A large number of spearos around the world think of freediving courses as not necessary when it comes to spearfishing. They are wrong. Little do they know that by attending such courses they will be able to improve their diving technique, stay safe and, eventually, get more fish. In this episode of The Complete Guide, we are going to be discussing freediving courses in detail, and what you get from these when it comes to spearfishing. Alchemy partner, FII instructor and deep spearo Garrett Moss explains.

What Did I Learn From My First Freediving Course?

Before I took any freediving courses, I was spearfishing for a few years throughout my high school days, lobstering and diving 15 to 20 at 25 feet in Florida, looking for snapper and lobster and grouper, using Hawaiian slings and pole spears. And I excelled in that and I started diving a little deeper bought a speargun and shot some fish at deeper depths. And I started getting down into the 60-foot range and I thought I was doing pretty good.

And then I found out about these freediving courses that I could take and I took a class with Freediving Instructors International, who now I've become an instructor with, and since taking that course I've learned a lot from that point until where I'm at now. But before I got started, I thought that I was already past the depth requirement or what you would need to pass a level one course. Little did I know there was much more than it entails to take a level one course. You learn about the anatomy of the human body and the physiology and what happens with your body throughout deep dives. How to protect your body, how to be more streamlined and efficient, proper kicking cycles... And one of the most important things that I got out of my level one course was all of the rescue scenarios and the focus on safety. And this really comes into play especially, well all the time, but especially when you start excelling and you're freediving you start pushing your physical limits. And you can really tell a difference between a spearo that's taken some formal freediving courses through a recognized curriculum, as opposed to a spearo that has no formal instruction whatsoever.

So, over the years I've dove with a lot of people from all around the world and I dove with them in some of the far corners of the world and we've really put our physical abilities to the test. And most of the people that I've that I do this with, and pretty much everybody that I do this with, now all of my dive buddies, have been properly trained in their diving as well as being a proficient dive buddy, which is super important, you never want to dive alone obviously. You always want to have at least one properly trained buddy, freediving is a team sport and it's never to be conducted alone. And that goes into spearfishing as well, because you free dive when you spearfish.

Better Skills Lead To More Fish

So, throughout the time that I've been spearfishing here on Maui and amongst the Hawaiian islands, in Florida, Fiji, and California, in Indonesia, and all these places I've been, the spearos that are the most fruitful are the ones that provide the most fruit, the most fish, the most meat to the table and do it safest, are the spearos that actually have at least taken a level one course with some type of a curriculum, or they've gone and gone and taken some more advanced courses and progressed in their freediving and they really fell in love with freediving, and some adopted into competitive free diving or just doing it for fun. But uh you can really tell a difference between a spearo that's taken these formal courses and one that hasn't. And there's a lot that goes into that.

What Will I Learn During A Level 1 Freediving Course?

So first off with discussing a freediving course, a lot of these freediving courses and some go into depth more than others, some are a little formal more than others, I prefer Freediving Instructors International, that's who I started with and that's who I become an instructor with, Martin Stepanek holds I think like 13 or 14 world records, he's an awesome instructor and freediving instructors is the most prestigious freediving curriculum in the entire world. But one of the things that we go over, especially with an FII level one course or even a level two into the advanced courses, is what's going on in your body throughout a freedive, what the anatomy of the body is, what muscles to engage. We also learn certain breathing techniques, proper breathing up techniques, and also proper recovery breaths. Another thing we look into is the physiology of what's going on while these muscles are being engaged and disengaged, how to equalize properly, how to have proper kicks to where you're not having a bicycle kick or a pigeon-toed kick which leads to inefficiency throughout your dives and might shorten your dive times. Freediving courses also, go into the proper freediving equipment and what equipment you can use, what's going to benefit you the most, and what equipment is detrimental and will make you a little less streamlined.

How To Deal With Blackouts And Loss Of Motor Control

Going into the rescue and safety scenario protocols, I think that most freedivers, most of my students, most of my fellow classmates that I've gone through my freediving courses with, and pretty much probably if you were to take a consensus of all the freediving students uh one of the biggest things, especially from like a just a simple level one course, what you take away from it is, the ability to to to learn how to have the ability to go into rescue scenarios and safety properly, and to do it in the most streamlined and efficient ways as possible. And we can do this by judging the timing and style and viewing that and observing that with your dive buddy throughout their dive, their physical characteristics, how their bodies performing if they're under certain types of stress, what levels of stress your dive buddy is under, and to be intimate in knowing how your dive buddy is performing and knowing their abilities, knowing their dive times and their certain depths. So most rescue scenarios are going to happen above water. So that would consist of LMC, which is an abbreviation of a loss of motor control as well as a blackout, which is where you are physically, you're breathing and you're alive but you are not conscious, your body is protecting itself. And we go over a lot of these protective reflexes and ways to observe them with signs and symptoms throughout your dive buddies' dive. So, most dive like i said most rescue scenarios are, statistically speaking, going to happen above water. We also deal with underwater blackouts and how to perform a rescue for an underwater blackout, on the surface blackout, or a loss of motor control. We also go over buddy separation and what to do in these multiple scenarios when you might possibly get separated from a buddy, whether it be in current and no current and whether you've lost them on the surface, how to find them, and or whether you lost them in the middle of a dive, and what you can do to be the most effective as possible with locating your missing buddy or rescuing a buddy that might be in danger. 

Meet New And Trustworth Dive Buddies

One of the coolest things and the most beneficial things that someone could take away from taking a freediving course is making new friends, networking in the freediving community, making new dive buddies. And when you go out into the water after taking a class with someone that was one of your classmates, you just have so much more confidence in that person and within yourself, and you can really focus on your relaxation, your flexibility, and your technique and releasing tension because you have your faith in your dive buddy that if something were to go wrong, that they can rescue you and just evaluate the situation properly. With that being said, I've also been instructed by world-renowned freedivers such as Martin Stepanek, I've become friends with Kurt Chambers, and I've taught with him, I've taken some of his classes. I also Jonathan Leyda, he's performed with the United States and competed with the US on the international stage. Also, probably the best spearfisherman in the world I think is Jonathan Leyda. In addition to that I've become really good friends with William Trubridge, so maybe some of you have heard about Dean's Blue Hole or the Vertical Blue, William Ttrueridge hosts that, I become good friends with him. And also just networking with other freedivers around the world. It's a beautiful sport, it's an international sport, and a lot of freedivers like spearfishing too, so it's a great way to segue what you've learned from your freediving course with your buddies and then they become maybe some of your best spearfishing partners. You can travel the world together and just hit your honey holes uh in your local areas.

Learn How To Avoid Injuries

A lot of times I see spearos that haven't necessarily taken any proper freediving courses and they might have just gotten a little snippet here and there on Instagram or Facebook or Youtube, they watch Adam Freediver or something like that or whatever, and they think they've mastered the sport of freediving and integrating that into their spearfishing. But especially someplace like here in Hawaii, where it's really difficult to shoot fish, it's not like you're in the Bahamas in 20 feet of water shooting 15-pound hogfish with a pole spear, you know a lot of the times you got to dive past 30 meters or 100 feet here just to shoot a five-pound fish. And so when you get into these deeper dives you have these this weight in the crushing depths upon you, and you could really injure yourself or even worse you could die if you don't know how to properly execute a dive when you're laying on the bottom at 30 to 40 meters potentially moving around in certain ways giving you a lung squeeze or a trachea squeeze,  not knowing how to judge your carbon dioxide levels or things like cyanosis. These are all things that you learn in a freediving course and it's just got so much value that comes along with it. And it really is just going to help you to land more fish, to have deeper dives, to learn how to dive safer, more efficient, more streamlined, and overall it's going to put more fish in the cooler at the end of day. I appreciate you tuning in, thanks for watching, I'd like to say mahalo nui loa thank you very much, and look me up if you're on Maui for a freediving course or to go spearfishing, or for any questions you can message me, you can email me, you could text message me. If you have any questions about any freediving courses anywhere in the world, I've got friends and fellow instructors internationally, and I'd be more than happy to help you out and guide you into either a level one type of course, or if you're getting more advanced, I can point you in the right direction there as well. Take care and we'll talk to you soon.

Share this on