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Freediving and Breath-Hold Training

Why is freediving the fastest growing water sport ever?

By Guest Blogger Oliver Christen

The Fastest Growing Sport

Well, type in “Trubridge Arch” or “Trubridge 101” on YouTube and find some of the greatest demonstrations of human potential ever captured on video: This athlete goes to a depth of 101m without even using fins, or the same way he dives through the famous Arch in Dahab, almost 60m down, then 30m across, before paddling the long way back to the surface – just to celebrate this out-of-this-world performance with a big smile. Impressive, right?


Well, even more impressive I find the fact that this is something we all can do! We can all surprise ourselves with what we are actually capable off while holding our breath in water. Little known is the fact that the human body is actually built to dive on breath-hold! Remember, we all spent already nine months submerged in water. Going back to this state has a very much soothing effect both on our mind and our body. Not to breathe for a while is a privilege, and by repetition, this “while” just gets longer and longer.

The job of a freedive instructor like I am is to help people to re-discover this aquatic part of our nature. Diving peacefully down to a reef, on one breath, dwell there for a while and enjoy a few moments of being part of the stunning underwater nature – that’s what freediving is all about. It can be learned by everybody, as it is not depending on physical performance in the first place, but much rather on letting go and allow our bodies to do the miracle for us. Holding our breath in water is like a meditation with direct feedback – as long as we allow the mind to be quiet, not-breathing it is pure bliss. But as soon as we try to regain control over things that shouldn’t be controlled, start to worry about things that we don’t need to worry about, the mind goes wild, the meditation ends and we surface to breathe.

In our busy times, more and more people welcome a break from the hustle and bustle of land-bound life. So they give freediving a go. And many stick with it. I think that is the real reason why freediving is growing so quickly. It’s a need of our time. If you want to give it a go, please be in touch with us. We host freedive courses all around Bali/Indonesia. For beginners it takes only one day for a first go, and three days for a full course that makes you a safe freediver and a reliable buddy.


Apart from the curious peace-seekers, there is another large group of first-timers: Surfers! Most professional surfers train their breath-hold capability in one way or the other. But surprising to us freedivers, only few of these pro-surfers use a systematic approach to train that vital part of modern surfing. This is where freediving comes into the game: Freediving has a history of 20+ years of developing training and education systems, and this knowledge is keenly welcomed in the surfing community. AIDA, the worldwide agency for freediving is now in its 22nd year and during this time, a heap of knowledge how to train for a better breath-hold has been piled up. The best part of it all: The basics can be learned in a one-day workshop! But, dear surfers don’t get over-exited yet! Such a workshop doesn’t do anything for you but teaching you how-to-train. And as in all training, only those who set their own road map, walk it and stick to the plan will see results. But the results show rather quickly: Within only a few weeks you can transform the “urge to breath” from your worst enemy into your best friend. In other words, there is no magic breathing-technique, no Houdini-trick to escape that double hold-down. There’s just you and your willingness to go the extra mile. But hey, that’s exactly what flat-spells of days without waves are there for: Make the best out of it and train!

Background Information:

Freedive Flow, established in 2011 in Bali/Indonesia runs freedive courses from beginner to pro level and regularly hosts workshops for surfers at Bali’s world famous surf spots.

Oli Christen, AIDA Freedive Instructor and founder of Freedive Flow, Sanur
[email protected]