Freediving Secret - The Silver Bullet Errol Putigna

by Errol Putigna - January 23rd

Freediving Secret - The Silver Bullet

We hear and read about these freedivers diving incredible depths and having spectacular breath-holds. We often ask ourselves, “How do they do it?” “Are they super-human?” Some “perhaps” are but the majorities are normal human beings with an innate aquatic ability that can be easily tapped into by proper instruction and guidance.

We often look for the “silver bullet”, the “secret” on how we can improve our diving ability. I recently gave my brother a FII Level 1 class for Christmas and got him to take the class. He is an emergency medicine doctor, practicing in Orlando, has 5 kids and a real knack for learning, especially when it comes to the human body. He has dabbled in freediving since he was a kid, just like me. We would go with our father spear fishing and plenty of diving to the bottom of the pool to fetch keys. He enjoys the water very much so. When I took my first FII class, he was the first one I called and told about my 5:00 breath-hold. I was super excited and he was in disbelief. To be honest, I couldn’t believe it myself.

He has been tormented with a problem in one of his ears and has complained about having trouble equalizing for quite some time. He was very skeptical that he would do well in the class but I assured him it was not about doing “well” in the class or chasing numbers. It was about learning to freedive safely and putting it all together.

He took the weekend off and came down to Jupiter, FL to take the class. He seemed pretty attentive and obviously knew the science behind what we were teaching. I love teaching physicians and/or anyone in the medical profession because they know the science but never put two and two together to see that it really can be done. After the academic portion of the class, we headed to the pool, did our safety and freediving skills and proceeded to the static apnea portion of the class. He did his series of breath ups and finished with a 3:00 breath-hold (the limit of the Level 1 class). He was fired up, but his real concern was the open-water portion and his equalization. I told him not to worry, just do as he had been taught and everything should work out.

We got to the ocean and it was a bit bumpy. We started with all the skills taught in the academic and confined water portion and started reaching deeper depths. Most of the students were blowing past the personal bests, including my brother. He ended up reaching 66ft 3 times (depth limit of the class). For the next 3 days, he was calling me super excited about his accomplishments. He said, “I don’t know what I did different from before”. I told him, “There is no silver bullet or one thing you did differently. It’s all the little things you did and put together that allowed you do to what you did”.

I often get asked advice about freediving. It’s not about the one thing that makes it work. It’s about putting the puzzle together and making all the pieces fit to make it all work. Perhaps this is what we could call the “Silver Bullet”. That’s what freediving is about. Dive safe!

Errol Putigna

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