Freediving in Ibiza with Freedive Ibiza by Tanya Taylor
In Ibiza, you’re never more than 15 minutes away from a beach, so it’s not surprising that there’s an incredible range of water sports on offer.
Twenty years ago aquatic activities were pretty limited but these days there’s a multitude of different ways for you to explore and frolic in the warm and crystal clear Mediterranean.
Some of us are naturally cautious of the water, reluctant to venture in too deep but others just dive on in there without a care and seem to have a natural affinity with the sea.
If you’re not very comfortable with getting your head wet then the gentle approach of Freediving could be a great way for you to connect with the water and build up your confidence.
If you love the sea but have never tried Freediving, then what are you waiting for? Get in touch with your inner mermaid while you explore Ibiza’s hidden underwater world with this very unique activity.
We’ve all heard of scuba diving when you descend into the depths of the sea with the help of large air bottles attached to your back. Freediving is pretty much the same but without the use of bottles. Your dive is supported by only your own physical and mental capabilities.
It’s a recognised sport, with regular competitions testing athletes in many different disciplines. The main regulatory body is AIDA International which was established in 1992. One of the most challenging disciplines of Freediving is CNF (constant weight no fins) which involves diving without the use of fins, weights or dive line.
The world record for CNF is held by William Trubridge who managed to dive to an impressive -102 metes below the surface of the sea in 2016.
Of course, it’s not all about reaching depths and pushing goals, lots of people enjoy Freediving recreationally, for the pleasure of being peacefully submerged in an aquatic world without cumbersome bottles and bubbles spoiling the experience.
One of the beauties of Freediving is that it allows the freedom to ascend and descend at your own will and speed, with agility and ease, the opposite of SCUBA diving where you have to do it in slow stages.
All humans have a natural ability in the water, some theories suggest we evolved from dolphins or at the very least, we used the open seas as a regular hunting ground. When your face is submerged in water it triggers a mammalian reflex which automatically slows down the main organs of the body, preserving oxygen giving more time underwater. This reflex means that we all have a natural capability for Freediving.
Some people would consider it an extreme sport but it’s the opposite in fact. You need to be super calm and relaxed when diving down, any stress or panic will deplete oxygen and be detrimental to your dive.
It’s not easy coming to terms with being submerged under the water and often it’s the psychological side of Freediving that needs the most strengthening. When you have reached this meditative stage of feeling calm and relaxed beneath the surface, you’ll feel completely at home amongst the fishies gliding free and weightlessly through a beautiful underwater world.
Ibiza is the perfect place for practising freediving the surrounding waters are still, inviting and very hospitable and a soothing 26 degrees in peak summer. It offers good depth not far from the shore and amazing visibility.
The forests of seagrass (Posidonia) found around the Ibiza coastline are the biggest deposits in the whole of the Mediterranean. It filters and purifies the water and this is why the seas around Ibiza are particularly crystal clear. A lot of the coast is rugged and rocky, home to Urchins and starfish as well as many curious shoals of fish, playful octopuses and colourful morena eels.
There’s an interesting and thriving community hiding down there beneath the waves. Though Freediving doesn’t require a lot of special equipment, it does require a lot of skill, technique, guidance and safety support.
The main rule of Freediving which is preached even amongst the greatest athletes is NEVER GO ALONE. If you want to try Freediving then I can’t stress enough how important it is to go with the professionals to learn, under proper supervision, all of the special techniques required for you to have a safe and enjoyable dive.
If you want to take your relationship with the sea to another level amongst the setting of your favourite holiday island, then Freedive Ibiza is the place to get acquainted.
It was established in 2015 by Louisa Collyns who has a very impressive resume when it comes to being in the water.
Not only has she dived all over the world as a safety diver, but she was also the first ever woman to be appointed the head of safety at an international competition, a true pioneer for the women of the diving world.
She is a fully qualified PADI (Scuba) and AIDA instructor and is also part of AIDAs safety committee. Louisa’s calm and centred demeanour makes her a perfect teacher who has years of experience safely guiding students through the ways of the sea.
Her ease in the water really does inspire confidence and a strong sense of security, you literally couldn’t be in safer hands in the water.
Also part of the Freedive Ibiza team is Gary McGrath who as well as being a highly qualified and experienced diver and teacher he’s also been competing professionally in the sport for ten years.
Before joining Freedive Ibiza, Gary spent 18 months teaching at the worlds biggest Freediving school. Gary really enjoys the practice of breath-holding and his personal best is an amazing 7 minutes and 32 seconds!
In September this year, he will be sharing his breath-holding skills with curious yogis at a unique Ibiza Freedive and Yoga retreat.
Last year, the worlds greatest Freedivers came to Ibiza to take part in the Molchanova Grand Prix. Naturally, Louisa was head of safety of the event, the first of its type upon Ibiza’s shore.
The competition was organized by Alexey Molchanova in memory of his mother Natalia Molchanova. She was one of the world’s greatest female Freedivers who tragically went missing off the coast of Formentera in 2015.
A stark reminder that Freediving has its dangers and that’s why it’s so important to learn under correct supervision. Louisa and Gary offer to take you out on group excursions to several unique and magnificent spots on the island, including the mystical Es Vedra.
Depending on the dive location and group size, you’ll either start your adventure from the shore or head out to the sea on a small boat. If you don’t have any experience or qualifications in Freediving then it’s necessary to take the Discover Freediving course which can be combined with an excursion.
This means you will be equipped with basic skills and safety knowledge to then try out small dives on location. If you really want to explore the amazing seas and underwater terrain but don’t fancy delving into the deeps then snorkelling tours can also be arranged.
No matter what method you choose, you will be absolutely amazed by the spectacular
underwater scenes of tunnels and caves that only a minority get to explore. It’s a fun feeling to be bobbing about in the sea for a few hours having fun and feeling like your slowly turning into a dolphin.
When you finally head back to solid land it feels like you’ve been on a retreat for a week. The breathing techniques combined with the peaceful, aquarium scenery and the gently lapping waves massaging the skin give you a feeling of pure tranquillity and rejuvenation.
The beautiful surrounding coastline makes you feel like you’ve stepped from one paradise into another and the feeling that you’ve had a glimpse into a secret world. Louisa’s and Gary’s combined passion, support and enthusiasm will leave you truly inspired.
Freedive Ibiza encompasses pretty much every aspect of Freediving into their services. They offer safety support for underwater filming and photoshoots, private coaching as well as fully certified training for all levels.
Their courses explore, in-depth, all the different methods and techniques of Freediving which will help your reach depths and gradually increase your time under the water. Enabling you to practice Freediving safely and confidently for sport, recreation or hunting.
So if you want a really unique story to share about your holiday in Ibiza or to discover a whole new dimension to the beautiful White Isle and also yourself then head out to the seas for a (supervised) Freediving adventure.
Have fun discovering fascinating creatures and curious aquatic landscapes while at the same time becoming confident in the sea and connecting with a natural ability that you
never knew you had with Freedive Ibiza.
You can find out more via their website www.freedive-ibiza.com or via Facebook here facebook.com/freediveinibiza or for more information the Ibiza Freedive Yoga retreat visit www.yogaandfreediveretreats.com
Tanya can be found up in the northern hills of Ibiza. When she is not taking care of horses, she is usually scribbling away about nature, sunshine and all of the other wonderful things Ibiza has to offer