Cruising with Katabasis: let's start from the dock! It was 1991 when I took a crew on a cruise around Elba for the first time,…
The summer for many it’s a time for renewing, buying or even better, giving ourselves a present like part of our freediving equipment such as the fins.
In my experience in over ten years as a freediving instructor at all levels, I can confirm that the questions that many students ask me are in regards to choosing the right equipment, i.e. what is best for their needs, their physique and their level of freediving.
So that’s way I have decided to write down some tips and advice starting with fins.
Every good choice begins by having the right criteria as a basis for your decision.
In this article I am going to suggest 4 of them, and for each one I will give an example just to help you get a better idea of things. So the criteria that I have chosen are:
- Price range
- Freediving level
1. Why is it important to take into consideration both the muscular and bone structures of a freediver
Carbon, Plastic, Carbon Mix, Fiberglass; many different types of materials are used in manufacturing the blades of freediving, and each one gives a different resistance in the water. What does that mean? Well, if I use a plastic blade I get good value for money whereas if I choose a carbon fiber blade I’m obviously gearing myself towards a top of the range product.
And the rubber foot pocket? If you intend wearing a foot pocket that is hard rather than soft it’s important to have ankle muscles that straighten correctly. A good quality foot pocket allows the diver to use and move his or her legs correctly, whilst still being comfortable and taking full advantage of the propulsive energy from the leg that will go right the way through to the blade of the fin.
Things have changed a great deal on the national and international Freediving spectrum since I first started teaching Freediving courses back in 2004.
Many more people have taken up this fantastic activity, which as each and every freediver knows requires both a physical and mental involvement. Following the first revolutionary teaching methods created in around 1995 which subsequently substituted any preconceptions that Freediving was linked to the “super human“, other teaching methods but most importantly other men got involved in the development of these teaching methods put together to be accessible to an increasing number of people.
We needed to make yet another step forward before the concept of Freediving for the super human had passed. At that point the idea of freediving and well-being could then be considered, but until then it was all still performance related; “Keep relaxed and de-contracted and you’ll see that you go down the diving wire better”.
After having used the new SMART freediving computer for the first time, the thing that struck me the most is the really simple display which allows you to read all the necessary information.
Our diving centre has been around on the island of Elba for 10 years now, and has become an important meeting place for freedivers of both types: those who bring with them years of experience, and in the case of students and enthusiasts in the early stages of training, those who have a hunger to learn (which is even more important). So putting the computer to the test has been really easy!
The SMART immediately gives a good first impression due to the fact that it is possible to change batteries by yourself without being forced to send it off and wait for a return from the retailer. This together with its very competitive price definately make it a very interesting freediving accessory.
But now we’re getting to the best bits!
Once upon a time there was a little fish that didn’t want to swim on the surface….
“Did I ever tell you that my son prefers to go underwater than swimming!?”
During the last ten years that Katabasis started organizing Summer Freediving and Water Sports Camps for young children and teenagers, this is one of the things that I have heard more often then ever. It’s one of the things that always brings me back memories of my childhood where I was ‘eagerly encouraged’ by my parents to take part in swimming lessons at the pool; I immediately recall the shouting from my swimming teacher (an Austrian lady with the grace of an elephant), the fatigue and exhaustion in doing endless lengths of the pool back and forth…not to mention the unpleasant taste of the chlorine! So it obviously wasn’t what you might call a stimulating experience and clearly it wasn’t the spark which further on in my life made me decide to dedicate my life to water and more specifically to the Sea.
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