PFI has taught many of the world’s top surfers and understand that these athletes work in extreme environments and under extreme conditions and likewise may require additional training to facilitate their safe training and enhance their breath-holding and survival skills.

We have designed this Breath-hold Survival Course for big-wave surfers, kayakers and other aquatic specialist to not only encompass basic breath-holding skills, but also that of breath-hold propulsion, safety and problem management, basic life support skills when training in remote areas and lastly training regimes once the course is completed.

The main areas of training fall into the following categories:

  • Safety & Problem Management
  • Breath-hold Concepts and Physiology
  • Breath-hold Training / Breath-hold Stress Training
  • Gearless Propulsion Techniques
  • Psychology of Stress
  • Breath-hold Training Programs

Safety & Problem Management

Understanding the concept ‘PROTECT THE AIRWAY’ means the difference between an easy recovery and near-fatal or fatal.  How do partners work together when practicing, what essential in-water rescues should be employed, what does a blackout underwater look like and how should you respond, when to say ‘no’ and start again?  Train for effectiveness and safety not failure and injury.

Breath-hold Concepts and Physiology

How does someone hold their breath for over 4-6 min and not get brain damage?  Why does the heart slow down and blood in the peripheries constricts?  What is a breathing contraction and does it mean I should stop?  When breathing up I feel light-headed and dizzy, should I see a doctor?  How did David Blaine hold his breath for over 17 min?  Knowledge is power, gives confidence and helps avoid injuries.  Learn the secrets during this session.

Breath-hold Training / Breath-hold Stress Training

Time to put theory into practice and this session will kick-start it.  Develop breathing techniques when you have minutes to prep and when you only have a second before your underwater.  Feel contractions and learn to feel comfortable with that urge to breath or ‘air starvation’ feeling.  Daily practices will include ideal sessions while gradually working towards stress and immediate breath-holds.

Gearless Propulsion Techniques

Whether a big-wave surfer struggling for the surface from 30 feet of depth or an extreme kayaker caught in a hydraulic, remaining calm and utilizing efficient life saving propulsion techniques, avoiding panic and wasting energy are essential.

Psychology of Stress

Again, knowledge is power.  Understand not only the psychology of stress but also the physiological responses that create it.  Meditation and focus techniques, time-clock exercises, ‘why does my air starvation feeling get worse or better in different circumstances and how can I create my situation’? ‘Whatever gets you up for the game’ Nike says, so let’s also put basic sports psychology in here as well.

Breath-hold Training Programs

Want to get better or simply maintain valuable breath-hold/comfort skills to survive a 60 foot fall off a big wave or a drop off a waterfall in your kayak?  Learn how to partner up for safe and effective training as maintenance during the down season or in preparation for that extreme adventure just around the corner.  Automatic online breath-hold training programs will be discussed and trained as well as how to adapt ‘Co2 and O2 tolerance training’ into a daily regime as standalone training or as part of a wider cardio program.  Get bang for the buck.


  • Student to Instructor ratios 6:1
  • Students need to come prepared with mask, fins, snorkels, wetsuits, weight belts and 20lbs plus timing devices.
  • Students are provided with ‘PFI Intermediate Freediver’ student manual and workbook.
  • The course includes Class, Pool and Open water training sessions
  • Participants will need to complete PFI Liability and Medical paper work

Duration and Cost

  • This course is held over 4 days
  • Cost is $745


  • Be comfortable in the water
  • Able to swim 400m/yards with only swim suit and goggles
  • Able to tread water for 5min
  • In good health with no counter indications as per the PFI medical form.

Upcoming Courses