First of all just to give a little background about my “freediving” prior to taking the course, I would have called myself a pretty serious spear-fishermen for the last 3-5 years diving fairly comfortably at depths ranging from 10-65feet. I had reached depths just over 80 feet on my own and by no means had any sort of comfortable hunting time there and had a personal best static breath hold of just over 3 minutes. I had a little knowledge given to me by friends who had taken freediving courses from various agencies including Immersion and got tidbits here and there, but now having actually taken a course i’m definitely here to say I was still diving unsafe. (ie grossly overwieghted, improper buddy system, unable to properly handle any type of blackout scenario, and countless brushes with what I know now as the events leading up to shallow water blackout) After sitting in on Ted’s safety seminar at the Blue Wild Expo (If nothing else I urge any freediver to attend any seminar on freedive safety put on by Immersion it may help save your life!) I decided no ifs ans or buts I needed to learn to dive safer and take a course. I had money set aside and planned it for the summer as soon as my semester of school was over. No lies if I could do it all over again knowing what I know now I would take a course as soon as freediving became a little more than just for fun. Long story short I am probably one of the most fortunate people in the freediving community and won the course a week later in drawing from the expo and signed up for the soonest possible class offered by Immersion in the summer!
Ted’s course was extremely thorough explaining and detailing every question I ever had about freediving and shallow water blackout. The four day course was jam packed full clip every day we met and tailor fit for students to get the most out of classroom, pool, and ocean diving all without wasting a moment which was extremely important to me. At the end of the first day we were in the pool doing statics and were only allowed to go to four minutes, after this session I thought there was little chance I could go much further at all. The next day to my surprise I maxed out at 4:50 seconds using techniques taught by Ted, and the best of the class was 5:30 with everyone else smashing their PB’s. After learning and refining techniques in the pool our class was brought to the ocean on Immersions private boat Sink Faze where PB’s continued to be smashed and all four students in the class making it to 100ft! Also by the courses end each and every one of us were trained to the T in handling any possible shallow water blackout scenario that could be found while freediving which is a very comforting feeling knowing that I can handle such a situation now with ease.
I have wandered around the freedive spear-fishing community for some time now and heard many stories of how classes greatly improved all levels of different individuals’ freediving capabilities but was still very impressed at how much I took away from the course and how much I didn’t know. I learned much more efficient and effective techniques to improve not only my freediving but spear-fishing capabilities. My first chance to go diving after the course I noticed a vast improvement in my bottom time right off the bat on my first few dives which are normally shorter for me in the grand scheme of the diving day. I can only imagine how much better it will get practicing the techniques that I learned in the course. I would definitely encourage any spear-fishermen to take a course with Immersion as Ted has his own way of relating the techniques and principles directly to our great sport. I guess only time will tell how persistent I will be at honing my skills learned in the class from here on out but at least I feel confident now that I will be able to do so safely and like Ted says “he who lives the longest catches the most fish.”
Justin Baker June 2013 Intermediate Freediver Course