- You get to do what you love every day! If you want to live by the ocean and have a lifestyle that allows you to be in the sea every day, stay fit and healthy and give you the opportunity to dive and train more frequently and explore your full aquatic potential, then becoming a Freediving Instructor could be the answer. It might be a way of taking a sabbatical that pays its way or it might be the first step towards a permanent change! Some people might warn you not to mix business with pleasure, but we believe that the only way to offer the best of your abilities is by doing what you are passionate about.
- Freediving is becoming increasingly popular! When I first started looking for freediving training myself, it seemed that you could count the number of professional schools around the world on one hand. In SE Asia there were two schools in Thailand and one in the Philippines. Since we opened the first freediving school in Indonesia, Freedive Gili, in 2009 another five schools have opened in Indonesia alone, two more in the Phillipines and four more in Thailand. Recreational freediving is now being taught alongside scuba diving in the most popular SE Asian destinations and it’s booming!
- Teaching freediving makes you a better freediver. Actually, teaching anything requires you to be a lot more conscious of your own skills, technique and knowledge then you might otherwise be. When you are aware that students are watching what you do and how you dive, you tend to start correcting the small mistakes that you never felt mattered before. Teaching others also changes your focus whilst diving. Being more focused on others than yourself, you stop worrying about how you feel as your attention is diverted and before long you cease doubting your own ability to dive and breath-hold.
- The SSI Freediving Instructor qualification is a professional qualification that meets the same industry standards (RSTC) as all scuba instructor qualifications. The SSI freediving programs have been part of the recent success and growth in Asia. With SSI (Scuba Schools International) the product offered to the customer is professional and comparable with the scuba courses that are often being taught alongside. Students get textbooks to learn from, watch DVDs and then learn in the pool and open water. When the students complete their courses successfully they receive their certification card immediately (no waiting for months in the mail!), and their certification is also accessible through an on-line database which any SSI school can access. It is a lot easier for Instructors and freediving businesses to attract students when the product looks good and the system functions well.
- As an SSI Freediving Instructor you are highly employable! There are just not enough freediving instructors around. SSI dive shops in many resort locations would welcome the chance to offer freediving programs but can’t find anyone to teach it. Do some research in an area on how and where you will run confined and open water sessions, tide times if shore diving, or access to boats and dive sites if necessary. Then propose to shops to set up a freediving program. Typically you would use wetsuits, fins and snorkels from the center. You will also need access to a classroom, pool, washrooms and maybe a boat, and some signage space on the street. This is what the dive center will provide you as well as legal cover in terms of a work visa and maybe in some regions insurance. However, it is still a relatively low cost for an existing center to start offering freediving with a relatively high profit margin so you should be able to negotiate a good commission with the dive business.
If all this sounds good then the next SSI Freediving Instructor Course (FITC) at Freedive Gili will be in October from the 13th-19th. To join an FITC you must be an SSI Level 3 Freediver or equivalent from another agency. If you are not yet at this level then you can plan to arrive before the course to complete the required certifications. The 4 week Master program offered at Freedive Gili is a very good way of ensuring that you are prepared for an FITC.
Michael Board is the owner of Freedive Gili, one of the busiest Freediving schools in the world located on Gili Trawangan near Bali, Indonesia. He is an SSI Instructor Trainer and current British depth record holder in Constant Weight (102m) and Free Immersion (96m).