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Freediving for a technical diver?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Apr 12, 2001
Hey all!

This is my first post here, tho I've been lurking for some time.

My question is this. I'm an avid cave and normoxic trimix diver, and I noticed that there are a few of you, Jon for one, who are also freedivers.

Is there any dificulty transitioning between the two, and can freediving improve my tech skills?

Thanks in advance
For Jon, the only difficulty I see him having is trying to sell off all his techy gear fast enough to buy carbon fins and a speargun :D.

You need a dry suit or a set of doubles??? rofl

There are many positive things that freediving can do for tech diving.

Many of the top tech divers in the world are also freedivers: Tom Mount, Brett Gilliam, Billy Deans, Kirk Krack, Jay Styron;) , are just a few of the people who practice(d) both.

It will helps you with your air consumption for one. I can make a scuba tank last a very long time- without skip breathing! It also helps you manage those out of air situations with much less stress than the average bubble blower. I have recently started practicing exhale statics. I think that these would be awesome for a scuba diver to practice. That way you know you can handle anything umderwater, even if you did just have your regulator ripped out of your mouth after a full exhale.

Ted is right about my wanting to dump all things tech.;) :D
I have no more real desire to strap on all of those tanks when it is possible to train to hit the same depths without all of the extra clutter- not that I'm there yet.

I really like how much less space, and money, my freedivng gear takes up than my tech stuff. I recently bought a new digital camera and housing with the money I got from selling off a few stage bottles and regs.:D I also like the extra time I can spend in the water playing around compared to the strict time scheduals imposed by any type of tank diving.

Another big jolt for me was that I can't afford to keep up with my tech diving buddies anymore, new kid at home:D :D , and money is the only reason. I was invited to Dive the Gunilda, really awesome shipwreck, this summer, but simply can't afford to go. I know that I am as good, or better, than any diver on the trip, but I can't afford the trip. I CAN afford to do as much freediving as I want and should be able to get a new speargun this summer on top of it.:cool:

In my pre-trimix days we did some deep air dives that might have been cut short by the amount of air that we carried. I know that I never had a problem because I was able to rest and slow everything down to a freedivng static level during deco and came up with plenty of air whereas I might have run out otherwise. In fact, I have had to share extra air with other divers, and instructors, more times than I can count- no they weren't my buddy either. :duh

Another "instructor" that I had the misfortune of diving with, once, couldn't even clear his ears to get to depth. I am not talking about a cold or any kind of sickness. This guy just couldn't clear! I did one 200' dive with him and couldn't believe how much time he wasted getting to depth. In the end he ran out of deco gas and the third diver with us had to bail him out with an extra deco bottle. This guy was a mess who never should have gotten a trimix or instructor card- Ted knows who he is.

Air consumption, water comfort, equalizing, proper wieghting, breath control, are all things that freediving can improve.

Sorry for my rant.

No worries! I'm famous for my rants......

OK, I guess the next question is how/where to start?

I know, I know. Google Search for "Freediving in Oklahoma"

Mind if I pepper you guys with questions from time to time?

Dive safe
Holy Snot, Batman!!!!!

David Lee lives in Tulsa!!!

I'll drop him a line tonight!!!

Another thing that freediving helps with is surface support.

A freediver can pop down to check on the decoing tech divers and run them down something if they need it- extra bottle, deco tables, food, ect.

I can also check on and report back to the other surface people about their condition and gas supply. This is a big help in coordinating multiple dive teams.


thats another good reason.

OK, now the checklist

Get in shape - pretty much there. I work out 5x a week.

Get training, esp in static apnea and breath hold techniques.

Find buddies. Thats probably going to be the hardest.

Get gear. I'll do some hard core asking about.

So, Jon, Ted, what got you into it?

I started out snorkelling with my mom's cousin at Lake Tenkiller. He was a UDT in Korea and got me hooked on diving. Scuba came at age 18.

Dive safe
I would have to agree with Jon, freediving will definitely make you more comfortable in the water, which can only help with both recreational and technical scuba diving.

The only danger is that you won’t keep up the techdiving because freediving is so damn satisfying.

I got into freediving about 6 months ago and I now have a garage full of tech diving gear that I may never use again (glad I didn’t get round to buying that HID light).

The cost of my diving has dropped dramatically, the money was always a big issue with techdiving. Having the extra cash available has opened up the possibility of adding a few freediving holidays a year to the travel plans.

You wont regret giving freediving a try.

I first got certified at 14 and became an instructor at 18. I always liked teaching the "snorkeling" part of the openwater course that my fellow instructors opted not to teach.

Always freedove on the last day of a diving holiday and had a blast with it. I found that I could get much closer to fish while freediving. About 10 years ago I started working on a dive boat and found that freedivng the shipwrecks was a great way to make an old wreck interesting again.

Classes have been hard to come by. Kirk was the person that actually ran one when he told me he was going to. He runs a great program.

Buddies have always been a problem. I have never pushed myself too hard because I didn't have anyone to spot me. Last fall I bumped into Ted, on this forum:D , and I now have a buddy to push me along.

I sold my HID light to buy a pair of C4's. I haven't had them past 20' yet, but am looking to get them out in the lake this spring. I found that I went from being the poorest tech diver ( money wise) I know to one of the most well equipped freedivers.:cool:

You certainly can buy a lot of freedivng toys for the price of a V3 or a new set of doubles.;)

One toy that crosses over from tech to freediving quite nicely is a scooter. There is no cooler toy for diving, besides maybe a mask.;)

You can get fully equipped for freediving for a lot less money than the price of a drysuit. Look at the D.B. store and dig through some of the old posts about gear.

You'll find that some gear can cross over to both areas. Ted has a really nice Cressi-sub "Super Occhio" mask that would make a great back up mask in any tech diver's pocket. I use my freediving watch(D-3) to run trimix deco tables too. A simple pair of plastic freediving fins would be wonderful for warm water scuba, and tech, diving. Snorkels are cheap, the simpler the better, and Fred has told many of us about these ELIOSUB wonder suits that can be custom made for under $150!:D Add on a rubber weight belt and your set to go. Some people are really into monofins, and I am a slow convert, but they don't cross over to tech diving as easy. I did one scuba dive with mine and decided it was best left for freediving.

Hope this helps.

It helps a ton!!!

It broke the ice , so to speak, so now I've been checking threads for instruction and buddies.

I also did a mental inventory of gear that can be adapted, and what I need is fins and good booties. I have my Body Glove hooded semi-smoothskin semidry that I can use, and my weight belt, snorkel, etc.

Again, thanks guys. I've added you all to my buddy list and I look forward to reading and learning more!

In the meantime, this weekend , it's CAVE DIVING!!!!

Don't forget the Karma button.

You should really look into a RUBBER weightbelt for freedivng.

You'll find as you descend that your wetsuit, and body, start to compress under the pressure. This allows your weightbelt to slide up to your armpits! A rubber belt holds itself in place around your hips- not your waist. It also holds your suit closed to reduce water flow.

Hi Brock, I am also a convert from techdiving. Some call it de-evolution, but it wasn't for me. For me it was a natural progression towards what I was really seeking: the feeling I was getting in the water. It had not much to do with what there was to look at or get inside, and more to do with the challenge and the sensation that accompanied the dives. Freediving was an evolutionary progression for me, as I put aside more and more technology as time went on. Certainly not all of it, but enough that it was my SELF that was doing a higher percentage of the "work", as opposed to a scuba system and drysuit. I learned how to react to the environment, voluntarily and invountarily. Cold thermoclines, lungs compressing, surface conditions all having strong effect on the dives.
That's my etheric description of why I am not attracted to "machine-diving" anymore, but I certainly don't mean to attempt to talk anyone out of what it is they enjoy doing! I fondly remember being 5 decks inside a few different shipwrecks on the west coast of Canada :)
Dive safely so we can keep hearing your stories, including your techdive stories,
Erik Y.
I have begun to make the progression in the opposite direction.

Not Tech diving per se' - but I am again getting myself set up to begin tank diving after close to 5 years of being away from it. I am also hoping to get some rebreather training within the next year or so.

There are some things I am becoming involved with that really can't be done very well while freediving (Shooting extended video and still images underwater) and realized that I needed to get some technology on my back to do perform these activities. There will still be times I need to freedive to capture images (I hope to be diving with Dolphins and Whales in the near future) that are better accomplished while freediving.

I do know that having trained (and still training) for freediving will make me a much better tank diver.

I am sure Jon will vouch for that...
I just wish freediving paid the bills, but until then, I'm with Sandbaggin' Styron and the Guru of the Group Hug, Erik, in doing both.

You'll most likey find that your motion through the water when you go to strap on the gear after a few sessions of freediving will be a lot more, uh, fluid and with a minimum of wasted effort. It wil also seem like a lot less work. One of my favorite ways to blow off the remaining time at the midwater stops is to slip the tender a buck and have him clip off some fins and my mask and I can just hang my hat around at the stop taking a hit of gas as I need to. (I don't recommend this as a way of endearing yourself to the topside supervisor unless he's a spearo as well, and it makes the need to have an extra set(s) of liners and comm speakers for your hat pretty obvious.)

The two are and can be very symbiotic so enjoy.

Damn! I'm kinda flattered by all the attention....

I've dropped David Lee a line and placed an ad for buddies on the Freediver.net site.

Jon, I'll look at the deeper blue shop for a proper weight belt. Fred, I'll look at the Eliosub suits.

As for fins, I'll check out the Gear forums for ideas for a good starter fin..

anything else I should be looking at?

Yes, I will continue my cave diving, simply because I love caves, dry or wet (NSS member and co-chair of the local NSS Grotto)

I'm really getting into this...

Dive safe
I'll have to agree w/ alot of the previous comments(thanks for the including in your list Jon;) although I'm not sure I'm at their level). As out Sultan of Smooth said tank diving pays the bills so I stay actively involved. I would anyway because alot of the things I like to do involve lots of BT and the conditions make it manditory. Freediving will definately help you become more proficent in the water. It will steer you away from being gear dependant so when something fails its not that big a deal. As Jon said your air consumption will be better and in the event of an out of air situation you'll be less likely to panic. Also small things like being comfortable using your snorkel(I guess caving doesn't really draw on this). One of my pet peeves is most new divers don't have a clue about snorkels. Most of the newer certified divers would drown on a choppy day if you made them use their snorkel:confused: But anyway after lugging around +200# of gear for a week it's almost heavenly to jump in w/ just mask,fins, weight belt and of course speargun. The week before kk'03 I had a 7 day tech mission, after loading and unloading the boat twice a day I was ready for some freediving. Now I'm packing up for another 10 day Trimix class. I'm not complaining though they balance each other out. They're both enjoyable in their own way. So the short answer is yes they can compliment each other. Hope this helps.
When people have cash in hand I would have to ditch the freediving too.:(

My father-in-law is bugging me to help teach some classes this summer. He has a bunch of firemen that need to go through rescue diver this summer, my favorite class to teach;) , and there is also the odd salvage job that comes up. No, I don't do the helmet and hose like Sven, but I have lugged around more lift bags and cutting tools than I can count.:duh

I will say that freediving has helped out in some of these areas. We have a bunch of "hits" from the sidescan sonar that deserve checking out. To gear up a bubble blower and drop them on each site would take weeks. For us to motor up and drop a freediver in for a few scooter runs takes almost no time and increases our productiviy.

Cliff mentioned longer video runs. I have this really cool PANORAMIC feature on my new digital camera that I am dying to try out to document some of our wrecks. It would be a simple thing to do with a tank on, but I reeally want to give it a go while freediving first- just to see if I can pull it off. For the penetration wreck shots I will put the tank on again out of safety concerns.

Having said this I can tell you that when your crewing on a charter boat the captain really doesn't mind you jumping in to do a bit of freediving during everyone else's surface interval as much as he does when you drag a set of doubles, two 80 cuft. stage bottles, a scooter, and a camera rig on board for your dive:D .

This has allowed me to walk onto more than one boat for free because I am just doing a little "snorkeling" inbetween crewing.;)

One last thing. With a new baby, and ALL of her accessories to drag along with us evertime we go somewhere, I only have room now for my freedivng stuff. My tec gear would warrent it's own seperate trailer.

I really do not have much to add to all that has been said.
The incredible feeling of freedom as you shed all the hoses and "stuff" to freedive is my biggest single impression when freediving. I think anyone who simply loves going below the surface finds themselves looking for that smooth "at home in the water" characteristic that marks fish, turtles and seals. I will always scuba, but I love the simplicity and freedom of freediving.
All these replies are awesome..

You all have really made me feel welcome.

I got a reply from David Lee. He had some good advice and forwarded my name to a lady here in OKC who freedives. I hope to hook up with her and see what can be accomplished!

Thanks a bunch!
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