My Freediving (Underwater photography) Journey

Updated: Aug 12

Before I begin I would like to point out that I am by no means a pro free diver and that I still have a long way to go to reach my goals. I hope that by sharing my free diving (Underwater photography) journey I can give you a little perspective into the different ways to learn freediving or that anyone can learn to dive.

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GROWING UP

As a kid my family spent a lot of time in the Hawaiian islands. Both of my parents were strong swimmers and taught me and my siblings how to snorkel at a really young age. My dad would always dive down to go look for animals hiding under the coral heads and wanting to copy him I asked him to teach me. Essentially my dad was the first person to really introduce me to free diving without him even knowing. He was the one that taught me how to equalize and ultimately how to dive.

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I grew up in Florida where teaching your kid to swim was a necessity due to the amount of lakes, pools, beaches that you would be exposed to as a kid. I was lucky that my family put me in competitive swimming at a really young age. In high school I injured myself and couldn’t do practices the same way so I started devoting a lot of my practice time to hypoxic training (breathe hold & underwater training). I essentially was training myself to freedive without even knowing it.


Since I already had a love of the ocean and the basic knowledge on how to dive underwater taught to me by my parents my newfound breath hold abilities gave me the desire to really learn how to seriously freedive.



STARTING TO FREEDIVE


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For the first year or so that I was “freediving” I like to say I was fully Youtube certified. I hardly even had the right gear (just look at that big yellow mask!) but I had a basic understanding of how to dive and I really wanted to improve. Through Youtube I was able to learn some new techniques and ways to improve my diving. The nice thing about free diving is you technically don’t need water to practice. You can just work on holding your breath inside and that helps!


FREEDIVING FOR SHARK DIVING

As a kid my family spent a lot of time in the Hawaiian islands. Both of my parents were strong swimmers and taught me and my siblings how to snorkel at a really young age. My dad would always dive down to go look for animals hiding under the coral heads and wanting to copy him I asked him to teach me. Essentially my dad was the first person to really introduce me to free diving without him even knowing. He was the one that taught me how to equalize and ultimately how to dive.


Once I started working professionally as a shark diver and guide I decided that I wanted to take an actual free diving course and learn some better techniques but also safety when it comes to diving. I was really hoping that this course would open up some opportunities to start competing as a free diver since I missed the competitiveness I had lost once I stopped swimming. I ended up taking the FII Level One Course. I knew a lot of the diving information but the course helped me to learn how to safely rescue a fellow diver which was extremely valuable. Whether you already freedive or not I would totally recommend an official course if you haven't taken one.


When I took my level 1 course I honestly wasn't very thrilled with the experience. I came out of the course thinking that I hated line diving and it turned me off of it for years. However, now after returning to the line in a more peaceful environment with great mentors I have learned to really enjoy pushing my limits and practicing proper freedive techniques.


I still think that if you have the opportunity to take an actual free diving course you definitely should.

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What I would want you to take away from reading this is that there’s nothing stopping you from learning something new. Whether it seems like your life sort of lined up perfectly to starting getting into something or you have no prior experience at all you can still do it, whatever it is. If free diving is something you want to learn more about there are tons of awesome resources out there and if you’d like to hear about particular things I find helpful let me know. Whatever new thing you want to tackle, free diving or something completely different, don’t feel discouraged. Almost anyone can do anything.


photo credits: @andriana_marine, @pnyeguy, @forrest.in.focus, @juansharks

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