A Basic Guide to Learning Freediving in Panglao

Want to step up the diving challenge? You should try freediving!

The island of Panglao has been famous for beautiful diving spots rich with corals, fish, and other underwater animals which makes for a wonderful diving experience. Scuba diving is really cool with all the time you get to spend underwater with the use of oxygen tanks but for those who are looking for more adventure, you should step up the diving game and learn freediving!

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Diving with a single breath can be considered the purest and most natural way of exploring the underwater world. More than adventure, freediving also stimulates body and self-awareness as you learn techniques on how to make the most out of a single breath as you plunge into the underwater world.

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The only requirements for freediving is that you are comfortable being in open water. It’s a big advantage if you have previous experiences in scuba diving and snorkelling, though. I signed up for the 1 Star Introduction to Freediving class just to gauge if I can really face the challenge of diving in open water with a single breath. My instructor was Stefan Randig, a certified Freediving trainer who has been teaching diving for over 7 years. He actively participates in different types of freediving competitions and has also set German National records on freediving.

We started with lectures on the theories of freediving. We discussed the types of Freediving, the records accomplished around the world, and the necessary basic techniques and procedures. After the lecture, we proceeded to the breathing exercises. I doubted myself on this part because I know myself and I am definitely not the healthiest person out there. I hardly do any cardiovascular exercises and I have no experience in scuba diving. I’ve only tried snorkeling a few times before, too.

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Exercises for breath-holding

As we started the exercises, Stefan guided me through the breathing techniques. Breath-holding has a lot to do with relaxation and body awareness. On my first breath-hold exercise, I thought I did really badly, but Stefan told me I actually lasted 2 minutes and 6 seconds! That is waaaay longer than I expected! On my second attempt, there was a bit more pressure since I felt like I had to beat my personal record. I was able to increase a few more seconds on the second try, this time lasting 2 minutes and 11 seconds. I thought it was already long enough, but Stefan told me that with further training, I could go way longer than that. Sounds exciting!

The class also includes exercises for handling underwater pressure in the ears. Stefan mentioned that this is one of the most challenging parts in diving as it is quite difficult to be comfortable with the feeling of underwater pressure in the ears. However, some people are lucky enough to be able to remove ear pressure without difficulty. Fortunately, I am one of those people, so we didn’t have to focus that much on the exercises for pressure-handling. (Yay!)

Next, we were off to the sea for some open water diving!

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