We all know of people that can freedive fairly deep and haven't attended any course or have "formal" qualifications. We have also witnessed or heard of accidents which happened to divers, who share the same background as the ones previously mentioned. Does proper training disqualify one from getting in trouble? No. What it does though, is to reduce the chances of it happening, amongst others. Cassandra Cooper, Canada's #2 in CWTB explains why are freediving courses worth it.

Freediving Is A Challenging Sport

Everyone has their own story when it comes to their discovery of freediving. Were you a natural-born swimmer with a desire to go deep? Are you someone who likes to feel challenged in a new environment? Or perhaps you connect with the mental element of freediving and the way it brings us deeper into ourselves.

Whatever your reasons may be, it is important to recognize what your connection to freediving is to help you begin your journey. Freediving is unique, especially in its interpretations. Unless you actually go and give it a try, it can be difficult to understand exactly what happens below the surface. There is a connection to your mind and your body that is unlike any other sport. The information we have about freediving is constantly adapting and being optimized, so it is safe to say that there is a level of understanding that must be learned before taking your first dive.

When you first immerse yourself in a body of water, you quickly realize how foreign your environment is and how instantly present you become. It is a beautiful feeling, but for anyone without experience, it can quickly become a challenging one. As you start your descent, you begin to encounter many factors such as pressure, technique, relaxation, and body orientation. It can be intimidating when you don't have a well-rounded understanding of your body's reaction to depth. For this reason, it is important to learn freediving with someone who understands not just how to function but be a part of the underwater world.

When trying to learn something new, it is crucial to learn how to perform the first steps of this process properly. If you learn something in the wrong manner, you are going to have to go through the process of unlearning it. In any type of structured education, skipping the basics will most likely be the greatest hindrance to a person's progress. Having a certified instructor with you will help you make sure you do not make this mistake. A professional will teach you the right methods in the right way. A quality course is absolutely worth it. Besides the direct benefit of sharing your experience and progress with an instructor, any advancements you make will rely on the contents of the first course you take. Remember, a good course is not about how deep or long you dive, but about increasing your understanding and skill level. This will result in overall better dives when the course contents are applied.

Safety First

In freediving, learning safety and rescue is a top priority. With this being said, Never Dive Alone is rule number one. This rule has been put at the top of the list because freediving is as safe as your buddy is experienced. If anything is to go wrong on a dive, it’s important that you have someone there who not only knows the proper procedure but can stay calm in all situations.

Freediving comes with its own set of rules that help keep you and your fellow divers safe. During every course, your instructor will show you how to prevent, recognize and respond to any incident that may happen during a dive. There are many different scenarios taught on how you must perform proper rescue and recognize the signs of distress in yourself and your buddy. During a dive, if you need to perform a rescue, proper finning technique can be just as crucial as rescue breaths and CPR. This is just one of the reasons taking a freediving course is so worthwhile.


During a freediving course, there are limits in depth for good reasons, safety and efficiency being the most important ones. It is rare to meet a student who could not improve their open water diving with guidance, some structured pool training, and a few training sessions.

Another one of the most valuable lessons to learn as a freediver is how to conserve your energy while also being as efficient as possible. Such seemingly small adjustments to technique can even impact your dives in dramatic ways. Improper technique, on the other hand, can lead to less efficiency and even result in injury. It is like a tightrope that everyone walks differently.

A well-trained freediver's technique can appear to be a natural-born ability to the untrained eye. With that being said, any instructor will tell you that there is a finely tuned science behind it. The techniques taught in freediving courses are what make the difference between being a snorkeler versus a true freediver.

An example of one of the skills learned in a freediving course is the duck dive. When I first began freediving, learning to duck dive was challenging. Performing all the steps in sequence felt awkward and in no way came naturally to me. However, after a few sessions with my instructor who guided, supported, and educated me on proper technique, I was finally able to nail it. It was such a next-level-unlocking skill! Not only does it allow you to transition seamlessly from your relaxation phase to your dive, but it also saves a lot of energy which is critical for an efficient dive.

Knowledge Means Power

As the saying goes, with knowledge comes power, and with freediving, this expression could not be more true. Like in any new environment, you need to understand the basics before you begin. Without a solid foundation, there is no way to give any structure to your diving. For any advancements to happen, you must first understand the steps you must take.

As instructors, what we are trying to do is increase your understanding of freediving and what your body is capable of doing. You cannot learn to dive from a book and you certainly will have many difficulties learning on your own. This is why feedback is vital when it comes to learning all the skills.

There is physiology behind our bodies underwater. We all have natural and often untapped instincts in us. Every person has innate reflexes and physiological responses when they enter the water. When we train these reflexes, the human body is able to reach extreme depths and breath holds. Since our bodies are so efficient at keeping us safe, training as a freediver means challenging many reflexes and responses that discourage us from apnea training.

One of the most well-known responses to apnea is the urge to breathe. We all have baro and chemoreceptors (chemical and pressure receptors) in our bodies which make sure there's a fine balance between the blood temperature, the pH acidity-alkalinity and the amount of carbon dioxide and dissolved gases in the blood. Whenever that is disrupted, these receptors detect that disruption and tell the body to act accordingly. In a freediving course, you discover how to harness these qualities in your own ways.

During a course, you aren't just learning course material, you are sharing your experience with someone who can tailor your learning in a way that is best suited for you based on your experience. There is a lot of things to remember when you first begin. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. This is why self-discovery and inner development are so common amongst freedivers. It is as physically engaging as it is mental. For this reason, mental guidance is critical to your success in freediving.

Your progress is set at a pace made by you and your instructor. You learn how the water feels, how to position yourself, how to take your final breath, and how to do a proper body scan. You also can learn what different sensations mean and how to respond to them, this develops your instincts as a freediver.

Having an instructor with you allows you to have someone with you that notices small details and reminds you where your attention needs to be. You are encouraged to adapt your mindset. Visualize yourself and how you feel on each dive, conjure those positive feelings. It is often the mindset that can make or break your dives. Breathe softly despite anticipation. Be present. It is important when diving to hold as little tension as you can, only moving the muscles that are required to conserve as much energy as possible.

One personally adaptable part of freediving is the relaxation phase in the minutes before a dive. Part of the relaxation phase is to induce our mammalian dive response. The relaxation phase is incredibly psychological, even emotional. Most of what a diver does to prepare for a dive comes down to personal preference. I really believe that trying more than one method is really valuable. You need to be able to adapt to your environment. You never know what it is going to look like so being able to adapt is vital.

As you are preparing for the course, be sure that you use the resources you have available. The freediving community is a unique one to be a part of. I often compare it to the culture that influenced modern surfing in the fifties and sixties when the community was really starting to flourish. In freediving locations all over the world, you find a community that stays tight-knit despite its members being spread out across the globe. Many experienced freedivers are always happy to share knowledge and advice with beginners and encourage them to join the community.

The moment you decide to take your first course, you are already involved in the community! I can confidently say that there is no community that is more welcoming than that of freedivers. Not only because we want to grow the sport and have more practicing freedivers, but because freediving really is all about community. Every freediver out there needs a dive buddy, often loves discussing new techniques and learning from each other's experiences.

And remember, freediving means something different to everyone. After taking the time and challenging yourself, you walk away with a new skill set. For us to reach our true potential we need to be continually challenged. Whether you end up spending more time nailing the basics or leave a session swimming like a fish, you're putting yourself in an environment that the majority of people have never experienced before. So no matter your progress, you evolve.

In the end, it is really just all about having fun, meeting passionate people, being in the water, and your own journey! The payoff; nothing less than a fresh new perspective on life and learning what you're capable of. Do all things with good intentions or not at all; this is true learning.

Blue Element's Safety Team Testimonials
About The Alchemy V330 Pro

Share this on