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Started Late

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

Member
Aug 17, 2020
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Hello, I'm 58 years old and took the FII Level 1 class to become more comfortable underwater but quickly got hooked on the whole relaxation and extended breath holding idea. I've had the opportunity to do some 20 meter dives in the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico and am enrolled on an Fii Level 2 class next month.

I have been a competitive marathon swimmer which culminated with a successful swim on the English Channel in 2015. My swimming workouts translate well to freediving fitness which I think really helps considering my age. I'm excited to learn more here on the forum.
 
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DHC

Member
Mar 21, 2020
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Hello CAburke! Any start is better than none, and this is a great community that’s always investing themselves in constant, continuous learning.

I am just getting into freediving as well and I’m 27. I think almost everyone wishes they would have started earlier, myself included. Could you explain the value of the FII Level 1 class a bit more? I’m interested in taking a few classes, but not sure where to start.
 
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J Campbell

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2001
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I'm 65. I also started at 58 when I took my FII Level 1 freedive course. First dive to 99 feet last year at age 64. I expect to be doing this a long time. And I'm also "hooked on extended breath holding" - love breath hold practice at the bottom of the pool - although it makes the lifeguards nervous!
 

Mr. X

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Jul 14, 2005
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Our oldest active spearo, Bill, is 81 or 82 now. And he hunts big white bass! Stay active (y)
 
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CAburke

Member
Aug 17, 2020
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8
59
It sounds like I'm in good company.

DHC, you asked about my class. FII is Freediving Instructors International. I chose them for one reason, they we not too far from home and had a convenient schedule. I went to the class to get more comfortable spearfishing and lobstering in 15' of water but came away with so much more. At least 50% of the class was on safety and the rest on technique. The instructor gave me the confidence to do things I didn't think possible at the start of the class and made us feel very safe. I am taking the FII Level 2 in two weeks.
 
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Swimguy89

New Member
Aug 20, 2020
14
1
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Hello, I'm 58 years old and took the FII Level 1 class to become more comfortable underwater but quickly got hooked on the whole relaxation and extended breath holding idea. I've had the opportunity to do some 20 meter dives in the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico and am enrolled on an Fii Level 2 class next month.

I have been a competitive marathon swimmer which culminated with a successful swim on the English Channel in 2015. My swimming workouts translate well to freediving fitness which I think really helps considering my age. I'm excited to learn more here on the forum.

Thats great! I feel the same way as i will turn 50 this year and have yet to be able to takea freedive course but i am very hungry to do so!
 

Swimguy89

New Member
Aug 20, 2020
14
1
3
50
I'm 65. I also started at 58 when I took my FII Level 1 freedive course. First dive to 99 feet last year at age 64. I expect to be doing this a long time. And I'm also "hooked on extended breath holding" - love breath hold practice at the bottom of the pool - although it makes the lifeguards nervous!
Thats amazing!! 99 feet ?? I cant imagine that :)
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
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Depth gets a bit odd in freediving. Given good technique and the ability to equalize, 100 is not particularly difficult, for all it seems crazy. When non-divers ask me how deep I'm diving, I can tell that they often don't believe me.
 

Swimguy89

New Member
Aug 20, 2020
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Depth gets a bit odd in freediving. Given good technique and the ability to equalize, 100 is not particularly difficult, for all it seems crazy. When non-divers ask me how deep I'm diving, I can tell that they often don't believe me.
What in your experience is the biggest hurdle to beginners when depth is concerned? Equalization? Fear? Pressure?
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
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No question, its fear. Unless you are extremely comfortable in the water, and nearly all beginners are not, its damn scary to go deep at first, some scary to go shallow. It may not feel like fear, but being uncomfortable and tense is essentially the same thing. Once a diver acquires the skill to approach 100 ft, equalization can become the major hurdle. I never got much over 125 because I can't equalize deeper. Plenty of time, plenty of leg, equalization stops me.
 

Swimguy89

New Member
Aug 20, 2020
14
1
3
50
No question, its fear. Unless you are extremely comfortable in the water, and nearly all beginners are not, its damn scary to go deep at first, some scary to go shallow. It may not feel like fear, but being uncomfortable and tense is essentially the same thing. Once a diver acquires the skill to approach 100 ft, equalization can become the major hurdle. I never got much over 125 because I can't equalize deeper. Plenty of time, plenty of leg, equalization stops me.

Thanks i need to figure out if its worth pushing to do something or what level i want to go to before i dive in so to speak pun intended. Thank you for the feedback!
 

Swimguy89

New Member
Aug 20, 2020
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Also i am heavy on thought and light on action. Does the term "try it and see" come into play at some point?
 

cdavis

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Jan 21, 2003
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Definitely try it and see. Most instructors are very good at dealing with fear. Go for it!
 
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Mr. X

Forum Mentor
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What in your experience is the biggest hurdle to beginners when depth is concerned? Equalization? Fear? Pressure?
Coming up alive afterwards? (Only half joking) Having sufficient breathhold and confidence that you have sufficient breath to get all the way down and all the way back (the more strenuous leg of the dive) without blacking out SWB/samba. I would think recent experience (as fitness/breath hold/technique/skill can vary significantly over time) would help build the confidence and a safe environment.
 

Swimguy89

New Member
Aug 20, 2020
14
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Wow I appreciate that so much it just seems like I'm so far away from starting that but I guess I have to start somewhere
 

Andrew702

Member
Apr 7, 2016
49
23
23
Sounds like you're more fit than myself and most freedivers I know. Age really doesn't play much of a factor depending on the depths you want to reach. Aharon Solomons if I remember correctly did a 70 meter dive on his 70th birthday. Most of improvement in the early stages of freediving will happen in your mind and how you perceive depth. Your breath hold is probably strong enough to take you quite far with little improvement much further than you probably realize. You'll just need adapt to the depth and be flexible enough to handle the pressure and also learn to equalize properly. It's great that you found an instructor who gives you confidence. Believing that something is possible is probably the greatest motivating factor in freediving. My favorite coaches and training partners were the ones who made me believe something was possible. All this I'm sure you understand if you swam the English Channel I'm sure there was a point you didn't think it was possible but when that mindset changed your body began to adapt to the challenge.

Some practical advice for a beginner would be move to depth slowly I can tell you from hitting a wall and squeezing it just doesn't speed the process up to go to depth fast. Spend a lot of time in the 30-40m ranges refining your technique, dive profile and relaxation. Getting to 60 meters really isn't all that difficult once you can equalize. I've spoken with Alenka Artnik and she dives 70-80 meters for months leading up to competition its only in the final weeks she starts pushing more depth. The adaption comes from repetition at somewhere around 80% of your target depth. If you give your body time to adapt it will easily cruise down to that depth. Yes you could totally push to a PB but in my experience one of two things usually happens you eventually hit a wall or you squeeze neither is good. Getting to depth for most people is a long and frustrating journey it's easy to try and rush it but I don't think it's all that useful. Also if you want to speed up your improvement after your level 2 course I recommend coaching over courses. Meeting with elite coaches improved my diving far more than courses ever did. Goodluck with your diving endeavours whatever you choose to do always put safety as your number one priority, safety for yourself and safety for those around you.
 

Swimguy89

New Member
Aug 20, 2020
14
1
3
50
Hey andrew702
Sounds like you're more fit than myself and most freedivers I know. Age really doesn't play much of a factor depending on the depths you want to reach. Aharon Solomons if I remember correctly did a 70 meter dive on his 70th birthday. Most of improvement in the early stages of freediving will happen in your mind and how you perceive depth. Your breath hold is probably strong enough to take you quite far with little improvement much further than you probably realize. You'll just need adapt to the depth and be flexible enough to handle the pressure and also learn to equalize properly. It's great that you found an instructor who gives you confidence. Believing that something is possible is probably the greatest motivating factor in freediving. My favorite coaches and training partners were the ones who made me believe something was possible. All this I'm sure you understand if you swam the English Channel I'm sure there was a point you didn't think it was possible but when that mindset changed your body began to adapt to the challenge.

Some practical advice for a beginner would be move to depth slowly I can tell you from hitting a wall and squeezing it just doesn't speed the process up to go to depth fast. Spend a lot of time in the 30-40m ranges refining your technique, dive profile and relaxation. Getting to 60 meters really isn't all that difficult once you can equalize. I've spoken with Alenka Artnik and she dives 70-80 meters for months leading up to competition its only in the final weeks she starts pushing more depth. The adaption comes from repetition at somewhere around 80% of your target depth. If you give your body time to adapt it will easily cruise down to that depth. Yes you could totally push to a PB but in my experience one of two things usually happens you eventually hit a wall or you squeeze neither is good. Getting to depth for most people is a long and frustrating journey it's easy to try and rush it but I don't think it's all that useful. Also if you want to speed up your improvement after your level 2 course I recommend coaching over courses. Meeting with elite coaches improved my diving far more than courses ever did. Goodluck with your diving endeavours whatever you choose to do always put safety as your number one priority, safety for yourself and safety for those around you.

I appreciate this response, although I'm pretty sure it wasn't directed at me. The depth thing is what I will find hardest to overcome, and equalization. I only tried to go down to about 20 feet once, and almost broke my ears! My issue personally is I have almost no places to practice, and no buddies (I know that cardinal rule!) I'm hoping in the next few years I can relocate somewhere more amenable to freediving and warmer. Thanks for the advice above i found it helpful in thinking about freediving & what it will take for me to try to achieve this.
Best regards!
 
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J Campbell

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2001
595
179
148
66
@Andrew702 “Getting to 60 meters really isn't all that difficult once you can equalize“ - I think you mean 60 feet, correct?
 
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