In today’s world of freediving, the sport is looked at to be some kind of superhuman feat; divers plunging the depths of the ocean and coming back up on one breath. People are for sure curious when spectating this marvellous sport, but is it enough to make them want to do it? Or more so, is it the correct method to reach out to them and turn curiosity into action?
Let’s dive into what’s wrong.
Most of the media which is being uploaded nowadays, especially by big game players across all social media platforms just involves competitions and numbers. This is great publicity, especially for those who love sports and thrill seeking adventures, but how is this meant to reach out to the average joe? Female and male athletes who train very hard day in and day out to reach their target goal. Not everyone has the time (and for some) the money to train, and not everyone wants depth. It seems to be too sports oriented and this already leaves out a huge market who are very capable of freediving at the recreational level. It targets those who live a life that most do not have. There are many other sports that the public engage in as a hobby.
It also makes freedivers want to constantly dive deeper, pushing their limits; and in many cases is causing people to suffer from ear, sinus and most notoriously - lung barotrauma. I can, to a certain extent, understand why people want depth as i’ve experienced it myself before - but again, depth is not for everyone.
From enjoying the beauty and silence of the ocean, it becomes an ego driven addictive sport (not for all as there are many humble top level freedivers) and this is where it should stop. Freedivers seem to forget what it’s all about. From an activity which teaches relaxation and shows us the body and mind’s potential and adaptive abilities, it becomes a numbers game.
How should the activity be promoted?
Freediving should reach out to everyone and not limit the audience. With a little training and enrolling in a course, one can reach recreational depths in no time, provided they have no equalisation issues - and even that can be solved. The depths I’m talking about here are at around 15 to 20 metres where you can spend some time underwater and enjoy the ocean in the most natural way known to us. Even 10 metres can prove to be lots and lots of fun.
Promote its benefits; holistic approaches are on the rise in the western world and everybody seems to have a keen interest. Just take a look at Simon Alejandro; a young kid who suffers from autism and is non-verbal, discovered breath holding underwater. Through freediving he learned how to relax and took off the social pressure that he felt on land - something I think the majority of us feel today.
Or how about showing what breathing has to offer, especially those who suffer from breathing difficulties and allergies such as asthma? Freediving has been known to easy symptoms dramatically and in some cases cure them completely.
What about educating the people about the mammalian dive reflex? To me, it’s the most fascinating topic in freediving and i’m sure it will be for most.
The way AIDA looks at freediving:
“Freediving is the most natural and serene way to explore the depths of the oceans with minimal impact. It is also the ultimate way to free yourself and spend more time enjoying the beauty and silence of the sea. Anyone who has held their breath underwater has freedived. However, freediving is not simply about seeing how long you can hold your breath or how deep you can go on a single breath. You have to create the right attitude and pay attention to the limits of your body and mind. The true appeal of freediving is in the silence and calm it brings to people’s hectic lives.”
This is what freediving is all about and the irony behind it all is the first thing you see on their website are the world records. Education is what’s needed here and not intimidation. They couldn’t have described freediving any better and they should promote what they preach.
Bring out the social side freediving has to offer; the side where people practice this activity for pure fun and enjoyment.