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free diving without instruction???

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Aug 20, 2001
Hi everybody

Since the last year Im really interested in freediving, actually Ive only practiced on pools, with no serious training, this year, one of my goals is getting serious with it and train hard, the problem is that in my country (Guatemala), there is not a serious company for freediving instruction other than padi's schools but Im dissapointed with the information I received, they seem no interested in freediving and their "skin diver" license seems to be bugus and not a serious way to learn good freedive techniques :head

practically we have to train by our own, so Id like to ask you how much time should we spend in pool before attempting to go open water????? and the maximum deep that should we try for the moment???

:D if anyone knows a freedive club in my country please let me know,

thanks in advance
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Reactions: Erik
I'd sure like to know more about beginners basics too. Haven't had the chance to lay my hands on Freedive! yet, but will do soon. In the meantime, any tips, comments, help?
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Hi people, I really want to answer all your questions, but must get to my homework, so for now, take a look in the forum archives, especially "Freedive Training"....there is enough info in there to help you become a great, and more importantly SAFE freediver. All of us are concerned about safety, and don't want anyone to get hurt or killed, which is possible if you aren't aware of the very real risks that come with freediving. I will give you Rule # One for now, then I'm off!
Rule number one...never do this by yourself, in a pool, ocean, lake or hot tub (as one of our members says). The risk is quite high if you are unaware and alone, but the opposite is true if you are aware and with a buddy who is aware..
Cheers from snowy Canada at -15 C:(
Erik Y.
A newbie's story and comments on Rule #1

Rule #1: Never freedive alone.

It seemed I saw this rule everywhere when I first became interested in freediving, and I understood it intellectually - the logic behind it, etc. That is, until my recent brush with samba.

My initial freedive training was done on land - couch diving, as it were. Through basic relaxation techniques, I increased my breath hold from one minute to over 3 minutes and began to inwardly observe the 'signs and symptoms' of apnea and inched closer to the edge of samba/blackout.

Lying on the floor was not the same as being in water. So when I wanted to go training at the pool a non-diving friend thought I was out of my mind and insisted I find a training buddy. Through some inquiry on this forum (Angus, Ph.D. - congrats!) I met up with Octo, with whom I now regularly train at a local pool.

So one day I was doing dynamic apnea (breath-hold underwater swim) with Octo, I had a good breath-up and decided to push my limits. When I reached my normal limit and the contractions came (which would signal me to go up for air), I willfully pushed past them and continued swimming, thinking my body would give me the signs that I get when I hold my breath on land. The contractions continued, and I focused on swimming down the pool line...

What happened next could only be told from Octo's point of view: He saw me veered to the left, then overcorrected to the right. He knew I had mentally checked out at that point and immediately swam after me. Then he saw me somehow made it to the surface, almost lunging into the neighboring lane, latched an arm over the lane divider, and spasming hard. He reached me, hooked my arm and levered me into the rescue float position, and pulled me to the shallow end while I recovered from my samba. The whole episode lasted about 10 seconds.

From my point of view I could only recall bits and pieces totalling no more than 1 second. I remembered only thinking of swimming straight, then somehow being on the surface trying to breathe as my chest and legs shook out of control, then Octo's arm supporting my back as he gently said, 'breathe, breathe'.

The pool lifeguards (2) at the pool's edge less than 10 feet away were completely oblivious of what just happened!

Up until this point, I never saw the need for 'Rule #1' unfold in such a personal and dramatic manner.

So here're my comments (which most of you already know):
1. When you push your limits for that extra second or meter, the probability is high that when it happens, there may be no warning of any kind whatsoever. I know we all need to push our limits to become better divers, therefore
2. You should have a dive buddy, preferably someone more knowledgeable and experienced than you (Thanks for the save Octo!) to act as a backup brain because yours can malfunction without telling you. That little voice in the back of your head may not be there.
3. Get professional first hand training if you can. Books and second hand training (i.e. non-experts, even the information here at Deeperblue) can only get you so far. Happily, I signed up for Kirk Krack's class before this incident happened.

So in addition to mining this forum or archives for training information, I highly recommend Cliff Etzel's article on rescue procedure.


It's very good for you and your buddy to know, wherever you dive.



ps. Sorry for the long post, folks.
masks and underwater hand signals

Hi there, thanks for the advices, they are great, now Ive got another one, can you tell me how to recognice between a scuba mask and a low volumen one???, I ask because a couple of months i went to a diving store and I asked for a low volume mask, and the employee showed me several ones, but she told me that the masks were all around use, As a begginer I dont know for sure the diferences :confused , can you tell me how to figure it out???

and other question is, where can I find resources to learn the underwater hand signals for free diving???



Manglio, I will post about masks in "Freedive Equipment".
Erik Y.
Re: oblivious lifegaurds

Hi Longfins,

In your message about your SWB you said:

"The pool lifeguards (2) at the pool's edge less than 10 feet away were completely oblivious of what just happened!"

I have always thought that hired pool lifeguards are pretty much worthless. Most have the job just as a part-time source of money while they go to school. The last thing they want is to be bothered with actually watching swimmers! They spend most of their time chatting with each other.

I only do solo breatholds when a guard I am familiar with is watching, and then only when there are only a few people in the pool. And of course, I tell the guard beforehand what I am doing and to please watch me. If the guard seems reluctant then I don't do it.

My advise is to never to assume the pool guard is competant in any way, because most aren't!

Mark Jeffery
Hand signals

Me and my buddy have few hand signals that we use, but they are just stuff we have made up as we thought it would be good to sign somehow if we were pushing our limits.
The sign is that we make fist with our hands as we come up and then the surface buddy knows to be close by ready to rescue.
The sign of ok, if the one coming up thought that no risk of swb.
up and down signs with thumb pointing the direction.
I guess you could find out about signs from scubadiving book, they have whole bunch of signs..:confused:
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