This month we’re profiling Ironman triathlete, underwater stuntman, Paramedic and PFI freediving Instructor Mike Avery, who teaches Freediver and Safe Buddy courses through his company Bloop Freediving, as well as leading Abalone/Spearfishing excursions in Northern California Bay Area and beyond.

Mike brings a world of experience and energy to his teaching. He is a competitive Ironman triathlete, former paramedic, current boat builder and all-around fix-it guy, and most recently has been a sought-after underwater stuntman for a soon to be released blockbuster Hollywood movie. We caught up with Mike near his home in Mill Valley, California, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Q: How did you choose the interesting name of your company—Bloop Freediving?

A: The name Bloop refers to the mysterious ultra-low-frequency and extremely powerful underwater sound first detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) in 1997. The sound was consistent with the noises generated by ice quakes in large icebergs, or large icebergs scraping the ocean floor, but some people think it may be made by large marine animals. I like it because it’s fun and memorable and it reminds us that the ocean holds a lot of mystery.

Q: What do you find more challenging—training for an Ironman triathlons or training for freediving?

A: They both can be very intense, but also very different. And they even complement each other. For instance, triathletes need to be able to endure lactic acid buildup in their muscles during hours-long races, and there’s no better way to train to increase your lactic threshold than through exercising while on breath-hold! And freedive training in the pool or ocean can provide a great break from all the pounding your body takes when you’re racking up the miles during bike and run workouts.

Q: What types of courses do you teach and where do you teach them?

A: I teach PFI Freediver level courses, which certify freedivers down to a max depth of 20 meters/66 feet. Our class and pool sessions are in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and we do our open water dives either in Monterey or one of the local lakes in Sonoma county. I also do a lot of private coaching sessions for people who want to finish off skills they may have not have completed at another PFI course or who just want to brush up on their safety or technique. I also lead spearfishing/abalone trips to our many North Coast dive sites.

Q: What kind of diving do you like to do recreationally?

A: I love to spearfish both here in Northern California as well as around the world. I just got back from a great trip to Baja, Mexico, where we got some really tasty Amberjack. Locally, I dive for abalone and scallops, and enjoy line diving for fun in Monterey with many of the other local PFI certified divers. In fact we have a great club here—the PFI Bay Area Freedivers which has over 60 members who have all been certified through PFI, so you know you’re diving with safe divers. We do fun dives as well as put together dives in interesting places. This year in March, we dove at the amazing Homestead Crater near Park City, Utah. In late August we will host our 2nd annual Tahoe Blue Challenge, a weekend of fun diving in beautiful Lake Tahoe and surrounding lakes. If you’ve never freedove Lake Tahoe, you should come join us!