With freediving gaining popularity recently there is also a dangerous trend that must not be ignored.
Thera are much more freediving instructors available nowadays and more people are jumping on a “Look, I am a freediver now” bandwagon. Who would resist looking cool posing amongst corals and big marine mammals on Instagram or FB with no scuba tanks?
Resorts and diving centres offer freediving courses all over Caribbean and Tropics all over the World. Dive centres accept certified freedivers for dive trips alongside scuba folks if you flash your freediving C-card. All seems to be going in the right direction. But…
Same certified freedivers come back home to Canada and now venture in very-very different environment.
Fresh water, cold water, less visibility to name a few.
All of a sudden 7 mm wetsuit is needed (and not always freediving suit, but clumsy rental scuba wetsuit).
Fins that were flexible and easy to swim in +30 degree water become stiff like a plywood.
Excessive extra weights are often put without checking safe buoyance and nylon weight belts are used instead of rubber.
Cold water troughs off equalization, cold contractions increase risk of lung squeeze, bulky suit and rigid fins increase workload dramatically and all of a sudden certified freediver can not “duck dive” any more, can not descent below 10-15 feet or does it with tremendous effort, stressing out and risking blackout.
Adding to the problem is often less than adequate educational process. It is not uncommon to hear that freediving certification was done on a weekend, sometimes with just one day in open water (warm tropical water that was!) “Freedivers” lack basic skills like “duck dive”, line orientation, buddy communication, properly weighing themselves, safety technique etc.
If you got certified “down South”, please spend another day (at least) with Freediving Instructor in Canadian open waters