As it happens with most things in life, we learn our lessons along the way, mainly via experience. It doesn't need to always be that way though. Here are 8 things Pavel Tomm wishes he knew when he started freediving.

"It has been a long time since I first started to learn to freedive. I was lucky to begin my freediving journey in Koh Tao where I had great conditions and amazing teachers. However, we all started as beginners and there definitely are some things I wish I knew before I started exploring the depths".

You Don't Need To Be A Superhero

"However cliché it might sound, freediving really is for everyone (if there are no limitations related to your health condition, of course). Holding your breath for 3 minutes or reaching a depth of 20 meters might sound unachievable, but the only thing that usually holds us back at the beginning is in our head. It is the thought that there are some extraordinary abilities needed to be able to spend some time underwater. But the truth is, your body already has all the superpowers and they are just waiting to be discovered".

Choice Of Instructor / School 

"I do not blow out of the proportion saying that the choice of instructor is a life choice. Take your time and choose wisely. Remember, it is not always about impressive numbers - how deep they can dive or how long they can hold their breath for. Instead, try to focus on one’s experience and personality. In freediving, the relationship between your coach and you becomes kind of intimate. Never be afraid of asking what is the diving school’s philosophy and what is their teaching style to make sure it meets your aims as much as possible. Keeping you safe, motivated, and comfortable in and out of the water should be the main goal. Read the reviews, ask questions and be selective - a good instructor is always happy to help."

Focus On Enjoyment, Not On The Target

"Usually, when people start with a new sport, they expect consistent progress from the beginning and immediate results. However, that is quite exceptional when it comes to freediving. It is important to set yourself up right mentally and perceive that there is no need to worry about the performance, especially at the very beginning. The equation here is: the more you worry, the less relaxed you are, and thus it is likely that your performance won’t be as good. Try to step into freediving with curiosity and the thought of fun and consciousness. Honestly, the real magic is in enjoying every second in the water rather than focusing on the target. The sports part shows up spontaneously".

Online Training

"Nowadays, a number of instructors offer online training which is one of the most efficient ways to prepare yourself physically as well as mentally. Together with a good coach, you can make huge progress even if you have limited access to water. Some of my students started with online training before they even dipped a toe in the water, and some of them found out that freediving does not end by finishing the course and decided to work on their skills in time between the training camps. Getting support from a personal coach not only does help with your numeric results, but also builds your confidence and saves lots of time. If you already feel that freediving might be the right thing for you, consider some online guidance so your progress goes as smoothly as possible".

Importance Of Dry Training

"If freediving becomes your point of interest, there are lots to work on even out of the water. Being from a landlocked country or having limited access to the water does not need to stop you from developing your freediving skills. For obvious reasons, dry training is safer than training in the water and it is possible to practice on your own - still carefully, though. Even if you do not decide to work with an online coach, without any special equipment you can find out what your body is capable of doing, easily work on your mammalian dive reflex, get yourself used to high levels of carbon dioxide and low levels of oxygen, practice yoga and diaphragm stretching and also train yourself mentally. There are several mental techniques, such as visualization, that literally prepare your mind and body for the upcoming dives. The difference, once you get in the water again, is significant".

Less Is More

"The excitement and enthusiasm of newbies often lead to overtraining. In freediving, “less is more” applies more than anywhere else. Being in the water feels very refreshing to many of us and it is tempting to spend as much time as possible underwater. That can be tricky, especially when your time in the course is limited. Since freediving is a lot about relaxation and it might seem like a sluggish sport to someone, do not forget that the water is actually very draining and the dry days are as important as deep sessions! Allowing yourself enough recovery time and staying conscious on your freediving journey prevent injuries and also burnouts.
 Pushing yourself beyond your limits and thus crossing the fine line between enjoyment and frustration is really not worth it. Instead of gaining new skills and boosting your confidence, overtraining brings a lack of motivation, decreased energy level, and inability to focus. Basically, too much training could mean a few steps backward instead of forward"!


"One of the very first and the most important things you learn on your freediving journey. Astounded by the beauty of the ocean, some of us, especially at the beginning, do not pay enough attention to equalization. However extreme freediving may seem, the most common injuries are actually caused by neglecting equalization. We call them barotrauma and the most common one is ear barotrauma. Unfortunately, there is no “quick-fix” for that and very often it means at least a couple of days out of the water". 


"Driven by beginner’s enthusiasm, or maybe belief that good equipment brings better results, many of us bought brand new and usually expensive equipment in advance without having a clue what we were buying. If I just imagine how much money I could have saved by buying the right stuff - or none! Fortunately, nowadays there are many possibilities to try what fits you and suits you well. Take advantage of joining the diving center and consider renting the equipment such as carbon fins, wetsuit, and mask. First of all, you get a chance to learn about different materials and brands, which is always helpful once you decide to buy your own stuff. Second, you might even find out that freediving is not what you are into and then you do not need to be sad about all the new gear you would have purchased (but I believe that won’t be the case!). I would highly recommend visiting some local diving shops that usually provide you with some suggestions and give you advice. Definitely have a look if there are any diving shops as a part of local swimming pools - sometimes it is even possible to try the equipment straight away in the pool"!

Short Or Long Carbon Fins?
You Decide!

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