Exciting Times Ahead
In November 2015 PADI launched a brand new Freediving program featuring a full range of Freediving courses. With this news, Crystal Dive immediately incorporated Freediving into our day to day teaching curriculum. Our scuba students, their friends, as well as our own Divemasters and Instructors have all become involved in this exciting new PADI program.
Recently, even one of our Course Directors became a PADI Freediver. The PADI Freediving program offers three courses, as well as Instructor level ratings.
The purpose of the PADI Freediver program is to develop the skills and knowledge of freediving. Compared with skin diving and snorkeling ‘freediving’ is breath hold diving that involves deeper depths, longer durations, specialized equipment and more extensive physical/mental skills.
The PADI program consists of four certification levels.
PADI Basic Freediver Course
The PADI Basic Freediver course (intro) develops the knowledge and skills for basic static apnea, dynamic apnea, free immersion and constant weight freediving in confined water only. When completing open water training is not feasible or desirable, students complete just the knowledge and confined water skill portion of the PADI Freediver course to earn this rating.
The course consists of a knowledge development session, as well as practicing static and dynamic apnea in the swimming pool, as well as introducing correct diving techniques in the deep pool. The minimum age is 12 so a great way to get the kids involved.
PADI Freediver Course
The full PADI Freediver course develops the knowledge and skills for basic static apnea, dynamic apnea, free immersion and constant weight freediving to a maximum of 16 metres/55 feet. The course is scheduled over two days and consist knowledge development, confined water and two open water training. Minimum age for this course is 15 years old.
PADI Advanced Freediver Course
Expand your knowledge with the PADI Advanced Freediver course and further develop your skills in static apnea, dynamic apnea, free immersion and constant weight freediving to a maximum of 24 metres/80 feet. The course has more knowledge development, two confined water sessions and 4 open water training sessions. Minimum age for this course is also 15 years old and is the perfect follow up to the PADI Freediver course.
PADI Master Freediver Course
Continues knowledge and skill development with further development in static apnea, dynamic apnea, free immersion and constant weight freediving to a maximum of 40 metres/130 feet. We conduct this course over several weeks, more as an Internship program than a rigid performance specific course. Minimum aged to become a Master Freediver is 18 years old.
So far, since January when we introduced this fantastic sport to Crystal Dive, people from Russia, UK, France, Poland, India and Singapore have all travelled to Koh Tao to complete PADI Freediving courses with Crystal.
And finally in March we had our first Thai student, Ploy, who arrived to complete the PADI Advanced Free diver course, followed by an Internship aimed at achieving her ultimate goal – not just to become a PADI Free Diver Instructor but the very first Thai PADI Freediver Instructor.
Having already completed the PADI Freediver course the programs goals for the Advanced course are to expand your knowledge and skills with further development in static apnea, dynamic apnea, free immersion and constant weight freediving to a maximum of 24 metres / 80 feet.
If At First You Don’t Succeed….
Unfortunately, setting ourselves and ultimately reaching personal goals are not always straight forward, and can sometimes take some time, effort, and in Ploy’s case patience to reach.
With perfect results in static and dynamic apnea, Ploy had one small problem on her way to achieving this unique landmark. ‘Headfirst’ equalization. Unlike a feet first decent, as is common with Scuba Diving, Freediving’s most popular and common technique is to descend head first.
On the PADI Advanced Freediver course it is ‘FIM’ which stands for Free Immersion Apnea. A freediver uses a rope for both descent and ascent only, without the use of propulsion equipment and CWT – Constant Weight – where a freediver uses either fins or a monofin for descent and ascent.
Most of the students don’t see the difference between ‘head first’ or ‘feet first’ dives at all. Some find out that it is a little bit trickier once they try it.
Depth Finally Gave Up!
But some people just can’t equalize at all. And often they give up on this point. Often, as human beings we do what we can do easily and walk away from what seems to difficult for us to achieve. But this wasn’t a scenario Ploy ever considered.
Every day for several weeks Ploy practiced, slowly progressing on the correct technique, depth and time.
And finally DEPTH gave up!
I never forget her smiling when Ploy was coming up from her successful record attempt. With more training, more knowledge development and more practice, combined with steely will to succeed, Ploy reached her goal.
First Thai PADI Freediving Instructor
Without further ado, let me introduce the very first Thai PADI Freediver Instructor – Ploy Malaiwongs!
So what now? – Ploy is sharing what she loves and teaching PADI Freediving courses in Bangkok.
So what’s next? – The Thailand National Freediving record is the next step on Ploys road of success.
Crystal Dive – Koh Tao’s FIRST PADI Freediving Centre!
And for us, not only were we the first PADI dive centre on Koh Tao to incorporate these exciting new courses into our day to day activities, but Crystal Dive is honoured to be Koh Tao’s first PADI Free Diving Centre having been awarded the rating from PADI last week.
Wanna Be Like A Fish?
Learn how to freedive with Crystal Freediving.
Author: Sergey Bugarin (PADI Freediver Instructor #295053)