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PADI-type Freediving Education

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Is there a need to POSITION freediving as recreational diving open to the masses

  • Yes

    Votes: 34 51.5%
  • No

    Votes: 32 48.5%

  • Total voters
    66

pburgess

New Member
Oct 5, 2003
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A number of threads keep catching my attention and I'm sure are a concern to most of us...

i) Professional training/courses/etc. available
ii) Solo freediving
iii) Safety

I exclude discussions of competitions and records and recent AIDA-realted disputes not because they are unimportant but are I feel the tip of a large iceberg.

I'm citing PADI as an example of a scuba organisation offering a large selection of courses with various routes for the recreational and professional scuba-diver *and* an almost global presence ensuring that some sort of minimum standards are heeded by diver centres the world over. If you don't like PADI substiute CMAS, BSAC or the organistation of your choice. Let's not go off on a tangent on this one.

Given that we have according to a quote from Eric Fattah 85 freediving fatalities a year from quite a small community, a large number of freedivers who have had no professional training whatsoever and simply follow heresay/advise from forums/etc.

and many freediving solo simply because they have no one else to dive with are we not heading for a disaster!

PADI and the other scuba education entities provide training and make it unthinkable to dive alone [tech divign excepeted], exceed depths to which you are trained etc. Certainly in my experience people scuba-divign without training are thankfully very very much a minority and woudl find it very hard to even get an air fill.

I think we are wrong to look at competetions and validation of records as the primary real issues in front of us. These problems are symptamatic of the more basic issues or ignorance of them.

Is freediving simply the domain of the incredible athletic achievements of very few - not that I don't love this aspect of the sport? Surely freediving should be a sport open to all from the very young to the old dependent only on a basic level of fitness/good health as with scuba. In my experience freediving has meant I've had to work hard on fitness/health/diet which gives it a big plus over scuba where obese persons just buy more lead!

Don't we need basic/introductory freediving courses targetted at the many people who snorkel on vacation etc. Let's teach these people to do what they do a little better, a little deeper and above all more safely. How about recreational scuba divers? I see people diving shallow reefs on scuba. Surely almost anyone with a bit of training/practice should be able to do -10m freedives. Freediving is such a simple yet more satisfying alternative to a lot of scuba.

Don't we need intermediate/advanced courses for the beginners to move onto. Don't we need freediving education programs as the norm with the overarching concern for safety at every point built in.

Don't we need to build up numbers and local clubs/groups/dive centres to that there are more opportunites for safe/responsible freediving.

I know that freediving courses exist and there are some excellent courses. I don't want to discuss FREE vs. AIDA [important as this is] right now. Rather can we agree that the way forward as a sport is to POSITION freediving as recreational diving open to the masses with education programs in place for those who want to progress in the sport with a professional route and performance/competitive routes in parallel. Competions then would only be open to suitably qualified divers and those flaunting standards losing their certifications.
 
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neshamah

CFD Group
Jun 2, 2003
535
37
0
52
hi

Don't we need intermediate/advanced courses for the beginners to move onto. Don't we need freediving education programs as the norm with the overarching concern for safety at every point built in.

Don't we need to build up numbers and local clubs/groups/dive centres to that there are more opportunites for safe/responsible freediving.

I know that freediving courses exist and there are some excellent courses. I don't want to discuss FREE vs. AIDA [important as this is] right now. Rather can we agree that the way forward as a sport is to POSITION freediving as recreational diving open to the masses with education programs in place for those who want to progress in the sport with a professional route and performance/competitive routes in parallel. Competions then would only be open to suitably qualified divers and those flaunting standards losing their certifications.
_________________

I agree with that----
 

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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I've done a freediving course, and I think it contributed to me enourmosly. Eventhough it was after I've been reading more than a year im DB before that so basically I had most of the literature up in my head anyway, and I had a 5 minute static and done some freediving without knowing the name if it already for several times during several years.

But regarding safety and dealing with emergencies, there's nothing better than real expirience/drilling.
Also with the ability to dive deep first time in my life, and deal with any barrier that might apear in the course with an instructor, and not alone in the middle of nowhere.

It was also very helpful seing for another freediver diving for the first time. Watching, learning the smooth style, the calmness, all would've taken me years to perfect of I had no model.

When asked (and sometimes when not :)) I advised any beginner freediver I've ever met to take a course and that it's a well worth investment.

So I'de say 'yes' for traning as many freedivers as possible for a begginer level. What I consider begginer includes every safety measure they'll ever need (well, for normal freediving perposes). disregarding depth for certification, unlike normal scuba.

But: I consdier freediving as a natural thing. And as right you are born with.

I don't think there should be some governing body going down to details with what we can do and what we can't.
Think of some tourist entering a dive shop and ask them to take a ride for tomorrow's night dive, and renting a flashlight. And then the person in the counter tells him he wanna see a night freediving certification card... and if has none, offering a brief one-meeting certification for 50$ acknowldged by AIDA/PADI or whatever....
For me, that would be the end of freediving as it is. Some of the freedom would just be false.

About contests, I don't think they should be closed to the untrained, it's too forcfull to my taste, it is not about punishment, or gaining profit from another trainee.
There are safty measures in the contests themslevs, it is much better if a diver would make a mistake in a competition enviroment then on his own being banned from all community activities. Learning what a diver missed in a course is also possible in a competition because of meeting other divers.

This sums shortly what I think of this topic. I'm not sure which vote I'm supposed to take in your poll...
 

neshamah

CFD Group
Jun 2, 2003
535
37
0
52
ampliando la vision

But: I consdier freediving as a natural thing. And as right you are born with.
____________________________

Shalom Michael --- I agre with that too... But friend everything in this earht have a technique--- for example you can play music by ear and that is a talent-- but one day need to know how to understand more and write the music-- the same way happen with the freediving world--

we have the ability to hold our breath--with a naturall swimming but there is a technique about how to swim perfect-- and with techique- so in this way it will be easy for us
________________


but I understand Paul point--and his vision--- it will be good to AMPLIAR this - the freediving and take it to the school--

in public school as I see in the USA - they have their swimmin team and his trainer -- that the same goverment pay for it ---
why can be a freediving training at school.....?

and we have to way to see that from far away some body bring us a course or pay a x amount of money for it--so what about the other than can't pay?

I don't mean this is not good because this is good what they are doing ---about courses but we have to AMPLIAR or expand the vision---

so in this way freediver will be known better all around the world

and maybe in the future can be part of a olimpic game as they do with the other sports
there is any diferente from freediving and other sports???

this is my point

saludos

Daniel.
 
Last edited:

pburgess

New Member
Oct 5, 2003
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I'm more of an advanced beginner than an experienced freediver myself so I appreciate all comments and listen to all responses very seriously.

Like you Michael I was kind of freediving for years without knowing it was called "freediving" and without really being aware of technique and so not going very deep.

I'm a teacher in Cyprus. I've organised a dive club at my school. We've done some scuba using a local very highly qualified PADI dive centre. We had a lot of interest in freediving amongst the kids and quite a few who spear fish. There was no professional training available locally so I made enquiries of one of the freediving organisations [but like I said I want to avoid FREE vs AIDA discussions at this point]. We had an offer from two big name divers to do some training with our kids. The interest was minimal. Kids woudl rather hyper-ventilate for 5 minutes [based on some misguided advise of peers and/or experienced spearos]. Thankfully kids don't die [at leat yet] because they just can't suppress their basic instincts but as some get older we do have deaths from spearfishing as older divers are more able thru dangerous technique and misguided determination to drown themselves.

What I see parallel to this is scuba as much safer responsible activity. Even the more reckless operators have some compliance to standards even if they bend the rules a bit and almost no one is gettign in the sea in scuba kit without some training. Even if they exceed depths to which they are certified they know that what they are doing is dangerous/need for further training/etc.

At competitions there *may* be good safety in place for the dives but how about the warm up/training dives etc.

No organisation can stop any one freediving as with scuba. If you've got kit you can just jump in the sea and do it - air fills perhaps being a bit difficult. But no scuba organisation has any legal restraint on any one. Likewise anyone can jump in the sea and freedive as deep as they wish.

Perhaps there should be depth limits with certification. Do we really want people to hit new problems without advance training? It's a bit scary that someone coudl be at 30-40m and not know what is happening to them.

Regarding profit. In my experience the professionals were willing to work for almost nothing. The desire was to promote the sport.

A question...can you walk into a dive shop and get taken to a dive site and just free dive to any depth you wish? I very much doubt the dive shops I know here would be agreable to anyythign like that. They woudl want a safety diver on scuba etc. which actually is what groups coming in for freediving request.

I still haven't done a course myself :-( but I do wonder about safety and deeper dives.

Anyway, Michael, thanks very much for your response.

paul
 

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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Shalom Daniel. Hi Paul. :)

I agree that there are a lot of advance courses teaching advance techniques and tuning one's abilities for reaching depth etc, and that is like learning music.
But as I see it, this is secondary. A begginer course should give you the most important things, that whith out them you might make a fatal mistake - that's safety measures.
After that, if someone wanna dive better, or doing other diciplines, advance courses will come. If someone has all the safety knowledge, including what to expect in future depth, It is enough in my opinion, as to what that person owes to himself that is.

This is why I don't like the system of increasing certified depth for each certification etc, it is usally involved with withdrawing VITAL information from the certified people.
I'll take my example from scuba:
I know only the PADI and CMAS courses. In PADI, I think what they teach in their rescue diver course should already be thought at open water and is a must for every diver. But, I guess that PADI prefers you to do 3 courses to be able to actually be safe underwater...
In CMAS, you get some parts of the PADI rescue under AOW (**), but still it is not complete. It might all sounds a little petty, but my expirience tells me otherwise:

In the last dive (after all knowledge has been given and we were tested for it) of our AOW (**) CMAS course, my friend and I thought we are ready to handle most things that happen underwater.
It was very frightening when my friend got laryngospasem at 33m~ (it was a 30m dive or so) due to a falty regulator that sprayed water to his troat. I know, he should've checked his equipment better before putting it together (the buddy check after the equipment is ready does not discover such a thing). Anyway, he didn't even know what is heppening to him except that he was choking, and I also could'nt understand what is happening to him because his regulator gave air when it was pressed on demand and my spare regulator didn't help him also! Luckly it was still in the course and the Intructor stretched his neck and started ascending a bit and my friend signaled 'ok'. Ofcourse he was too terrified and we cut the dive short.
If that would've happen one dive later, when we where alone in the water, who knows what tragedy could've happen.
I think it is negliant to give someone scuba gear and telling them they are certified and giving them the impression they are able, without preparing them to not so rare situations.

So what I think is, that the first freediving course should give you all the tools you will ever need regarding to safety. Also regarding depth below residual volume, and knowledge of negative pressure dives. otherwise some day in the future the trainee might have a lung squeeze or a panic attack underwater due to this strange feeling, or do his first empty lung dive to what he consdiers shallow - 10m, because he heard/read about it somewhere.
Not teaching that might do the same effect as to not teaching why you should'nt hyperventilate.

Regarding teaching basic freediving in school, I think it's a good idea and will do greatly for the sport, and might also save lives, and should be practiced especually in places like cyprus, where many people might get to freedive anyway. But it would be a hard thing to sell, have you tried through the parents?

About competitions, I was assuming that there was safety while doing training dives. :)

Regarding my example:
I really don't think that everytime someone dives to 30-40 meters he should have a saftey diver on scuba. I have no plans of getting scuba safty when I'll play in those depths. I trust myself to do it right (reiable partners and not pushing myself). That's why I think that most people owe it to themselves and to others to pass a course.
About dive shops, I don't think most places here would allow what you described, but I was'nt refering to exactly that.
If you ask me, if you come with atleast one partner, and both of you are trained (know safety etc.), there's no reason why you won't go on the boat, and I might check if this works here when summer comes. I think dive-shops should have a procedure for freedivers. All they do is supply us with a ride - we have the neccessary traning regarding our activity as any of the other scuba divers who where supplied with the ride (and the air for the tanks). If I happen to live near deep waters I'de never need a ride from them.

So, from my point of view, I trust myself not to make mistakes, and not to explore new depths with a partner I'm not sure about his abilities to keep me safe.
From the dive-shop's point of view, I guess they'd like to see a card that says I have the necessary training to cover their asses. But one card should be enough. no scuba, 10x. :)

And still, if people don't wanna get this card, it is their right. No forcing but getting them in to the community will help to prevent the damage they might cause to themselves rather than banning them.

Could be a nice Idea if there was free safety training in competitions for the untrained though. :)

(ok, that's a long enough post) :)
 

pburgess

New Member
Oct 5, 2003
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Michael, thanks for the detailed response. I must say that I'm pretty much in agreement with all that you say. I certainly appreciate what you say about PADI and CMAS. It costs you big time to work thru their programs and I imagine a very small % of scuba divers even get as far as Safety Diver just sticking with OW and AOW for diving on vacation etc.

Although I had wanted to avoid a FREE vs AIDA discussion do take a look at the courses at http://www.learnfreediving.com . The freediver course looks like more of a snorkelling course or rather moves people from snorkelling to actually spending some time under water. That's what many of us have been doing for years. But a course like this opens up the shallow depths to kids, older people etc. The Advanced Freediver course probably covers pretty much everything you'd want in your basic course particuarly the safety. There is a Master Freediver and speciality courses but that seems sensible given that the material covered won't be of much use unless you've done the Advanced and have a lot of diving behind you. FREE told me that the Freediver course was too basic and to go straight into Advanced Freediver. I think that fulfills your 1 card criterion. They also give you the card [not to mention the manuals, log book etc.] in the price of the course unlike PADI. We're paying almost $40 for a PIC!! And each crew pack [as you know just a book with a little slate or something in a big box] is approaching $100!! I guess though the PADI thing works in that there is enough money going back into the organisation for development/expansion.

So, yeh, I do agree with you about depth and certification. The thing I'm still unsure of is safety. I haven't done the training but I just don't feel safe at the thought of pulling up a body when I'm negatively bouyant and at my limits. Perhaps this just says I need training.

At the AIDA competitions from what observers have told me and others have posted in these forums the safety requirments only have to be in place for the competitive dives not the training. People, do correct me if I'm mistaken here.

Dive shops have to cover themselves which is fair enough and I know the better ones are evaluating people who walk in. It's more than just cards.

Do you live near deep water? I'm in Laraca, Cyprus. In the city you need a ride to get to deeper water but there are sites outside the town where you can just jump into deep water. This is nice as it keeps costs down and means I can dive with my own kids in the summer every day. You're on the sea also aren't you in Tel Aviv?

Ever come to Cyprus? I visited Israel once.

We have an Israel children's circus performing at our school on Friday.

Thanks again for your detailed and helpful replies.
 

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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I took a look in the site. Yeah, it seems that every person who already realized it's fun holding their breath while snorkeling should go for advanced freediver, it's also recommended strongly in the site. Seems like the right way.

About depth and safty, as I get it, your partner should meet you about 15m down on your way up, then the range at which SWB happens is covered. If your partner can't get you up from that depth, even after he dumps your weight belt (though for speed it's better if he can just get you up instantly) then he needs to get better. :) (you can also weight yourself to be more buoyant).

Covering more than SWB by a partner for recreational freediving sounds unrealistic to me, I think that the majority of freedivers in the world could not gain such support. Me among them.
If going for real depth, and exploring personal fronteers, a counter ballast might worth more than scuba support, but not sure about it. Anyway, we're not talking about that kind of diving.

If they didn't have safety in AIDA competitions, I guess that people just kept diving like they always did, with the buddy system. And apearntly it works quite well, I didn't hear of any tragedy in those competitions yet.

Tel-Aviv is near the sea, but the water in our part of the med are pretty shallow. I think it's 10m deep or so for first km. That's the furthest I got from the shore for freediving so far. For 30m you need a boat, I can't estimate how far, but several Km's for sure.
Depth is similar all over our med shore, driving won't do.
I'll figure and asses my freediving options in our med this summer...

For waters deeper than you'll ever need, there's the red-sea 4-5 hours away. In some places you can throw a stone from the beach and hit a bubble blower in 30m. Viz can be 30m-50m, water temp is similar all year round (25c?), the sea is rarely choppy. And there's definitly much more to see.

I'll definitly get to Cyprus one day... but I don't know when. :) If my resources will suffice, I might come in june, but I doubt it for now.

I don't remember having a children circus performing in my school ever... I guess that the good stuff we try to export. :D
Where have you been to in Israel? I guess that it was in a more peacfull age... :(
 

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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By the way, have you thought about going to Turky or Israel for a course? incase you can't find one in Cyprus...

And another thing... should be worh checking passing a course in school again, I think that the outcomes could be surprising, something in the sorts of 3 world record freedivers from Cyprus in the next decade...
 

pburgess

New Member
Oct 5, 2003
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I'm almost definitely heading up to Turkey for a course. My only problem is that although I get great holidays I can't take time off at any other time. The other problem is that with the present political situation it is illegal for me to travel from the Turkish-occupied north to Turkey directly which means I have to fly Larnaca-Athens-Istanbul-wherever in Turkey. If we have a solution before EU accession on 1 May [and Kofi Annan has today given 9000 pages of documents to the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot leaders plus Greece and Turkey] I'll be able to stick my car on a ferry to Turkey and drive over to Kas for a FREE course :))

We have very deep water at many shore locations most notably the Famagusta Bay and very calm sea but not the rich life of the Red Sea. I have friends in Egypt who are invitign us over so definitley want to get in the Red Sea in the not too distant future.

We did a cruise from Cyprus with 1-day coach tour. Drove past Tel-Aviv. They stopped at Bethlehem and Jerusalem. I'm a Christian but I was somewhat cynical/unmoved by the suposed sites/locations. But it was great to get a feel for the country and the morphology of the land. Somewhere I'd definitely like to return to.

The circus has Israeli and Arab children. They are also going to do a workshop for Turkish- and Greek-Cypriot children together.

Great idea about getting freediving into schools. Actually I'm very committed to trying to get freedivng established a non-sectarian sport in the schools here. Given a political solution this will be much easier. Just want to transcend the politics and get people enjoying the sea together...it's very difficult though :-((

Regarding safety and competitions let's hope we don't see any tragedies.
 

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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Present political situations suck:(.

The Egyptian red-sea tends to be better than the Israeli, and defenitly cheaper. I'll probably go there some time/times/all during the next summer. Maybe we'll meet.

1 day tour of Israel, sounds funny. :D
There are more parts of Israel that don't share that morphology by the way...

About the circus, I'm not sure I got what you meant, are there Israeli kids and Arab kids from other countries? or Israeli kids that some are Jewish and some are Arab?
(There are Arabs who are Israelies as well, it's not always in contrary...)

Was'nt it your idea or Daniel's to get freediving into school? :confused:

By the way, I'm still not sure what this poll asks me. :D
 

neshamah

CFD Group
Jun 2, 2003
535
37
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hi

Saludos Michael. .Shalom ubrajot aleijem beshem haadon Yeshua hamashiaj

well I don't know much about scuba diving and safe diving regulation... but I would like to see the freediving as part of the program they have for kids at the school the same way they do with clasical swimming - baseball ect - why not ?

saludos

Daniel.
 

pburgess

New Member
Oct 5, 2003
61
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All the kids are from Israel. Some are Jewish and others Arab. I had a friend who insisted he was Israeli not Jewish and so I get a bit confused on the language.

1-day tours of Israel were big business till a couple of years back. Boats full of people every day.

I wanted to get freediving going at my school as we have a dive club and a lot of kids asked about freediving. The disappointing thing was that when we had the chance of a course with FREE people [yep, two BIG names] the interest was not overwhelming. There were a number of reasons for this including timing, parents alreading having put money into scuba for their kids, etc.

Like I said there are a lot of kids messing around in the sea and a bit of spearfishing. Ok it's not read sea but we do have 6+ months of reasonably warm water and shore access at a number of locations to deep water. Also gives itself to an intercommunal activity as the sea is not quite as territorial as the sea. Like Israel we have bitterly disputed territorial issues.

I'm not so sure about the poll now. Can you suggest a better way to word it?

paul
 

samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
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PADI courses in Freediving exist - I teach Freediver and Advanced Freediver through PADI - roughly equivalent to AIDA ** and AIDA ***. I also teach AIDA * Trainer and am working on a Master Freediver Level again as a PADI Distinctive Specialty. There are about 5 of us PADI Instructors/Freedivers in the world who can offer these. If more people applied, they could teach them too. Its just a case of putting a course together and documenting your experience.

The courses seem to make a real difference to people - whether total beginners of fairly experienced freedivers.

Sam
 

samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
3,221
278
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PADI courses in Freediving exist - I teach Freediver and Advanced Freediver through PADI - roughly equivalent to AIDA ** and AIDA ***. I also teach AIDA * Trainer and am working on a Master Freediver Level again as a PADI Distinctive Specialty. There are about 5 of us PADI Instructors/Freedivers in the world who can offer these. If more people applied, they could teach them too. Its just a case of putting a course together and documenting your experience.

The courses seem to make a real difference to people - whether total beginners of fairly experienced freedivers.

Sam
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
4,080
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Sam's right,

Following her lead, thanks again Sam, I wrote up my own outline for a PADI freediver course. I don't have lots of levels as I am just trying to build a base so I can brign Kirk in to teach the higher level stuff.

What I, really, want is a nice base of training partners out of it so I can try and get deeper. Once we have a solid base we can build up from there. My course lands somewhere between the ** and *** diver levels that AIDA offers.

So far I have had a very good response from the bubble-blowers. I think that this is becasue they all are such "card collectors" that as soon as I could offer them a c-card for it they jumped on board.

I am thinking about writing up an "Ice freediver" course for next winter. That should draw some interest in these parts. :D

Jon
 

pburgess

New Member
Oct 5, 2003
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Sam, what's the difference between a PADI Speciality and a Distinctive Speciality? Is a Distinctive Speciality a more special-interest thig offered by individual instructors.

I really think PADI should make the optional skin dive in the OW compulsory and likewise at least have a free dive adventure dive elective in the AOW, a "regular" freediving speciality and so on. I look forward to the time when PADI feel pressured to include freediving courses not to lose the bubble-makers to other organisations just as "tec rec" is developing so people don't have to go to TDI etc.
 

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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Originally posted by Jon
So far I have had a very good response from the bubble-blowers. I think that this is becasue they all are such "card collectors" that as soon as I could offer them a c-card for it they jumped on board.
That is so sad! but true... and funny. :) The first time I've seen one of those card collectors' wallet (he was buying something in a dive shop), I thought he owns shares in Mastercard or Visa for a second. Then I saw the PADI sign on all of them, and I asked - Back then I didn't know PADI gives you different cards for scratching your left foot at 20, 25 and 30 meters underwater. When I said I only have 2 cards and think it should be enough for the rest of my life, he exhaled from his nose as a sign of contempt and went away to keep distance from the crazy heathen.

Another thing that might make the bubble blowers yeild is if you'll tell them that doing freediving would surly cut their air consumption. :D no, now seriously, I ment air consumption on scuba, since they will get calmer, and the MDR might get to work/incraease (I'm pretty sure I had my MDR working on cold water sucba dives before knowing what it was) and they'll definitly start moving more efficiently underwater etc.

I am thinking about writing up an "Ice freediver" course for next winter. That should draw some interest in these parts. :D
I think that should be 2 cards: Ice freediver and a certificate of courage/lunacy. :)
 

samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
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Paul - yes that is exactly what a Distinctive Specialty is. An experienced instructor can write and have approved a course in their own specialist area if one does not already exist.

and yes I am working on PADI to get the rest of the stuff happening!



Sam
 

samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
3,221
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Paul - yes that is exactly what a Distinctive Specialty is. An experienced instructor can write and have approved a course in their own specialist area if one does not already exist.

and yes I am working on PADI to get the rest of the stuff happening!


Sam
 
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