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It’s a Wrap! Splash Freediving New Zealand Pool Nationals

21 Sep


All photos supplied by Freediving New Zealand
PADI were proud to sponsor the Splash Freediving New Zealand Pool Nationals held in Auckland over the weekend. The event saw freedivers from across New Zealand and the world come together to compete across three disciplines – Static Apnea, Dynamic With Fins and Dynamic No Fins.

Kathryn Nevatt, 38, and Guy Brew, 54, retained their respective national titles with strong performances across the board.

Nevatt started the competition strong with a result of 6 minutes 45 seconds in the Static Apnea discipline along with Brew who reached a result of 7 minutes 25 seconds.

Men’s silver went to Chris Marshall and bronze to Ant Williams.

In the female events, Danish National champion Anette Ragen Ottzen took out the silver medal and Australian Lisa Borg took the bronze.

This year saw 27 entrants from a range of countries making it the largest ever, reflecting the huge growth of the sport in recent times.

PADI Regional Manager, Jen Clent, was poolside for the competition and had this to say;

“It was great to see the freediving community come together for this event. Freediving is one of the fastest growing in the world and competitions such as this are a great opportunity to highlight safe practices. PADI were thrilled to be involved and look forward to the continued growth of the sport around the world.”

For more information on the Splash Freediving Pool Nationals 2017, head to their website.

If you’re interested in becoming a PADI Freediver Centre, please speak with your Regional Manager.

Myoungho Noh Joins the PADI AmbassaDiver Family

15 Sep

We’re thrilled to welcome Myoungho Noh to the PADI AmbassaDiver family!

Not only is he a PADI Course Director but he was also the first PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer from Korea. We got to know him a little better and learnt about some of his favourite freediving moments and what it means to him to be a PADI AmbassaDiver.

When did you first start exploring the underwater world?

Ever since I was young, I’ve loved water activities – swimming, scuba diving – you name it, I tried it. It was scuba diving that first really increased my appreciation and enjoyment of the ocean. It allowed me to explore deeper and stay there for longer. In Korea, the ocean is not far from my home, so I’d visit every chance I got. Unfortunately, I wasn’t always able to scuba dive, but this opened freediving up to me and has since changed my life.

These days, I am teaching freediving and trying to promote freediving all over the world.

Tell us about some of your favourite freediving moments.

I love the feeling of freedom that comes with freediving. Particularly when I’m diving by way of free immersion. I can relax my whole body, and slowly enter the deep. While moving down the line, I close my eyes and feel the water against my dace. At that point, I feel like I’m one with the water!

I also love observing aquatic animals – I remember one moment when I was diving with a huge whale shark. I knew the whale shark wouldn’t attack me however the sheer size of it was mesmerizing. It was such a unique experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

What does being a PADI AmbassaDiver mean to you?

It was PADI that has led me to diving professionally and has opened up completely new worlds to me. I feel a sense of pride when I’m teaching PADI courses and even more so to be a PADI AmbassaDiver.

Why do you want to introduce more people to Freediving?

I believe that freediving is easy for anyone to learn and that the experience is one-of-a-kind. The joy that can be experienced through it is endless. With that said, it’s important that people learn safe practices and by teaching the PADI Freediver course I can help make sure people learn the proper and safe techniques.

Learn more about the PADI Freediver program here or learn more about our other AmbassaDivers.

Splash Freediving New Zealand Pool Nationals 2017

12 Sep


Freediver demonstrates Static With Fins discipline.

This weekend, the Splash Freediving New Zealand Pool Nationals 2017 will be held in Auckland. PADI are proud to be a sponsor of the event and to support the growth of freediving not only in New Zealand but around the world.

The growth of the competition in recent years mirrors the growth of the sport, and this year will again see a high calibre of athletes competing.

Amongst the competitors will be the current New Zealand National Champion and Pan Pacific Champion Kathryn Nevatt and Danish National DYN Champion, Anette Rafen Otzen.

Freediving is one of the fastest growing water sports,” says Jen Clent, Regional Manager, PADI Asia Pacific.

As such, it is important to highlight safe diving practices. PADI are thrilled to have the chance to do so as a sponsor of the Freediving NZ Pool Nationals and look forward to educating competitors and the general public about the training and opportunities available through the PADI Freediver program.

You can stay up-to-date on the competition by following PADI on Facebook or Instagram. We will be going live to share with you exclusive interviews and highlights over the three days.

For more competition info, visit the website here.

You can also read more about the PADI Freediver Program here.

 

PADI Freediver kickstarted in Fiji

1 May

“Fiji is one of those holy grail freediving locations where you have perfect conditions for depth training and stunning aquatic ecosystems to play around. I was surprised at the health of the coral and the marine life in general. The local Fijians were so welcoming and accommodating, just as they’re reputed to be. It’s become a place I’ll always return to”.  

– Adam Stern, PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer and PADI AmbassaDiver

Freediving in the Blue

PADI AmbassaDiver Adam Stern visited Fiji for the first time in early April to train PADI Freedivers and kick start training in the area. 13 PADI Instructors from around Fiji came together to complete some training with the 4 x Australian record holder.

The Instructors completed their PADI Freediver and Advanced Freediver courses, gaining additional training and tips to meet the prerequisites to apply for their PADI Freediver Instructor rating.

PADI Freediver Instructors

Adam was joined by 2 other Instructors who assisted on this programme. Bryan Bailey and Mitch Bennett.

Here is what PADI Advanced Freedving Instructor Bryan Bailey from one of New Zealand’s Freediver Centres, Blenheim Dive Centre, had to say about the training:

“Bula! I would like to congratulate and thank Jen Clent and PADI for organizing Fiji’s first PADI Freedive Instructor program which took place on the beautiful Coral Coast of Viti levu, Fijis main island. I enjoyed immensely instructing alongside Adam Stern and freediving with the Fijian instructor candidates in the warm crystal clear waters with sharks, dolphins and turtles. The freediving ability of the Fijian candidates was already very high having grown up swimming and diving in such perfect conditions. With the extra skills they have been passed on they will make excellent freediving instructors. Bula Vinaka”

Freediving in the reef

Mike Agnew had this to say about the course:

“It really started way back with the movie The Big Blue. For decades, there was a niggling thought in the back of the mind that I really was meant to be a dolphin. Then came PADI, promoting their Freediver courses, and I was hooked. 

Our Regional Manager Jen Clent organized a Freediver Instructor programme for Fiji. The course itself was brilliant. No other word for it. Adam was the ultimate professional, reminding us again and again to keep within our comfort level and enjoy ourselves. Our skills improved remarkably over the 5 days. He was an instructor to emulate, performing amazing feats with some of us students that had difficulties in some areas.

His two assistants for the course, Bryan Bailey from Blenheim Dive Centre and Mitch Bennett continued Adam’s calm philosophy of staying within your comfort zone and enjoying yourself, and were both fish-like compared to most of us clumsy, brick like swimmers.

So now my descent line is marked, my safety lanyard is made, and I can’t wait to get my hands on my first students!

Vinaka Adam, Bryan and Mitch!”

Divers on the Line

Jodie Bly –  “The course was exhilarating, scary but within my comfort zone, challenging and rewarding, practical and physical, seriousness with fun, competitive camaraderie. Adam and his team were awesome being both encouraging and patient, with lots of sound advice and suggestions.  It was not as hard as I thought it would be and being able to hold my breath for 3 minutes and 10 seconds was amazing, I never thought that would be possible for me.  Loved every second of it”.

Divers on the line and above

Ashwin Pal – “The first time I heard there would be a PADI Freediver course to be held in Fiji I was very excited and could not wait to start the course. I have always done freediving and spearfishing but have always wondered what I can do to extend my breath hold times and depth. The first day of my PADI Freediver course I learnt the different techniques of breathing to extend breath hold times. I would say I was an average student but with Adam, Mitch and Bryan’s help I could easily reach my goals. The entire PADI Freediver programme was very interesting and loads of fun. Now I can teach PADI Freediver courses, gain teaching experience and can’t wait to move on the next level of PADI Advanced Freediver. A big vinaka vakalevu (thank you) to Adam, Mitch and Bryan for taking the time coming to Fiji to help us Fijians becoming a PADI Freediver Instructors”.

Bryan ascending

Lani & Josh – “We loved the PADI Freediver programme. Adam is wonderful, very knowledgeable and extremely infectious. I found the training very challenging but in a good way. As a scuba diver I have always thought I was connected to my body but the freediver course taught me to develop this much much further. The techniques Adam taught us really helped build on our experience, understand why our bodies react in certain ways and how to communicate this to our future students.

Scuba diving for me is amazing, but less challenging as time goes on, I feel as though this course and certification has really opened up a whole new world, one that is just really taking off, I am so excited to be a part of it. It’s a new reason to get in the water, to view the underwater world from a new perspective, an exciting new way to challenge myself and a rewarding sport to teach”.

Lani

Karen Koens – “Super human Adam Stern, was strongly supported by Bryan and Mitch, who are both outstanding humans and Instructors themselves. The generosity from them to ensure PADI Freediver was brought to Fiji, and to give the locals a once in a lifetime opportunity was enthusiastically received by those of us fortunate to attend the course. Since then, my company Subsurface Fiji has become a PADI Freediver Centre. We are looking forward to help Fiji develop as a recognised and respected Freediving destination”.

Stefan Janjic – “Before starting the course I only had experience in “aggressive snorkelling” as Adam phrased it throughout our training sessions. I had managed to reach a maximum depth on a breath-hold dive of roughly 15 meters. With two days in a pool, and my second day in open water I went from being able to reach 15 meters as a difficult max to comfortably descending 26.5 meters, with only the reef as the limiting factor. I was even able to make a rescue from 15 meters, my former maximum in a calm and comfortable manner. The essential knowledge and skills I learned to train my mind and body to go deeper, coupled with how to deal with any potential risks in the sport gave me the confidence I needed to teach freediving. I am incredibly excited to start teaching this new water sport, and add to the list of ocean activities that we can offer at Kai Wai Ocean Sports”.

With such enthusiasm and passion for Fiji and it’s beautiful underwater paradise I can’t wait to see this destination develop and be added to every freedivers bucket-list!

After the training concluded Adam and Bryan spent a few days exploring the islands. Adam created a short video of his adventures on one breath which you can watch here.

For information on PADI Freediver, how to get involved or become a PADI Freediver Instructor, visit PADI.com.

All photos credited to Adam Stern.

Interview with Marlon Quinn – Passionate Freediving Instructor and Founder of WaterMaarq Freediving

5 May

_HKR5357-web_resized for webMarlon Quinn’s freediving journey began with a chance encounter with a ray. Today, he is a passionate Freediving Instructor and founder of WaterMaarq Freediving in Victoria, Australia. We asked him about his love for freediving and where he hopes to see it in the next few years.  

What inspired you to start freediving?

My freediving journey began with an encounter with a stingray in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria about a decade ago. I was snorkelling off Brighton Beach, when I came face to face with the 1.5m-wide Eagle Ray.

We both had a moment of surprise, I was a bit frightened and so was he. As a competitive cyclist I’ve performed in some very tough and high-risk situations, and I didn’t like that I was uncomfortable. I wanted to learn how to be calmer in the water and more in tune with the environment.

The stingray eventually became the iconic logo of WaterMaarq Freediving.

What do you enjoy most about freediving?

I come from an athletic and competitive background. I’m always pushed to the limits and striving to reach my goals but when I freedive I’m in a calm, quiet place where my mind is free from worldly distractions.

The real enjoyment in freediving comes from exploring your capabilities in a different manner. The more you let go of your goals and expectations, the easier it gets and the more comfortable you’ll be. It’s a beautiful feeling. Freediving is elegant and graceful, which comes from a place of acceptance and ease.

Which freediving discipline do you prefer and why?

Learning to freedive is like assembling a toolkit, you need all the right skills to perform your best.

  • Static skills (motionless breath holding while laying on the surface) allow you to develop self-awareness and strong mental management;
  • Dynamic skills (swimming underwater laps) in the pool develop fantastic finning technique and streamlining and;
  • Constant Weight skills (freediving vertically to depth) bring adaptation to pressure change and sound equalisation technique.

For me, it’s the combination of these disciplines that makes a strong and competent freediver who can dive anywhere in any conditions.

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What are some of your favourite freediving locations and why?

My favourite freediving locations aren’t typical ones. In southern parts of Australia you’ll see diversity like nowhere else – there are freshwater sinkholes, kelp reefs, sponge gardens, rock formations, plunging walls and caves. The temperate waters here are a few degrees cooler than tropical waters, but with 80% of species in this environment not found anywhere else on earth, it’s an adventure every time.

Rich blue waters of the Tasman Peninsula region in Tasmania offer steep cliffs plunging deep into the water with strong features and big fish. Here you’ll find some of the most spectacular freediving sites in cooler waters!

The crystal clear waters of South Australia’s freshwater sinkhole environment makes divers feel like they’re suspended in outer space. We run our advanced freediving courses here (and advanced level excursions) because of the magnificent feeling of depth and the effortless freefall.

The ultimate location for me though is around the ocean-facing beaches on the Mornington Peninsula, around Blairgowrie where WaterMaarq Freediving is based.

We’re spoilt here because we have the relatively protected Port Phillip Bay on one side and the ocean on the other. We enjoy the company of Burrunan Dolphins, Weedy Seadragons and Smooth Stingrays – my personal favourite species and the largest of all Australian stingrays, growing up to 4.2m long, 2m wide and 350kg. When the conditions are right, the ocean-facing beaches offer vibrant colour, abundant growth, swim-throughs, overhangs, crevices, gullies, caves and bits and pieces of shipwrecks from the 19th century. It’s truly amazing under the surface!

What’s your favourite marine life encounter?

Every time I dive I think I have a new favourite encounter!

Most recently, my favourite has been staring eye-to-eye with a Longsnout Boarfish – a very ornate looking species endemic to Australia.

Before that is was being surrounded by hundreds of Australian Salmon circling like a bait-ball which was being herded by a dolphin or juvenile Seahorses about 1.5cm-3cm big floating by attached to blades of grass.

I’m looking forward to enjoying the annual spider crab migration that occurs just before winter as the water temperature cools. During this time, thousands of spider crabs enter the shallows to moult and mate. It’s a theatre of magnitude as the interplay between crabs, stingrays and jellyfish work to try and survive before the spider crabs return to somewhere in Port Phillip Bay and the location of which remains a secret that marine scientists are still studying.

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What’s on the horizon for you in regards to freediving?

As a freediver I’m not ambitious.

The sports arena is spotted with professional athletes who seek to transition across to coaching eventually. I seek to first become the best freediving instructor I can be.

That’s why I’ve trained with a diverse range of world champion level freedivers including Umberto Pelizzari, Stavros Kastrinakis and Ant Williams to compile the best methods of the best. If I continually work towards improving and developing as the best instructor I can be, then through PADI Freediver courses I want to produce the most competent, strong, adaptable, safe and well-rounded freedivers that anyone can be.

What’s your advice to anyone thinking of taking up freediving?

Hasten slowly! Freediving is a bit like martial arts – it’s a discipline with a library of information and skills you need to learn over time to become a master. The first step really should be to take a course with an instructor. Understanding the risks, adopting safe practices, developing knowledge of the body, breathing and relaxation techniques is all part of the foundation material.

Freediving really is a fantastic way to enjoy the marine world, a course may fast-track the feelings of comfort, longer dives and potentially going deeper. PADI Freediver courses enable a wonderful way to develop as slowly or swiftly as anyone prefers. Freediver Touch supports self-paced learning which particularly favours freediving.

Where do I see freediving progressing in the next few years?

In the last 10 years, freediving has become more popular, however breath-holding activities are banned across a wide spectrum of public pools. It reminds me of when snowboarding was a new sport and, initially, many ski resorts banned it.  Now snowboarding is one of the most popular and dynamic snow sports around.

If we encourage education, safe practices, the buddy system, professional instructors and schools, freediving will develop as a popular fun, safe and relaxing recreational activity with a huge following.

In the future I’d like to see training and education within reach for all individuals, so they can first and foremost be equipped and safe, as this provides the foundation to enjoy the underwater world in any part of the globe.

Standard Safe Diving Practices for both Scuba Divers and Freedivers

31 Mar

If asked, would you know what the 10 points are on the Standard Safe Diving Practices Statement of Understanding form?

If we asked a newly certified PADI Open Water Diver or a PADI Freediver what they were, do you think they could answer?

Diving with a buddy is one the golden rules in both Scuba & Freediving which should NEVER be broken!

Diving with a buddy is one of the golden rules in both Scuba & Freediving which should NEVER be broken!

We are lucky to have access to these great forms however I strongly believe they could be better utilized.

We ask all training course students to sign the form at the beginning of each course which is great but are we also emphasizing these practices at the end of their training (prior to certification) to ensure they now fully understand those recommendations and head off planning to follow them?

Direct your students using the training logbook to the section at the end of the training area where the below form is included or when sending your newly certified students a congratulatory email thanking them for their custom or encouraging enrollment on the next PADI course add the form as an attachment with a reminder to ensure they familiarize themselves to the points and adhere to them.

Let’s have a look at what our students and professional PADI divers are agreeing to:

Standard Safe Diving Practices Statement of Understanding

1. Maintain good mental and physical fitness for diving. Avoid being under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs when diving. Keep proficient in diving skills, striving to increase them through continuing education and reviewing them in controlled conditions after a period of diving inactivity, and refer to my course materials to stay current and refresh myself on important information.

2. Be familiar with my dive sites. If not, obtain a formal diving orientation from a knowledgeable, local source. If diving conditions are worse than those in which I am experienced, postpone diving or select an alternate site with better conditions. Engage only in diving activities consistent with my training and experience. Do not engage in cave or technical diving unless specifically trained to do so.

3. Use complete, well-maintained, reliable equipment with which I am familiar; and inspect it for correct fit and function prior to each dive. Have a buoyancy control device, low-pressure buoyancy control inflation system, submersible pressure gauge and alternate air source and dive planning/monitoring device (dive computer, RDP/dive tables—whichever you are trained to use) when scuba diving. Deny use of my equipment to uncertified divers.

4. Listen carefully to dive briefings and directions and respect the advice of those supervising my diving activities. Recognize that additional training is recommended for participation in specialty diving activities, in other geographic areas and after periods of inactivity that exceed six months.

5. Adhere to the buddy system throughout every dive. Plan dives – including communications, procedures for reuniting in case of separation and emergency procedures – with my buddy.

6. Be proficient in dive planning (dive computer or dive table use). Make all dives no decompression dives and allow a margin of safety. Have a means to monitor depth and time underwater. Limit maximum depth to my level of training and experience. Ascend at a rate of not more than 18 metres/60 feet per minute. Be a SAFE diver – Slowly Ascend From Every dive. Make a safety stop as an added precaution, usually at 5 metres/15 feet for three minutes or longer.

7. Maintain proper buoyancy. Adjust weighting at the surface for neutral buoyancy with no air in my buoyancy control device. Maintain neutral buoyancy while underwater. Be buoyant for surface swimming and resting. Have weights clear for easy removal, and establish buoyancy when in distress while diving. Carry at least one surface signaling device (such as signal tube, whistle, mirror).

8. Breathe properly for diving. Never breath-hold or skip-breathe when breathing compressed air, and avoid excessive hyperventilation when breath-hold diving. Avoid overexertion while in and underwater and dive within my limitations.

9. Use a boat, float or other surface support station, whenever feasible.

10. Know and obey local dive laws and regulations, including fish and game and dive flag laws.

standard-safe-diving-practices-statement-understanding

 

 

PADI Freediver Safe Diving Practices Statement of Understanding

1. Always freedive with a trained buddy and follow established freediving buddy practices. 14. Remove the snorkel from my mouth when I descend on a freedive.
2. Not participate in open water freediving after scuba diving on the same day. 15. Not exhale during the dive, except immediately before breaking the surface upon ascent so I can inhale sooner.
3. Equalize my ears and mask immediately as I descend, frequently and gently, before I feel discomfort. 16. Upon returning to the surface, exhale passively and gently. Inhale actively and more quickly. Do this at least three times.
4. Never continue descending without equalizing. If I can’t equalize, return to the surface. 17. Recover for at least three times the duration of my breathhold before starting another dive.
5. Never attempt a forceful and/or extended equalization. A forceful, extended equalization can cause serious, permanent injuries to ears and hearing. 18. When ascending from a dive to depth, have my buddy escort me for the final part of my ascent.
6. Descend with my lungs full. 19. Not start a descent until my buddy has completed recovery from a previous dive.
7. Freedive in good health. Never freedive with a cold or congestion. 20. Follow the one-up, one-down buddy system.
8. Even if I’m a scuba diver, not take a breath from scuba at depth while freediving. An exception may be an emergency, in which case the scuba diver should share air with me as we both make a scuba ascent. 21. Assess conditions before a freediving session and plan my session. It is ultimately me who decides whether to go freediving. I am responsible for my own safety, so only I can make the final decision to dive.
9. Use relaxation to extend breathhold time. Not use hyperventilation. 22. Avoid freediving in large and rough surf.
10. Increase breathhold durations gradually. Gain experience slowly. 23. Avoid contact with all organisms, but especially unfamiliar ones. Know the potentially hazardous ones for the area where I’m freediving.
11. After descending to depth, head up well within my limits. The deeper the dive, the sooner I should head up. 24. Get a local orientation to a new freediving location and/or join a group to help learn about conditions, organisms, hazards and local procedures.
12. Send a diver who blacked out underwater or who may have inhaled water at the surface to the hospital, even if apparently fully recovered. 25. Protect myself from the sun and stay hydrated.
13. For open water freediving, weight myself so that I float comfortably at the surface after exhaling.

Ensuring all divers understand the importance of these safe diving practices could well reduce the number of diving incidents which should result in more divers entering this fantastic sport. Apart from the safety aspect its always more fun to dive with a buddy. Encourage your divers to be the best buddy they can be by agreeing to never break the safety rules as they head off to independently dive.

For further information on risk management check out the PADI Pro site’s webinars or speak to your Regional Manager.

PADI Freediver™ Marketing Assistance

24 Dec

Freediving is one of the fastest growing dive industry segments and PADI Freediver courses provide members with new revenue-generating opportunities and offer a pipeline for capturing younger customers. To help seat the program, there are global instructor training courses along with efficient crossover programs for freediving instructors from other training organisations.

Alejandro Lemus, Underwater Explorer and PanAmerican Free Diving Champion says, “The PADI Freediver program offers high quality training and has the best value standards for both instructors and students. PADI will bring a new level of consciousness into the sport that we’ve never seen before.”

PADI is promoting the Freediver program through athletic endorsements and event sponsorships. Additionally, promotions tap into the adventure travel market to drive awareness and conversion. You should target your marketing efforts toward similar audiences.

Visit the Freediver Toolbox on the PADI Pros’ Site for promotional and marketing collateral, including:

  • Free webinars and courses
  • Website banners and buttons
  • Freediver brochures
  • Training standards

PADI Retail and Resort Association Members should also check with their PADI Regional Headquarters for additional PADI Freediver promotional item availability.

Freediver Marketing Support