7 Ways to Learn How to Freedive with Confidence

Freediving is more than a sport! It is a way to explore the underwater world without too much dive equipment, it is a form of meditation, and a way to discover what you are truly capable of. Many people learn a lot about themselves when they learn how to freedive; how they handle situations that initially make them uncomfortable for example.

If you are interested in taking up freediving but you are unsure where to begin, we have put together a guide about how to start, and what to do once you become certified.

Steps to Take to Learn How to Freedive

1. Get comfortable swimming and floating

Before you start on your freediving journey, it is helpful to become comfortable in the water. Now, you do not have to be an Olympic-level swimmer, but you should be at a point where you can swim with ease and tread water in a depth that you cannot stand up in.

As long as you can do that without panicking, you will have enough confidence in the water to learn how to freedive. There are no prerequisites to sign up for a Try Freediving program (see below) when it comes to swimming or treading water, but being fairly confident in deep water will give you a head start.

2. Sign up for the Snorkel Diver program

If you are not yet sure if freediving is for you, you might wish to start with the Snorkel Diver program. This program teaches you how to become comfortable swimming on the surface wearing a snorkel and mask.

This can feel a little strange to beginners, but you will soon gain confidence in this foreign equipment and enjoy the beautiful view below you. You will learn how to put the mask on and how to clear your snorkel should water get inside it. You will also learn how to move efficiently along the water’s surface.

There is no freediving or breath-holding involved in this course. If you are already a confident snorkeler, you can skip this program and go straight for a freediving program.

If you are thinking of buying your own mask to feel as comfortable as possible when you learn how to freedive, check this out: How to Prepare a New Mask, and Prevent Fog.

3. Sign up for a Try Freediving program

The Try Freediving program allows you to have a taste of what freediving is all about, without committing to a full certification. The program is carried out in confined water under the careful supervision of a qualified instructor.

This program is a stress-free way to learn how to freedive, with no minimum depth requirement to reach to "pass".

You will learn basic freediving theory including how to hold your breath longer, how to relax better, and some important safety information. You will be introduced to the equipment needed for freediving and try out some freediving in the water.

4. Sign up for the Basic Freediver course

The Basic Freediver course is an optional entry-level course for those wanting to learn how to freedive. The course covers basic freediving theory and introduces you to freediving equipment.

Most importantly, this freediving course teaches you how to dive safely with a buddy in confined water up to a maximum depth of five meters. At the end of the course, you can achieve your SSI Basic Freediver certification.

Many water sports involve skills that can crossover. Here is How Learning to Freedive Can Help Surfers.

5. Get certified as a Freediver or Pool Freediver

If you are confident that freediving will be the activity for you, you can skip all the previous steps and go straight for the Freediver certification. This program includes online training which will teach you in-depth theory about how to freedive safely and efficiently.

You will also learn how to freedive by taking part in a mix of confined and open water sessions in which you will practice:

  • Static breath holds
  • Dynamic freediving (freediving in shallow water and swimming horizontally, usually in a pool)
  • Depth freediving on a buoy and rope

You will be taught by a qualified SSI freediving instructor who can give you help and advice along the way and ensure that you stay safe in the water. Upon completion of the course, you will be certified to dive up to 20 meters (65 feet) with a buddy.

If along the way you discover that depth diving is not for you, you can get certified as an SSI Pool Freediver instead.

6. Practice!

Congratulations! You are now a certified freediver… so what is next? We recommend practicing your freediving skills before continuing on to further education. Take some time to train with dive buddies and work on your freediving techniques.

The more time you spend in the water, the more relaxed you will become and the deeper you will be able to go.

You can use this time to decide what you want from freediving. Some people like to freedive simply to observe the reef better, others want to test their limits and add more depth. Some people even aim to compete in freediving competitions or become freediving instructors. If the latter sounds like you, you might decide to continue with further freediving education.

Once you are certified, you will probably want to think about getting your own equipment to save you money on rentals.

Here is Freediving Gear: 5 Must-Have Items for Every Freediver.

7. Sign up for further education

The next step is to sign up for the Advanced Freediver program, during which you will learn even more theory and techniques for freediving. This includes starting to freefall through the water as you get deeper and learning more advanced equalization techniques.

If you want to learn even more, you might decide to sign up for options such as a Monofin Freediving course, in which you will learn how to swim efficiently using a monofin (dolphin-like tail that goes over both your feet). Or perhaps you will take a Variable Weight course to try deep freediving using specialized equipment.

The Performance Freediver certification program is the final level of freediving education before becoming a professional. In this program, you will learn expert freediving techniques to realize your true freediving potential! This program is perfect for those looking to compete or to become a professional freediver.

You can also become a Freediving Assistant Instructor, a Basic Freediving Instructor, then an Advanced Freediving Instructor and pass on your knowledge and experience to brand new freedivers.

Freediving is very safe when done in the right way. This includes taking courses and programs to learn important safety skills, and always diving within your scope of ability and experience. Never attempt to dive to extreme depths in which you have no experience, always add depth gradually, and most importantly, never dive alone.

Once you have decided which course you would like to do, the next step is finding a training center near you. The easiest way is to use the SSI Dive Center tool. Check it out!