I just finished the intermediate freediver course offered by Performance Freediving International (PFI). I initially took the class in Miami but the wind was blowing fiercely and we were not permitted to do any of the open water portion of the class. Finally I got a chance to make it up and down in San Diego I finished the course. Here is my review of the course over all.
What I learned in the classroom was top notch. Great info about the physics, physiology, and psychology of freediving. Not stuff I couldn’t have figured out on my own with some research but it is definitely worth something to have it all laid out for you.
The pool sessions were fairly straightforward. Lots of focus on safety and rescue techniques. I lucked out and Kirk Krack was actually teaching the course. After the rescue training, we did some work on statics. I hit a personal best with a max hold of 5 minutes 30 seconds. I felt like I could have gone a little longer without too much pain and when I came up I was totally together, not disoriented or anything, it felt great. It also turned out to be the longest static in the class.
First day of open water. For me this portion of the class was about focusing on the skills they wanted me to develop, rescue and diving techniques. There were no new depths for me on this day. I did hone down my entry technique, I worked on refining my body position when diving, I learned to count my kicks and estimate my depth based on my count fairly accurately, and I got comfortable performing simulated rescues. The highlight of day one open water was definitely the pod of 300 or so dolphins that swam right through our class. We put our heads down and watched the dolphins pass underneath while listening to their songs.
Day two open water. The day was much shorter and went quicker. There was a lot of free immersion practice and a little bit more rescue techniques training. Finally we got to start diving down to 20 meters then 25 and finally 30. When it was my turn to dive hitting these depths was comfortable and no problem at all. I was happy with my performance but I would have liked to press for deeper depths. The biggest constraint to the course was time and waiting for my turn in the rotation. Safety was paramount and the instructors were right alongside us on every drop. For this reason we were quite limited in the number of dives we could do. I’m happy I hit a 100′. I would have liked to do a lot more actual diving, but I’m still stoked about my personal performance plus we spotted a blue whale and her calf, and then a sunfish, it was awesome. The viz at the spot was great, 80’+ which I guess is to be expected when your diving in 2,000′ of water. I will likely take the advanced class and work on getting comfortable hitting 150′ or deeper.
Kirk Krack is a great teacher and a really nice guy, he offers a wealth of knowledge. It’s a great course, I wish I could have done a bit more diving, I still learned an awful lot and I am definitely a smoother diver than I was before.