What is freediving or apnea?

If we look in the dictionary, the definition is far too restrictive:

Apnea n.f. (from Greek pnein, breathe). Suspension, voluntary or not, of breathing. Snorkel
Apneist n. Person who enjoys diving underwater.

One could find a multitude of other definitions, each apneist having his own definition of apnea: search for well-being; way to evacuate stress; means to control one’s body, breathing and heart rate; learn to listen to your body want to go beyond; search for depth; desire for extreme sensations; purpose of competition; the big Blue; Pranayama; ….

Apnea, just like scuba diving, also allows you to discover the water, the sea and its inhabitants. But, we have a lot more freedom in freediving than scuba diving: no need to wear bulky and heavy equipment; we can stay in the water for 4 hours if we feel like it, while in dive we are limited by the amount of air in the bottle. It is often (not always!) scuba divers who sign up for training with AIDA, as part of their own club training they practice regularly.

POOL Disciplines


Static apnea is about holding your breath as long as possible. This is done lying on the surface, without moving. It can also be practiced ‘dry’, out of the water. Static is the training base for all other disciplines of apnea, the base of a pyramid, in a way. Static is a competition discipline.

DYNAMIC APNEA – fins & no fins (DYN)

Dynamic apnea is performing the longest distance completely submerged, with or without fins. We use either bifins or a monofin which requires a more precise technique. Weighting is essential for this discipline, whether with or without fins. Dynamic apnea is a competition discipline.

DEPTH Disciplines


Constant weight is descending and ascending along a rope with the sole strength of the fins. The weight does not change, this means we go down and up with the same weight belt. Constant weight is a competition discipline.


Descending and ascending in breatstroke along a rope. Weight does not change. Discipline of competition.


Free Immersion is descending and ascending by pulling along a rope, with only the force of the arms. As with Constant Weight, weighting does not change. The fins are not used. This discipline is used to warm up to get used to the pressure, it is easier to practice compensation, because you can stop by holding the rope. Discipline of competition.


Variable weight is descending using a ballast weight or weighted, the return is done with its own means, either by palming or by pulling along the rope. The descent in Variable Weight can be done either head down or head up while sitting on a sled. If we use the sled to go down, we leave it down and we go back as soon as we reached the bottom weight. This is not a competition discipline.


In No Limits we use a sled to go down and a parachute to go up. The speed of descent depends on the weighting of the sled. The faster we go down, the more we will have to pay  attention to equalization. This is why these last two disciplines are reserved for confirmed apneists who master perfectly their equalization technique. This is not a competition discipline.

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