|Freediving Course Testimonials|
I can honestly say that taking Joe's [Sheridan] class has changed everything I thought I knew about freediving...
and handling uncomfortable situations in the water. I've surfed and competed on a professional level for over 10 years, and within that time experienced several "close calls" in some of world's largest surf. My comfort level has increased 100 percent with this course. Joe's knowledge, expertise, and demeanor are unsurpassed...period.
I can't "Thank" Joe, and FII enough for presenting this class to the public. EVERY watersport enthusiast should take this course!
FII Waterman Survival Course with Joe Sheridan
Just wanted to send you a quick note to say THANK YOU and that I was impressed on how you ran the class. Just a little background on myself so that you have an understanding my thought process on taking the class and me being impressed with how you ran the class. I am an examiner and a member of the Technical Team for the Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Snowboard Instructors or PSIA/AASI. In other words I kind of do what you do for the snowboard professionals so that they can increase their teaching certification. So I kind of understand some of the trials and tribulations you go through putting on an event like yours.
I was truly impressed how "Safety" conscious you were all while getting us to be aware of others who could experience life or death situations and getting us prepared and for many real life situations. I would have not have ever thought that I could hold my breath for 3 minutes or even thought that I could free dive 20 meters or approx. 66 feet. But with your patience and and training I was able to do these things. I am now using the techniques you taught us while I am surfing some bigger waves, since my spring, summer, and fall gig is competing on the Association of Surfing Professionals or ASP Longboard Tour and have been in some hairy situations.
Thank you for the experience and training Mark!
AASI-W Tech Team Member
ASP Longboard Competitor, currently 5th in North America
FII Level 1 Freediver with Mark Lozano
I just wanted to share my gratitude to Bobby Kim for his wonderful teaching ability for the free diving class I took in the Bahamas last week. Bobby was very professional and knowledgeable about free diving skills and safety measures. He answered all our questions and made us feel safe in the water at all times. During static breath hold in the pool his voice was very calming and reassuring.
We all learned so much from his class and he has helped is all to be better prepared for diving and the sea.
Please recognize Bobby for his amazing teaching ability and his friendly attitude.
Thank you so much,
Shannon Truax, RN
FII Level 1 Freediver course, Bobby Kim, Deans Blue Hole, Bahamas
FII level one course review; I am born and raised in Florida and spend the majority of my freethinker either fishing and diving. I have been diving since I was physically able to as a kid and thought I was pretty decent at it but I wanted a better understanding of of freediving besides " hold your breath and blitz to the bottom".
What I have learned in the in the level one class is exponential to my success. I increased my static breath hold by 1:15 minutes, learned many different and correct ways to equalize, learned safety, diving techniques and the science behind all of it that makes you better.
The amount of professionalism and sense of security you get from Johnathan [Dickinson] the instructor and owner of Florida Freedivers few can duplicate.
If you're looking to better your diving regardless of what level you think you are the FII level one class is something you will greatly benefit from. I STRONGLY recommend it.
Thank you very much Florida Freedivers.
FII Level 1 Freediver Course with Jonathan Dickinson, Florida Freedivers www.floridafreedivers.com
West Palm Beach, Florida
Hello Maca [Benitez],
I would like to thank you again for everything you taught me and for your patience and understanding. I learned so much Maca! Going to Playa Del Carmen and taking the FII Level 1 Freediver course with you was the best decisions I could have made, you are a wonderful teacher and a super person all around.
FII Level 1 Freediver with Macarena Benitez www.apnea.mx
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Hey Mark [Lozano],
Just wanted to give some feedback: I'm really happy that I enrolled in the FII freediving program especially "safety" before "performance". Both you and Vaclav presented the info. that fostered explicit direct instruction which is the most successful manner of instruction. Additionally, I understand that V. was being observed for FII instructor certification. I was very comfortable working with V. during the class, pool session, and open water portion. During the pool and open water, where we interacted most, he was positive, supportive, never used negative phrasing, modeled frequently and upon request, used humor, and customized instruction based upon the needs of the individual.
I hope these comments are useful. I will certainly recommend FII in the furture.
March 2013, FII Level 1 Freediver with Mark Lozano and Vaclav Havlik
Dear Martin & FII,
My husband and I took the F.I.I. Freediver Level 1 class this past weekend with instructor Errol Putigna. I just wanted to tell you how impressed I am with the course
content and the superb instruction given by Errol. I applaud your focus on freediving safety. I’m sure you hear this a lot, but your course made me cringe at the years of freediving and spearfishing I spent unsafe.
With a new awareness on safety, I really only want to dive with those who have taken the course! And especially for someone (me) who tends to get lost in the blue beauty, the priority of my buddy will take precedence.
The course was extremely thorough, touching on all aspects of basic freediving. I appreciate the presentation of the science behind it all, the physiology, the physics, correct breathing techniques. The class refreshed my interest and love for the sport!
I must say, when you found Errol, you found a goldmine.
From classroom to pool to ocean and in between, he is a captivating yet calm teacher. I’m sure you know--Errol’s got this amazing positive energy that emanates constantly and sets everyone at ease.He includes each person into topic
examples; knows the material exceedingly well; shows interest in his students; and easily shares a wealth of knowledge and experience. A competent, mature leader. Errol not only focused on safety in almost every aspect of the class,
but he practiced it consistently. He was the perfect role model each time he came up from a dive, always calm, always succinct in his safety procedures.
He seems to genuinely want each student to succeed. One student needed a little extra coaching on the static apnea, and with Errol giving him patient one-on-one time, the student got over his mental obstacle.
He turned one of my failed attempts at 50 feet into a fantastic teachable moment for everyone. Errol’s relaxed, peaceful attitude is contagious—and is exactly what we need when freediving.
And on top of it all, he shot video of our ocean dives, and edited a video to music he sent to us. Errol’s passion for teaching and freediving made the class a true joy.
Many thanks, and best of luck to you above and below water,
I took Mark Lozano's FII Level 1 freediving course in October of 2011 as a way to gain more confidence with breath holds and to get an extra edge before attending the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, FL. The techniques I learned in that class helped me excel during the rigorous training involved in the five-month Marine Engineer Dive Officer course. The FII class dramatically increased my confidence in the water and the skills I developed there helped me to remain calm during stressful situations underwater, especially during Pool Week. I found the Level 1 course to be invaluable and I plan to continue training with FII.
Tenley Barna, LTjg, US Coast Guard
Dear FII Headquarters,
I took my Level 1 last month in Maui with Jon Ammerman and I wanted to let you know that Jon was a fantastic instructor and the class was excellent. As a high school science teacher, I interact with many instructors and Jon's instruction was exellent. Jon has a great rapport with people and made everyone feel comfortable; especially in the open water. Jon's approach to instruction was extremely effective both in the classroom and in the water.
I look forward to returning to Maui next year and increasing my skills.
FII Level 1 Freediver with Jon Ammerman
Hello FII Headquarters,
I just would like to tell you what a great job Brandon Gross did with our FII level one freediving class a few weeks ago. First off he was a very cool guy which made the class super relaxing and not feel like a stiff classroom setting. All of his analogies were on point and really relatable making it super easy to learn the material. Brandon made the extra effort to give individual time to each of us, that really helped me on parts of the course that where I struggled. Me and two other buddies took the class to help out with out spearfishing skills but we gained so much more. I didn't realize how much proper safety tips were so important in doing what we do. Thanks to the class and Brandon's expertise, I can now dive with confidence and go deeper for longer time. Thank you all for offering these classes and I can't wait to get better so I can get my FII Level II certification!!!
Thanks again, see ya in the water real soon!
FII Level 1 Freediver with Brandon Gross
San Diego, California
I recently attended the Level 1 course instructed by Brandon Gross out of Oceanside CA .The course was very informative and was just what i needed to take the next step in my freediving adventure. Brandon was great to have as an instructor. He was very clear in his direction and setup an environment that made it easy to learn. Based on my experiences with Brandon i can deffinatly recommend others to attend a class with him. I also look forward to taking a Level 2 FII class in the future.
FII Level 1 Freediver with Brandon Gross
San Deigo, California
We're very thankful to you and Mark Wallerstein for sharing your knowledge of freediving with us! This Saturday was epic for our marriage. As you learned 15 years ago we met and Brock proposed while swimming with the dolphins for a week on a live-aboard boat "Bottom Time". Sharon had very little knowledge of water sports and snorkeling was a challenge. After several week-long trips to the dolphins, it was time for her to take a leap of faith and learn how to feel safe in the water.
Saturday's class with Mark and the in-pool experience with you (thank you angel!) helped to release so many fears. As a child Sharon suffered many traumatic experiences while in the water (nasty brother) and for the past 50 years has never felt safe - until this weekend. The time you took, the patience you offered, the knowledge you shared were magical and the experience was mystical!
As you stated on the Wall Photos "No one cares more about your safety then your spouse." I know you have realized this with so many experiences between Martin and yourself. When Brock asked me to join him in the FII Level 1 course, I originally refused - FEAR took control. After his reassurance that there were no expectations and I could set my own limits, I accepted. Your assurance, support and encouragement were key to my complete acceptance.
The safety procedures that we learned in class and in the pool provides us with assurance that we can support each other in the water as well as on land. The steps we learned to breath-hold were amazing. Two and a half minutes for me was unthinkable...now I'm looking forward to 3 and more. Yesterday, with me as Brock's buddy, he held his breath for 3 1/2 minutes!
You have changed our lives. We are now able to be a couple in the water as well as on land. You are never too old to learn...at almost 54 years old, I accepted the challenge and FII changed our lives! We hope to see you on Saturday at the "Open House", and look forward to completing our course with the boat trip. As we mentioned to Mark, the weekend of July 7th is the best for us to schedule the boat dives. We are possibly available before that date also.
Thank you for your kindness, patience and sharing your world. Mark is a great instructor and it was fantastic to meet Martin!
Sharon and Brock
FII Level 1 Freediver course with Mark Wallerstein
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
"Thanks Errol for a truly once in a lifetime class. I can't get over that I've been only breathing at 1/3rd of my capacity for the last 29 years.Being able to properly breathe and learning the breathe up techniques I know that this class will not only make me a better diver, person, but a better athlete as well. Not to mention these instructors were a ton a fun, and very professional.
Thanks again to Errol Putigna and his staff , Jonathan Dickinson, Joe Sheridan and Robert Little"
FII Level 1 Freediver with Errol Putigna
West Palm Beach, Florida
I wanted to thank you again for helping us all have the opportunity to learn and better ourselves as free divers. I really appreciate you coming out to Willows to share your knowledge with us. This was one of the most beneficial investments I have ever made. This class was such an eye opening experience to see how much I can actually improve on my diving abilities. Learning the proper technique and how to make free diving a much more safer activity is crucial to my early stages of learning this trade. There are some mental barriers that I need to practice on overcoming but I am soo excited about pushing myself to the next stage in this journey. I feel like I have the tools now to not only improve my skill and abilities, but to also do it safely.
As far as diaphramatic breathing goes, I haven't stopped since I started on Saturday. My job can be very stressful a lot of the time, so I think this way of breathing will actually help me in being able to relax and lower my heart rate. Not to mention that today in the gym while running on the treadmill, I was concentrating on diaphramatic breathing and I noticed something as clear as day. My lungs were not sore from trying to take in large gulps of air after 15 minutes of running. My legs got tired long before my lungs, and my heart rate was considerably low when I got off the treadmill after 20 minutes. This method of breathing is such a huge gain for me in and out of the water.
I also did want to touch on your abilities as an Instructor. There is no question that you are a great diver, but I also think your ability to effectively communicate the information to your students is great as well. You take the time to make sure everyone understands what you are teaching and you have a great attitude about helping everyone strive to reach their goals. There was never a feeling of pressure to do anything in your class, more like words of encouragement to take this opportunity to push myself past my own comfort zone. Your presence in the water was also very comforting. By you making every dive a personal experience where you are right next to the diver helping and encouraging them to push themselves, is an experience that a beginner diver will never take unless they trust their instructor. I feel privelged to have had this opportunity and I don't plan on this being the last class I take from you.
Overall, this was a great experience, and I know everyone else in your class feels the same way whether they passed the class or not. I plan on staying in touch with you and look forward to seeing you out in the water!
FII Level 1 Freediver with Dan Silivera
I just wanted to thank you both guys for planting the seed 2 years ago with my level 2 class and now for getting me certified to be a FII freediving instructor. Both experiences far surpassed my expectations and the knowledge I gained was invaluable.. I am so happy to be part of the FII family and to have met you guys!. Both of you really changed my life and i look forward to continue on learning!. It has been a privilege to have learned from my heros and the best freedivers and instructors in the world!!! BTW i'm already looking for any way and excuse I can to attend camp in Kona.
Thanks once again!!!
Pompano Beach, Florida
Well as Promised I took the Freediving Course this weekend from Freediving Instructors International at their location in Jupiter Florida. Fantastic Instructor, Jonathan Dickinson, and assisted by Robert Little on the Ocean Dive.
First of all their were divers of all ages there with quite a varying Skill Set, and everyone had something to bring to the Table. The Theory was followed by a pool skill test, and in a few short Hours we we taught the correct way of Breathing, which in a Total time of less than 20 minutes, increased my breath hold to 3 minutes during that portion of Practice. Next day was the Ocean out by Jupiter, Florida.
We went out on the Blue Tang, operated by Scuba Works in Jupiter Florida, (great Folks by the way), and we left the Dock around 8:30 AM and Arrived at out diving Spot around 45 Minutes Later. A float was on the surface and a Weight was attached to a Rope 66' below the surface and Marked at various Depths down to the weight at 66 Feet. After three Progressive Dives to these Various Depts, I made my first dive to 66' by pulling my self downs the rope to the Weight Below. Again after a short Pause to practice safety skills we than made a 66' free dive by Swimming Down, and Not Pulling down. IT WAS Fantastic!!.
But the Most important skill was not the breath hold, or the Deep dive. But it taught me how and why to be a good Dive Buddy to anyone that is Freediving. And to know the signs and Symptoms of another Diver in Trouble, and to assist him/her in any way Possible
A Fantastic Course and Hats off to Martin Stepanek for developing this course which will make me a better speardiving Buddy to anyone I go Diving With.
Thanks for the great diving course. It pushed my boundaries and has provided the information and confidence needed for my continued progression.Please pass along my thanks to Brandon Gross as well, I do not have his email address. Also, let me know about those fins, if not I think I have another option.
Once again, thanks a ton.
F.I.I. Freedive Class, Totally Worth the Money
I took the Level 1 FII class last weekend with my nephew and could not be more happy with the decision.
The information and the instructors were top notch. I really feel safe in the water now, shallow water blackout is no longer the monster under the bed for me. Make a class happen, the safety skills are the best and improving your depth and bottom time is great. I cant say enough good things about the instructors and the class. Cant wait to take Level 2.
Hey Dan Silviera,
Thanks again. It was really an awesome day and a real privilege. I know I have said a few times already how grateful I am but I just don't have the words to describe just how good I felt while we were out on the water. It has most to do with the amount of physiologic, psychological and emotion stress I have been under and have placed on myself over the past about 7 years, with few real releases. I wish I had taken the class and made the move back toward the water 10 years ago. I have to be honest, with as comfortable as I am in and around the water I was still just a little bit nervous about the class. But from the beginning your laid back, calm and relaxed style that morning made all the difference once we got out there and on site. It is completely opposite to how things are done in the military. I learned so many things on so many levels its incredible. Your example is to be emulated and I will endeavor to do so in my own activities.
Your class had a real easy natural order to it. Everything we did had a purpose and a reason and it was all done in such a relaxed way. You have a great course Dan.
I will be talking up your class to fellow divers at work now that I have taken it. I hope to get enough people interested to fill or almost fill the seats. Almost forgot. Thanks for the pictures. I look at them and one of the things that come to mind is just how much I am not thinking about while I am out there. I apologize for being so openly introspective about the experience but I thought that knowing your students and understanding their motivations can only help make you a better teacher. Your role as teacher was one of the focal points of the day and as such is integral to the overall experience. Again your great example will not be one easily forgotten. All these words are just so when I say "Thank you" you know where that thank you is coming from. Way down deep."
"The FII Waterman's survival course was eye opening to say the least. The classroom portion explained the science behind breathe holding and the safety techniques perfectly and prepared me for what was to come during the pool and open water portions. The open water portion simulated big wave hold downs and disorientation very well while the pool session prepped me for the open water and taught me training exercises. As a result of the course I feel more prepared for the big swells of the winter than I ever have and have gained a training partner / big wave buddy from the class who I have the utmost confidence in. I fully recommend the FII Waterman's Survival Course to anyone who is going out the ocean surfing or in rough water conditions. With big waves it's only a matter of time before a serious hold down, broken board or bad wipeout happens; the proper training may save your life or the life of another."
San Diego, Course hosted by Mark Lozano
I just took the FII Level I class in Hermosa Beach last 11/19-20/2011 with Mark Lozano, and I think the $275 was well worth it. I have been freediving and spearfishing for over 45 years now, yet I found most--if not all--of the information given in the class to be new and absolutely relevant to me, especially the safety aspect. I'm now looking forward to take the Level II course.
FII's Level 2 was one of the greatest things I have ever encountered. One day I had noticed that my regular spearfishing buddies were consistently outdiving me after taking a so called freediving course. It had been a month since we dove together and could not believe how comfortable they looked in the water with such long bottom times. I went home to research the freediving class they were bragging of and enrolled myself in the next class FII had available. The course has opened a new world for me. Of course my spearfishing ability has improved, but this merely scratches the surface of what I have learned. The safety skills that are taught here are, in my opinion, a prerequisite to anyone wishing to freedive. I am now much calmer in the water, which has allowed me to interact with various marine animals that I would have never thought possible. I've been in the water my entire life as a visitor, but now, sometimes I feel like I am a part of it.
Through FII, I have met many like minded people that are drawn to the water like a magnet. Many of these people have become my good friends that I hope to have as friends for life.
West Palm Beach, Florida
I just wanted to extend a very big thank you to all of you at FII for such an awesome learning experience. Martin Stepanek, I can't thank you enough for all the insight you've given us into the world of freediving. The knowledge that I gained in the Level 2 Freediver course is priceless and it has given me a completely different outlook on my personal freediving. During the 4 day course I shattered my personal bests including static apnea as well as depth and I can't wait to get back in the water and start practicing the teachings and techniques you've shared with us. Thanks again!
From the Big Island...
After taking Martin Stepanek's freediving courses I was shocked by the vital knowledge that I was lacking to progress forward in my diving carrier. By taking the courses I had accelerated my knowledge, skill, ability and safety at an exponential rate that would have otherwise taken me a lifetime to attain.
USA Spearfishing Champion - Team USA 2010 member
The Waterman Survival course was fantastic! - a requirement for anyone participating in water sports of anykind-including the "Weekend Warriors" like myself that still think they are 21 years old!
There is no substitute for preparing for real life events and circumstances. This course brings the potential water hazard up close and personal so one can be prepared and confident going forward with their respective sport.
Appreciate you excellent communication skills in the class and careful and patient instruction in the water.
I think everyone would especially find the creativity of the swimming pool segment enjoyable and satisfying.
Shaun Hurley, MBA
Real Estate Broker
Martin and Nikki,
I would like to express our extreme satisfaction with the quality of the FII Junior Freediver course as well as with Errol Putigna. I knew that having my kids in the class would be challenging but Errol’s teaching experience and his patience made it all seem easy. We all learned a tremendous amount and had a thoroughly enjoyable experience!
I have renewed confidence in the water now and I am excited about practicing my newly learned skills this coming weekend. Capt. Randy Towe, and I (he also took the course) will be freediving in Bimini or the FL Keys this weekend and as freshly certified freedivers and we are looking forward to doing so with the confidence that we now understand how to do so safely and effectively.
I am eagerly recommending your course to all of my friends and will continue to do so. When I am ready I will be taking the level 2 course and I look forward to continuing to develop these new skills.
West Palm Beach
FII L2 CLASS WITH MARK LOZANO
I recently had the pleasure of taking an F.I.I. Level II freediving course in Hermosa Beach California with Mark Lozano. Mark was an excellent instructor. The 4 days I spent training with him were extremely challenging both academically and physically. Guiding the class through the workload, Mark made the curriculum approachable and meaningful. With Mark I felt a level of assurance that allowed me to push beyond my limits. Even with challenging marine conditions and poor water visibility, Mark's ability to inspire and lead allowed for the successful completion of practical components. Mark made nearly every dive alongside the students. Seeing Mark just above me after turning to ascend on deep dives gave me the confidence to grow my abilities. His coaching and mentoring enabled me to succeed in my life long goal of reaching 100 feet. Your organization is served well by his presence here in California. Because of his class I am now inspired to continue with my training and look forward to participating in a level III class some day in the future.
FII STRETCHING FOR FREEDIVING
“I would like to thank, you and Martin for your nice effort to make this DVD. I think is one step forward for all the freedivers who care about real freediving training. These stretching exercises I think would help everyone to face the pressure in any depth without any problem to get injured. From now on I will start to make these exercises and I am definitely sure in few months from now on to have and see big changes to myself when I freedive. Martin explains every exercise so clear and easy understanding. Hope this is just a beginning and in the near future more freediving DVDs will follow.”
I have fresh news for you...during the last two weeks I was training two students of mine to participate in FAZZA Breathhold Competition and few hours ago one of them placed 3rd and won the bronze cup plus the cash prize... The skills I learned from you guys and the FII experience of teaching people this sport helped me to make this achievement.
FII Instructor based in Qatar
I want you to know how impressed I was with your expert knowledge of all aspects of the sport. The class exceeded my expectations in every way. If you ever want to come down and spear the remote spectacular atolls of Belize let me know.