Freediving, also known as breath diving, is underwater diving without the use of breathing equipment. Originally freediving started because of the need to gather food and shells or items that fell of boats. Today freediving has expanded into a recreational activity, a way to gather food, a competitive sport, and a way to take underwater photos.
Normally divers will use air tanks, but with freediving, you simply hold your breath for as long as you can. Since freediving doesn't involve any gear, this sport is open to anyone with access to open water.
The appeal of freediving, and also why it is sometimes referred to as an extreme sport, is that you can push yourself to your limits. Unlike other water sports where you are limited by certain aspects, with freediving, you can travel as far as the air in your lungs can take you. This brings up the challenge about freediving; learning how to breathe properly.
Before even going into the water, the first step in learning to freedive is learning how to hold your breath for a period of time. Once you have a base number you can continue to create a strategy to be able to hold your breath underwater longer. The strategy to elongating the time that you can hold your breath is taking deep slow breaths. For the first five seconds breath in, then exhale for the next 10 to 15 seconds. To prevent hyperventilation make sure to always exhale longer than you inhale.
Recording your pulse is the next step after you get your breathing pattern down. To be ready to start freediving you need to have a pulse that is 80 beats per minute. Deep breathing exercises are a technique to slow down your pulse. With practice, you can eventually reduce your pulse even more.
Like many extreme sports, freediving has different disciplines and levels. Freediving is a very diverse sport depending on your skill level or access to water. As long as you have access to a body of water or pool nearby you can start learning how to free dive.
Static Apnea can happen in the ocean or even a pool. This is the only type of freediving that focuses more on stamina than distance. It's a pretty simple discipline it is done by floating facedown in the water and holding your breath. The point of Static Apnea to see how long you can hold your breath.
The name of this discipline is relevant to the technique. This discipline involves two pieces of gear; fins and a small amount of weight to pull them down. Unlike other forms of freediving, you are not using any ropes or anything for assistance. There is also another form of Constant weight where the diver does not wear fins and relies solely on his muscles to move.
Similar to static Apnea DYN can be done in a pool. This technique is focusing on distance and how long the diver can hold their breath. It is most commonly done without fins, but sometimes the diver chooses to wear fins.
This type of freediving offers the most full-body workout. The diver repels in the ocean using a sled and ropes. To get back up to the surface, the diver must use only their body strength.
During FIM a diver uses a rope to guide them down to the depths of the ocean. This discipline does not use fins, therefore a rope is their only way of immersing themselves into the depths of the ocean. Divers can go in feet or head first.
No limits is the most extreme form of freediving. No limits done by the most experienced free divers because it is also the most challenging and risky. Divers pull themselves to the depths of the ocean using a weighted pulley system or a lyft bag.