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John Christopher Fine "John Christopher Fine" RSS Feed (Florida, USA)

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Manual of Freediving: Underwater on a Single Breath
Manual of Freediving: Underwater on a Single Breath
by Umberto Pelizzari
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.52
37 used & new from $23.99

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Europe freediving is an art form., April 4, 2006
In Europe freediving is an art form. It is against the law to spearfish using tanks therefore spearfishermen have had to dive deep in the cold waters of the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea hunting their quarry. More than that, freediving is the building block upon which good diving and underwater skills are based.

In the U.S. quickie scuba courses seek to get uninitiated postulates into the system as soon as possible. This in theory is laudable, and often in resort teaching environments with the ocean at hand to make practical lessons feasible, diver training can be adequate.

There is of course a big difference between a French beginning diver certification that requires 40 dives and turning out certified divers under American certification programs with only five.

In this new book, MANUAL OF FREEDIVING, UNDERWATER ON A SINGLE BREATH, two champions share their knowledge of breathhold diving. Umberto Pelizzari coauthored the manual with Stefano Tovaglieri.

Pelizzari is a graduate of the University of Milan with a degree in informatics. In Italy and throughout the world Umberto Pelizzari is renown, not for work in his degree area, but for his 17 world breath hold records. His legendary deep dives include 80 meters in constant weight, 131 meters in variable weight and 150 meters in no limits freediving. Freediving with one breath of air to those depths and returning to the surface.

Coauthor Stefano Tovaglieri has been a member of Italian apnea teams that have won world championships. Like Pelizzari, Tovaglieri is active in the Apnea Academy ([...] a school for instruction and research into subaquatic breath holding. He holds a university degree in physical education.

The authors are not only champions in their own rights but instructors and coaches whose teaching skills draw upon their years of experience in breath hold diving.

The book is illustrated with sketches by talented artist Nicola Refolo. The drawings make following the text easy and form an integral part of the manual. Every exercise is illustrated with a clear drawing.

Every diver can benefit from this most amazing manual. Ways to clear the ears are covered. Many methods developed by freedivers, who must descend quickly on one breath of air, are described as are exercises that make ear clearing work better. Ear clearing exercises and techniques are not only explained, they are clearly shown by illustrations.

Finning is explained in detail. The economic use of the fin stroke, a requirement for effective free diving, is so often overlooked by scuba divers that the bicycle kick is a norm even among some scuba instructors. Proper use of fins as the basis for scuba diving is a must and the MANUAL OF FREEDIVING provides extraordinary insight into the methodology as well as the proper alignment of the body while finning.

"I haven't been diving in a year-and-a-half because I was pregnant," a woman told me on today's boat dive. "Now that I'm a Mom, I'm concerned and want to be extra careful," she added. The woman was nervous. It was an ocean dive in the Gulf Stream. Stress.

The authors of the MANUAL OF FREEDIVING discuss the issue of stress in diving in great detail. How stress occurs and how stress can be reduced.

Talking to the woman before our scuba dive and explaining what she would see, descending with her, maintaining eye contact, holding her hand below and pointing out creatures, like the large sea turtle she had hoped to see as her `favorite creature," helped take some of the stress away.

"That was the greatest dive I ever had," she said back on the boat. Seasickness took a little of the elation away but the enthusiasm returned back at the dock. Instructors and divemasters can learn similar techniques to change a stressful situation to a great dive from this book.

The manual covers stress in detail with good pointers instructors will find helpful for their students.

Freedivers who pit themselves against the elements with one breath of air, cognizant of the risks involved, need to channel stress properly. They need to be aware of safety precautions and their own limitations.

For insights about stress alone, the MANUAL OF FREEDIVING, is well worth reading.

The book is well written, informative, translated from the original Italian professionally and a must for every serious diver's library.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER: John Christopher Fine is a Master Scuba Instructor and Instructor Trainer. He has authored 23 books, many based on his experience and training as a marine biologist. He has served as an member or officer of many international bodies whose goals are ocean conservation.

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