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The World of Free Diving Or How You Can Experience A Different World Without Leaving Planet Earth


"The scuba diver dives to look around while the free diver dives to look inside himself" - Umberto Pelizzari - considered to be the best free diver who has ever lived.

Legal Disclaimers All contents copyright Š 2011 by Mike Semple and FreeDivingWorld. All rights reserved. No part of this document or accompanying files may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, electronic or otherwise, by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

This ebook is presented to you for informational purposes only and is not a substitution for any professional advice. The contents herein are based on the views and opinions of the author and all associated contributors.

While every effort has been made by the author and all associated contributors to present accurate and up to date information within this document, it is apparent technologies rapidly change. Therefore, the author and all associated contributors reserve the right to update the contents and information provided herein as these changes progress. The author and/or all associated contributors take no responsibility for any errors or omissions if such discrepancies exist within this document.

The author and all other contributors accept no responsibility for any consequential actions taken, whether monetary, legal, or otherwise, by any and all readers of the materials provided. It is the readers sole responsibility to seek professional advice before taking any action on their part.

Readers results will vary based on their skill level and individual perception of the contents herein, and thus no guarantees, monetarily or otherwise, can be made accurately. Therefore, no guarantees are made.

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Mike Semple

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Table of Contents Legal Disclaimers.............................................................................. 2 Introduction ....................................................................................... 4 What Exactly Is Free Diving? ............................................................ 5 Are There Different Types Of Free Diving? ....................................... 6 Spear Fishing ....................................................................................................6 Snorkelling ........................................................................................................7 Free Diving Photography...................................................................................7 The Magic of the Big Blue .................................................................................7

Why Is Free Diving So Popular? ....................................................... 8 Free Diving Risks .............................................................................. 9 Shallow Water Blackout ....................................................................................9 Burst Ear Drums................................................................................................9 Lower Heart Rate ............................................................................................10 The Physiological Effects Of Free Diving ........................................................10

Your Free-Diving Questions Answered ........................................... 11 Is Free Diving Suitable For Everyone?............................................................11 What Do You Need To Free Dive?..................................................................11 Is Free Diving A New Sport? ...........................................................................12

Free Diving Training ........................................................................ 13 Free Diving Training Courses..........................................................................15

In Closing ........................................................................................ 16

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Introduction Before we start getting into detail about the exciting sport of free diving it's important that we pause for a bit and talk about the safety side of things. Free diving is an amazing experience and an enjoyable sport, but as with any form of sport you need to be aware that there is always an element of risk involved and this is something you need to be aware of before you get started. The human body is a wonderful thing but is only capable of taking so much. If you're doing a standard dive you obviously need to check your equipment in advance. Like checking that your tanks are charged and then during the dive checking your oxygen levels and your dive time to avoid any unnecessary accidents. With free diving things are a little different because your equipment is you and maybe a weighted belt. You need to be in great physical shape to perform extreme free dives because your body is going to be operating in an environment that is both beautiful and dangerous. As babies-to-be we spend nine months breathing liquid in the womb, but once we're born we lose the ability to do that. So during a free dive you're going to be working with a single breath of air and that's it. The deeper you dive and the longer you're working with that single breath the harder your body has to work and the more toxins are building up in your bloodstream. And the most deadly of these is carbon dioxide which when built up in excess levels in the lungs will force your breathing reflex to occur and/or cause you to lose consciousness very suddenly. Proper training and thorough preparation is the key to any form of safe free diving - be it snorkelling or competitive apnea (holding your breath) diving.

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Mike Semple

FreeDivingWorld

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What Exactly Is Free Diving? Free driving is a type of sport whereby you dive without using any form of supportive breathing apparatus. Instead you rely on a single breath of air to complete your dive whether it is a deep dive or just snorkelling off a reef. This means forcing your body to do something it's not designed to - not breathe. If you look at most humans, not being able to breathe is extremely uncomfortable after about 30 seconds. When it comes to free diving you'll be holding a single breath of air for several minutes. How do people overcome the human need to breathe when they're free diving? When you ask a free diver they'll tell you that free diving is as much a mental exercise as a physical one. Your mind needs to be in tune with your body to get the most from any free dive. Free diving is usually performed in the open ocean, although dive tanks can also be used. The free diver then either uses a weighted sled and rope to descend to their maximum possible depth and then returns to the surface - this is the most common definition of free diving. There is also static apnea which involves sitting at the bottom of a pool and holding your breath for as long as possible - this is also becoming a popular competitive "free diving" sport. The current and incredible record for static apnea

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was set (and is still held) by Stephane Milsud with a time of 11 minutes and 35 seconds in 2009.

Here's a little free diving trivia for you. Yoshiro Nakamatsu (also known as Dr Nakamats) who is the inventor of the floppy disc (remember those?) came up with his idea for them when he was sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool practicing static apnea - he said it allowed him to be far more creative than he could ever be on the surface! Oh and the current free diving world record is held by Herbert Nitsch who achieved a depth of 214 metres (702) feet in 2010 - a truly stunning feat of human endurance!

Are There Different Types Of Free Diving? After reading the introductory section you might think that free driving is only for the extreme sports junkies out there, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Yes there are the extreme forms of competitive free diving such as apnea diving where you can dive as deep as 60+ metres and hold you breath for several minutes, but free diving isn't just about that. Free diving is about much more. The other types of free diving that you can experience in a variety of amazing locations all over the world are spear fishing, free dive photography and of course snorkelling. You're still sticking to the principles of free diving because you're not using any supportive breathing equipment (a snorkel is a once off breathing solution for example), but you're just not taking it to the extremes of competitive deep free divers.

Spear Fishing Here's a skill that dates back thousands of years to when our ancestors first went back into the sea to hunt. You can spear fish with an air tank but if you really want to challenge yourself why not try spear fishing as a free diver. Just you, a spear gun and the ocean‌

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Mike Semple

FreeDivingWorld

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Snorkelling Although this isn't regarded as true free diving it does follow the idea of working with a single breath of air while you're diving in shallow water. And with snorkelling you're also setting yourself free of the weights and air tanks used by normal divers and getting to experience the ocean as all other aquatic creatures do.

Free Diving Photography As the title suggests this is free diving and taking photographs while you're doing it. Why you ask? To take the very best and most illuminating photographs you need to be at one with your surroundings - to feel part of the scene. It's very hard to feel at one with the ocean when you're weighed down with air tanks, a BCD, regulator and who knows what else. Trying free dive photography just once is usually enough to change any photographer’s mind once they see the kind of shots they get in return for ditching all that gear.

The Magic of the Big Blue Can you see yourself doing a shallow-free dive onto a shipwreck during your next holiday to a tropical resort? Or how about going reef snorkelling with your partner or kids to show them an entirely different aspect of a sun holiday? Perhaps you want to go further and get involved in competitive free diving and see how far you can really push your body and your mind? Regardless of your choice, free diving has something to offer you and it's something that everyone should experience at least once in his or her lifetime.

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Mike Semple

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Why Is Free Diving So Popular?

According to historians we came from the sea millions of years ago and for some odd reason for many of us there's a compulsion or an instinctual drive to return there. We associate with the sea. We're not happy unless we're beside it. If we ever find ourselves unhappy, just being close to the ocean is enough to lift our spirits - the ocean is part of who we are and some part of our genetic memory inside of us remembers that. Regardless of the type of free diving you get involved with, the appeal remains the same - you're entering a gateway to another world. You're following the instinct inside you to return to the ocean in as natural a state as you can - not carrying weight belts, electronics and air tanks. Your body is at one with the ocean. Free diving allows you to experience the ocean on an entirely new level and one that conventional diving simply doesn't offer. The first astronauts who landed on our moon experienced similar feelings of being in an alien but ultimately familiar environment. An experience of that type can change something tangible inside you forever. Once you've had that experience you'll want to repeat it as often as you can.

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Mike Semple

FreeDivingWorld

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Free Diving Risks In the introduction at the start of this eBook we mentioned that there's obviously an element of danger associated with any sport and the same is true of free diving. It’s time we looked at the main risks associated with free diving. You need to be aware of them to be aptly protected and at the very least informed.

Shallow Water Blackout This is probably the most common accident that can happen during a free dive to a depth of 30 metres or more - far, far more than the average person would ever attempt. Basically your body runs out of oxygen (hypoxia) and the overdose of carbon dioxide in your body causes you to blackout as you're surfacing from the dive. This happens without warning as the diver is ascending and when he is just beneath the surface. It is what catches most deep divers off guard - they think they're safe. This is the reason that anyone who is about to free dive to any serious depth needs to have a support team ready to assist in case anything goes wrong.

Burst Ear Drums When you're free diving, your body is compressed by the weight of the water around it pushing inwards. This puts a lot of pressure on your internal organs and of course your ears. Unless you maintain a level of air pressure equalisation in your inner ear the external water pressure can cause your eardrums to burst, which is a very unpleasant experience. In serious cases this can prevent free diving in the future and can even cause a permanent loss of balance so it's not something you should take lightly.

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Mike Semple

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Lower Heart Rate The dive reflex in both humans and mammals means that your heart rate lowers during a free dive - sometimes to 1/4 of its normal rate. Your body goes into an almost standby mode to ensure you can survive but if you push this too far your heart can obviously stop. But just to be clear here - this is something that happens to competitive apnea free divers and not snorkelers or shallow water spear fishers. A simple rule is never, ever to attempt free diving if you have any type of ear, sinus or other infection. Your body needs to be in perfect working order to attempt deep dives. If you're diving to maybe 2 or 3 metres then obviously this isn't a concern.

The Physiological Effects Of Free Diving When your body is immersed in water it puts pressure on you. The deeper you dive the more this pressure increases. Diving to about 30 metres means your lungs can be compressed to about 1/4 of their normal size - all of the air spaces in your body are compressed during a deep dive. If you dive to 60 metres this compression can reduce your lungs to 1/7 of their normal size. This means that your body is put under enormous pressure, both physiologically and physically. It is imperative you are fit and healthy before you attempt to free dive to extreme depths as is done with the extreme versions of the sport (see next chapter). Be aware that free diving can and does put extra stresses on your body so listen to it when you’re free diving.

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Mike Semple

FreeDivingWorld

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Your Free-Diving Questions Answered This chapter covers some of the popular questions people have in relations to the sport of free diving. You find answers to whether the sport is suited to you and what you need to get started. The biggest fear newcomers to the sport have is not knowing if it’s safe to free dive for them, where to do it and how.

Is Free Diving Suitable For Everyone? The answer is yes and no – depending on your health. Any person who can swim can participate in free diving from snorkelling right up to apnea dives. Having a good level of personal fitness and being a strong swimmer who's comfortable with the idea of diving is also a necessity. Even though free diving seems to be just something for the extreme sports crowd there's no reason why you can't get involved with free dives on coral reefs or to shipwrecks that are only in a few metres of water. Don't discount yourself from being involved just because you don't want to dive to 214 metres like Herbert Nitsch - remember free diving is about freedom from constraints, freedom from breathing equipment and achieving a sense of peace in the oceans that only an experience like free diving can give you. All free divers will tell you about the sense of absolute peace and calm they feel when they're diving - most of them can't even put it into words. It just "is".

What Do You Need To Free Dive? This all depends on the type of free diving you want to get involved in. If it's snorkelling or free dive photography then the requirements are pretty selfexplanatory. You need to look for: •

A good mask and snorkel – the longer your snorkel is, the easier for most people to do it comfortably (without swallowing water every time they stick their head under the water)

A decent set of fins

Underwater camera

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If you're going to be involved in more competitive or extreme free diving you might requires diving weights, a diving sled or special diving fins. For the most basic of free dives however all you need is you and the ocean that's the beauty of free diving. It's all about man/woman versus the seas and this is what attracts so many people to the sport.

Is Free Diving A New Sport? The vast majority of people believe so, but there's evidence that military-free divers existed hundreds and even thousands of years ago. They had no option but to free dive to sabotage enemy ships because scuba diving equipment won't be invented for another several hundred years. These brave souls would swim to enemy vessels and take turns in drilling holes in the hulls to sink them or just cutting the mooring lines to set a fleet adrift. In one example ancient free divers attached ropes to enemy vessels, which were then used to draw them to shore within range of the defenders weapons. Free diving has also been used in many cultures for thousands of years to harvest the bounty of the sea and even the sea floor. Some examples of this are native spear fishermen, sponge divers and of course divers who harvested pearls, coral and rare seashells for profit. So although competitive free diving is a new sport the actual art of free diving itself dates back several thousand years.

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Mike Semple

FreeDivingWorld

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Free Diving Training Regardless of the type of free diving you want to participate in you should take your training seriously. Remember you're diving on a single breath of air and your body is going to be working anaerobically (without oxygen) which is something your body doesn't want to do naturally. A simple test for how ready you are to free dive is to simply sit in a relaxed position and hold your breath and time it. Some people will have a lung capacity that is naturally higher than others though so bear that in mind when you’re starting out. The good news is that you can increase your lung capacity and your tolerance for anaerobic exertion through a program of consistent exercise. Always remember that you'll only get out of free diving what you put into it and this is doubly true of the amount of training you do. So what exactly should you include in your free diving training? Cardio, cardio, cardio and when you're done then maybe some more cardio. If you look at world-class free divers they're lean and toned - having excessive muscle mass isn't going to help with a free dive although having a solid core is obviously important. Having excellent cardiovascular fitness also means you have a lower resting pulse that is a huge benefit in this extreme sport and of course you're increasing your lung capacity in the process, which is what it's all about.

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A good cardio program for free dive training should include: •

Intensive cardio sessions comprised of both sprint work and long distance runs.

•

Interval or Tabata cardio work. Normal interval training is good but Tabata training is more effective for less time input - a 4-minute Tabata training session can produce the same results as a normal 45-minute cardio session.

Tabata basically means you sprint or do a cardio exercise at full intensity for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Do 8 reps to start and build it up from there. You're going to be amazed at the results that Tabata training can produce for you. As we said earlier, free diving is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one so gaining control of your mental state and regulating your breathing (or lack of it) at the same time is essential. Yoga and meditation are excellent ways of not only understanding how your breathing affects both your mental and physical state but also allows you greater control of how your body breathes. Also bear in mind that a practiced Yogi can voluntarily lower their heart rate by simply focusing on it - willing it to happen. Swimming of course should be an integral part of your training program - it's ideal for overall fitness right across the board. Create a training plan or have one created for you but only do this with somebody who has experience in training free divers and understands exactly what you're trying to achieve.

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Mike Semple

FreeDivingWorld

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Free Diving Training Courses If you want to add more structure and safety to your free diving efforts then you can participate in free diving courses in any country that has access to the sea. You can teach yourself free diving of course if you want, but having a professional free diving instructor show you the ropes (literally) might make a lot more sense. Before you take any free diving course do your research in advance and make sure you're dealing with a free diving school or institution you can trust. And of course you need to be comfortable in the water and possess the ability to swim in the open seas.

Most free diving courses are broken down into 3 levels starting at Level 1 as a beginner and working your way up to Level 3 as a more advanced free diver. Most free diving schools will limit your dive depth to no more than 60 metres even as an experienced free diver - the risk of disorientation at that depth is too high for somebody who hasn't been free diving regularly for at least a few years.

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Mike Semple

FreeDivingWorld

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In Closing

As you can see, free diving is something humankind has been doing for a long, long time for a variety of reasons. Originally we did it to feed ourselves and to benefit from the natural riches that occur in nature (pearls for example), and then it found use amongst ancient frogmen. Now finally it's become an accepted and recognised sport where the best, the most mentally prepared and the most fearless test themselves in a way that only diving can. That's why free diving is here to stay. Unless you experience the wonders and awe of the Big Blue first hand and learn how free diving can transport you into a fantasy world of stillness, amazing colours, and fish you will always wonder‌ I urge you to free dive at the next available opportunity. Chances are you become addicted to the sport. You can keep up to date with a continuous flow of information, articles and videos on a wide range of deep blue activities at http://www.freedivingworld.wordpress.com.

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Mike Semple

FreeDivingWorld

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Coming very soon a range of digital books on every aspect of Free Diving and so much more. Watch out for http://www.freedivingguide.com to be launch in September 2011. This will be followed by your own Free Diving membership site. All the above is being developed on my behalf by http://www.yourbusinesssuccessclub.com the ideal place to turn your Hobby, Interest or Skill into a steady growing income stream. Thank you for taking the time to read this report and I hope you enjoyed the content. Enjoy the deep blue. Mike Semple

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World of Free Diving