Freediving is all the rage these days and is often cited as one of the fastest-growing water sports worldwide. If you are a scuba diver thinking about trying freediving, you should. The fundamental skills you learn in freediving can be applied to scuba diving in several ways that will help you become a more skilled, confident and, ultimately, better scuba diver. By learning to freedive, you will learn breathing techniques that will help improve your air consumption.
You will learn to move more comfortably and naturally in the water. Freediving will force divers to swim more efficiently and get more out of their dive. Efficient finning and good buoyancy control will lengthen a scuba diver’s dive and helps to prevent errant fins from damaging marine environments or kicking out a buddy’s regulator.
You will become more adept at equalising and more relaxed underwater. The two main ways to equalise are called the Valsalva and Frenzel manoeuvres. Typically, scuba divers only learn the Valsalva manoeuvre. The Frenzel manoeuvre, which is a lot more efficient. Scuba divers who learn this advanced equalisation technique will be better prepared to overcome equalisation problems.
Freediving puts a physical demand on your body and requires mental strength to overcome the urge to breathe that inevitably arises during a freedive. Like yoga, it is a physical activity that requires you to be in a calm and relaxed state. As a result, a significant portion of the freediving certification course focuses on teaching relaxation techniques that help freedivers stay focused, relaxed and calm. Some techniques include stretching before a dive, pre-breathing to stretch the diaphragm, and using mental discipline to resist the urge to breathe. The type of physical training that you do for freediving will only complement your abilities when you next don your scuba gear and take the plunge.
Scuba diving is about enjoying the underwater world and freediving gives the scuba diver another window through which to view this world. A silent window, allowing for closer but briefer interactions. A window offering much more grace and freedom.
I would recommend to any scuba diver that if you want to maximise your enjoyment of the underwater world then consider adding freediving to your list of underwater skills.