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SCUBA or not to SCUBA????

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.

What are you diving (SCUBA or Freediving or Both)?

  • Not Certified, Don't Plan On Becoming

    Votes: 24 15.0%
  • Not, Certified, Plan On Becoming

    Votes: 14 8.8%
  • Certified Open Water

    Votes: 38 23.8%
  • Certified Adanced Open Water - DiveMaster

    Votes: 51 31.9%
  • Certified for Technical or an Instructor

    Votes: 33 20.6%

  • Total voters
I just finished becoming a PADI Divemaster so I can teach freediving. During the six months it has taken me to complete
the training, I have been required to demonstrate two freedives.
Lucky for my students, I really am a freediver.
This always seems to happen to me. Five pages worth of good
replies...I chime in and the thread is done.
Yeah, ramstam. I know how you feel. I have "killed" many forum topics as well. not a good feeling.

As for resentment of Free-divers by scuba people, I know what you mean. I went to an "adventure sports and travel" expo today, and only one person I talked to even mentioned freediving.
Also, one of the local dive charter companies has a strict no-freediving rule. Probably because of insurance purposes, but you have to sign a waiver anyway.....

I have my C-card for scuba, but I seem to get a "lets have a contest to see who has the most expensive equipment" vibe. But at the same time some freedivers seem to have a "lets see who can get the best PB" vibe. It may not be as clearly expressed as in scuba, but it is there.

I guess I havent had enough experience in either form of diving to really make a desacision, but from what I have experienced, I enjoy freediving better, but will probably continue scuba on the side.
one thing that, well, i recon its an issue with scuba's is that they tend to, well, fear free diving. of course i am not in any way talking about all of them, but most of the team that i am learning scuba with are very sceptical about it, they think that we pass out in the bottom and die :p

anyway, i think that nobody should say that either is bad, its just different, to freedive you need, well, a bit of training, while to scuba you just need to know your gear and deco if you are going past 20m and thats is, hell my grandpa can blow bubbles, not that i would let him but yeah ;)
A few days ago I was training in the pool when there were some scuba newbies learning. I was hanging around on the surface, and so were they, and I heard them asking the instructor "What are they doing?" He answered "They're holding their breath - it's actually a sport!" At first they couldn't believe it!
  • Like
Reactions: ramstam
At least the new divers are now aware of apnea.
It's to bad more time isn't spent teaching the scuba
divers to snorkel. Seems like it should be a prerec to
openwater classes, or at least one of the classes.
Ted and I hit a new lake yesterday that would ave been pretty tough to do on scuba.

Besides the long drive through the woods, we also had this wonderful path that we had to follow just to get to the only 'public' access on the lake! Once at the lake we had a shallow bay to swim across, only about 2' deep, before we got to the main lake- which was a beautiful, 70' deep, spring fed lake with outstanding vis!

We spent a little over 4 hours spearing and swimming around half of it before we had to call it quits. There is simply no way we could have dragged scuba gear through all of that and then had enough air to swim as far as we did. Well, maybe if we had ATV's, trailiers, and rebreathers we could have done it, but by freediving we did it with less hassel, less money, and more enjoyment. :D

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I started out on scuba in the mid 1960's and by 1979 had become a NAUI instructor. Mask, fins, weightbelt and snorkel ditch and don was standard skill training in a basic scuba course in those days but came to be considered a "macho" stunt in later years, probably because of the issues involved with getting enough people certified to keep dive shops alive in the mid-atlantic area.

Wreck diving is the main activity here and I can say it is not conducive to freediving, with average depths of 90 to 100 feet, viz of 10 to 20 feet and temps from the low 40s F. I personally know and have dove with most of the characters in Bradley Sheard's book "Beyond 130" and many of those in the newer "Shadow Divers" by Robert Knudson. In short, this is primarily a scuba world in which most of the relatively few freedivers also scuba just because that's where the local action is.

I began predominanly freediving in the mid 1990s because most of my diving had gravitated to North Carolina where water temps and clarity are more conducive to it; because charter fees, equipment costs and maintence for me and my two older kids had become fierce; because my buddy who owned a boat there was a spearfisherman (mostly on scuba at that time); because I was getting tired of the hassle of tank diving; and because learning new things about diving keeps me interested in the sport. I considerer both freediving and scuba to both be different branches of the same sport of "diving". I got my oldest two kids started on scuba at age 5 and certified at 12 and intend to teach my younger two to scuba as well. They will also freedive and make their own choices as to which they prefer. My older two now prefer freediving, as do I, and I suspect my younger two will as well, but we will still scuba dive on occaision. Scuba diver safeties are essential to safe freedive competitions. Conversely, freedive skills are essential to becoming a good scuba diver, and especially so for cave, wreck and technical diving. There are more similarities than differences.

When I got certified as a scuba instructor many doors were opened to me to learn more about the sport. The same can be said about attending Kirk Krack's clinic. The more one learns, the more there is to learn. That's why this forum is so interesting.

In a very real sense there is more to learn today than when I started because there are more questions to ask than I had then and because the sport has progressed so much. There is something to learn from every diver regardless of their experience level. I try to remind myself that simple is good and that it's supposed to be fun. I also try to remind myself that one never shuts others out, only oneself in.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)
Conversely, freedive skills are essential to becoming a good scuba diver, and especially so for cave, wreck and technical diving. There are more similarities than differences.

I'd be interested in hearing about specific freedive skills that provide a benefit to the budding tech or cave diver........
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I was a freediver for several years before beginning scuba. To me, the main benefits were being totally comfortable with being in and under the water, knowing what to expect from mask and fins and being comfortable without an air supply. Those bedrock skills and attitudes make it a whole lot easier to deal with and keep your head in tight situations.

Hi FreeFloat,
Connor is right about comfort level. The more time in the water the better. Also, the breath-ups we do for freediving can help a lot with gas consumption when applied as a regular breathing pattern, which is very important in advanced scuba for gas management.

Facial immersion experience is very helpful when your mask gets knocked off your face. Getting your weight right is very important in freediving and advanced scuba, although one tends to fine tune it more in scuba to get a consitently horizontal profile. Breath control is sometimes used as a bouancy control mechanism in advanced scuba when brief depth changes are made or you need to keep above a slit layer in a cave or wreck with minimum movement that might disturb that silt. When things get white-knuckle and narcotized it always helps to slow down and breath slowly to regain control of your thoughts. Again, think freedive breath-up and relaxation techniques.

The ability to swim some distance in an out-of-air emergency is a good thing for advanced scuba, particulary in overhead environments where you may have stage bottles or a buddy waiting a little distance away.

Just to clarify something, my experience with cave diving is limited. I'm not certified for that and don't go beyond surface light except for one early learning experience I was lucky to survive. Take a class or read "The Cave Divers" by Burgess for insights.

My tech experience has been limited to deep air before the trimix days.

I'm sure there is more information on these topics on this board. Get the right training for what you want to do.

Safety through education,
Thanks. That's the kind of specifics I was looking for and in fact is more or less exactly what I had assumed you meant.

Yes, I've noticed my consumption rate has plummeted since I started using freedive-breathing underwater - at first I didn't realize that's what was doing it but then one day I actually listened to my breath cycle and observed that it was in effect a breathe-up.

As for buoyancy control, well, my Open Water Instructor always stressed good buoyancy control and although at the very beginning I didn't "get it", by the time I went through checkout dives I had a fairly decent grasp of it (in other words I could "pick a depth and stick with it" within 3' or so). My current "pick a depth" is within 3" with a visual reference, and within 1' without. Yes, it goes right back to breathing.

On a side note another thing my freediving breathe-ups have affected is my running ability - I've never been a runner and always used to laugh that my "body hated running." Typically I could make it about 500 yards then I'd have to stop with an awful stitch in my side. Didn't seem to matter what speed. Well I applied the same slow, relaxed breaths with emphasized exhales that I use in freediving and without warning I could do 10km(6mi) and still feel great - well maybe a little 'wiped out' but no one part of my body (such as my "side" where I used to get the "stitch") worse off than the rest!
Okay Freefloat, now try long slow exhales along with your long slow inhales and I bet your gas consumtion drops a lot more, just like the early part of a freedive breathup as taught by Kirk.
Lower air consumption is the biggest spin off for scuba divers from freediving. It doesn't matter so much if your on a rebreather, but can make a huge difference when on open circut.

Another thing that goes with it is more efficent movement through the water. Since we can't waste a lot of energy when freediving we can carry this over into scuba for longer, more relaxing, dives.

One of the biggest things that would help tech divers, and others who are rigged DIR, and donate the primary from their mouth, are exhale statics. There's nothing like exhale statics to increase your comfort level of having to give away your reg after an exhale.

I no longer do the deep-air stuff, since I switched to mix, but there where lots of things that crossed over to that kind fo diving- like CO2 tolerence training, which helps when dealing with narcosis. Also, the facial immersion breathing on the surface before a deep air dive helped to slow everything down. It even helps to slow thing down for a recreational scuba dive, especially one that involved a long surface swim to get on site.

Another area is more precise weighting. Now that divers all use BC's they put on HUGE amounts of weights- rather than take the time to actually figure out how much they really need. Freedivers are very tuned in to exactly how much weight they need and are careful not to go over on that end- even a heavily weighted spearo won't have on half the weight that a newbie scuba diver wears.

Of course, there's also nothing quite like scuba diving with a pair of long blades on when it comes to diving in currents.:D The monofin dosn't work as well for the scuba thing- been there, done that.:( Freediving masks are also pretty nice for scuba diving, although I am not crazy about using my Sphera for scuba while it's my favorite mask for freediving. A nylon exterior freediving wetsuit also works out really well for scuba diving and I have made many a scuba dive in my freediving suits.

I am sure that there are others that we haven't talked about yet.

Originally posted by Jon
Of course, there's also nothing quite like scuba diving with a pair of long blades on when it comes to diving in currents.:D

But but but........ I didn't think you could frog kick in long blades....... can you????????
yes, without hassle :) ! If the fins are not too soft you can even fin backwards without any problem (e.g. the black Omer blades are just fine for that, whereas the Falcon 30 are too soft).

You can frog kick just fine in a pair of freediving fins.

My favorite pair, for scuba, are my Picasso Black Teams. You can even frog kick in a pair of C4's, but it's more difficult because of the tall side rails on them.

Specialfins work out REALLY nice since they have low side rails. You can frog, skull, shuffle, fin backwards, and even do helicopter turns with them on.

I believe that Billy Deans, technical wreck diver, and Oliver Isler, technical cave diver, both used open heel Esclapez freediving fins over their drysuit boots for tech diving.

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