Freediving FAQsEmma Farrell
These are the questions we’re asked most often about our freediving courses. If you have a question that isn’t asnwered in our freediving FAQs, feel free to get in touch – we’ll do our best to answer it.
Yes, it is. The course is for people with zero experience of freediving. On our previous courses we’ve had people who’ve done some scuba diving or a little snorkelling, we’ve had experienced spearfishers and people who’ve never ventured deeper than the bottom of their local swimming pool. The pace of the course is set by you and we always teach to your ability. You can stick to shallow dives or, if you’re up for it, you can dive as deep as 20 metres – the depth limit for the RAID Freediver course.
If you’ve already done an AIDA or an SSI freediving course then you can come in at a higher level within the RAID freediving system, as it recognises prior learning. To do the RAID Advanced Freediver course you will need to have completed the SSI Level 1 or AIDA 2 star course. To do the RAID Master Freediver course you will need to have completed the SSI Level 2 course or the AIDA 3 star course.
Yes, you can. While it does help if you’re moderately fit and a non-smoker, it’s not crucial – the most important thing is to be able to relax in the water. As for your age, we’ve had many students in their fifties and sixties, and even on in her eighties. What’s more, multiple world record holder Annabel Briseno didn’t take up freediving until she was in her fifties, so age shouldn’t hold you back.
All that we require is that you complete our medical form – if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions, you will need to get approval from your GP before you try freediving.
Your swimming costume, a towel, flip-flops (or similar) and warm clothes are virtually all you need to bring with you.
We’ll send you an information pack when you book a place on one of our courses that contains a full list of everything you need, along with details on all other aspects of your course.
There are lots of lovely places to stay in the area, from high-end boutique hotels to camping sites. We’ll send you a list of our and other students’ favourites when you book. We would encourage you to book as far in advance as possible as accommodation quickly fills up. Glebe House, where we hold our pool sessions, offers a discount for double/twin rooms booked and if you’re coming alone but don’t mind sharing then let them know and they can put you in with another student. They also offer camping with a full English breakfast.
Absolutely. Let us know when you book and we’ll send you a gift certificate you can present to the lucky man/woman. We usually email an information pack to the person coming on the course but we can wait to do that until after you’ve given them their present if you want to keep it a surprise.
Vobster serves vegetarian and vegan food. Bear in mind that Vobster mainly caters for Scuba divers who like a diet heavy on burgers and chocolate, though. There is a selection of baked potatoes, paninis, flapjacks and herb teas, however if you feel that this would not suffice then we suggest you bring your own food just in case.
Children over the age of 14 can do the RAID Freediver course with parental consent, although we always recommend that a parent take the course with them. We also offer private training for younger children and their parents, with the course content dependent on the age and needs of the child.
There are maximum depth limits for each freediving course we teach:
- RAID Freediver – 20 metres
- RAID Advanced Freediver – 30 metres
- RAID Master Freediver – 40 metres
In reality, the average depth for most dives tends to be far less; for example, on our RAID Freediver courses the average tends to be around 14 metres.
All of our RAID freediving courses offer full RAID accreditation. This means that you will receive certification appropriate to the course you completed.
If you have taken the course but not yet completed the performance requirements then you can come back to one of our club weekends and continue your development with a buddy that we will provide for you. When you feel ready to be signed off with your skills then you can pay £60 for a day with an instructor as part of any of our RAID Freediver Courses (must be booked in advance) and complete your missing skills.
All our instructors are RAID certified freediving instructors. Emma Farrell is the only RAID, SSI and AIDA Instructor Trainer in the UK and her team of instructors have many years of experience under their respective weight belts.
We pride ourselves on our safety record and your safety and comfort is our number one concern. We have a first aid and oxygen kit on standby at all times and our instructors are first aid and CPR trained. We monitor all your dives and whenever you dive on the freediving platform at Vobster Quay you will be using a freediving lanyard.
When you book a place on one of our courses we’ll send you details on suggested preparations, which include advice on diet, breath holding and stretching. This is completely voluntary – the most important thing is to come to the course well rested, healthy and relaxed!
Provided there are spaces (you can check by calling), you can book onto most courses the day before and pay in full. You must still complete our medical form.
You will also still be required to complete the theory portion of the course and pass the final theory exam before the first day of your course – you will not be allowed to enter the water otherwise.
Yes – we have midweek RAID Freediver courses available and if you would like other midweek courses or private courses, please contact Emma for more information.
No, all deposits are non-refundable. However, we can probably arrange for you to come on a different date – get in touch with us to check.
Yes, provided there is space on the course you’d like to attend. We require 14 days’ notice before the start of the course or you will incur re-scheduling or cancellation charges
. If you think you need to reschedule, please get in touch with us immediately.
The water temperature at Vobster Quay varies considerably depending on the time of year and the weather over the preceding 12 months. The warmest we have ever recorded on the surface was 24 degrees and it is always cold at depth. Whatever the temperature, because freediving is about lying on the surface relaxing before a dive, you can get cold if you do not have a sufficiently thick or well-fitting wetsuit.
For insurance purposes, we only accept freedivers if they have completed a recognised course. To enrol on the RAID Advanced Freediver course, you must already be certified as either a RAID Freediver, SSI Level 1 freediver, AIDA 2 star freediver, PFI Intermediate freediver, PADI Freediver speciality or an Apnea Academy level 2 freediver.
If you want to come to one of our training days then you must have the qualifications listed above or be waiting to complete the performance requirements.
The training standards and performance requirements of the RAID Courses are very similar to the SSI and AIDA ones. For example, the maximum depth limits of the RAID courses match those of the SSI and AIDA ones. We offer RAID courses due to the extremely high standard of their student materials, prompt certification and support given to students on their freediving journey.
Yes, we teach all levels of SSI and AIDA courses upon request.
Your RAID freediving qualification is recognised worldwide so your freediving experiences are limitless. If you want to freedive in the UK and abroad then you will usually need at least the RAID Freediver course certification. If you take your freediving to the next level and become an instructor then there are already jobs advertised for RAID freediving instructors around the world.
Everyone has their own unique reasons for taking a freediving course and many people don’t even realise what an impact it will have on their lives until afterwards! Your experience will be your own but many students have remarked on how the course has improved different aspects of their lives, from their health to their confidence, as well as giving them an incredible new hobby.
No. The bends or decompression sickness only affects divers breathing compressed air, divers who mix freediving and scuba diving, or extreme freedivers. You will learn about this on the course but you will not get the bends on any freediving course you do with us.
You don’t need to be terribly confident to do a freediving course as we’re there to guide and encourage you to take things at your own pace. We never push our students unless they need us to and we work very closely with each individual to make sure they feel secure and safe. If you’re concerned then please let us know in advance and we will make sure that you are very close to an instructor at all times.
Unless stated otherwise, you will have at least two instructors on your course. They’ll be picked from our team depending on their availability however Instructor Trainer Emma Farrell is present on all courses.