Review of the Apneaman Apneautic Freediving Buoy

A while ago I did a review video on the Apneaman Freediving Buoy (Apneautic).

Below I have embedded the video for you to watch, but there is one subject in particular I still wanted to discuss here, since I did not discuss it in depth in the video: the rope. I will keep it short though, and let the video speak for itself.

There are different opinions on what properties the ideal freediving rope should have. Basically there are a couple of main separating criteria: (1) does it float or not; (2) is it 10mm or 12mm thick; and (3) does it stretch a little or the least amount possible.

(1) Whether the line floats or not mostly influences the handling after the dive. I think it is mainly a personal preference whether you find it more convenient to knot it back up and/or put it back into the buoy when it sinks down or comes to the surface after you have pulled up the bottom weight.

(2) The thickness of the line is also a matter of personal preference. I like the rope a bit thicker. It just feels nicer in the hand when grabbing it. That said: I’m a pretty big fellow.

(3) The elasticity (or possible percentage of elongation) of the rope is especially a factor in deep dives. Simply put: if the line is 100 meters long and has a possible 4% elongation that is a possible 4 meters extra you might unintentionally get. Of course the negative influence of this on your dive is very much dependant on the sort of bottom weight or anchoring you use and whether you have or have not taken this factor in consideration. Ideally, though, you have the least amount of elongation possible.

The Freedive Café: my favourite episodes

If you don’t know, now you know!

There is a podcast for freedivers and it is called: The Freedive Café.

I think I’ve mentioned The Freedive Café before, but I can’t remember in which post. If I didn’t say it before: the podcasts are highly recommended (if not a must) for anyone who’s interested in or obsessed (;-)) with freediving.

The concept is pretty basic: every episode Donny Mac (McFarlane) interviews one of the bigger names in freediving and asks them about their history, their first contact with the sport, their progression, the obstacles they encountered, the lessons they learned, any plans they might have for the future, etcetera. To conclude the podcasts Donny usually asks them about their morning routine and a book recommendation.

Depending on the guest and their expertise, some podcasts will go deeper into training methods, the science behind freediving or the effective teaching and coaching of newbies to expert freedivers.

Below is a list some of my favourite episodes, but let me start off by saying that anyone new to The Freedive Café should – of course – begin with the first episode and let Donny (himself) explain what it’s all about.

The list:

The Italians                                                                                                                                What’s not to love about the Italians? Exactly: nothing! There is truly nothing not to enjoy about their accents, confidence, experience, slight hubris, brutal talent for storytelling and the fact that they are living freedive legends. Umberto Pelizzari is featured in episodes #20 and #63. Andrea Zuccari is featured in episode #51.

The freedive king of YouTube                                                                                               Almost everyone that has done any sort of search for freediving on YouTube knows who I’m talking about: Adam Stern (episodes #9 and #36). This hyperactive and funny Australian is not only a very popular online video maker (together with his partner), but a serious freediving athlete and organizer of the popular Deep Week events (usually hosted on Bali, Indonesia).

A Danish feel-good story                                                                                                             Stig Pryds is a Danish freediver with an interesting back-story. Suffering from a condition known as psoriatic arthritis, he was condemned to retire earlier than he had planned and forced to use aids just to be able to walk. That all changed when he discovered that he could manage the condition through freediving, yoga and eating a plant-based diet. Stig is featured in episodes #4 and #65.

The expert freediving coach                                                                                                   Down in Indonesia there is a place called Apnea Bali. You can go there to do the ordinary freediving courses or to get some serious high level coaching by Julia Mouce. We’re talking about elite freedivers that appreciate her guidance. Listening to this woman talk, you immediately realise this is an all around freediving badass. She has strong opinions backed by well thought-through arguments and she’s anything but a punishment to listen to. Julia is featured in episodes #28 and #52.

The oxygen advantage                                                                                                             There are a couple of episodes that don’t feature freedivers. Episode #54 is one of those. Patrick McKeown might know little about freediving, he knows a lot about functional breathing and the science around this thing we do that’s so extremely critical to our (quality of) life. This episode is generally interesting, even to non-freedivers. And even though you might think: “what’s the use for freedivers, aren’t they explicitly in the business of breath-holding and not breathing?”; those two actions go hand-in-hand and are way more (performance-)interdependent than you might realise.

The World Champ                                                                                                                          The most impressive freedive perfomances in recent times have been achieved by Russian freediver Alexey Molchanov, son of the late Natalia Molchanova. This prodigy is the deepest self propelled human being on planet earth (vid below). This impressive fact is by itself reason enough to listen to his story and take on the sport. Alexey is featured in episode #35.

The old freedive Yoda                                                                                                                    His coaching style might not be as Zen-like and incoherent as Yoda’s, but Aharon Solomons is definitely a wise old man with many lessons to teach. Come to think of it: might be better to compare him to Rocky Balboa’s coach “Mighty” Mick. In two parts, episodes #15 and #16, Donny and Aharon discuss a whole lot of subjects: from equalization techniques and their origins, to residual volume dives, to mouthfill, to lung squeeze problems, to packing, to brain-waves and dreaming, and so forth.

I hope the (already) avid listeners of the podcast can agree with the above selection and if this is the first time you’re hearing (reading) about The Freedive Café podcasts: definitely give them go if you’re interested in freediving!

Goals set, Goals met (NYE-post)

December 31st, 2018.

No better day to look back and contemplate a year of freediving.

In October 2017 I started on a journey to learn freediving and took you by the hand as much as possible. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, mainly because equalization of the middle ear didn’t come naturally for me. I had to grab every possible opportunity to learn about it and practice quite a bit. You can read about the whole process on this blog and hopefully it will help or has helped some of you out there.

When I first tried for my level 1 freediving certification I couldn’t equalize upside down at all. So I failed miserably. The bottom of the Dive4Life dive tower seemed very far away, reaching it so unattainable. However… in the back of my mind two primary goals formed: getting my level 1 certification one way or the other, and touching the bottom of the 20 meters deep pool in Germany.

After quite a bit of practice in between, in March of this year I went back to Dive4Life to do the re-examination for my SSI level 1 freediver certification. Luck was not on my side. I was having a proper nose cold that, together with the pressure to finally meet the requirements, had taken away all relaxation I so sorely needed. But all’s well that ends well. And so it did. Goal number one reached!

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to kill two birds with one stone. I’d have to return one day to truly conquer the pool by reaching the bottom.

In the meanwhile I have written about my summer practice in the Vinkeveense Plassen (one and two) and reaching new PB’s, but in my last post I left the readers at a Paris overlay ahead of a holiday in Spain, ending with a post scriptum hint that my luggage (full of freediving gear) did arrive at Malaga airport. Behold below the result of two good days of diving with my girlfriend’s brother who knew to find all nooks and crannies (watch in HD):

You can see the visibility was great and most beauty is to be found in shadowy places 🙂

I was really looking out for some encounters with octopuses. Which are a lot harder to spot than you might think. Especially if you don’t have that spear-fisherman’s eye… Unfortunately I got an ear infection soon after above images were shot and had to stop diving for a couple of days 😦 That was a huuuuge bummer.

The last couple of days I was able to enter the water again and I still kept on the lookout for octopuses. Sadly without having my camera with me, it was only on the last day of the holiday I had an encounter, but a long one that lasted maybe fifteen minutes. A small octopus in shallow water, constantly changing his colours, moving and settling, squirting ink when I came too close for his liking. What fascinating creatures.

After this holiday, going into autumn, regular diving had quickly stagnated. The outdoor waters of the Netherlands were still okay for a while, but the weather out of the water became too harsh to truly keep enjoying dives outside. Hoisting oneself in and out the wetsuit on the water’s edge became too cold a undertaking to keep it an enjoyable experience.

So what better to do than go back to Dive4Life and finally touch summit (read: bottom) there? Exactly: nothing… So when I was invited to come with some buddies I met at the Vinkeveense Plassen last summer, I took a day off work on the 7th of December and joined them for a day of diving in the pool in Siegburg, Germany.

What can I say… both goals were reached this year that day 🙂 I filmed it all (except for the shot of me freefalling) so best to join me in this predominantly POV-video and see for yourself:

And… you might ask, what about new goals? Any new years resolutions? Well… Next year I plan to get comfortable between 25-30 meters and possibly get my level 2 certification. I’ll keep you guys posted and I’ll keep the video’s coming. Oh yeah, and also, as a last but not least: I’m planning a couple of gear reviews for you guys!

Till next year! Best wishes, keep diving and keep safe!