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Freediving Intermediate Course

BY: Valentina / 0 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Baja, Course, Freediving, Freefall

AIDA 3 Star Course – Freediving Intermediate Course

In this post you will find all the information you need about the Freediving Intermediate Course; the purpose, prerequisites, itinerary, costs, knowledge development and certification requirements.

The AIDA3 Course builds on the skills learnt in the AIDA2 Freediver Course. It is designed to cover the necessary skills and knowledge for a recreational freediver to be able to safely freedive with or without a guideline. The aim of the course is to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to independently plan and participate in freediving activities with similarly experienced freedive buddies. The course is designed to further develop skills from previous levels, develop new skills and a higher knowledge of safety procedures and techniques for freediving such as Free Falling, Frenzel Equalizing, Training Tables, the risks of increasing and decreasing pressure and how to minimize these risks. Students will train these skills in the most common disciplines of freediving; Static Apnea, Dynamic Apnea, Free Immersion and Constant Weight.

Prerequisites

To enroll in the AIDA3 Freediving Intermediate Course, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older (16 or 17 years with parent or guardian consent)
  • Have completed the AIDA Medical Form (provided at course start)
  • Have completed the Liability Release (provided at course start)
  • Have completed the AIDA2 Freediver course
    • Or have completed the AIDA2 Crossover Evaluation if crossing over from another freedive agency or having other adequate freediving experience.

Knowledge Development

During the course we will go through theory taught by your instructor in a classroom. You will be given the AIDA3 online manual. We will go through these topics:

  • Physiology
  • Equalization
  • Barotrauma
  • Lungs at Depth
  • Buoyancy
  • Shallow Water Blackout
  • Training Concepts
  • The Mammalian Dive Response (MDR)
  • DCS and Surface Intervals
  • Freediver Code of Conduct

Certification Requirements

  • Pass the theory exam with a score of at least 75%
  • Perform a static breath hold of at least 2 minutes and 45 seconds.
  • Perform a 55m dynamic apnea with bifins (horizontal distance swimming underwater in confined water).
  • Perform a 24m Constant Weight dive (vertical distance in depth in open water).
  • Demonstrate appropriate rescue techniques and safety in dynamic, static and constant weight.
  • Demonstrate a proper technique of the breathing cycle and finning, body position, duckdive, freefall, etc.
  • Design and perform a STA and DYN Training Table.

If you don’t meet the depth requirements you can get certified as AIDA3 Pool Freediver. If you don’t meet any pool and/or depth requirements you can’t get certified at the moment, we would suggest training sessions.

Itinerary and price

Day 1

9am-noon – We’ll meet at the classroom, fill out paperwork and start the theory lesson.

Noon-1:30pm – Lunch break

1:30-6pm – We will meet at the pool to practice static apnea (holding your breath without moving) and dynamic apnea (horizontal distance covered underwater holding your breath). When we finish with the confined water activities we will finish with one more hour of theory.

Day 2

8am-3/4pm –  We will pick you up at the meeting point in La Paz and go on a 45 minute drive through beautiful Baja scenery. When we get to the beach we will do body stretching to relax our muscles and start the freediving-relaxing mode. Once everything is on the boat a local panguero (captain) will take us to the best spot in the area with the best conditions (from 25-45 minute boat ride, depending on the weather). During this boat ride we may see dolphins, pelagic fish and even whales if you’re lucky! When we get to protected spot we will set the buoy, gear up and start with the open water skills. During this time our panguero will always have the boat nearby with water and snacks.  We usually take a 20-30 minute break halfway through the session to relax and talk a little more easily about how the day is going.  Around 1pm we will take the boat back to shore and be in La Paz around 3 pm.

Day 3

8am-8pm – The same as day 2. After the 30 min break at the middle of the session we give you an option of keep practicing on the line or going to a nearby reef to do fun dives (if weather allows it).

When we go back to La Paz we will take a break so you can eat and relax.  At 6pm, we meet at a coffee shop to do the theory exam and revise it.

Price: $450usd per person

Includes: theory manuals, pool fees, AIDA certification, 2 boat fees, transportation.

*The location of the depth sessions may change according to the weather and the amount of people taking the course.

We hope to see you underwater! If you have any doubts please contact us at info@freefallacademy.net and we will be happy to assist you.

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Freefall in Freediving

BY: Valentina / 0 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: CNF, Freediving, Freefall

What is freefall in freediving?

The practice of freefall in freediving occurs when a free diver reaches a point of negative buoyancy and stops finning or swimming downward, allowing the force of gravity alone to draw the diver deeper.  

Why do we freefall?

Freefall in Freediving (CNF) - William Trubridge
CNF World Record holder William Trubridge showing us how its done! Freefalling with no fins.

As a free diver descends in water, the volume of air inside of their body (therefore the volume of the body itself) becomes smaller or more compressed thereby changing the buoyancy of their body.  This is explained by Boyle’s Law and Archimedes’ principle respectively.

Every free diver possesses a different degree of buoyancy which is variable to their freediving gear (i.e. wetsuit, weight belt, fins, mask, etc.).  A safe freediving practice is to have a positive buoyancy of at least 10 meters because most of the blackouts happen between 10m and the surface.  This way, if a blackout does occur, the diver will float to the surface, making a rescue more achievable.  We will discuss more safety protocols in a different blog post.  

The freefall is a technique used by almost every professional free diver.  This is because, during the freefall the diver is not required to use physical exertion to gain distance in depth.  This allows the diver to conserve oxygen and energy while decreasing the rate of carbon dioxide production.  The freefall can be likened to a depth static, where the individual can focus her or his consciousness on relaxation and equalization.   

Freefall Technique

Freefall in Freediving with bi-fins
Freefall in freediving with bi-fins (fins are parallel to the line and knees are slightly bent).

That being said, there is a proper technique to the freefall.  When mastered freefall can lead a free diver into a dream-like or zen-like state.  In general, the ideal body position will be as hydrodynamic as possible.  Specifically, the head should be in a neutral position to aide in equalization, neither looking down or up the line. The torso parallel to the line. The arms and hands should be streamlined along the side or front of the body.  Without fins the legs should be straight with pointed feet, or slightly bent legs with relaxed feet.  With fins, the legs should be slightly bent from the hips or knees so that the blade(s) of the fin(s) run parallel with the line (like in the picture).

A good technique will yield a freefall rate of approximately one meter per second (1m/s).

Personal Preference

While in freefall the free diver has the option to close their eyes, this furthers the relaxation and therefore oxygen conservation.  The current CWT (Constant Weight) world record holder Alexey Molchanov while in freefall has said he only opens his eyes slightly every few seconds.   He does this to make sure he has good positioning along the line.  Other divers, such as Alenka Artnik, the CWT Roatan 2017 AIDA World Champion freefalls with her eyes closed the entire time and feels the line with her hand.  There are many slight variations that are a personal preference for each individual free diver.  

In conclusion, the freefall is a very useful and peaceful practice to improve relaxed gains in depth while freediving.  It is personally our favorite part of freediving, hence the name ‘Freefall Academy’. We hope you have learned something from this post.  Please share an experience or thought with us below in the comment section.  Or better yet, come freefall with us in one of our courses here in La Paz. Safe freefalls. 

Check out this amazing video of Guillaume Néry freefalling at Deans Blue Hole in Bahamas!

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