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Not really? You do not need to be an enthusiastic swimmer to learn freediving. However, you must be comfortable in the water, particularly open water. When you start freediving, you will rarely see the ocean floor, making it completely different from snorkeling on a beach or swimming in a pool. Nonetheless, if you can stay in water at least 200 meters deep comfortably without any issues, you can free dive.
But how? Freediving gear can help. Equipment such as fins and lifejackets that keep people buoyant and afloat can help you free dive, even if you do not know how to swim. So again, the answer is a big YES. You can free dive even if you are a non-swimmer.
Equipment or gear that can help you get into the water and get free diving even if you are a non-swimmer include; fins, wetsuits, and life jackets. They will allow you to float on the surface with little or no swimming experience required.
This is a crucial freediving gear as it is what allows you to see well underwater. When the eyes are in contact with water, it is difficult to see well, and almost everything looks blurred. A freediving mask creates some space between your eyes and the water, allowing you to focus correctly and see around. A good mask should have a nose pocket that is seamless to pinch for equalization purposes.
When freediving, both your equipment and body are under pressure. Your mask's lenses are usually under immense pressure, and for them not to break, which can injure your eyes and skin, go for a glass labeled T. This means it won't break even under impact or pressure. Some plastic masks are resistant to impact and pressure.
Also, when buying freediving equipment, try and get them from a diving gear store, as it is the only place you can be sure the gear is designed for free diving. Chances are there will be a specialist in the store who will help you choose the ideal one for your needs.
While in scuba diving, there are hundreds of types of snorkels available, in freediving, a snorkel is mainly about comfort and simplicity. It is a piece that allows you to breathe comfortably with your face underwater.
That said, when you choose a freediving snorkel, choose one that is comfortable in the mouth. Go for a medium rigid option, one that is not too rigid or too flexible. Keep in mind that the piece will be in your mouth for a long time in the water, perhaps hours, meaning any scrapes or scratches can easily become a cut or an irritation and turn an exciting experience into an unpleasant one.
Just like the mask and regulator are a symbol of scuba diving, Freediving fins have become a buzz in the world of freediving. The most notable feature of a freediving fin is the long blade, about 1/3 longer than that of scuba diving. Freediving fins should have a pocket that is flexible and is made of smooth material. This will ensure they fit comfortably on your foot.
If you are not a good swimmer but can't wait to have fun with friends in the water, a life jacket is a must-have. It significantly reduces the chances of you drowning when freediving. When wearing the jacket, the total weight displaced by water is less than your weight; this is what causes people to float. Also, they will protect you from injuries and ensure safety throughout your excursion.
That said, you do not need to have top-range freediving equipment to enjoy freediving as a beginner. However, as you gain experience and fall in love with the game, you can invest in other equipment such as a rubber weight belt, two-piece wetsuit, or a dive computer.
This is very important. And it's not just for freediving but all water sports. It can be an instructor or a friend who has some experience in the sport. It is crucial that you watch out for each other in all deep or shallow dives. And of course, almost everything is always more enjoyable when shared with other people.
Enjoy the charm of what is around you in the water. Enjoy the peacefulness, silence, and beauty. It is totally amazing. Dive with dolphins, join a school of fish or just take photos if you can. You will certainly feel truly free and live in the moment.
Relaxing is another important aspect of freediving for beginners. Calm, slow, and deep breaths will help reduce your pulse rate so the body can save oxygen. Anxiety will make you utilize heaps of energy and oxygen. There are many freediving courses online that teach how to relax the body via different relaxation and breathing techniques.
That said, the secret to lasting longer and advancing underwater is to take slow deep breaths. Breath out for 15 seconds, then in for 5 seconds. Breath out for longer to avoid hyperventilating. Practice this for a while, and with time, you will find that your heart rate is slowing down, and you will be able to advance further as your heart rate acclimatizes.
Ask questions and watch other freedivers, both those who can swim and those who can't. Also, take advantage of everything you can from qualified instructors and divers. As you gain experience, you will realize that different free divers utilize different methods to attain their objectives. Begin with the basics, master them and then build on what you already know to find out what is ideal for you.
Finally, keep in mind that freediving is for everybody, even for non-swimmers. Provided you have the right gear, you can do it. The game is mainly about mindset, relaxation and not about strength or zeal. Your objective is to connect with the underwater world and enjoy the sensations and feelings that come with it. Appreciate every second of it, happy diving!