Freediving: Some tips and the basics
You’ve seen lots of underwater photos, you’ve seen selfies while snorkeling or scuba diving, but have you ever heard of free diving? You might have heard the term or maybe this is your first time hearing about it. So, as the top rated expedition company in Coron, allow us to talk you through the basics of freediving.
So how different is freediving from scuba diving?
For starters, you don’t need an underwater breathing apparatus when you go freediving. The idea is you swim deep with no tools. You go underwater with nothing but yourself and the use of your lungs and maybe some flippers. Hence, the term “freediving” which is also sometimes called skin diving or breath-hold diving.
When you go on our expeditions, you’ll see a lot of interesting things underwater. You’ll see lots of colorful marine animals, you’ll get to explore some caves and shipwrecks or you can just stare and marvel at the coral or rock formations underwater. This will make you want to swim deeper and stay longer. You might even want to challenge yourself and catch some fish for dinner! Yes, spearfishing is perfectly legal in the Philippines, except in sanctuaries. If you want to do some spearfishing, ask our guides or read about it here.
Since we’re not a scuba diving tour, freediving is the way to go! Did you know that spearfishing and snorkeling are forms of freediving? Freediving activities include spearfishing and snorkeling(as mentioned), synchronised swimming, aquathlon, underwater football or rugby or hockey. Freediving photography is also starting to get more common than ever, which explains why you see so many nice free diving photos these days.
But before you start swimming with the fishes, make sure that your mind and body are prepared. It's not enough to just train your lungs to hold your breath for a long period of time, you also have to consider the ambient pressure and the swimming technique when you go freediving. There’s a certain type of discipline or training before you can go to certain depths and distances when you go freediving. In fact, there are even schools to teach you the right techniques in doing so.
There are many ways to train your lungs both in land and on the water. Some athletes do training sequences like stretching, running while holding their breaths and mental conditioning. If you’re freediving for the first time and you want to go into depths, please study the correct breathing techniques or have an expert train you. You can’t have fun and enjoy the open waters if you can’t breath, right? As always, safety should be the main priority.
What are the risks?
We already know that freediving is fun and exciting but before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to educate ourselves before jumping in. The obvious risk to freediving would be drowning, vertigo, nausea, or lack of air. When this happens, it may cause you to get disoriented or blackout. Some divers fail to realize the lack of oxygen in their bodies because they are either unaware or their desire to go deeper is very strong so they just ignore the signs entirely. This is why divers are usually advised to have a buddy system.
This is a technique that is used not just in the wilderness but also in the water. Some divers might not be aware of their bodies, how it moves and react underwater so having someone else watch out and monitor you can make a huge difference between life and death.
Here are some reminders for beginners:
Start with dry training or training on land before training in the water. Dry training is many times safer than wet training.
Never dive alone. Remember the buddy system? It’s for your own safety. It is better to dive with an apnea and rescue trained buddy.
Always dive within your limits. This can be a life and death situation if you exceed your limit. You’re not a fish born in water so take slow steps and make steady progress.
Do not hyperventilate. This tricks our minds and bodies to thinking that we don’t need to breathe. This can be very dangerous.
Practice makes perfect. Don’t worry if you can’t hold your breath for 5mins on your first dive. Like anything in life, practice is needed to achieve this. Your body needs to get used to having high cO2 and low O2.
As always, keep safe and have fun! Check out our expedition schedules here.