There is a growing sentiment in the diving world that SCUBA divers don’t like Freedivers and Freedivers don’t like SCUBA divers. We couldn’t disagree more!
Both SCUBA and Freediving have distinct advantages and disadvantages. We love all forms of diving and encourage other divers to experience the various types of diving with an open mind. In this blog we discuss how SCUBA divers will benefit from taking a freediving course.
#1 Safety- As a SCUBA diver, if you experience a gear malfunction while diving, then you just became a Freediver. Equipment failure usually leads to panic, but after taking a Freediving course you will learn how to stay calm under pressure (literally). By using the breath retention and mindfulness techniques taught during a freediving course, a SCUBA diver experiencing gear malfunction can avoid injury by calmly reaching the safety point of a buddy’s spare air (or in extreme circumstances the surface).
Additionally, in a freediving course you will learn how to successfully rescue a diver that has experienced a Loss of Motor Control or a Shallow Water Blackout. Since these occurrences show no warning signs and can happen to anybody, anywhere, learning the rescue scenarios may help you save a life.
#2 Improved Air Consumption- Freediving is all about EFFICIENCY! As freedivers we want to be “responsibly lazy,” only working the muscles that we need in order to conserve oxygen for our dives. In a Freediving course, you will learn breathing and finning techniques designed for maximum performance. These same techniques can be adapted for SCUBA diving for optimal air consumption. Just think, if you can learn to be efficient with just one breath, imagine how efficient you could become using SCUBA equipment!
#3 Get Closer to Marine Life- This one can go both ways. SCUBA diving allows us to breath underwater, thus more time with the animals. Freediving, however, allows us to enter the water naturally, on the marine animals terms. Marine life responds by allowing us an unparalleled level of interaction! For spearfishers and photographers this stealthiness can be a huge asset, providing much closer access to the target species.
Additionally, freediving allows us to be more mobile in the water column just like other marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, seals etc. Whereas on SCUBA we are limited in mobility due to the need for safety/decompression stops. Again, both forms of diving have their pros and cons.
#4 Open up to more opportunities- Many traditional snorkeling outfitters/destinations such as whale, shark, dolphin, rays, etc. tours now require freediving certifications for liability purposes. If you’re thinking about taking that dream trip to visit Whale Sharks in Mexico, Humpbacks in Tonga, or Sharks here in Florida, consider getting that Freediving certification!
#5 Stronger Equalization- Ever have one of those days where your ears just won’t clear? In a Freediving course you will learn advanced equalization techniques such as the Frenzel method. These equalization techniques are designed for efficiency and safety, making them a useful tool for SCUBA and Freedivers alike!
#6 Better Control over Mind/Body (not just in water)- The breathing and meditation techniques taught in a freediving class are designed to give you better control over your mind and body, not just in the water but also in everyday life. The brain is an extremely powerful organ, thus it is capable of burning up a ton of oxygen. As humans, our minds are capable of producing 3,500 thoughts per hour! That’s a new thought every second! Freedivers need to quiet the mind to reduce anxiety and oxygen consumption, a useful tool for life on dry land as well.
There is a direct link between our breath and our mind/body. If our breath is erratic the mind and body will be restless. Conversely, if the breath is calm and smooth, the mind and body will follow suit with clarity and focus. By training our breath, we can optimize the performance of our mind and body.
#8 Improved Buoyancy- Neutral buoyancy is a major safety factor for any SCUBA dive, it also allows divers to consume less air and conserve more energy. Implementing the breathing techniques taught in a Freediving course allows you to gain more control over your breath to achieve better buoyancy.