If you ask the pros, they’ll tell you that free diving is a safe and rewarding sport that can improve your physical and mental health, as long as you follow the rules and train properly.
They’ll also tell you that free diving is not a competition with others, but with yourself, and that you should always listen to your body and respect your limits.
If you ask the critics, they’ll tell you that free diving is a risky and reckless activity that can cause serious injuries or even death, especially if you push yourself too hard or dive too deep.
They’ll also tell you that free diving is not worth the hype, and that you should stick to snorkeling or scuba diving instead.
The truth is somewhere in the middle.
Free diving is not inherently dangerous, but it does have some inherent risks that you need to be aware of and manage accordingly.
Some of the most common risks are:
Barotrauma: This is when the pressure changes in the water damage your ears, sinuses, lungs, or other organs.
It can cause pain, bleeding, infection, or even permanent hearing loss or lung collapse.
To prevent barotrauma, you need to equalize your ears and sinuses regularly during your descent and ascent, and avoid diving if you have a cold or congestion.
Hypoxia: This is when your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen due to holding your breath for too long or diving too deep.
It can cause dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness, or even brain damage or death.
To prevent hypoxia, you need to breathe properly before and after your dive, monitor your dive time and depth, and never dive alone or beyond your training level.
Shallow water blackout: This is when you lose consciousness near the surface due to a sudden drop in blood pressure caused by hypoxia or rapid ascent.
It can cause drowning, brain damage, or death. To prevent shallow water blackout, you need to avoid hyperventilating before your dive, ascend slowly and steadily, and always have a buddy watching over you.
As you can see, free diving is not a joke. It’s a serious sport that requires proper training, equipment, and safety measures.
If you do it right, it can be an amazing experience that will open your eyes to a whole new world of beauty and wonder.
If you do it wrong, it can be a fatal mistake that will end your life in a flash.
So how dangerous is free diving?
Well, that’s up to you. You can make it as safe or as risky as you want. Just remember: don’t be stupid, don’t be greedy, and don’t be dead.