"Why I Love Freediving"

By OceanFirst on 7/22/16

By Kellon Spencer, Freedive Instructor

I have been scuba diving for a little more than 10 years now. I have loved it since the day I first tried it in a swimming pool, and it's been a tool for me to experience priceless moments in the blue world. Last March I was given the opportunity to ditch the tanks to be trained in freediving, also known as apnea: Greek for "without air". Like many, the initial thought of diving to the same depths as scuba divers on a single breath of air terrified me. However, what seems like a risky adrenaline-packed sport is actually a special art form that, with training and education, allows you to experience intimate and calm moments with the ocean.

When our face first touches water our heart rate drops to 30-40 beats per minute, a reflex called the mammalian diving reflex that optimizes respiration and allows us to stay underwater for extended periods of time. We share this reflex with marine mammals such as sperm whales, whose heart rate can drop to 10-30 beats per minute. I like to take this as a sign that we belong in the water.

Moments into your first entry dive your entire world slows down almost into a dream state of mind, where every minute spent underwater feels like an hour. Without any cumbersome scuba equipment, your body is able to move freely and your mind can relax from the nitrogen calculations that are required in scuba.

My favorite part is the sound. Scuba diving can often feel like wearing a darth vader mask, and the constant breathing sounds keep marine life at a distance. When freediving, you can actually hear the sounds of the ocean: critters scurrying across the reef, the tide pulsing at the rocks, and if you are lucky you might even hear the calls of dolphins and whales! Freedivers blend in with the underwater environment which means that animals aren’t afraid to approach us. During one of my first freedives I had an amazing interaction with an eagle ray that came up to me and circled around me.

I have fallen head over heels in love with the art of freediving, and I hope that others will join me in experiencing the ocean in the purest of ways.

Learn more about our freediving course.

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Monday, 25 Jul | post by Elania Layman

I think it's great that you are offering free diving courses at OceanFirst. Great blog!!

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