Extreme Sports Cafe now offers Freediving courses in Asia and Europe... In The UK, Thailand, Egypt Dahab, Egypt Hurghada and Austria.. Freediving courses range from 1-day free dive experiences to full AIDA certified learn to freedive courses.
What is Freediving?
Freediving is perhaps the purest of the extreme sports & almost certainly the oldest. Long before the ancient Polynesians paddled their heavy wooden boards into the pacific surf more ancient civilisations were exploring the depths using only the air in their lungs and the power of their minds to overcome that overwhelming lung burning urge to breathe.
All over the world, there is a growing movement for the purity, the renaissance, the eco-bonding, and the intensity of freediving. Floating on the surface, (with no aqualung or diving equipment on you) taking slow deep breaths, staring at the water beneath you….. As you get in tune with your body, you begin to slow your heart rate down.... 100...90...80..70...65...55 beats per minute.... you being to free dive.
With a last breath, you plunge your upper body under the surface, your feet rise up out of the water and their weight above the water starts to thrust your body downward. Taking slow, large, almost stiff-legged kicks - you almost try to sleep your way down to the bottom, staying as relaxed as possible, exerting the least amount of energy as possible.
Within 30 seconds you are 50 feet below the surface and levelling out, gliding along at almost twice the speed of divers with scuba gear on, but with virtually no exertion. Your fins are twice as long as the stiff, sluggish versions made for scuba, and their amazing flexibility allows huge thrust with little effort. You begin to imagine the efficiency of fish&dolphins with their superior hydrodynamic designs, and wonder why it took you so long to experience this natural euphoria…
Today, freediving is pushing back new boundaries: 152 metres on a single breath, a depth where even the blue disappears. Spear fishermen taking 200lb yellow fin tuna in the blue waters of the open ocean. Whichever path into the blue you take Extreme Sports Cafe have, in conjunction with experienced Free diving trainers from all over the globe, the training facilities and equipment to take you to your limits. For those new to the sport, we offer introductory courses leading up to, for the more experienced; sled diving.
Competitive free-diving is currently governed by two world associations: AIDA International and CMAS. (International Association for Development of Apnea / Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques) Most types of competitive free-diving have in common that it is an individual sport based on the best individual achievement. An exception to this rule is the bi-annual World Championship for Teams, held by AIDA, where the combined score of the team members makes up the team's total points. There are currently nine disciplines used by official governing bodies and a dozen disciplines that are only practiced locally.
Free-diving is also an intriguing recreational sport, celebrated as a relaxing, liberating, and unique experience. Many snorkelers may technically be free-diving if they perform any sort of breath hold diving - it is important to stress the importance of training and supervision when making this association.
Like other water sports, free-diving is associated with therapeutic properties. The experience of freedom in an underwater environment makes free-diving somewhat of a personal and spiritual journey for many. Yoga is used by many practitioners to increase focus, breath, and overall performance.
Freediving Frequently Asked Question
It's the most in tune your mind and body will ever be! Consider returning to the womb!
Yeah right – that’s a bit much!!
No. This is actually a scientifically demonstrable effect…
When freedivers dive deep they activate a set of physiological reflexes that act as the first line of defense against hypoxia. Collectively termed either the diving response or mammalian diving reflex (MDR), the mechanism controls the shift of blood to the brain and heart, functioning in tandem as an important oxygen-conserving mechanism, not only in freedivers, but also in whales, penguins and seals. In fact, this amazing physiological phenomenon was first observed in deep diving mammals as early as the 1900's, but until as recently as the 1950's it was thought that humans did not possess the reflex.
Although the mechanisms that control this reflex are only partially understood, it is generally agreed that its success is dependent on certain key factors, all of which have been observed in freedivers. These mechanisms include vasoconstriction, preferential shunting, blood shifts, thoracic filling, and bradycardia. Upon descent, one of the first observed physiological mechanisms that comprise the MDR is the bradycardia response, which is a scientific way of saying the heart begins to slow down. However, for the deep-diving freediver, it is important to be aware of the various factors that influence its onset, since some of these can be manipulated with training.
The temperature of the water, the physical condition of the athlete, lung volumes, the body position during immersion, the length of the breath-hold, the psychological state of the individual, and the depth of the dive are factors that influence this heart rate response.
One world champion free diver had his pulse recorded at 9 beats per minute during bradycardia shift! In fact our main partner instructor with Extreme Sports Cafe was seen on national television functioning perfectly normally with no recordable pulse at all! The amazing power of mind&body…
Isn’t this rather dangerous?
Absolutely it is! All the sports that we at Extreme Sports Cafe participate in have an element of danger, but because we enjoy taking part again&again – we minimize the risk. Safety is paramount – if you want to do it again!!
So how do I learn to Freedive & experience what it’s all about?
Extreme Sports Cafe, in conjunction with our partners, offers a range of courses. The basic course teaches the principles and in-water skills that you will need to progress. Once the basic water skills are mastered, the courses then take you on to learn about extended breath holding, safe hyperventilation, the risks of shallow water black out and how to deal with it.
Well it's up to you. There are many different areas of Freediving. There are the purist competitive disciplines such as Static Apnea, Constant Weight, Free Immersion, No Limits and Dynamic Apnea. Alternatively there is a huge range of Spear Fishing and hunting activities, or for many there is the simple pleasure of Soul Freediving – swimming free, deep beneath the surface without cumbersome & noisy SCUBA equipment.
Static Apnea is a competition discipline which is just what its name implies - holding one’s breath for as long as possible under water motionless (by the way, the world record is over 8 minutes!) We all did this as kids in the bath/swimming pool – we’ll teach you how to do it & you’ll find an inner peace…
Constant Weight involves swimming vertically down a shot line to achieve a maximum depth and returning to surface with the same amount of weight that one has used to get down (no ballast drops!)
Free Immersion is similar but no fins are allowed.
No Limits is perhaps the most spectacular. Fans of the movie “The Big Blue” will be familiar with the images of breath held divers plummeting into the depths hanging on to a metal sledge, as it runs down a line. The world record currently stands at over 150 meters!!
Dynamic Apnea is a horizontal distance attempt.
This all sounds very solitary...Freediving is a communal activity – you never dive alone. There are even team sports such as Octoposh (underwater hockey) and Underwater Rugby!!!
If you want toys...
Loads of them: spear guns, monofins, meter long Freedive fins, low profile masks, skintight hydrophobic Freedive suits & Lung trainers. Want them? We’ve got them!!
Is there an age limit?
Not really. If you're healthy and can swim there is no real upper age limit. Common sense & parental support/adult supervision applies to lower ages.
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT FREEDIVING SHOULD NEVER BE ATTEMPTED ALONE - EVEN IN WATER AS SHALLOW AS YOUR BATH. ALWAYS TRAIN WITH AN EXPERIENCED BUDDY AND KEEP WITHIN THE LIMITS OF YOUR TRAINING.