Stephan Whelan said:If they don't learn in a structured manner, either through clubs or courses, they will try to learn themselves - alone in the bath or pool - and we will start seeing injuries and then people being banned from FreeDiving.
Likewise, without an attempt at setting a standard for instructors and freedivers we will get rogue elements who don't know what they are doing trying to teach people to freedive and getting themselves or their students injured or killed.
to me your opinion seems to be everybody should do a freedive course from a "certified" instructor or don't freedive at all. I agree it would be better if everyone does do a course, but you can't force people to do one!
With scuba the certification means you can't actually get airfills from a shop without it. Freediving "certification" means little in reality, how can you stop someone from freediving ?
Australia is very different to England. We have many thousands of people that spearfish, and yes that makes them freedivers. Just because a person holds a speargun in their hand does not make them immune to blacking out. The vast majority of these will never do a freedive course, they just want to catch some fish. The previous point I was trying to make before that people are going to freedive wether or not they do a course or not. Having written information is far better then nothing at all. I learnt to freedive mostly from reading Deeper Blue , since there were no freediving courses here when I started.
As for "rogue elements teaching courses"
I'm sure there are many experienced competitors, judges, safety divers that have the same knowledge of those that are "certified". I have taught freediving courses and I'm not "certified" from a freediving agency. I have ample experience as a competitor, I have judged and been a safety diver for world record attempts. I have lost count of the number of blackout rescues I have performed. As far as safety I teach exactly the same thing safety divers do in competition. Which is probably exactly the same as what is written in the AIDA freediver course material. For me to become an AIDA instructor I would have to pay $3000-$4000 for airfares, accom to do a course on something that I already know and teach?
Personally if I wanted to learn from an instructor, I would choose one based on their experience, not a "certification". Years ago I did a course with PFI, I choose this based on Martin's and Kirk's experience. As far as I know PFI don't give a "certification" to their students.
I hope there are more freediving courses around and more people do them, but not at the expense of freely available information. I also see far too many flaws with a "certification" type system. Who sets the standards for freediving education?
Why don't I just make up my own agency and certify myself ?