Freediving. Have you heard of it? Did you know that there are professional freedivers who dive into the depths of the ocean to swim with large whales, hitch rides with marlins and dare to accomplish the near impossible? What most people don't know is that it's a sport so physically and mentally demanding that there are only a handful of pro practitioners worldwide. They train themselves to hold their breaths for extended periods of time (some for 2 minutes) and brave chilly ocean temperatures for an experience riddled with beautiful scenery and wildlife that offers a natural euphoria unattainable through any other venture. Many people relate free-diving to a near spiritual ordeal -- at one with nature.
Given its general definition there are many different categories of freediving. They range from disciplines like no-limits apnea (where a diver uses any means possible to attain the greatest underwater depth while holding his/her breath) and constant weight apnea (where the diver is not allowed to use any other means than their own muscles to make their dive). The experts have set almost inhuman records in the various categories, with the world record in no-limits at 214 meters, over 700 feet!
The exciting thing is that more and more recreational divers and swimmers are giving it a try! Not at the depths that the professionals dive to -- but since most ocean life and action lies within the first 30 feet -- everyday men and women can experience the thrill of a lifetime. It just takes some training (we suggest with an experienced free diver or instructor) and a great set of snorkel/dive gear.