It’s absolutely amazing when you 1: learn a new sport, 2: discover an ability you never realized you had and 3: Take a deep breath, dive in and have some 1 on 1 quality, uninterrupted time with the ocean. So to be blunt, learning to Freedive was an all around rather awesome experience.
I took a FII Level 1 Freediving course on the Big Island (officially certified now..the card is in the mail) and really, it was one of the most exhilarating, eye opening weekends I’ve had in a while.
I knew the class was going to be awesome when the guy who sat next to me, Aquil, flew all the way from Dubai to take it. He had 21 hours of flying, I had about 21 minutes. You get the picture. Well, it turns out our instructor is this guy named Martin Stepanek. After our initial classroom session, I learned he can hold is breath for 8 minutes. Amazed, I asked what’s the deepest he’s ever dove?…About 400 feet, even more amazed, I asked, what’s the world record?…About 400 feet. Oh modesty, it’s such an amazing virtue.
Now I know why Aquil flew from Dubai.
So I had a total bad ass, yet modest instructor, and over the course of the weekend, learned how to properly breathe, dive, technique, and the ins and outs of making it all safe. To elaborate if I may…after 2 days I was able to hold my breath for 3 minutes, and dive to a depth of 66 feet 3 different times on 1 breath. Yes, it rocked. All of it. There’s something so humbling and invigorating about being in the ocean, and Freediving seemed to heighten it.
As if experiencing the ocean in it’s purest form, and potentially diving among a pod of dolphins isn’t enough to make me addicted. It’s an amazing workout. Yup this relaxing peaceful sport basically mimics interval training, so it’s a total fat blaster. When you pop up afterwards you are breathing hard just like you ran up a flight of stairs, but you were just swimming with dolphins instead. I’ll take flipper over the stair master any day.
It was an amazing weekend. Day 2 was spent at Honaunau Bay – which had the clearest most gorgeous water ever. And, I already mentioned it, but I dove down to 66 feet 3 different times in the middle of this bay while holding my breath. Gosh it feels so great to do something you didn’t think you were capable of.
My classmates rocked (who were training to be instructors) and apparently knew I was coming so they brought double of everything for me to borrow. Thanks for all the gear, guys. Especially the fins, Aquil. Those suckers were amazing.
Some people get into freediving for recreation, spearfishing, to survive big wave surfing wipeouts, or to compete (good luck beating Martin). Me? I got into it completely out of the blue, but I think it was just the ocean, which I’ve always loved, beckoning for me to come spend some more quality time diving in it.
You can bet I’ll be back for more.
**See the guest blog post at Foammagazine.com