Looking back I have been with GUE for quite a while now. It has actually already been seven years since I took my first GUE Fundamentals class and got hooked on GUE’s approach towards scuba diving. But at that time, I already had another love: freediving. Through all the years of becoming an ambitious cave diver and enthusiastic GUE Instructor, I have never lost my passion for this elegant and relaxing variation of our sport. Being a CMAS freediving instructor and former world record holder some of my students knew about my freediving history, I was so often questioned about stories, tips and classes, that after a while I couldn’t resist trying to connect the two worlds. The result was that in February I conducted the first freediving workshop specially designed for GUE divers.
The workshop took place in my hometown of Elmshorn in northern Germany, which is said to be the nucleus of the German freediving community. In choosing this place, I was able to get the help of three of my best friends - Sharanne Wheeler, Curt Teichgraeber and Werner Moritzen – all expert freediving instructors with their own long history in this sport. Our group was rounded off by yoga instructor Andrea Luethje.
We started the first day with the inevitable theory, but our main focus was on practice. Our goal was to offer our students as much time as possible to improve their underwater swimming skills, learn how their bodies react during a breath-hold dive, and how to behave as a safety freediver. Between pool sessions our yoga teacher Andrea taught the students some breathing techniques, stretching and relaxing methods, and as a bonus, a special series of exercises to strengthen the muscles in the lower back - the part of the body, that tends to start aching on longer scuba dives.
At the end of the two days we found ourselves among the most relaxed and happiest group of students! Everybody was excited about their own abilities whether it was “simply” holding their breath during a static apnea dive, swimming long distances after completely exhaling, or feeling physically exhausted but mentally relaxed and happy after two very intense days.
When reflecting upon the feedback we received at the end of the weekend, I am sure that those who took part in this workshop received a lot of valuable information that will help them in their future scuba diving adventures and even in their everyday life.
Thank you, everybody, we all enjoyed the time with you!