Freediving is the purest form of diving. Here are eight tips you must remember before taking the plunge. Pic: World record holding freediver Alexey Molchanov makes his way to the surface. (Image copyright of Lia Barrett)
1 TOTAL FREEDOM: Freediving, as the name suggests is diving with almost total freedom: No heavy, expensive gear, no maximum ascent rates, closer interactions with marine life and totally new challenges.
2 DISCIPLINES: There are seven different freediving disciplines; some are about about maximising the distance swum underwater, or the depth reached; others are about extending the dive time.
3 BUDDY UP: Never dive alone! Don’t push your limits without proper education. It’s important to have a buddy on the surface that can monitor you in the water and respond if you have any problems.
4 SAFETY RULES: There are always risks involved in dropping deep into the ocean. Blackouts can occur and can be fatal. Careful preparation is important.
5 TOP SPOTS: There are some beautiful places to freedive in Asia Pacific: Richelieu Rock, Thailand; Elephant Head Rock, Similan Islands; SS Yongala Wreck, Australia; Crystal Bay, Bali.
6 REST: It’s vital to rest between dives. You need to rest for twice the duration of your last dive. Without the proper recovery time to re-oxygenate the blood and rest muscles, the risk factor for your next plunge increases significantly.
7 PLANNING: Safety first! Just like scuba, it is important to know the currents of a dive site, and scout out the good exit points.
8 HYPER- VENTILATION: This is not advised! It can lead to a blackout which is very dangerous.