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Why I Decided To Start A Freediving School In Wollongong

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Growing up in a military family, I moved around a lot. From Townsville, to England, to Townsville (again), and then Toowoomba. My exposure to the ocean consisted of swimming in stinger nets, or weekend road trips with the family to Noosa. During these brief exposures - I hated the beach, and getting in the water.

Shortly after moving to Thirroul and starting school at Bulli High School, this began to change.

One of my first friends at Bulli was a keen bodyboarder, and I mean KEEN. When he wasn't in the water, he was talking about bodyboarding, or folding his class book to make paper waves, or pretending to do barrel rolls off the corridor walls.

This passion of his, quickly became mine. Through bodyboarding I began to build a deeper connection with the sea. However, the passion for bodyboarding died out.

And surfing took its place.

I outgrew bodyboarding and began to develop a keen interest in transitioning to surfing. Surfing, like for many, became my OBSESSION. Every morning, regardless of conditions I was in the waves.

When there was no surf, I was riding a smoothstar, watching WSL, or looking at surfboards. Naturally, after graduating the University of Wollongong with a Business Degree, I booked a one way ticket to Indonesia.

I spent a couple of months bouncing around the West Coast of Bali, visiting every surf spot between Uluwatu and Balian.

But then something happened. I was invited to visit a little island of Gili Trawangan.

I had my scuba diving license for a couple of years already, but after meeting an attractive girl and (literally) dreaming of doing my Divemaster course on this tiny island which I originally had only planned on staying at for 7 days.

This 7 days, turned into 120 days as I completed my Divemaster and began working at Gili Divers.

I spent 4 months diving in crystal blue waters, with visibility of 35m+. I was loving the island life, and I was never going to leave...

...until my bank account hit $100 Aud, and I had to fly home and return to my parents house.

Back in Thirroul, none of my friends scuba dived. So my gear grew dusty, and I went back to surfing.

I longed to dive, but without any friends who had their certs - I was unable to dive. Until a friend reached out and invited me to go snorkelling.

We drove down to Bushrangers and jumped in the water. Within 5 minutes, we saw a shark!

My stoke was through the roof. I dived down and swam alongside the beautiful juvenile Grey Nurse Shark. It was surprising how placcid the animal was, and how little it cared about me being close to it. It was very different to the interactions I had with sharks whilst diving on scuba.

Here, it was almost like the shark acknowledged me as another marine mammal, instead of a noisy, obtrusive, tank banging scuba diver.

Something new had lit up inside me.

I began diving around Bass Point almost daily. Everytime I went out, I had such unique and incredible encounters with all of these amazing marine animals.

But there was something lacking.

I wanted to dive deeper, and hold my breath longer. So I began my journey into finding out how to do this...

That's when I realised, I needed to learn how to freedive. Then, I signed up to a Molchanovs Level 1 Freediving Course with Dan Parsons, at Freediving Central. I wanted to learn how to dive 20m and hold my breath longer.

Day 1 of the course had us learning about the physiological adaptations our body experiences when we freedive, as well as learning how to breathe-up, perform static breath holds, and practice some dynamic breath hold swims in the pool.

On our second day, we went to Manly to dive off of Fairy Bower Beach, and then for our second session we took a boat out into the harbour. The Level 1 course was everything I hoped it would be, and after finishing the day with an 18m dive - I decided that I was going to become a Freediving Instructor...

I then proceeded to quit my Government job, in order to train with some of the best freediving instructors in the world, including Julia Mouce and Yoram Zekri. The lessons I learned training under there wing I wanted to be able to share with friends, family, and my community back home. The community of Wollongong.

We have an abundance of pristine beaches, and a community of passionate ocean lovers, from surfers, to bodyboarders, spearfishers, to underwater photographers, these are all people that I want to share my passion of freediving with The relaxation and breathwork techniques learned in freediving transfer to all of these ocean sports. Allowing you to become more confident and capable in and around the water.

If you want to start freediving with us, or want to chat about how we can implement freediving and breathwork into your sport - get in touch!

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