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Freediving vs. Snorkeling

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

New Member
Mar 12, 2003
Stupid question, but can't find any definition of what the difference between the 2 are. Thanks.
Freediving = Snorkling as a Science/Sport.

anyone want to add to this?

Snorkellers use snorkels, and spend their time on the surface, in shallow water.

Freedivers might use snorkels, but spend most of their time on the bottom of the ocean, in deeper water, sometimes very deep.

Snorkellers breathe all the time. Freedivers spend most of their time holding their breath (because they are on the bottom).

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
I think there was quite a heated debate about this a while ago.

Freediving means diving without an air supply, so any snorkeller who dives so they can no longer breathe through their snorkel is technically freediving. But I don't think there are many snorkellers who would think of themselves as freedivers after going down a couple of metres.

Personally, I think that freediving is "free" when compared with scuba, so in my book a freediver is someone who goes to the same kind of depths as scuba divers.

Thanks everyone, I think I know understand the term freedive. Seems like there a whole separate branch of freediving focused on breathholding and depth obtained more for its challenges than for exploring our underwater environments. Does this area have a separate name, and what is apnea ? Thanks from an avid underwater explorer who finds scuba gear cumbersome and a real drag (friction).
freedive vs snorkel

Freediving is Extreme Snorkelling!

Sometimes - Freediving is Snorkelling without a snorkel

Freediving is snorkelling gone competitive (sometimes)

Snorkelling is freediving for beginners

Freediving is snorkelling for people who can equalise

Freediving is when a snorkeller spends longer under the water than you expect them to

Freediving is to snorkelling what running is to jogging

but my favourite is

Freediving is "an inch and a breath" (can't remember where that came from - Terry Maas?)

so anyone who puts their head under can be a freediver if they want....

snorkellers of the world you are welcome here!


I think that all we do is extreme snorkeling. Surely if a snorkeler takes a breath and goes under the surface he is freediving, so whats the difference??

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apnea is the term used in many latin languages to refer to breath holding or not breathing. say apnea to any non english speaking euro and they will more than likely unedrstand that you are talking about some sort of breath hold.
There are a lot of snorkellers who, for whatever reason, never hold their breath, they just continuously breathe through the snorkel while paddling on the surface. If they just held their breath and dipped below the surface they would cross "the line" into freediving. As with most sports there are many degrees to which you can take it (except possibly skydiving where once you're out of the plane, you're out of the plane :) ).
Thanks for answering my question. I guess that makes me a freediver since I like to spend as much time exploring below the surface as my lungs allow.
kind of.

There is parachuting and then there is skydiving, group skydiving, formations, skyboards, blah, blah. It is true though that it does take some balls whether or not the chute opens instanteniously or a good while after the departure from the plane. The same goes for all other sports and people looking to define their "extremeness" cling so strongly to their terms and lingo. I am sorry but freediving starts with snorkeling or a very close relationship to it. Funny the countries that started this sport don't make this big of a stink about the word game. In grece it started as a job a means of gathering sponge and pearls. For Italy it has been a means of fishing for many years and more recently a national sport. Only in English do people look make these crazy deliniations. If I go skiing and use short skies, rental gear and go really slow do I have to rename what I am doing? Maybe we need to rename "real" skiing so the great skiers don't have to be embarrassed by partaking in sport, sharing the namesake title "skier" with a true newbie like myself. Every little boy and girl, every fat pale tourist that snorkels is a potential fan and participant of the sport. If we want to see this sport grow lets be more accepting and see the potential of unifying the endevers and profit a little from it. If you guys are going to knock a guy for using short fins look at Topi and I bet his 71metres beats most of our potential ever with multi hundred dollar gear(fins,blah blah).

Most of your time on the bottom, the ocean, guess we will just have to tell all the champions from the Med. to give their medals back because they have been diving in a Sea not an Ocean and have been taking too long to breathe up and not spending "most" of their time on the bottom. I have seen so many "snorkelers" work their way through the water to the bottom. I think most people start calling themselves freedivers once they strap on some weights.. Greatest freedivers in the world are all of us pre-birth, think about that one for a minute. 9 month static/dynamic (depends on the ammount of kicking involved). Lets not get too macho and let the sport grow.
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baby freedivers

Greatest freedivers in the world are all of us pre-birth, think about that one for a minute. 9 month static/dynamic (depends on the ammount of kicking involved).

Love it Gitano! Keep on truckin! Err..I mean finning :D

Speak for yourself Gitano. I ain't no wussy snorkeler!! rofl


Well said.

According to my life insurance man I am just a " snorkeler".
It saves me on premiums.:D

When I go up to Lake Wazee I dive for free and don't get charged the $10 a day scuba-rate because I am just a "snorkeler"- even if I dive deeper than about 1/2 the divers there.;)

I have even been able to dive for free off of some charter boats because I am just a "snorkeler".

As long as the free stuff keeps comin' my way people can call me almost anything they want. :cool:

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free huh?

So maybe that is what this freediving thing is all about. Jon is "snorkeling" for free does that mean he is freediving?:confused: ha ha ha. Jon just started a new form of diving that is the latest extreme I think we should give it a name maybe "gratisdiving".

freediving, free love, free gift with your purchase of..., free Iraq(oops), man isn't the word free great:confused:

P.S. how's the photo work coming?
I like it. The new motto to promot the sport:

'Free-diving. Free of cost, free of gear, free of fear.'

or similarly

'Freediving: No cost, no gear, no fear.'

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Going along with Eric's idea we could maybe add:

"No brains, No headaches"rofl

Or, As we say in SUCBA:

"No bubbles, No troubles";)

Originally posted by efattah
I like it. The new motto to promot the sport:

'Free-diving. Free of cost, free of gear, free of fear.'

or similarly

'Freediving: No cost, no gear, no fear.'

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
That's a great motto. I'd buy a t-shirt with that on it!:cool:
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