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in open water

in the pool


what is APnoea diving

„Apnea“ is derived from the Greek word „apnoia“ (literally „not breathing“) and actually refers to the cessation of breathing while sleeping. Since apnea diving is also not breathing compared to scuba diving,
(the non-breathing), the term apnea diving has become established, unlike in the English-speaking world. In English it is called „freediving“ or freediving – this term also occurs in German, but less frequently.

The following saying distinguishes the types of diving equipment types and free diving very well:

„Scuba divers dive to the fish, apnoea divers dive to themselves!“

since when does apnoea diving exist

Free diving has been around since humans began hunting and gathering in the water. There are archaeological findings that indicate that shells and sponges were collected in deep water more than 6000 years ago.

In ancient times, the Greeks even had trained freedivers in the military as a kind of „combat divers“ by destroying underwater barriers.

Spear fishing in the Mediterranean has been the most common historical exercise since then.

Open water – disciplines


„Constant Weight“ translates to „constant weight“ and refers to the entire deep dive. The diver dives to the depth and back up again with fins and additional weight on his body, all under his own power. During the entire dive, a rope serves as a guide, and the diver is also secured to this rope by means of a lanyard (siege equipment) The weight is usually lead (usually plastic-coated nowadays). The weight MUST remain on the diver or the dive is invalid. (Without lead, the buoyancy would be greater and thus the ascent much easier). More on the subject of „lead“ under „Equipment


„Constant Weight No Fins“ can be translated as „constant weight, no fins“ and differs from „CWT“ only in that the dive is conducted WITHOUT fins. Again, you MUST resurface with your weight on your body for the dive to be valid.


„Free Immersion“ could be described as „free immersion“ – the term „immersion“ comes from Latin and means „embedding“ or „immersion“. The dive is similar to the CWT discipline, but in this discipline you dive WITHOUT fins, but also with constant weight. Most divers pull themselves down with the arms on the rope, but you can also dive down with arm and leg stroke as in regular distance diving.


In the „variable weight“ discipline, the diver uses a weight, for example a diving sled, for the descent, but must then manage the ascent under his own power. The weight for the descent remains at the bottom – variable weight!


The discipline „variable weight without fins“ is the same as the discipline „VWT“, except that the entire dive is performed without fins.


The name says it, there are „no limits“, no restrictions! The diver chooses how to get to the depth and how to ascend again. The most common (and best known) is the descent with a diving sled, combined with the ascent with a so-called lifting bag (a kind of underwater balloon). This allows extreme depths to be reached. 

Pool – disciplines


„Dynamic“ stands for „dynamic“ distance diving and is – at least in competition – a pure pool discipline. Here you have to dive as long a distance as possible under water in the pool. The diving depth depends on the conditions of the pool. The shallower the diving depth, the higher the buoyancy, therefore it is especially recommended to dive with weights (see also Equipment). Many divers also use a wetsuit in the pool due to its better gliding properties compared to the skin


In „dynamic stretch diving without fins“, diving is done under the same conditions as DYN, only without fins.


Static“ diving means that the diver lies in the water with his face under the surface. An attempt is made to hold one’s breath for as long as possible. It is mandatory to perform this exercise with a buddy (dive buddy), as the performing diver goes (or can go) to his limits here. Therefore, both the diver and the buddy must have agreed beforehand on the planned duration of the dive as well as the communication by means of hand signals. For example, one possible communication would be for the buddy to lightly tap the diver every 30 seconds and for the diver to briefly raise a finger with his hand on the tank. This way the buddy knows that the buddy is conscious.



In principle, all diving masks can be used, especially as a beginner. Those who are a little more committed to the subject of freediving should consider that the pressure equalization during descent is also carried out in the mask
will. The smaller the internal volume of the mask, the less air from the lungs has to be used for the mask.


Snorkels should not be longer than 35 cm to avoid pendulum breathing. In pendulum breathing, the exhaled air remains in the snorkel and is inhaled again. Repeated inhalation of stale air may cause
lead to fainting. There are now also many apnea snorkels offered. These can be folded or rolled up, and carried underwater in a bag or similar. Many divers
feel freer when diving without a snorkel and only need it to swim back and forth to the dive site.


A distinction is made between snorkel fins, free diving fins and mono fins.

Modern snorkel fins cover a wide range of uses, and are usually quite sufficient in functionality for beginners and less ambitious freedivers.

Apnea or freediving fins have a longer fin blade that leads to less turbulence due to its shape. This favors propulsion during the leg kick, fewer fin strokes are needed, the diver
saves oxygen.

The monofin consists of only one fin blade, connected with two foot chambers. Mono fins provide the best propulsion, but require some experience and training, and should not be used by beginners.


A wetsuit is essential for apnoea divers, as the suits improve gliding in the water and keep the body warm. Especially the second point is important for apnoea divers, that even slight freezing due to the muscle contractions
energy and thus oxygen is consumed. This shortens the possible diving time.

Neoprene suits are offered in different thicknesses, the standard thicknesses are 3 mm, 5 mm and 7 mm. The suits are made of open cell or closed cell neoprene. As a rule, apnoea divers prefer closed
Neoprene, the suits are also called smooth skin or fish skin suits. Ultimately, however, it is up to the diver himself in which material thickness and texture he feels comfortable.

Gloves & Socks

Likewise, gloves and socks made of neoprene are essential for apnoea divers in order not to cool down, but to retain heat. The material conditions are the same as for the wetsuits.


Lead or extra weight is essential for divers, and therefore also for apnoea divers. The wetsuit increases the volume of the diver, with only a slight increase in weight. As this will increase the buoyancy
significantly stronger, especially in shallow water. Diving to a depth of 5 meters with a 5 mm wetsuit is very strenuous without additional weight, and consumes a lot of oxygen, which is saved.
wants to become However, the deeper you dive, the larger the water column on top of the diver becomes, and the downforce decreases. A diver who carries optimal amount of weight to be able to dive well,
without being too heavy is called „bleached out“. As a rule, the lead is carried on an elastic belt. Alternatively, you can use a neck weight or back weight, or combine the weights together
for a better or modified water position.


A small knife should be carried on every dive in case you are embarrassed to get caught in a fishing line, rope or net while diving. As a rule, the knife is attached to one of the
calves of the diver attached, as it is least disturbing there.

Diving buoy

A dive buoy should be taken on every dive trip! On the one hand, apnoea divers can hold on to the buoy and rest to collect enough air for the next dive. On the other hand, other water sports enthusiasts see,
that there is diving here!

Dive computer

Many dive computers for scuba diving nowadays also have an integrated apnea function! This allows the depth and duration of the dive to be measured, as well as the surface time, i.e. the time between dives


Suitability for diving

Diving fitness (TTU) should definitely be examined before starting this fascinating hobby, as a healthy organism is a prerequisite. Many doctors offer this examination on site, a
short research on the Internet or a call to the practices leads to clarification. The standard form of the VDST can be downloaded directly here. Simply bring then with you to the practice. So that the doctor gets a good picture
of fitness for diving, you should also mention or bring with you any medications that are currently or regularly taken.

Physical fitness

A good physical fitness favors the entry into freediving. Endurance training by means of sports such as running, cycling or swimming favors apnea diving, since the improvement of fitness leads to lower
resting pulse and better heart and lung performance.