Dive smarter, not harder! .... It's that easy. Errol Putigna

by Errol Putigna - June 24th

Dive smarter, not harder! .... It's that easy.

Within our professions, whether you’re a doctor, an engineer or a surfer, we look to further our knowledge and education. We make our best attempts to keep current on new information and to ultimately put it into practice. But sometimes there does      come a time in our lives where we become complacent and say, “I think I know enough.” But do we really?

 In freediving and spearfishing the same occurs. We get into the sport, we ask friends what to do to get better, spend exorbitant amounts of time on the internet reading, we spend a mint on gear, we eventually take a course and then we say, “I think I know enough.” Freediving is perhaps one of the only sports where you don’t have to train super hard to be a good freediver, but you definitely have to be smart and know exactly what’s going on. This can easily be done through education.

 When I first got into the sport of freediving, I was scratching for the surface at 40ft. I eventually got some information from a local freedive shop and I took my first course. It was a FII (Freediving Instructors International) Level 2 and I wanted to see what it was all about. I did ok in the course and the gains I made were quite incredible (5:00 static and 85ft personal best). I was pretty happy but I knew if I could do that in only a few days, then there must be more. Many of my friends that had also taken the course stopped there with what they learned and never took another class. Not me, I was hungry for more. I knew I had just grazed the surface of all of this. I started taking freedive class after freedive class, diving the line, spearing with the better spearos in my area and years later becoming an Instructor Trainer for FII (one of the 5 in the world). I started taking an interest in writing curriculum alongside Martin Stepanek and really seeing how this all worked. All I wanted to do is learn more.

 In 2011, FII has come out with a new class called, Waterman Survival. It’s geared toward “extreme” water sports, such as big wave surfing, whitewater kayaking, wakeboarding, etc. A few of the big name surfers such as, Garrett McNamara (surfs 80+ft waves), Andrew Cotton, Jamie O’Brien and Jeff Weatherall, have taken it (BTW, most ended up becoming more interested in actual freediving by the end of the course J). These guys have survived some nasty spills at The North Canyon in Portugal, Mavericks, Jaws and Teahupo’o! They are at the top of their game but they are still furthering their education to get better (and live longer….).

 The same goes with recreational spearing and freediving. It’s not all about hunting at 100ft or diving to 200ft on one breath (although pretty cool and totally attainable). What should be important is to understand your body and what’s happening during a dive even at 30ft., to be safe about it and ultimately, to be truly in tune with yourself. With the proper education, you can enjoy every second of your dive and feel confident. FII has developed different curriculums (click on Courses in above menu) for these very reasons, so that you could learn more about the sports you love. The Internet is great but it requires knowing how to sift through the good and bad information. Classes streamline everything for you and lessen the learning curve. A trained professional will know how to explain it. So, why not take the plunge and really learn to dive smarter, not harder! Dive safe!

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