Competitive freediving allows experienced and novice freedivers to test their ability in a safe and organized environment. It’s also a great way to meet fellow freedivers and get tips from them. The competition is overseen by judges who make sure that all rules of the competition are followed. They also validate the performance of the participants.
Competitive freediving involves different disciplines. Self-powered depth disciplines include constant weight apnea, free immersion and constant weight without fins. Competitions and trainings are usually held in open water environments.
Pool disciplines are perfect for those who live in areas where freediving in open water environments is not possible. Competitions and trainings are held in safe pool environment.
Many participants who pool and self-powered depth disciplines participate in assisted depth disciplines as well. Competitions and trainings are usually held in an open water environment that provides as much safety and stability as possible.
Competitive freediving is separated into the following categories:
Constant Weight Apnea – No weights are dropped and no line is used. Participants wear fins to kick down and back up.
Free Immersion – Participants pull themselves down to depth through the freediving line and then pull themselves back up the line. They don’t wear any fins.
Constant Weight without Fins – No fins, weights and line are used. Participants kick down to depth and ascend afterward.
Dynamic Apnea without Fins – Participants swim as far as they can on one breath. They don’t wear any fins. The main goal in this competition is distance.
Dynamic Apnea – Participants swim as far as possible on one breath. They wear wins. The goal in this competition is distance as well.
Static Apnea – The goal in this competition is time. Participants hold their breath for as long as they can underwater.
No Limits – Participants are allowed to use any means to kick down and back up. A weighted sled is often used to propel the participant to the bottom. A lift bag or pulley is used to help the diver ascend to the surface.
Variable Ballast – Weights are used to descend and a line to ascend. A sled may be used as well. Divers use both the line and kicking to ascend to the surface.
Safety measures are observed during freediving competitions. There are counterbalance systems designed for diver retrieval in case the participant doesn’t ascend to the surface when expected. Scuba divers also help with rescues if needed. There are safety freedivers who help compromised divers.
If you want to participate in competitive freediving, you should check out freediving associations such as AIDA, CMAS, SSI and FII that offer competition and training. Divers have to follow various rules. They have to remove their face equipment within fifteen seconds of surfacing and make an ok hand sign. They also need to give a verbal sign that they’re okay in order for the dive to be counted. Fainting or post-blackout mechanical movements aren’t allowed after they ascend to the surface. They will be disqualified if they’re fainting for brief moments over and over again and nodding or dropping their head repetitively.