Or at least almost everyone…
If you watch TV and follow forums on the sport it’s easy to believe that you have to be young, ultra-fit and preferably beautiful to free-dive, that it’s a past-time of aquatic supermen, and smoking hot babes in Mono-fins. The media loves the idea of free-diving as an extreme sport, of divers going where angels fear to tread, silently sliding into the dark blue..
But that is only part of the picture…
If you are basically healthy and free of certain health issues then free-diving is as accessible as Yoga, and gentle yoga at that. You don’t even have to like water..
Free-dive training has reached a point where almost anyone can safely learn it, given the right training structure and instruction. At the basic level it is in fact much safer than SCUBA diving.
PADI keeps telling us it’s fun, but no-one considers SCUBA an extreme sport…
The last while we’ve had lots of very different types of basic level students. From the more obvious candidates for free-dive training, such as surfers or spear-fishermen, to the more unlikely ones. We’ve had a 50 year old ex-smoker(heavy), a young headscarf wearing Muslim girl and even people with a quite deep fear of water. For me these are actually the most rewarding students, some of the people of get the most out of free-diving. They also show that free-diving is not just a sport of uber-athletes but something is open to (almost) anyone.
Recently we had two great ladies, who at the same time as putting a smile on all our faces also confronted their deep fear of water. Going from being unable to breath through a snorkel to free-diving at night on the liberty shipwreck, they earned all our respect and admiration.
All hail Elin and Nelli.
In their own words…
Since I was a little child, I was not able to put my face under water. I even could not swim in a lake because of being afraid of the depth. I remember myself sitting on the shore and not being able to put the mask on my face. I was terrified of even the thought of going out in the water. And that was the first day. On the third day I found myself in 17m depth holding on to the rope and … surprise: I loved it!!! I would not call myself a free diver, but I am able to do snorkelling on my own and even doing duck dives to go further down to explore the world down there holding my breath with a smile on my face. This course has been life changing for me and it opened up a whole new world!
Nelli Schmidt, Germany
I came to Amed, where Mathew is teaching free diving. I did’t know anything about it. And always been afraid of water and the thought of even swimming with head over the surface gave me a heart attack especially in the blue water! For Mathew to teach me free diving was quite hard since I was so scared. But he always saw me as an individual and gave me the teaching I needed. From not even being able to be on my own snorkelling where I can’t see what is beneath me. I can now duck dive in to the blue water on my own. I even went out night diving in complete darkness cause I felt so secure with my instructor. Before we went out for the night dive I felt like throwing up and crying, that’s how scared I was. And one hour later I was duck diving on my own with no light in deep black water, and at the same time I enjoyed it! So he has not just taught me how to free dive, but also how to overcome my big fear of water!
Elin Larsson, Sweden
Thanks Ladies, it’s been a real pleasure to train with you. Come back soon and we’ll do some chumming for sharks…;)