What is Freediving?
Freediving (or Apnea) is when you dive beneath the surface without the aid of any breathing apparatus.
The word ‘apnea’ is derived from the Greek word a-pnoia, and literally, means ‘without breathing’.
Freedivers like to push themselves and their limits by seeing how deep they can go on a single breath of air. Today the world record for freediving is 128m. Yes, ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY-EIGHT METERS… on a SINGLE BREATH (and when you think about it, that 128m up and down, so really your swimming 256m).
At first, you may ask yourself, why on earth would anybody want to push themselves to dive to such insane depths clearly not suitable for humans? Why not just use SCUBA equipment? Well, there are multiple reasons why people freedive, and contrary to popular belief, the human body is a lot more compatible with the underwater environment than you may think…
Why do Freediving?
Because it is the ultimate way to experience the underwater world on a level that is more personal and natural than any other. Sure with scuba diving you can stay down longer, yet as many freedivers will tell you: “Exploring a reef with scuba gear is like taking a drive through the forest with your 4-wheel drive, windows up and music blasting”.
With freediving you are becoming a part of the magic, rather than just a spectator. Once you learn how to control your breathing, manage your equalizing and discipline your mind and body, you will be able to truly embrace your aquatic origins and explore the ocean in a way more peaceful to yourself and to your surroundings….
SOUND A BIT ABSTRACT and FAR FETCH?
There’s actually an incredible science to freediving that many are not aware of!
(One of the most mind-blowing books I have ever read is DEEP, by James Nestor. Freediving, Renegade Science, and what the ocean tells us about our bodies)
The Science Behind Freediving
When you submerge your face underwater, your ‘Mammalian Dive Reflex’ is activated. This natural physiological reaction occurs when a human, mammal, or diving bird is submerged underwater. The MDR activates TWO fundamental changes in your body:
1. Heart Rate Reduction: Sounds scary? it’s not! It’s an awesome part of freediving where a natural adaptation puts the diver in a relaxed, meditative state, as well as conserves oxygen, allowing the person to dive deeper and longer.
2. Vasoconstriction: -The narrowing of the blood vessels to reduce blood flow. This is a way for the body to conserve blood and oxygen for the body’s vital organs (heart, brain, lungs) instead of using it on less vital peripheral organs.
Why We Love Freediving
Trains your mind and body
Can get closer to marine life
Good skill for ocean exploration
Easier to travel with freediving equipment
The absolute awesome underwater sensations
Pushing yourself beyond what you ever thought was capable
Learning more about yourself on a physiological level
You may think that you are physically not made for freediving. We assure you that you ARE! In freediving, your mind must be trained to a greater extent than your body. So next time you go for a ‘snorkel’, try pushing yourself to go a bit deeper and deeper, and prepare to discover a whole new physical and metaphysical world!