Free diving or apnea

Free diving or apnea

Snorkelling or snorkelling involves filling your lungs with air and breathing underwater. Unlike dive using compressed air cylinder, in the apnea only mask, respirator or snorkel and flippers are used for propulsion.

Usually people do the recreational diving in apnea for fun, observation and contemplation of marine life or underwater hunting. In fact apnea is also a very competitive and dangerous sport where the athlete needs a good physical preparation for its execution.

There are several types of apnea and this makes it a very dynamic and different sport. Among the free diving modalities we have: Static Apnea, Dynamic Apnea, Constant Ballast with or without fins, Free Immersion, Variable Ballast, No Limits.

Static Apnea is the technique that the diver stays as long as possible submerged or floating on the surface of the still water and can also be breathing pure oxygen before immersion.
In Dynamic Apnea the diver travels as far as possible under the water with or without flippers moving in the horizontal position.
In Constant Ballast, generally practiced in ponds and seas like all the next ones, the diver uses a belt-ballast that annuls its fluctuation in addition to the descent occur without the use of guide wire. It can be practiced with or without fins.
In the Variable Ballast the diver descends with the belt-belt connected to the guide wire and at the time of the return to the surface, leaves the ballast and with its own force returns. The fin or guide wire is used.
The Free Immersion consists of not using any equipment, only the guide wire to dive as deep as you can.
In No Limits mode, the diver must quickly return to the surface due to reaching great depths. In this modality an inflatable balloon or vest is used to leave the water.


Many world records are from Brazilian Karol Meyer, with the two most important being: 121 meters deep in No Limits Tandem (double) with Patrick Musimu (Belgium, 1970-2011), and the main record published in the Guinness Book of 18 min and 32 seconds in Static Apnea with oxygen.

AIDA (International Association for the Development of Apnea) is the institution responsible for the championships held and mainly for the safety standards that must be followed so that there are no fatal accidents.

The practice of apnea can be performed with meditation techniques and exercises to control breathing. In the region of Tibau do Sul the sea remains in most of its days with murky waters. In a few days of summer, there are very calm and transparent seas, great for practice, but remember: Never dive alone, respect the sea, and if you go hunting, do with awareness and respect for the species. Avoid catching breeding animals, animals that are too small or threatened with extinction, such as Grouper. Nature will give you in return!

By Daniel Henrique Gil. Text originally published in Bora Magazine - issue 15 - Jan / Feb 2016

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