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Freediving Beginner Course

BY: Valentina / 4 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Baja, Course, Freediving

AIDA 2 Star Course – Freediving Beginner Course

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

The AIDA2 Course is the foundation course of AIDA, covering the necessary skills and knowledge for a non-competitive recreational freediver to safely freedive. It is a beginner course designed for students who are already confident in the water. The purpose of the course is to familiarize yourself with the skills, knowledge, safety procedures and enjoyment of freediving. You will be introduced to the basic disciplines of freediving: Static Apnea, Dynamic Apnea, Free Immersion and Constant Weight freediving.

The static and dynamic sessions in confined water are used to teach relaxation, breathing, finning, body positioning and safety techniques.  In the open water sessions you will use the skills learned in the pool / confined water sessions and combine those with the basic skills of open water freediving such as; Equalizing, Duck Diving, Vertical Swimming, Body Positioning, Turns and Use of Buoyancy.

Prerequisites

To enroll in the AIDA2 Freediving Beginner Course, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older (16 or 17 years with parent or guardian consent)
  • Be able to swim at least 100m non-stop
  • Have completed the AIDA Medical Form (provided at course start)
  • Have completed the Liability Release (provided at course start)

Knowledge Development

During the course we will go through theory taught by your instructor in a classroom. You will be given the AIDA2 online manual. We will go through these topics:

  • Introduction to Freediving
  • Freediving Breathing Cycle
  • Basic Physiology of Freediving
  • Equalisation
  • Freedive Technique
  • Safety in Freediving
  • Equipment in Freediving
  • Freediving Disciplines

Certification Requirements

  • Pass the theory exam with a score of at least 75%
  • Perform a static breath hold of at least 2 minutes.
  • Perform a 40m dynamic apnea with bifins (horizontal distance swimming underwater in confined water).
  • Perform a 12m 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, etc.

If you don’t meet the depth requirements you can get certified as AIDA2 Pool Freediver. If you don’t meet any pool and/or depth requirements you can get certified as AIDA1. But don’t worry, you’re here to learn. As any other sport, practice makes perfect, so here we will teach you all you need to practice freediving safely and with good technique. After the course you can keep training to go deeper ūüėČ

Itinerary and price

We teach this course in 3 to 4 days. The content of the course is exactly the same. However, I find that 4 days is more relaxed, but we understand that some people can’t take too many days off, so we got you covered!

Day 1

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

Noon-1:30pm – Lunch break

1:30-5/6pm РWe will meet at the pool or local beach (depending on the weather) 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 go back to shore and go through the last part of the theory under a palapa for another 30 minutes.

*If we do the 4 day course, then during the first day we’ll meet at 9 am and have the theory lesson for about 2h30 min. Then we’ll go to the pool or calm shallow sea and do the static session and finish around 3pm. The second day we’ll meet at 9am, have the rest of the theory for about 2 hours, then go to the pool and do the dynamic apnea session until about 3pm.

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 a 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 about how the day is going.¬† Around 1pm we will take the boat back to shore and be in La Paz around 3pm.

*If you take the 4 course day, this will be your Day 3.

Day 3*

8am-7pm – The schedule is the same as day 2, except towards the end of the diving session you can choose to keep practicing your skills and go deeper, or go to a reef and do fun dives (if weather permits 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.

*If you take the 4 course day, this will be your Day 4.

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

Price:

$400usd per person.

Includes: theory manuals, pool fees, AIDA certification, boat fees, transportation from La Paz.

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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Freediving Discovery Course

BY: Valentina / 0 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Course, Freediving, Sea Lions, Snorkeling

AIDA 1 Star Course – Introduction to Freediving

In this post you will find all the information you need about the Freediving Discovery Course. Everything from the purpose of the course, prerequisites, itinerary, costs, knowledge development and certification requirements.

This course is designed to be an introduction to freediving for complete beginners. It aims to help the students to develop basic skills, knowledge and safety procedures necessary to enjoy freediving safely within the limits of their experience. This course is divided into theory and practice. Theory is conducted in a classroom (or online) and the practical part in a swimming pool and/or in the sea.

Prerequisites

To enroll in the AIDA1 Introduction to freediving course, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older (16 or 17 years with parent or guardian consent)
  • Be able to swim at least 100m non-stop
  • Have completed the AIDA Medical Form (handed at course start)
  • Have completed the Liability Release (handed at course start)

Knowledge Development

During the course we will go through theory taught by your instructor in a classroom. You will be handed the AIDA1 online manual. We will go through these topics:

  • Introduction to AIDA1
  • Freedive Breathing Cycle
  • Equalization
  • Basics of Safety in Freediving
  • Freediving Disciplines
  • Freedive Equipment
  • Freediver Code of Conduct

Certification Requirements

None. Just enjoy, have fun and be safe ūüôā

Itinerary and price

This course can be made in 1 or in 2 days:

  • Option 1 (1 day course)

9am – The course starts. We meet at the classroom location and go through theory until 11:30-12.

12-2pm – Lunch break

2pm-6pm – We meet at the pool (or local calm beach, depending on the weather) where we will do static apnea (holding your breath without moving) and dynamic apnea (horizontal distance covered underwater holding your breath). We will also do rescue techniques.

Price: $150usd per person

Includes: theory manuals, pool fees, certification, snacks, beverages and basic equipment rental (mask, fins, weight belts, weights and snorkel). Wetsuit and other equipment can be rented separately if needed.

  • Option 2 (2 day course)

Day 1: same itinerary as Option one above.

Day 2:

8am-3pm – We meet at certain location in La Paz and drive to La Ventana for 45 minutes. Here we will take a beautiful boat drive where we can see dolphins, turtles and other sea creatures until we get to the perfect location to practice depth. The line and buoy will be set at no more than 10m (33ft) deep. We will teach you the equalization and body technique needed to be able to dive safely and practice rescue procedures. We will be practicing the skills for about 2 hours. At the end we will go to a beautiful reef where we can have free time to freedive fun dives. Depending on the time of year, we can potentially dive with sea lions, turtles, lots of fishes and even giant manta ray! We’ll be back at La Paz around 2-3pm.

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

Price:

$265 per person.

Includes: theory manuals, pool fees, certification, boat fees and basic equipment rental (mask, fins, weight belts, weights and snorkel). Wetsuit and other equipment can be rented separately if needed.

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‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄėFreefall Academy‚Äô. 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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