All images copyright of Daan Verhoeven ©

What is freediving?

What is Freediving?

Freediving or apnea, is the sport of breath hold diving where a diver descends on a single breath of air. People have freedived for millennia, for food, for exploration and more recently for sport. Many divers or swimmers will have practiced freediving at some point, every time you hold your breath and swim underwater you are freediving! It is suitable for any one over 16 years old who can swim and is of sound health.

Training Techniques Safely

At Aquacity freediving we have a strong emphasis on safety. It is a very safe sport when people are properly trained and always diving with a buddy. On a course, not only do you learn the techniques and science behind free diving, but how to plan a dive properly, taking in environmental factors, we train ourselves to dive safely, without incident, and how to rescue for when the unexpected happens.

Breathing Control, Calmness Naturally

Free diving has its roots in yoga, meditation and breathing techniques. It goes way beyond a duck dive and snorkel! Many free divers would argue that it is a good life skill, learning to face your fears, control your breath, still your mind, calm your heart and relax and focus. All humans share something in common. With our aquatic friends the dolphins and seals, the Mammalian dive reflex. When your face comes into contact with water, your heart rate will slow, and this conserves valuable oxygen for when you hold your breath. Your blood will also move into your core, protecting your lungs and vital organs. Your body already knows how to hold its breath! People have been free diving for millennia, looking for food and exploration, it is a really natural thing to do.

Freedom Underwater

Many free divers find that yoga and meditation will help with their underwater practice. We learn proper breathing techniques and hydro-dynamism, freedom of movement underwater with efficient movement, again to conserve oxygen and make the dive last longer. This is one of the reasons that free diving appeals to so many, you are unhindered by heavy equipment and truly free to explore.

Which training agency?

We are current, renewed and insured freediving instructors, with certifications from multiple agencies.
As the UKs only SSI freedive instructor training centre, most of our teaching is with SSI using mares equipment as we really like the training materials and flexible course outlines. All of the courses are internationally recognised and equivalent to other popular agencies, so you can take them to dive any where in the world.

Competitive freediving

Competitive free diving takes place either in the pool or depth. Indoor pool disciplines include dynamic apnea, with or without fins- swimming lengths under water. Also static apnea which is a timed breath hold. The side of competitive free diving that gains the most attention is in the depth. There are three different disciplines, constant weight (where the divers takes the same ballast down and up again) this can be with or without fins. Thirdly, free immersion where the diver pulls himself up and down a rope. There are records being set in variable weight diving, where the diver takes a weighted sled down and swims up under is own power. Finally, a very marginal part of competitive free diving, No limits. The diver relies totally on equipment for this, taking a weighted sled down and a buoyancy aid back up. The record of accidents is high with no limits diving, so until there are better safety systems in place, these records can not be officially ratified.

AIDA international are the main governing body to ratify records, both world and national. A full list of world records can be found here and UK national records here. Each year AIDA hosts at least one world championship, either in the pool or depth or as a team. A full competition schedule is available for athletes to gain ranked points any where in the world.

Why Learn to Freedive in Cornwall?

Wildlife & Shipwrecks

As a peninsular we have miles and miles of coastline to explore, which so many different environments. The coast has wonderful long beaches, attracting surfers, but many are also drawn to the rocky shores of the South coast for its wild life and shipwrecks. We are lucky here at Porthkerris to be sheltered on the most part from the prevailing Westerly winds, on the edge of a marine conservation zone, the famous Manacles.

Diverse & Plentiful Marine Life

Catching the Gulf Stream, the water here is more temperate. For this reason it attracts a huge amount of Marine life. The reef is so pretty, really colourful and bright, it will surprise many with its almost tropical bright colours. The ship wrecks are world famous. We are lucky to have many resident and visiting cetaceans as well- whales and dolphins. Seeing them breach and swim past the dive boat is always breath taking. Cornwall is also home to the Atlantic grey seal, who can sometimes be very curious and approach to nibble a fin.

Silent Exploration

Freedivers make no sound as they explore underwater, so it means that you can get really close to wildlife. Always important to remember never to touch, we always leave the environment as we find it, taking way only happy memories.

Deeper Sites

We also have deep water that we can access via boat for the more experienced free divers who want to go a bit deeper.

Find Out More

So if you are interested in the health benefits free diving has to offer, as well as an incredible ticket to our underwater world, come to visit us at Aquacity Freediving.


We are located at Porthkerris Dive Centre which has 5 star facilities.

There are classrooms, pool and the diving is right off the beach. Camping or self catering apartments are also on site- so no need to leave the beach!

Returning from the ocean to a hot shower and a warm cup of tea at the cafe will seal the deal.