Birthdate: July 12, 1983
Resides: Cloverdale, CA
Employment: Runs Papa’s Pizza, a local restaurant in Northern California and runs Pacific Coast Freediving with Erin Magee.
Jake first fell in love with water when he was young, always competing with friends in the local rivers around Northern California to see who could dive deepest, stay longest, collect the most crayfish and spear the biggest carp. He would spend whole summers in the water and later on figured that the ocean was the next logical step. He made his first ocean freedive at Russian Gulch State Park when he was 12 years old, wearing a rubber suit from 1982 that was big enough for two of him at the time. He froze, but didn’t care and left the water smiling, even if it was through chattering teeth. He pulled his first abalone when he was 13 years old and shot his first lingcod soon after. It didn’t take long before he was hooked. He’d even skip high school when the ocean was calm, but just don’t tell his parents!
He first decided to take a Performance Freediving Intermediate Freediver course when he realized that he was getting better and diving deeper than his buddies were able to safety him properly. Realizing that he was pushing his luck, he decided to take a course. Initially the course attracted Jake because he heard that graduates of PFI programs saw great jumps in their performances, but what he really learned the first day was just how lucky he was to have survived years of solo diving. He soon realized that if divers in his area knew proper freediving safety there would be far fewer deaths locally each year.
Following his Intermediate course Jake signed up and took the Advanced course, where he fine-tuned his technique and furthered his freediving knowledge to help him reach depths beyond 100 feet. By the end of the course he was diving to 45 meters/150 feet and felt he’d only scratched the surface of what he was capable of doing. He left the course excited about continuing the increase his depth and to find another way to pursue a career in freediving. He decided to take the professional programs and to become a Performance Freediving instructor soon thereafter.
Jake says that his decision to become an instructor hinged heavily on his urge to share the sport of freediving with others. “I love teaching and sharing a sport that has given me so much. It’s my way of giving back.”
Jake says that he wants to provide students with the same experience he had in his first freediving course and to give them the same feeling of accomplishment he felt at the end of the program. “It is extremely rewarding to be a part of the enlightenment, education and discovery students achieve in a PFI course. PFI definitely changes the way you dive for the better.”
Even though his hometown dive location of Northern California tends to be fairly cold and is sometimes a challenging place to dive, Jake says that the flora and fauna of the northern west coast could compete with any tropical location and that diving kelp is like gliding suspended through a forest. “My goal in teaching here is to help students achieve greater comfort and safety as they search for abalone or rockfish.”
Jake says that his greatest satisfaction in teaching comes from watching hesitant students achieve things they thought they couldn’t do. “PFI changes the notion of what is possible for freedivers. And the people I’ve met as a student and instructor are amazing.”
And even though Jake spends most of his time on the west coast he often finds himself out east with Performance Freediving, either in Fort Lauderdale or Grand Cayman for some scooter diving and scooter racing. “Scootering is to freediving what base jumping is to aviation. It’s the purest way to experience underwater propulsion. On one breath of air and with virtually no effort you can get as close as you will ever come to being a marine mammal. The sensations are indescribable.”
In addition to teaching Jake is focusing on training for the annual PFI competition in Grand Cayman in 2011. He says that he not only wants to increase his personal bests, but also wants to train himself to reliably reach depths beyond 50 meters repetitively to help him continue pushing his instruction skills to the highest level.
Jake can be reached at email@example.com