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Ok, so until yesterday I did not even know you could get certified for freediving. After a two hour drive to my favorite fresh water diving spot, Vortex Springs, I was told that I could not freedive unless I provided proof of certification. I was told it had to do with people going down and breathing in the CO2 from the SCUBA diver's respirators that collected at the top of a cave. I tried convincing them to make freedivers sign a liability form or other type of paperwork saying they understand the risks, would solve this problem, but they said there would be no exceptions.
Anyway, after doing some research I found out that a basic freediving course cost $200-$300 :eek: and even worst of all I can't find a local shop that does freediving courses, just scuba. So does anybody know of a local place/instructor I can go to to a certification? Preferably, I think Vortex should change its policy, I have called them several times already. If anyone could help me out I would greatly appreciate it.
Not sure if anyone feels the same as me but if you wanna call and try to change their minds (850)836-4979
 

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How do they determine that you are freediving versus just swimming around?
I've been several times and never been asked to identify what I'm actually doing. I've been in full suit with weights and such with no problem. Maybe something new.
 

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It is a new requirement this season. Their facebook post about it said since they were a padi facility and padi now offers certifications that they were going to require it. What it didn't say was that there were several accidents that were preventable with proper training.
 

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I know when I first heard of the class I didn't really think that I would gain too much from it, I had been free diving for about 10 years (since I was a teenager) and figured i had gotten about as much as i could through experience.

I heard about the class and talked to a few guys who had taken it which had been talking it up a little which sparked my interest. I talked to the instructor , Joe D'Agustino at Emerald Coast Freediving (Contacted through Addict'd), decided to take the class.

You will more than likely learn new things that you haven't done before that can not only increase your breath hold times but keep you safer while doing so. I know that this was the case for me and I am planning on taking the Level 2 course eventually, though I still feel that I need to work and practice at the level that I am now.

Also, you will meet some new guys to dive with who are not only good dudes but also good spear fishermen. I enjoyed the class and worked my way through it. The classes are not crowded, they have time to help you as an individual, move you into a safer direction and into techniques that make you an all around better free diver. After the class I hit a new personal best of 70' - 72' somewhere in there.

You really cannot go wrong by investing in this class, go up to Benthic and talk to the guys in there. They are all very knowledgable on the topic and can lead you in the right direction.

I have wondered how they know if you are free diving or just swimming around as well? Oh well, be safe and have fun!
 

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Just another way to get in your wallet. If someone is dumb enough to dive down 50 feet to the opening of the cave system and then try to use collected "oxygen" pockets, then a certificate isn't going to do shit.
250 bucks for a piece of paper is a rip off.
 

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Snorkiller
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Just another way to get in your wallet. If someone is dumb enough to dive down 50 feet to the opening of the cave system and then try to use collected "oxygen" pockets, then a certificate isn't going to do shit.
250 bucks for a piece of paper is a rip off.
I think its a little more than a piece of paper. It's useful skills and technique training that will make you a better diver. Also, a huge part of the class is safety. Vortex does not have a staff instructor (that I know of) so they don't make anymore money off of it. You're right about people being dumbasses and taking air from the pockets and Vortex is probably just trying to cover their ass as much as possible. A little training may show them how dangerous that really is.

I also know at least a dozen people that thought they were good "safe" freedivers that didn't need a class, but after they took one it completely changed their minds. I saw drastic improvements in their diving from the proper training they had.

The certification requirement at the springs is debatable for sure, but I doubt you can find anyone that has taken a class that didn't think it was worth it.

I am not an instructor. I have taken 2 classes and for me it was worth every penny. That being said, I am very serious about freediving and dive safety. theres a lot more to it than most people think.
 

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Skram,
I took the time to look up the skills that are taught and the breathing techniques. I'm actually interested in taking the class; I shot my mouth off before I knew what I was talking about.
Thanks for the info.
 

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Snorkiller
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Skram,
I took the time to look up the skills that are taught and the breathing techniques. I'm actually interested in taking the class; I shot my mouth off before I knew what I was talking about.
Thanks for the info.
No problem. Most people think that at first too (even I did). Let us know the results when you take a class.
 

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Not to high jack the thread, but I am not a diver at all, in fact, I'm not a big fan of swimming underwater period. I can hold my breath under water for like 15-20 seconds and probably go down 10 ft. Exactly How long/deep are y'all actually diving?
 

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The FII Level 1 restricts you to 3min static breathhold and 66ft open water checkout dives. Level 2 allows unlimited breathhold and 132ft on your dives. Line diving like you do in a class and spearfishing are different things and after the course diver capabilities are only limited based upon what they train for, but the average level 1 certified spearfisherman around here usually SAFELY does 75ft 1 minute dives while hunting/shooting fish. You don't need longer because it's a more efficient way of getting down and close to the fish, plus you can do it all day without fear of getting bent. There's guys who line dive past 400ft and hold their breath for 10 minutes, again all based upon what you want to do and train for. We are capable of amazing things and it's really not hard to unlock our dive reflex and get the skills with the right training
 

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An update regarding my reply to this thread, I had originally thought free-diving was just something you did, rather than there being a science behind it. After a little research and finding a class/Instructor, I took the plunge and purchased a class.
The instructor, Joe D'Agostino, was very professional and very likable. We started off with about 2 hours of power point, which would normally be mind numbing, but he and the fellow students made it fun. The pool skills were easy, being only 14 ft, but the breathe up techniques and fighting through the CO2 burn ended up being harder than I thought.
Second day took place at Vortex springs and the skills Joe showed us were invaluable. I learned my vertical entry sucked and it took away from the dive, soon after some demo, I felt more comfortable with the technique. I know only hitting 45 to 48 feet isn't that deep, but to me it was a milestone.
I'm glad I posted my ignorant post and appreciate the information shared that steered me into this class, for that I thank you.
 

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Snorkiller
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An update regarding my reply to this thread, I had originally thought free-diving was just something you did, rather than there being a science behind it. After a little research and finding a class/Instructor, I took the plunge and purchased a class.
The instructor, Joe D'Agostino, was very professional and very likable. We started off with about 2 hours of power point, which would normally be mind numbing, but he and the fellow students made it fun. The pool skills were easy, being only 14 ft, but the breathe up techniques and fighting through the CO2 burn ended up being harder than I thought.
Second day took place at Vortex springs and the skills Joe showed us were invaluable. I learned my vertical entry sucked and it took away from the dive, soon after some demo, I felt more comfortable with the technique. I know only hitting 45 to 48 feet isn't that deep, but to me it was a milestone.
I'm glad I posted my ignorant post and appreciate the information shared that steered me into this class, for that I thank you.

Awesome! Glad to hear you enjoyed the class and learned a lot from it. Good luck in your future dives and let us know if you ever wanna hit the springs for some training!
 

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I highly recommend the level 1 class. prior to the class i was hitting 70-75' no problem so i didn't think i would get to much from it. I was mistaken, The instructor accessed my abilities and critiqued me on things i didn't even know i was doing wrong. This course really does well to give you a solid foundation of skills to build off of. I'm very happy with the investment.
 

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Resident Mermaid
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I really want to take a class on freediving. I went to Vortex again this summer and a girl jumped into the spring and lost her sunglasses. My friend encouraged me to swim down and get them. I looked underwater and saw the glasses just as they hit the bottom (not the absolute bottom, but the bottom off the end of the floating dock). I swam down and retrieved the sunglasses and gave them back to the girl who lost them. It was awesome to swim deeper than I thought I could go. Looking up and seeing all that blue water surrounding you is just epic. My parents are worried about my interest in wanting to take a freediving class. They would rather me try SCUBA.
 
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