as possible. Of course, it is also considered to be one of the most dangerous forms of freediving. It is done only by those who have rich experience in the various forms of freediving.

 

Can Everyone Do Freediving?

There are quite a few questions that come to the minds of people who would like to get into freediving. Many people are of the opinion that they may not be able to be a part of freediving, unless they are able to hold their breath. While this may be true in the initial stages, with regular practice on the various aspects of freediving, even ordinary people can take part in freediving. However, there could be some people with lung problems and other bronchial issues. They need to be careful and take inputs from their doctors and lung specialists before they get into freediving. Many techniques are taught and these certainly will help you to hold your breath much longer than you may have thought it possible.

 

Is Swimming Essential for Learning Freediving?

While there is no need for you to be an Olympic level swimmer, it is expected that you should have some basic knowledge about swimming. Without this you may not feel comfortable staying underwater for even short periods of time. To become a qualified freediver you should be able to comfortably swim 200 to 218 yards. There is no time limit for covering this distance and you are free to use any type of stroke that you are comfortable with. However, you should be reasonably comfortable with different types of breath-hold techniques. Many of these techniques are related to swimming underwater at some reasonable depths. Hence, it would not be wrong to conclude that you should have some basic idea and skill set about swimming because you need to be underwater for reasonably long periods of time. Swimming will help you to make use of the fins and also help you to come back to the surface once the activities are completed.

 

What is the Age Limit for Freediving?

While there is no upper age limit for freediving, there are some minimum age limits for getting into this sport. According to organizations that arrange freediving, the minimum entry age is 15. There are some exemptions in the minimum age limit for those who want to learn freediving but competitions are allowed only for those who are above 15 years.

 

You also should have the required accessories and safety equipment like a freediving wetsuit before you get into the water for learning freediving.

 

Conclusion

Freediving, without any doubt, is an extremely popular and healthy sport. It is often considered to be a complete sport that takes into account your lung capacity, your cardiovascular functions and your stamina. It also tests your skill, patience, perseverance and patience to the hilt. If done properly after the right learning protocols, it is an enjoyable pastime activity for sure.

 

Also of Interest: 

 

Liz H.
Liz H.


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