guest book

Free-diving


Free-diving is a form of underwater diving, that doesn't involve the use of scuba gear or other external breathing devices, but rather relies on diver's ability to hold breath until resurfacing. Examples include breath-hold spearfishing, freedive photography, apnea competitions, and to some degree, snorkeling. The activity that garners the most public attention is the extreme sport of competitve apnea in which competitors attempt to attain great depth, times, or distance on a single breath.
Less recognized examples of free-diving include, but aren't limited to, synchronised swimming, underwater rugby, underwater hockey, underwater hunting other then spearfishing and snorkeling.
Archeological evidence suggest that people have been free-diving since the 5th century BCE. The first known were the haenyeo in Korea, who collected shells, sponges and others. The Ama Divers from Japan began to collected pearls 2,000 years ago. Both Plato and Homer mention the sponge as being used for bathing in ancient Greece and this may represent an early reference to commercial free-diving to obtain them; the island of Kalymnos was a main centre of diving for sponges. By using weights of as much as 15 kilograms to speed the descent, breath-holding divers would descend to depths up to 30 metres fro as long as 5 minutes to collect sponges.
Competitive free-diving is currently governed by two world associations: AIDA International (International Association for Development of Apnea) and CMAS (World Underwater Federation). Most types of competitive free-diving have in common that is an individual sport based on the best individual achievement. All disciplines can be done by both men and women and, while done outdoors, no differences in the environment between records are recognizedd any longer.
Pool disciplines:
  • Static Apnea is limited breath holding and in usually attempted in a pool (AIDA)
  • Dinamic Apnea With Fins. This is underwater swimming in pool for distance. For this discipline the athlete can choose whether to use bi-fins or the monofin (AIDA, CMAS)
  • Dinamic Apnea Without Fins. This is underwater swimming in a pool for distance without any swimming aids like fins (AIDA)
For all AIDA disciplines, the depth the athlete will attempt is announced before the dive. This is accept practice for both competitions and record attempts.
  • Constant Weight Apnea. The athlete has to dive to the depth following a guide line that he or she isn't allowed to actively use during the dive. The "Constant Weight" refers to the fact that the athlete isn't allowed to drop any diving weights during the dive. Both bi-fins and monofin can be used this discipline (AIDA)
  • Constant Weight Apnea Without Fins follows the identical rules as Constant Weight, except no swimming aids such as fins are allowed. This discipline is the youngest discipline within competitive free-diving and is recognised by AIDA International since 2003 (AIDA)
  • Free Immertion Apnea is discipline in wich the athlete uses the vertical guiderope to pull him or herself down to depth and back to the surface.It is known for its ease compared with the Constant Weight disciplines, while the athlete is still nit allowed to release weights (AIDA)
  • Variable Weight Apnea is record discipline that uses a weighted sled for descent. Athletes return to the surface by pulling themselves up along a line or swimming while using their fins (AIDA)
  • No-Limits Apnea is record discipline that allows the athlete to use means or breath-hold diving to depth and return to the surface as long as a guideline isused to meansure the distance. Most divers use a weighted sled to dive down and use an inflatable bag to return to the surface (AIDA)
  • The Jump Blue also called "The Cube" is discipline in wich an athlete has descend and swim as far as possible in a cubic form of 15X15 meters (CMAS)
Free-diving is also a recreational sport, celebrated as a relaxing, liberating, and unique experience. Many snorkelers may technically be free-diving if they perfoem any sort of breath-hold diving - it is important to stress the importance of training and supervision when making this association.

Up the page
Training


Training for free-diving can take many forms and be done on the land.
One example is the apnea walk. This consists of a preparation "breathe-up", followed by a short (typically 1 minute) breath hold taken at rest. Without breaking the hold, the participant then initiates a walk for as they can, until it becomes necessary to breathe again. Athletes can do close to 400 meters in training this way.
This form of training is good for accustoming muscles to work under anaerobic conditions, and for tolerance to CO2 build-up in the circulation. It is also easy to gauge progress, as increasing distance can be measured.
Before competitions attempt, free-divers perform preparation sequence, which usually consist of phsysical stretching, mental exercise and breath exercise. It may include sequention of variablelenght static apnea, special purging deep breath, hyperventilation. Result of preparetion sequence is slower metabolism, lower heart rate and breath rate, lower level of CO2 in bloodstream and, last but not least, overall mental equilibrium. Failing ordinary warning signals or crossing mental barrier by strong will may lead to shallow water blackout or deep water blackout. Trained free-divers are well aware of this and will only dive under strict and first aid competent supervision. However this does not, of itself, eliminate the risk of deep or shallow water blackout. All safe free-divirs have a "buddy" who accompanies them, observing from within the water at the surface. Due to the nature of the sport, any practice of free-diving must include strict adherence to safty meansures as an integral part of the activity, and allparticipants must also be adept in rescue and resuscitation. Without proper training and supervision, free-didving/apnea/breath-hold diving is extremely dangerous.

Up the page If you're interesting: Contact us