Things you need to know before doing a freediving course (that no one else talks about)

Freediving has gained popularity in recent years thanks to a mix of freediving competitions going mainstream, Hollywood and Netflix writers running out of ideas to write about, and Instagram influencers looking for new ways to capture the attention of their short-spanned audience.

While it may seem like an exciting and freeing adventure, embarking on a freediving course requires preparation and a solid understanding of what lies ahead, during and after your course.

In this article, we’ll explore the essential things you need to know before enrolling and spending your hard-earned money on a freediving course.

Freediving Is Not Free.

Nothing in life is free, being alive in itself comes with a price. You have groceries, utilities, rent, and taxes to pay for. So it should not be a surprise for most people that doing a freediving course comes with its cost, even if the name itself tends to make some rare people think otherwise.

Like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. Depending on where in the world and with whom you are doing a freediving course, the experience of the freediving instructor, and the quality of the teaching, a level 1 freediving course (which is the equivalent of a scuba diving open water course in terms of certification) can cost you anything between 300-1000 US for a group or private freediving course.

Once your freediving course is over you should add another few hundred dollars if you want to buy your freediving gear to be able to practice what you would have learned during your freediving course. If you are looking for coached dives or training dives, you will also have to pay for that unless you join a freediving club or happen to have completed your freediving course with one of those rare instructors like myself or a few others who allow their students to come freedive with them at no extra cost once they complete their freediving course.

If you live in a metropolitan city far from the ocean, factor in the cost of flights and accommodation to go to freedive exotic destinations. If you catch the competitive bug, you’ll also have to pay for competition entry fees which can cost nearly 500 US depending on the competition you are attending. If you become obsessed with chasing performances, get ready to spend over ten thousand of dollars over a decade.

So yeah in the long term, freediving can cost you an arm and a leg, but don’t fret though freediving in a minimalist way is possible if you train with the right instructor who can make you see beyond blind consumerism.

The organization does not matter.

There are more than a dozen organizations that offer freediving certification courses with most of them offering pretty much the same educational content, and their instructors trained within the same standards.

It does not matter which organization you choose. What matters is how experienced your instructor is, whether he or she is knowledgeable enough in the specifics of freediving you want to learn (if you are looking for something more than just a certification card), and if you are going to be safe learning with this particular instructor.

On that aspect, not all freediving instructors are equal. You can find a freediver instructor who is a specialist in deep freediving and another one who is a specialist in static apnea. If you are looking beyond a freediving certification card, you should search for the right instructor to help you in the particular freediving technique or discipline you want to improve into.

For example, if you want to learn freediving as a complement to your yoga or meditation practice, you have to seek an instructor who has living experience in both fields. The typical certified freediving instructor trained by most organizations will not be experienced enough for that unless they are dedicated long-time yoga practitioners themselves.

If you want to reach more extreme depths you need to find an instructor who is a depth specialist, who can teach you advanced equalization techniques and ensure your safety at deeper depths. If you want to learn the legendary BTV (Hands Free Equalization) technique and enjoy the freedom of freediving without having to pinch your nose to equalize, you need an instructor who has gone through the process of learning the technique from scratch and was not just born with the ability to do the BTV.

In short, choose your instructor, not your organization.

You are not going to explore underwater sites Like In A Scuba Diving Course.

Unlike a scuba diving open water course during which you get to explore some diving sites and see some marine life while working on the skills and exercises needed to get certified, most of the in-water sessions in a freediving course will be oriented towards helping you improve your techniques as a freediver instead of underwater exploration.

When you are not working on relaxation., you will find yourself working on your mental technique, fining technique, or ears equalization technique. Quite often it is only when the course is completed that you will get the opportunity to truly put into use what you had learned during your freediving course to go explore some underwater sites.

Doing a freediving course is more similar to learning how to drive. You learn the actual skills, pass the exam, and then it is up to you to go driving to explore the world.

You will have a hard time finding buddies to freedive with.

When you finish your freediving course, you will learn the golden rule of freediving which is to never freedive alone. Unfortunately in an aquatic world dominated primarily by the presence of scuba divers and surfers, especially if you live in a country where the freediving community is not very developed, finding a buddy to train with can become something of a rarity.

I was put in that same situation when I returned to Mauritius in 2018 to pioneer freediving there, after training in Bali and Thailand where the freediving scene was more vibrant. I knew coming back that it would be very difficult for me to find freedivers to train with, and this is partly why I decided from the beginning of my teaching career as a freediving instructor to allow all my students to come to train with me at no extra cost.

Depending on where you are based in the world, you might or might not face the same difficult situation, but it’s worth mentioning. No buddy means no freediving.

You won’t become an elite freediver with the knowledge gained from a freediving course.

What you learn in freediving certification courses even at the Master level, is how to freedive conservatively, minimizing the risks of putting yourself, your buddy, or your instructor in danger.

The elite freedivers who train in freediving with competition in mind, train in a different way, and many times practice techniques that they prohibit their students from practicing when they are teaching freediving courses.

So no, you won’t reach a 100m depth or an 8 minutes static by practicing what you learned in your freediving certification courses. The knowledge needed to achieve those feats falls in a whole different category of freediving, which involves exposing yourself to techniques with higher risks for higher rewards.

You might still become a national record holder with just a static of 3-4 minutes or with a deep dive to 20m if you live in a country (like Mauritius or India) where you are the only one who can afford to go to freediving competition.

Should you do that freediving course or not?

If you see your journey as a freediver more than just a casual dip in the ocean and are looking for a deeper (pun intended) understanding of freediving, you would know now that it’s a journey that demands your dedication, both in terms of time and resources.

As you take the plunge into the fascinating world of freediving, remember that there’s no shortcut to achieving grace and expertise as a freediver. Choose your instructor wisely, set realistic goals, and don’t be disheartened if you’re not breaking records right after your course. 

Freediving is a passion that unfolds over time, one breath-hold at a time.  It’s an investment in yourself, and the rewards are as deep as the ocean you explore. So, let the adventure begin, and may your underwater odyssey be a testament to your commitment and love for freediving.

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