We took the time to catch up with our new PADI AmbassaDiver™ Renee Blundon and find out what inspired her to start Freediving, and what it is that keeps her diving, training and teaching…
How did you get into Freediving?
Actually I first started with scuba diving!
It was in 2013, and I was living in Tanzania at the time which was a lot of fun, I was doing a lot of diving trips to explore the waters of Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.
And the more I dived, also working towards my Divemaster, the more comfortable in the water I became. I was quite fearful of the ocean before then! A lot of my diving friends played underwater hockey, and so it was just a matter of time before I joined the Dar es Salaam underwater hockey team. I then met some freedivers who were on the team and they introduced me to freediving.
So how was it, your first time freediving?
Ah, I remember it like yesterday!
The pool was closed one day because they were fumigating the campus, so we couldn’t play underwater hockey. Instead we organized a trip to go freediving at a shipwreck off the coast of Bongoyo Island.
I couldn’t freedive more than a few meters at the time, because I didn’t know how to equalize my ears – it’s a different equalization technique for freediving than it is for scuba diving – but anyway, I watched these freedivers holding their breath and going down freediving through the wreck and all around it, and I was just mesmerized!
Well, after that I made it my mission to learn how to freedive! And the rest is history I guess!
How has freediving impacted your life?
Freediving has impacted my life quite massively, it’s not just something I do or a lifestyle I live, it is my life!
It’s waking up early to train every single day, it’s teaching and learning, experimenting and discovering and pushing through the pain to hold my breath longer, to dive deeper, to find out what it is that stops me and then find solutions to break through those barriers.
So obviously it’s not always easy! But that’s why I do it, it’s the challenge, and also that deep blue water, which is seriously addicting!
How has freediving affected how your live your life on land?
Well, freediving has taught me so much, things I didn’t even expect, about mental determination, humility, self respect, and so many other things, and this has really enabled me to design and live a life that I love!
I used to do architectural drawings, spending most of my day behind a computer screen working in AutoCAD.
And although, I will always have a passion for art and design, I really enjoy spending most of my day in the water, either training and or teaching freediving, working with people in the real world, in the natural environment, and the Red Sea is just incredible. Rather than sitting behind a computer screen, although I do still like to do that sometimes as well!
Why do you teach freediving, what do you like about it?
I think that being a freediving athlete means not just training hard, but it’s important to also look outward share those ideals and your know-how with others.
This helps inspire other people about a lifestyle where passion for the water, health, yoga, physical training and meditation all play a special role. And I really enjoy being positive mentor to those who are looking to find their way and passion in sport, work and life, it helps keep me inspired to keep doing what I’m doing.
What does My PADI mean to you?
I think of My PADI as an online community and outlet for sharing my passion for freediving and love of the sea with others.
If you’re interested in learning to Freedive, find out more here.