I grew up near the ocean so no question why I’m in love with it and always wanting to be in the water. There’s just a calmness and serenity that brings about diving in the deep sea. Some of you may already know this, freediving comes with a diverse number of perks. But for those of you who are still new to the sport, it is normal to ask questions and feel hesitant and scared. That’s always the case whenever you start something new and different, so you don’t need to worry because you’re not alone in your thoughts and musings.
Here I’ve made a list of some of the reasons why you should give up the bulk of scuba diving and try free diving:
Free from constraints and hassle of extra equipment with little prep time.
In scuba diving, you use a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) which means you carry an air supply which is contained in a tank. That can be heavy and cumbersome for some especially with the tubes and rebreathers. Also, before you can start your descent into the deep, you have to perform equipment checks and do standard procedures to ensure safety and that everything is up and running, and accounted for.
In free diving, basic equipment is typically carried out. All you need really is a snorkel mask, swimming fins, and a wetsuit, and if you want you can opt to wear a regular swimwear or sport some boots. No air supply tank needed since you rely on your own body source for air. Free from hassle! Time spent on the surface is essentially spent preparing to swim underwater.
Not too pricey.
You need to be willing to spend and empty your pockets to scuba dive since you have to pay for the gears such as the dive suit, tanks which may need refilling, and buoyancy control devices. For sure it can be quite expensive especially when you’re just starting. Not to mention finding the right school to teach you if you are aiming for that professional license. There are also times when swim-out is not possible and you need to make arrangements and payments just to get you to the dive spot.
Unless you want to spend on the pricier gears, freediving is a cheaper sport than scuba diving. As mentioned above, all you have to bring with you are simple diving equipment. Just pay cash for snorkeling fee, which is cheaper, and you’re good to go.
Lesser bubbles, friendlier animals.
In freediving, you will usually get much more out of your dive than if you did it on scuba. Aquatic animals are not so skittish or anxious when you are free diving since there is nothing in the water that creates the crackling and bubbling noise like a diver on scuba. Blowing bubbles can be a sign of a hostile behavior or aggression so that a stream of bubbles produced by the scuba apparatus does not do much but send distress to the marine animals. Free diving is quiet so you can fully experience the surrounding nature in the deep. You will get to interact and be close to sea life since they feel less threatened to get close to you. There is freedom and communion with nature as you become one with them.
Though there’s limited underwater time, it offers mobility and agility.
Sure enough, scuba diving is a pleasant experience, one for the bucket list. Being able to escape the land and dive in the sea feel simply glorious. There are a bunch of good spots around the world where it is just better to do scuba diving. Merely because it grants you much more time to stay underwater. Depending on your air supply and physical activity, you can stay several minutes to an hour or more. So at the bottom you can take your time, observe and experience much more. The downside though is the bulk of all that gear as well as the feeling of heaviness from carrying the tank. In scuba you are slow in the water since, aside from the weight of your gear, you can’t descend rapidly because of possible complications to your body. So you won’t be able to keep up with animals swimming around you.
In free diving, there is no tank, buoyancy control device, nor a weight gear to carry so you don’t have any extra load weighing you down. Free divers wear less, usually with long fins to help them propel into the water giving them much more power, speed and agility to dive as deep as they can. This allows freedom to ascend and descend swiftly in the water. However, the duration divers can stay underwater is limited since free diving relies on the body’s air consumption and breath-holding abilities. Most can stay for 1-3 minutes while free diving masters can last up to 3-6 minutes.
Free from limitations in ascent and descent.
There’s a reason why in scuba diving you can’t move up and down rapidly. Pressure changes can produce injuries when your body is not able to withstand the growing and dropping water pressure as you respire compressed air. These injuries can be mild but in rare cases, they can be life-threatening that require immediate treatment. Some of these injuries include barotrauma, decompression sickness, and nitrogen narcosis. Symptoms include dizziness, numbness and tingling sensation of the limbs, confusion, and loss of consciousness. To prevent these complications, be sure to have proper training before you scuba dive.
Free divers have no limit on how fast or slow they can ascend or descend. Typically, there is no safety stop so they are free from the injuries brought about by scuba diving. It all depends on the diver’s ability to conserve air at the bottom. Some may fail to realize their already low air reserve so that on ascent this will cause them to have a blackout and lose consciousness. So one should learn how to be aware of the body’s needs and careful not to starve yourself of oxygen the longer you stay beneath the surface.