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Freediving for kids

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Fred S.

New Member
Sep 22, 2001
What are your opinions about freedive-training (or even competitions) for children from lets say 12 to 16 y.o. ?
With freediving I mean doing Static, Dynamic and even Constant Weight. So I'm not talking about spearfishing here.

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there is nothing wrong with teens freediving,
society has sort of grouped us into an area of our own, one that we really dont deserve, they see what the bad kids do, and they think "all teens must be like that" and then i go to the pool and get yelled at for swimming underwater :D (long story, got it sorted out though)

ofcourse there are the ones that do bad stuff, the ones the cops are after (well i have been chased sometimes but thats not the point), the kids on the corner druggies, you know the sort.

i have no problem with teens training, if i did, i probably wouldnt be at the pool 2-3 times a week, and competition, well they are probably the safest freediving environment ever, with saftey divers and all the other preperations. i can understand where some of the agencies are coming from(cant remember which ones have rules about age) they want to cover there behind, and i respect that, but come-on if someone is serious about freediving, they are probably mature enought to compete, dont you think

for those of you unaware, im only 15

"im just a kid and life is a nightmare
im just a kid, i know that its not fair
nobody cares 'cause im alone
and the world is having more fun then me"
simple plan- im just a kid

there, those lyrics sum up how most of society treats us (not you guys though)
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well, after reading my earlier post, im not to happy with how i (attempted) to get my point across.

what im trying to say is,

most kids are mature, we can handle ourselves quite respectably (most of the time, except for me i got to work on those manners :naughty)

i dont have anything against kids freediving, i dont have anything against adults freediving, i DO however have something against an unsafe freediver, i see many kids at the pool trying to hold their breath for as long as they can (i try to do it only when the pool is quite empty so kids dont try to copy me), on a few occasions i have seen kids samba, no one else noticed, not the friends aroud them or anything, i have also been known to approach parents and to tell them about the dangers of breath-holding and how they might want to watch their children more closely if they are aware that they(the children) are breath holding

i think that proper education is the only way to go, we need to teach the children that want to freedive that 1, there are many dangers 2, you need someone watching you when you hold your breath.

before coming to this forum i had only heard of freediving and swb and thought nothing of it, i didnt see that there was a danger, (and then i entered the realm of true freediving, and learned about saftey and swb and read as much as i could, trying to get a better understanding of what it was and how to be safer)

around here they teach kids bike saftey, road saftey, fire saftey, pool saftey (they do a terrible job with this part), yet not even the pool saftey covers that holding your breath can be dangerous, they only tell you not to do it, and the children dont see the real risk.

if someone is interested in freediving, they need to learn about the saftey aspects of it, they need to learn that there are some risks, and .... THEY NEED A BUDDY

ok, i think thats a little better

and sorry for the long post
Any one consdering issues of O2 deprevation on the growing child? not saying someone in their teens, but freediving with the under 12 crowd.

just curiousity - I'd mention certain agencys and their Scuba policies regaurding children under 12, but It's too early to rant...

The problem with any argument on children freediving is two fold:

1. Are the children/teenagers mentally capable of being responsible enough for their own actions, and more importantly anyone they are diving with?

2. Are there any adverse effects on the growing body of a child?

1 is easier to judge - I take on board what you say thin_air, but as you have proved from these forums, you're not you typical 15 year old. Saying that though - i've met people who are in their 50's who could be responsible for themselves!

2 is a lot more difficult - there are huge debates raging in the Scuba circles (some of which i've been party to) about what the lower age limit is. I think the bigger problem here is that there is no hard research on it - and not too many parents are willing to let their children be the subject of extensive research and tests.
Too late

my parent offered me my first mask, fins and snorkel at age 7. I had fun fetching thing at the bottom of the pool and chasing carp and fish at the bottom of the river. At 12 i made my first speargun with wood, a crossbow plan, a slingshot rubber and a lot of ingeniousity!

One month ago i was with a bunch of 11 year old kids for 4 days in a swamp to help them open to nature. One of the activity we did was to go swim in the pool at the resort. I know that a lot of people would have been against bringing kids in a pool, but hey, i'm not like that. They had a LOT of fun. Kids listen when you teach them new stuff, they are open to the world and interested. Being a proud Divemaster from Padi, i had a lot of chance to work with adult. I think kids learn faster, and a more likely to listen then adult and follow safety rules.

Competition is an adult thing, i dont think we should push kids into competition. How many kids get left on the side of the field because they are slower or less strong then others? Competition sometimes take the fun away from an activity.

I think teaching kids about snorkeling, freediving, the environnement, safety, the buddy system is great. As long as the main word is FUN and not performance, you have me in!!!

At what age should we start? Personnaly, having read about aquatic babies, i think that since birth, we should teach them freediving.

Just my 2 cent:D
my kids rule!

All my kids dive and have been since they were 7 and 8 yrs old. The only caveat to this is that I taught them and I dive with them. They know that once they're 16, then they go to get cert'd and then they can dive with others, as long as I'm there too. Not that I don't trust them or anybody their with, well, yeah I don't trust the others, but call it what you will and flame me well done, my kids go diving- I'm there. And I have more fun than them by doing it.

sven DB's sultan of smooth
kids freediving

I grew up with a pool at my house as well as numerous other pools in my neighborhood. We always had masks and snorkels and sometimes fins. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of taking a big breath of air through the snorkle and finning to the bottom and cruising along the contours. Hell yes I think kids should be taught how to freedive! As far as open water and being weighted, thats a tough one. I would think 13-14 would be the minimum age for that. The point is that proper instruction is always better than no instruction at all.
despite it all, I'm all for it...

I live in the desert southwest of the U.S. In summer the city wide pool drownings count for kids can easily get in the double digits. We had two brothers, both less than 3 years old, die only a few days ago. The number one response from the grieving parents is always "I thought they were in bed/ playing/whatever and I was only away for a couple minutes".

Despite that, my daugter got her first mask and snorkel last summer before she turned 3. At first she didn't know what to think of it and wasn't to keen on putting the mask on. But after I put mine on and swam around a bit she had to try it. She is of course in floaties and can have her choice of various other devices like noodles and kickboards to aid her. When she is in the water both me and my wife are there with her. It didn't take her any time to get the idea behind the snorkel and it only took a couple times of water getting in it for her to figure out on her own when to pull her head out of the water and empty it out. (I didn't try to teach her to clear it the way we would). We have since found one her size that has the bottom drain valve. Now she just loves to float around the pool and watch me swim around beneath her. I'll glide around face up a couple feet below her, usually making faces at her, and she tries to follow me. She doesn't even realize she's learning to use her legs to swim. She's just having a blast. She also likes looking at all the little pebbles in the pools sides (pebble tech pool).

I am all for teaching the kids all they want to learn. But the parental involvment, guidance, and supervision is an absolute requirement for it. My aim in giving my daugter a mask and snorkel was not to teach her snorkeling, but to make it more fun for her to kick around the pool and start to learn to use her limbs for propulsion, i.e. swimming. However, as her swimming skills increase I will gladly teach her whatever she wants to learn. But part of the lesson will also be that she must have mommy or daddy with her when she goes.
Originally posted by Amphibious
Any one consdering issues of O2 deprevation on the growing child? not saying someone in their teens, but freediving with the under 12 crowd.


When you Freedive, the partial pressure of oxygen AUGMENT as you go deep. There's no oxygen deprivation but quite the contrary, the deeper you go, the more O2 you get in the blood. Freediving is like milk, it does a body good! (Do not under any circumstance replace milk with other word .:D )
The urge to breath is cause by high CO2, NOT low O2. That myth have to die. DIE myth DIE
Technically maybe...
Your PPO2 will increase w/ pressure but at the same time your body is metabolizing the O2 so therefore the percentage of O2 is decreasing therefore the PP02 is also. By the time you surface your O2% is much less than a normal exhalation. Your body wouldn't be building up latic acid if the muscles weren't working anarobically, which they wouldn't need to do if they were recieving plenty of O2.
As for children freediving, I started swimming when I was about 3(I know I'm a late bloomer) and snorkeling shortly there after. I say give them the gear, supervise them and let them set their own pace for developement. I don't believe they will overtax their body like us stupid adults do at times. I don't believe there will be a 5yr old challengeing Pipin or any of the other record holders anytime soon. Just some thoughts from someone w/out kids.

I don't have children of my own....but thought of little 12year olds freediving... I don't think is very good idea, why? one dead is one too many especially children!
With mommy and daddy around snorkeling and swimming sounds great. But when talking about freediving...diving... there are them safety rules that even if adults really learn them slower than kids once they been told and understood adults should be able to keep them in mind..but kids...they just sometimes forget and when mom and dad are not around go just bit deeper..
Howmany times have you heard kid say "I thought that we just try it little bit and then...."
Safe diving to you all!! and especially to all the kids diving out there!
Just my experience, but

This does not address Fred's question about 12 - 16 yr. olds, but younger children. My experience is that kids naturally limit themselves when freediving. I see this with my son (8 yrs. old), my nephew (7 yrs. old), and the children of my diving buddies.

First, kids have a vivid imagination, and they can imagine more frightening stuff below the surface than most people will ever see. Fear of "the imagined" is even more powerful than fear of the unknown. (And I don't mean fear of the water: my son probably spends more time in the water than most of the people on this forum and in another couple of years will be able to dust his old man in the 100 fly - he's a little fish, but a surface fish, like most humans). My son freedives to 25 feet or so, but only when he is comfortable with the site . . . then his natural (and quite compelling) curiosity takes over . . . but go to a new area, and he's very cautious (again, fear of the imagined).

Second, kids will not usually push their physical limits (that requires years of badgering by swim coaches and over-zealous fathers). Kids don't naturally 'push,' . . . they may do stupid things when they don't realize the danger, but they are not likely to push themselves beyond their limits until puberty, when the need to be as macho as the next young lion starts to affect their behavior.

My kids have no access to dive sites without my transportation, so I don't worry too much about what they might do unsupervised. ( I worry much more about them at the pool, where lots of concrete present the opportunity for traumatic head injury followed by drowning.) I do think that supervision is critical. Take the time to teach your kids the safety concerns, the right way to do things, and the way to enjoy diving safely, and then ACCOMPANY them until they are more capable than you.

You'll learn a lot yourself. Kids seem to notice all the natural beauty more than adults because they just enjoy the dive for the dive and the stuff they see - they don't need the display on their dive computers to tell them whether they had a good dive or not.
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I've been certified to scuba since I was 14. I would have started younger if they would have let me back then. I have run discover scuba clinics with 8-10 year olds. I have taught many kids how to swim, snorkel and scuba dive. I plan on getting my, future, children in the water as soon as possible.
One of the coolest freediving stories I remember was from a guy that I used to teach with. He was running a store trip down to the Bahamas and took his, twin, 5 year old boys out snorkeling. The things they saw and the conversations that they had back and forth, with the snorkels still in their mouths, sounded cooler than any 100 meter free dive that I ever heard of.
The main thing that I would worry about is them doing it when no one else is around. Of course I wouldn't want my child swimming by themsleves either! Adult supervision is the key. It doesn't matter if their freediving or surfing the net, if their alone their already in trouble.
One other observation I have made in all of the years of teaching scuba. Adults are quicker on the tables, but kids kick butt in the water. They master all of their skills faster than any adult I have ever taught.

To actually reply to Fred's question this time...

Well since I ran on about my daughter before, this time I'll try to add a couple cents worth to teens and competition. First let me admit that I am new to freediving in the competitive sense. I have not competed myself and may never. Before getting into SCUBA and finding sites like this I, like many others, just snorkeled deeply. Which is to say I thought nothing of swimming down 20-30 feet to look around and felt fine holding my breath longer than the average joe (I knew a little about proper breathing basicly).

A previous obsession of mine can possibly shed a little insight into the question though. I used to do a lot of rock climbing and both taught it and guided trips for others through a city parks and recreation department. I also competed in local contests. Climbing can be quite dangerous when done wrong and very safe when done right. The biggest problem people, regardless of age, were always the ones who had seen it and scrambled up a couple boulders and therefor "knew their stuff" before ever seeing a rope. (Always male, never female, go figure.) But once on a rope and on a real rock face I saw many macho men (teen and older) turn to quivering jello. More than a few turned their back on the sport and walked away in self-disgust when a kid half their size jumped up and climbed a route twice as hard as what they were falling off of. They never stayed long enough to learn any of the physics involved in the sport or to develop the skills themselves. Today many of the best sport climbers in the world are in their teen years, for many of the same reasons the top gymnists are that age.

In climbing the macho teen competitive thing actually worked to weed out the ones who really didn't belong. Those who could not get beyond it, usually couldn't live with being bettered by other smaller and obviously "weaker" kids. So they went in search of a game that suited their ego more. The ones that stayed had the maturity to deal with the situations and learn what they needed to learn.

Freediving is different though in that there is no obvious precipise to get over the fear of. No hard ground to smash into when you slip up. But the very nature of the sport would still weed out those who don't belong very quickly. I would think that those who want to approach it competitively should be encouraged, trained, and watched. If they have the will to force themselves to higher CO2 tolerance levels then they probably have the ability to quickly gain the needed maturity if they are allowed the chance (if they don't already have it).

As for non-competitive or recreational training, I probably wouldn't introduce any sort of advanced breathing or breath-holding techniques until the teen showed sufficient interest and maturity. Instead spend the time developing swimming technique and safety awareness. This is also one of my main reasons for wanting to introduce my daughter to things as early as possible. If we drill enough of the safety rules and respect for the dangers into her while she is young enough to just accept "that is how it's done", then maybe she'll be less inclined to try sneaking away to do her own thing before she's ready. If the time comes that she shows interest in the more advanced techniques, I'll provide whatever info I can for her. If I don't know it I'll find her someone that does. Basicly I'd rather worry about her pushing the limits of freediving, climbing, skiing, or whatever rather than worry about her just wasting her time on a street and getting caught up in some local gang and drugs and all those other things. Who knows, an interest in freediving could lead to an interest in physiology and medicine and school and... I just have to keep telling myself not to push her, let her pick her own interests. :eek:

The sport's biggest nightmare will be the people who see it on TV or in a movie or whatever and then just go out and see how deep they can go with no training what-so-ever and no clue about the dangers.

Sorry for the rambling post...

i just had quite the experience, i never knew someone to be so ignorant...
anyway, i went to the gym with one of my friends (lets call him K just to be nice to him), i had some respect for this guy, i guess he would be an average joe (16 years old, trying to get girls, failing badly... so he decides to go to the gym), well, it was his first time at the gym he asked me if i could show him what i did and how to use the machine and just help him, "ok, why not.."
we get to the gym, he is all in his nice clothes, new shoes, the whole kit. i show him around a little, tell him how some of the machines work, some good exercises, just showing him the basics, then i leave him for a few minutes so i could do some more weights and i tell him to do a few sets of 15 at an easy weight on some of the machines...
i come back and there i see him, on the couch, and ask him whats up, he tells me "the leg press is the only machine i like, its the only one i can tdo alot of weight on" :duh and i just look at him "what do you mean its the only one your good at, you set the machines to the weights that suit you, you dont compete against anyone, your here to help yourself, not to show off"

he goes on about how he is only here to look cool and lift lots of weights,
this showed me that there are alot of people in this world that wouldnt be good freedivers, and no, i dont care if the person is 10 or 90 years old, they need to have a good reason to freedive, they need to be responsible, they need to UNDERSTAND, understant the dangers, have respect for water, age has nothing to do with it, its simply understanding, reasoning, common sense, once someone has those (and dedication, cant forget that...) they can be a freediver if they want to

sorry for sounding harsh, i probably shoudlnt be posting anything while im in this mood but.... i deemed it neccessary to

have a good day :t
Re: To actually reply to Fred's question this time...

Originally posted by EdHand
Sorry for the rambling post...


No apologies necessary to me either. I appreciate your "rambling" ;)
Look on other lists and compare to DBlue.....there is no comparison. Nice to have you here Ed.
Erik Y.
My niece is only 14 and begged me to take here freediving.I was amazed she swam down to 30 feet with no problen and is loving it. I told her after she gets scuba cert. Ill take her deep.
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