Performance Freediving International




President/Founder of PFI
Level: Advanced Freediver Instructor Trainer
Location: World-Wide
Contact: 1-866-388-6595 ext 701 Email:
FB: or

In the 1996 Kirk Krack, while working as a trimix Instructor Trainer in Grand Cayman, was first introduced to the competitive world of Freediving while setting up scuba safety for some world record events by Pipin Ferreras and his wife Audrey Mestre. Although he had a lifelong affinity for freediving (or what he thought was called skindiving), he became interested in the physiology of the sport and began to learn more about how this Freediver was able to reach such extreme depths on a single breath.

Kirk developed the educational philosophy, standards and procedures and wrote the manuals for PFI that to this day continue to be improved and perfected with the newest techniques after having trained more than 10,000 students, training 7 athletes to 23 different World Records and setting up World Class events. The PFI educational system was the first in North America to offer a complete course that included not only ways to improve in depth and time but most importantly it taught the safety aspects of the sport. He created a program where you learn the theory behind breath- hold diving, practicing techniques in the pool and then finally perfect the skills in the open water. To this day the PFI system of Freediver education is still one of the most comprehensive Freediving Educational Systems World Wide.

Today PFI not only teaches recreational programs but also is a well-rounded Training Agency that has instructors’ worldwide. Exclusively Red Bull athletes use the PFI system of education.  As well and Special Operations forces such as the US Naval Special Warfare Group and US Special Forces as well scientific and educational institutions such as American Academy of Underwater Sciences.  To read the complete bio on Kirk Krack click the button below.



Phone: 866-388-6595 ext 700

Employment: PFI Instructor and Operations manager
Resides In: Campbell River, BC Canada
Mandy is a highly motivated and determined female athlete with a great sense of humor. She has developed an excellent understanding of the diving industry during her 22 years working professionally within it as both a PFI Instructor and a PADI Course Director and is well respected.

Since learning to freedive in 2000, Mandy-Rae has attained 13 Canadian National records, finished first place with her Canadian women’s team in two AIDA World Championships and has gone on to hold 7 World Records.

Mandy-Rae was part of the OPS Team in the Academy Award winning documentary, The Cove.  Was a mermaid in the movie The Mermaids Chair.  She is also a proud member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame.


The following physiological statistics were established December 13th, 2000 during testing at Simon Fraser University with Dr. Erik Seedhouse and Dr. Andrew Blaber for an on-going freediving research study entitled Psychophysiological Testing of Novice and Elite Freedivers. It’s important to bear in mind that many of the measurements will increase dramatically during a training cycle.

Vital Capacity of 5.86L, 47% above average of 3.97L
Functional VC of 6.60L, 66% above average of 3.96L
VO2 Max of 49 ml/kg/min
Equalization by swallowing head down
Body physiology good for high endurance training
Static apnea 6:25
Dynamic Apnea 131 meters
Dynamic Apnea w/o fins 100m
Constant Ballast 78 meters
Constant Ballast No-Fins 50m
Free Immersion 74m
No-limits 136 meters
Diving History

Performance Freediving Instructor since 2001
Has held 7 World Records and 13 Canadian National Records
Member of Team Canada since 2000 and helped the women’s team to two first place finishes and four third place finishes
Was a competitive syncronized swimmer

Began scuba diving in 1985, became an instructor in 1994 and a PADI Course Director in 2000
For more information on Mandy-Rae, go to her website at


Chris Bustad

Instructor Level: Freediver Instructor TRainer & Breath-Hold Surf Survival Instructor
Location: Tacoma/Seattle Washington, USA
Contact: 253-312-4397

Chris Bustad was born and raised in Washington State, living at one time or another on both sides of the mountains. Having joined the US Coast Guard right out of high school, he was an Electrician’s Mate and also served as a Cutter Rescue Swimmer. In 2004 Chris became a certified SCUBA diver, and continued on to become a Divemaster.

In 2006 he went to the Diver’s Institute of Technology in Seattle, WA where he was class president and graduated top of his class. Chris worked for 3 years as a commercial diver, and decided to spend more time at home. Later, he started working for a local dive shop and became interested in freediving, needing something with more of a personal challenge feel. He had certainly found it. After freediving with buddies here and there and doing more research, Chris decided that he needed to get some formal training. After further research, PFI was the agency that most closely fit his philosophy and style.

In Sept 2012 Chris took PFI’s Intermediate Freediver Course, taught by Kirk Krack and Rodrigo Novas. That following June, he took it as a refresher, again being taught by Kirk and this time Shell Eisenberg. He was so thoroughly impressed by all of the instructors, Chris knew that he wanted to be a part of the PFI family. Kirk invited Chris to come to Hawaii for the Advanced, Safety Supervisor, Assistant Instructor, and Instructor Exam. Chris signed up immediately.


John Hullverson

Instructor Level: Intermediate Instructor & Breath-Hold Surf Survival Instructor
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Phone: 415-203-5191

John is a PFI Intermediate and Breath Hold Surf Survival Instructor based in San Francisco, California and also offers individualized coaching sessions and specialized classes such as Safety for Abalone Diving and Spearfishing.  John is a 2 x U.S. National Record holder for the freediving discipline of Dynamic No Fins (DNF) and has represented USA Freediving at AIDA World Championship events in Belgrade, Serbia in 2015 and Turku, Finland in 2016.


Craig Gentry

Instructor Level: Intermediate Freediver Instructor, Breath-Hold Survival Instructor, Breath-Hold Special Operations Instructor
Location: Oahu, HI, USA
Company: Hawaii Freedivers (
Contact: Phone: 808-397-7272

Craig A. Gentry | U.S. National Freediving Champion

Performance Freediving International | Vice President for Special Programs

Contact Information:
Founder, Hawaii Freedivers, LLC
Based in the Hawaiian Islands
Phone:  (808) 397-7272


  • Freediver
  • Intermediate Freediver
  • Breath Hold Surf Survival
  • Breath Hold Special Operations

Competitive Freediving History:

  • U.S. National Champion, U.S. Freediving National Championships, 2006
  • Captain, U.S. National Team, World Championships, 2008
  • Captain, U.S. National Team, World Championships, 2006

High-Performance Athlete Development:

Craig successfully coached a Hawaii based athlete in breaking two U.S. National freediving records in the discipline of Dynamic Apnea (distance in a pool with a fin) and in becoming the United States’ first 200-meter athlete (on one breath).

United States Freediving Association:

  • President, 2012-2014
  • Executive Board of Directors, 2007-2011

Association for the International Development of Apnea (AIDA):

  • International Judge for AIDA Competitions, Performances and Record Attempts

Breath-Hold Diving Symposiums and Training Conferences Attended:

  • International Conference on Freedive Training, Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, Dec 2007
  • Breath-Hold Diving Symposium hosted by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society and Divers Alert Network in Orlando, Florida, June, 2006

More about Craig…

Born in Michigan and raised in Oregon, Craig spent the majority of his adult life in Italy,  The Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.  Craig now resides in the Hawaiian Islands where he founded Hawaii Freedivers, High Performance Training, a freedive training agency offering a variety of Performance Freediving International’s training courses and specialized coaching sessions.

In his free time, Craig enjoys underwater photography and is an advocate for ocean conservation.


Ashley Chapman
Facebook: Evolve Freediving

North Carolina native Ashley Futral Chapman is leaving her mark on competitive freediving. She took interest in the sport in 2008 so she could spearfish the North Carolina waters with her husband, Ren. After struggling with shallow 50 foot dives, she decided to accompany Ren to the Cayman Islands for their first PFI Intermediate freediving course. In just four days, Ashley propelled herself from 50 feet to over 122 feet.  Hooked, she trained for the summer and traveled with Ren to Egypt to compete for the first time as an alternate with Team USA. While in Egypt and with the help of PFI founder, Kirk Krack, she managed to increase her depth to 180 feet. The US women earned the silver medal.

Ashley and Ren spent 2009 earning their PFI instructor certifications. In 2010, Ashley got back into the competitive circuit. Since then she has competed in multiple competitions around the globe including PFI’s Deja Blue where she has earned 2 world records and 5 national records, all in depth. In 2012, she traveled to Nice, France to compete in the Team World Championship as a competitor and co-captain--she earned a national record in the pool. 2012 also brought her to Suunto’s Vertical Blue where she clenched four more depth national records making her the deepest woman in the US.  She also earned another world record in CNF after plunging down to 220 feet and surfacing confidently. 

“I knew I had the dive in me. I executed the dive twice before in practice with ease. I just needed to get beyond the pressure that comes with announcing a world record and it being the first day of the competition. My greatest strength in training has been my husband Ren — he takes care of everything else so I can simply just dive.”

Ashley has been teaching freediving with her husband, Ren, in North Carolina and abroad from their sailboat. They spend most summers back home in NC where courses include tips on spearfishing and diving with sharks! Winter and spring months are spent abroad focusing instruction in the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, and the Florida Keys.  Ashley began a new and possibly the most challenging adventure of her life when she welcomed a new addition, Ani, to their family October 5, 2013.


Garo Hachigian
Phone:  619-430-4466

When it comes to freedive instructors, experience matters. Garo is the owner and founder of Gannet Dive Company USA. He has been breath-hold diving and spearfishing for over 35 years, served as a head competition safety supervisor for nearly a decade, and has trained U.S. Naval Special Warfare units in the PFI Breath-Hold Special operations program.

Garo has always had an insatiable appetite for knowledge regarding the ocean. Born in coastal Rhode Island, he spent most of his summers in and around the cold waters of New England. When he was six years old, his gather gave him his first pole spear--he was changed forever. Over the years, he has honed his dive skills, perfected his speargun designs, and studied culinary techniques. Nothing brings him more satisfaction than submerging himself in the ocean and bringing back a meal to feed his close friends and family. He believes this action is elemental and timeless. Hunting the oceans for almost his entire life, Garo is a strong advocate for conservation and ocean sustainability. Wherever life takes him, his abiding passion will always remain in the water.



Tom Gilmore
:  850-238-0134
Facebook:  Thomas F. Gilmore

Tom Gilmore currently holds two USA National Records in Freediving.  In the event  DYN (Dynamic), Tom set a record of 208 meters in Kalamata, Greece where Tom was Team Captain of the USA Freediving Team in 2016.   Tom also set the US record in DNF(Dynamic No Fins) at Deja Blue in 2016.

Tom and his daughter Meghan competed together for the USA Freediving Team in 2016 where Meghan also set a USA National Record.

Tom Gilmore has been in and around the water his entire life. He grew up as a competitive swimmer leading him to become an NCAA All-American in swimming. Tom graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy earning him U.S. Coast Guard licenses as a Third Mate, Any Ocean any Tonnage and a Third Assistant Engineer on Steam and Motor Vessels of Any Horsepower. After graduation, Tom built and ran U.S. Navy shipboard nuclear power plants on Nimitz class aircraft carriers. After being a certified scuba diver for many years, he made the leap and became a Divemaster and Instructor in Panama City Beach, Florida.  Love of diving and free diving led Tom to become an instructor with PFI. Tom’s goal is to promote and help grow the sport of free diving in Panama City Beach, Florida and on the Gulf Coast. In addition to diving, Tom conducts courses along the Gulf Coast in Northwest Florida at Panama City Beach and Niceville, Florida and also at the springs in Ponce De Leon, Florida.


Kerry Hollowell

A native of North Carolina, Kerry was drawn to freediving after taking a PFI class with Evolve Freediving in Wilmington, NC. She quickly entered the competitive world and was the 2014 U.S. team captain at the Team World Championships in Sardinia, Italy. She can dive to 70 meters and hold her breath for over 5:38 minutes.

Kerry is an emergency medicine doctor, BLS and ACLS instructor, and works with AIDA in making the sport of freediving safer for all divers. She has been an instructor with PFI since 2012.

New_PFI_on whiteBG.jpg

Rik Edstrom
Phone:  215-600-0980
Facebook:  Revolution Freediving

Rik is a PFI Freediving instructor operating Revolution Freediving in Philadelphia/Dutch Springs, Pennsylvania and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. He teaches the PFI Freediver Course, the PFI Safe Buddy Course, as well as private freediving classes by request, customized individual coaching sessions, open water line diving, and equalizing workshops. Revolution Freediving also facilitates weekly pool training sessions for dynamic development in the Philadelphia during the off-season.

Revolution Freediving also stocks a wide range of high performance freediving gear available for rent.

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Company: Freediving Adventure
Phone: (403-360-6828)

Kevin is a PFI Freediving Instructor, Scuba Instructor, Emergency First Response Instructor and Cave diver.

Freediving was introduced to Kevin part-way through his scuba training and the challenge of the sport was irresistible. Immediately after completing his scuba instructor training, Kevin signed up for a PFI course and soon found himself competing nationally and internationally.

Freediving has provided Kevin with some amazing opportunities and he is pleased to be in a position to help start others off on their freediving adventure.

2008: Member of Team Canada
2008: Athlete in AIDA Freediving World Championships, Egypt
2009: Fatherhood, settled down … sorta
2010: Athlete in AIDA Freediving World Championships, Japan
2011: Vice-President of CAFA, the Canadian Association of Freediving and Apnea.


Ren Chapman
Facebook:  Evolve Freediving

Ren was raised in Wilmington, North Carolina. From day one, he was immersed in coastal living and was fortunate to have been raised with his toes in the marsh and estuaries of the area. Ren’s father, Frank Chapman, humanitarian, biologist, and teacher, has been the scuba instructor and director of water safety for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington since the mid 70s. Ren has always been around the ocean. He began scuba diving at the age of 6 and after a short period of inactivity during his college years he got back in the water and has never come out.

He began freedive spearfishing in June of 2007 and took PFI's Intermediate course in October 2007 in Miami. Unable to do the ocean portion of the course due to weather, he traveled to the Cayman Islands in 2008 where his love for the sport, as well as his sense of accomplishment, grew. Since taking the first freediving course in 2007 he has made a name for himself in the spearfishing community as a videographer and underground producer of spearfishing videos with Searen Productions.

Since Ren’s introduction into the sport, he has refined his skills through the PFI professional level courses where he has earned his credentials as an Intermediate Freediver Instructor. Ren is also an experienced safety diver, working for various international freediving competitions including PFI’s Deja Blue II, III, and IV in Grand Cayman and Suunto’s Vertical Blue in beautiful Dean’s Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas. Ren also boasts positions as a coach to his world record holding wife, Ashley, and to Team USA during the 2012 team championships in Nice, France.

Currently, Ren is teaching freediving with Ashley and undertaken his most challenging and rewarding position to date as father to Ani and Cape. Check out Ani's first freediving video here.

“Freedive instruction has to be the most rewarding thing that I have ever done. When folks come into these courses and completely blow the doors off of their expectations, it is just amazing to see their excitement and it makes me feel like a million bucks because I helped get them there. Not only that, the skills which they have learned could very well save their life or the life of other’s. That’s what it’s all about.”


Ricardo Paris
Facebook:  Vortex Spearfishing
Instagram:  @vortexfreediving

A native of Venezuela, Ricardo has always had a great love for the ocean. As a kid, he spearfished and snorkeled off the islands of Venezuela, and at age 13 he received his PADI scuba license. After college in Florida, he joined the U.S. Peace Corps and went to the Kingdom of Tonga as a Fisheries Extension Officer. Over the years, his career shifted to directing strategy planning and business development efforts for major media and technology companies dealing with Latin America, but he continues his efforts to support ocean conservation while assisting his wife, University of Miami Professor Dr. Claire Paris, in her underwater research.

Ricardo is a PADI scuba and PFI Freediver Instructor teaching classes in English and Spanish in Miami.


Ted Harty
Phone:  954-324-4444
Facebook:  Immersion Freediving

Ted Harty begin his underwater career working as a dive instructor at Tilden’s Scuba Center in 2005. He was a NAUI, PADI, and SSI Scuba Instructor. For four years, Ted taught scuba diving almost every day.

“I got a lot of experience teaching during those four years, and I believe it laid a good foundation for my career as a freediving instructor. I realized that every student learns differently, some respond well to humor, some students are visual learners, while others require regimented step-by-step instructions.”

Whenever Ted was on the boat and he didn’t have students to take care of, he would jump in with mask, fins, and snorkel.

“I’d often only have 5 minutes, but I loved being in the water without all my scuba gear. I could swim down to the sand at Sombrero Reef and hang out for a bit at 20ft. I wanted to learn how to stay down longer and dive deeper.” In January of 2008, Ted took his first PFI course.

“I couldn’t believe how little I knew about freediving. As a scuba instructor, I knew more about diving physics and physiology than the average Joe, but I knew nothing about freediving safety. After four days I went from a 2:15 breath hold to a 5:15 breath hold. I was hooked! After that course, I became obsessed with freediving. I took the Instructor course in 2009 and started working for PFI. I was lucky enough to travel around with Kirk and Mandy teaching tons of courses with them while gaining invaluable experience.”

Ted teaches classes year round in Fort Lauderdale through his company Immersion Freediving. He has a maximum of five people per class, and he runs the courses on his private boat. He hires Coast Guard captains and has First Aid and 02 at the ready- all of the safety and comfort of a hired boat but with none of the hassle and crowds.

Noticeable freediving accomplishments:
• 1st place finish PFI Competition Breathless 2009
• 1st place finish PFI Competition Deja Blue 2011
• Broke longest standing USA Freediving record during 2011 Freediving World Championships in Italy, with a Dynamic Apnea swim of 170m
• Trained with William Trubridge and Sara Cambell in 2012
• Selected to be Captain of the 2012 USA Freediving Team during World Championships
• Constant weight dive of 85m (279ft) in 2012
• Trained with Goran Colak in 2014
• 1st place finish PFI Competition Deja Blue 2014


Shell Eisenberg
Facebook: Shell Eisenberg

Shell grew up in Santa Cruz, California. Though a frequent swimmer in Santa Cruz’s cold ocean and an admirer of the sea, she didn’t pursue freediving until moving to Oahu, Hawaii in 2009.

It was there that Shell’s fascination with the sea turned into something of an obsession. Swimming in Oahu’s clear water almost daily, Shell developed a passion and love for the ocean and all its creatures. With a desire to learn every type of fish, mollusk, coral, and alga beneath the surface, she gradually began to stay underwater longer and longer. “I cannot think of a place where I am happier than underwater.”

Shell first began exploring new depths when she was employed as an underwater photographer, capturing images of marine wildlife, primarily Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins and Green Sea Turtles, as well as photographing human swimmers.

Aspiring to dive deeper and stay down longer, Shell signed up for a PFI intermediate course. After the course, having reached 35 meters, her enthusiasm for depth grew and within a few months Shell was registered for the PFI Advanced course, where she dove 50 meters. Shell’s new depth and breath-hold abilities expanded and enhanced her daily underwater experiences. She went on to complete PFI’s professional programs, earning her Freediver Instructor certification.

“Freediving has given me so much, I felt it’d be very rewarding to teach and share freediving with others.”

Now, using the skills and techniques learned from PFI, Shell is continually increasing her depth and time underwater and looks forward to diving with you on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. 


Bill Van Deman
Phone:  317-412-2626

Bill Van Deman operates Abyss Freediving, LLC, in Apollo Beach, Florida with classes throughout the greater Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area. Course locations include: Brandon, South Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, and Hudson. Bill was certified as a PFI Professional in May 2012 and as a PFI Freediver Instructor in February 2013. Bill has also been a top competitor in state and national breath-hold spearfishing competitions.

Bill’s perspective as an experienced breath-hold spearfisherman, with over a decade of freediving experience in Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay waters, offers practical insight to freedivers and spearos taking PFI courses on Florida’s West Coast. Bill has represented Tampa Bay Spearfishing Club (TBSC) and Florida Skin Divers Association (FSDA) in several state and national breath-hold spearfishing competitions. Bill’s “TBSC Apollo Beach” team finished as the Florida state runner up at the 2012 and 2013 State Freedive Spearfishing Championships, and as the third place team in 2010 and 2014. Bill’s team has represented FSDA at U.S. Skin-diving Nationals three times (2010, 2011, 2012), and Bill finished a personal best 11th overall at the 2012 U.S. Nationals while leading the FSDA team to a 7th place national finish.

Bill is active in the local dive community and in promoting freediving safety. In 2014, Bill began his second term as president of the Florida Skin Divers Association (FSDA). Bill was event chairman for the 50th and 51st “Southern Open” Florida State Underwater Photo and Spearfishing Championships. Bill was also a past president of the Tampa Bay Spearfishing Club (TBSC) and chairman of the 2011 Tampa Bay Spearfishing Challenge.

Bill enjoys the role of both teacher and coach that freediving instruction offers. As a father, Bill feels the emphasis of any dive should be the safe and controlled return to the surface- a good dive only counts when you return home safe to share with loved ones and family members your amazing experiences underwater. Bill looks forward to bringing you closer to your freediving goals and in helping you and your family learn in a safe and responsible manner.

“Seeing the surprise and exhilaration in a diver realizing they can achieve the impossible is an amazing high. Knowing fathers, mothers, sons and daughters will leave with a grasp on safe and responsible diving is the most rewarding part of my job”.


Gaylin Gates


Gaylin has been a dive instructor since 1993, specializing in freediving, dive rescue, safety and underwater photography. An avid freediver and PFI Instructor, Gaylin offers freediving and scuba courses through Deep Six Dive and Watersports in Vero Beach, Stuart, and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Besides teaching, Gaylin has worked as an instructor in the Bahamas, St. Croix, and the Philippines. Divers Alert Network has certified Gaylin as a Diving Emergency Specialist Instructor, their highest rating for instructors. He is also an Emergency First Response CPR & First Aid Instructor Trainer and offers courses from basic CPR & First Aid to CPR for Healthcare Professionals. His photographs have been featured in local newspapers and regional magazines in the southeastern U.S. and California. Gaylin graduated from West Point with a degree in Interdisciplinary Sciences (physics and electrical engineering) and is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Gaylin says, “When I became a scuba diving instructor, I kept myself up-to-date on diving topics by taking continuing education courses annually. But after 17 years of teaching scuba classes, I started to run out of continuing education courses until a chance meeting with Kirk and Mandy-Rae at a trade show. Taking the PFI Intermediate Freediver course was a complete change of paradigm for me. It’s a widely held belief among scuba instructors that freediving cannot be taught. PFI courses completely crush that idea. I was so impressed with the PFI teaching methodology and especially the safety protocol developed by PFI that I made it my personal mission to develop safer freedivers by teaching the courses myself."

Courses Taught:

Introduction to Freediving
Safe Buddy Course

Underwater Photography
Dry Suit
Underwater Videographer
Fish Identification
Tec Rec Gas Blender
Coral Reef Conservation
Deep Diver
Equipment Specialist
Underwater Naturalist
Night Diver
Peak Performance Buoyancy
Search & Recovery
Wreck Diver

Emergency First Responder (EFR):

EFR Instructor Primary and Secondary Care (CPR & First Aid)
AED & Emergency Oxygen
Care for Children w/AED Care For Children

Divers Alert Network:

Diving Emergency Management Provider
Diving Emergency Specialist
Emergency Oxygen for Scuba
Hazardous Marine Life Injuries
Neurological Assessment
CPR: Health Care Provider


Robert Lee
Phone: 510-427-2049
Website: (that’s a zero in fl0w)

Robert H. Lee grew up in NYC and moved to San Francisco after college.  He has always gravitated towards the water, not least because he’s clumsy and figures that he’s less likely to injure himself in the water than elsewhere. He has taught dozens of PFI courses throughout the U.S. and abroad and enjoys sharing his modest knowledge, whether it be about freediving or something else.

When not diving, Robert works as a research fellow in Law, Science & Technology at Stanford University, and as a technology lawyer. He also spends time as a data scientist and is an aspiring machine-learning engineer. He has served as CEO of Fly Online, an e-commerce portal that was acquired by Travelzoo, and Intellevate, an enterprise software company that was acquired by CPA Global. He received his JD/MBA from U.C. Berkeley and his B.S. in biochemistry from Yale University (where he published his research in the Journal of Applied Physiology). Robert regularly speaks at business and legal conferences and has been a guest speaker at the Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore), U.C. Berkeley’s law and business schools, and Google, among others. He also authored a report on the legal outsourcing industry and a paper on exercise physiology. Robert is a member of the California and U.S. Patent Bars.


Cale Heitt

Cale grew up in a small coastal town where he spent his time fishing, spearfishing, and snorkeling in the gulf and freshwater springs. In 2012, he took his first freediving class to improve his spearfishing, and he discovered a passion for freediving. After a couple of years of diving, he decided he wanted to be part of the growing interest in freediving and became a Freedive Instructor in 2014.


Jessea Lu
Phone:  317-702-6679
Facebook: Jessea Lu (please mention subject: Diving Class)

“Diving takes priority!” In discussing her path of becoming a scuba diver, a skydiver, and now a freediving instructor, Jessea says “The ability to break through the boundaries set by gravity makes me feel insanely free and happy. Although there are times when I had no money or family support, I managed to keep diving … and I make sure that I learn everything about safety seriously so that I can enjoy diving for a life time.”

Jessea obtained a PhD. degree in Medicine in 2011 and moved to Hawaii to embrace her relationship with the sea. She became a PFI instructor in 2014. Consistent with the philosophy of her training, Jessea takes a scientific and personal approach to coaching and mentoring students.

“Good breathing and relaxation techniques alone tripled my breath-hold time with a static apnea of 6:20 minutes within the first four months of my freediving training. Now I teach students the same techniques at the beginning of every class, because mastery in relaxation and sustained mental tranquility serve a solid foundation for all trainings in freediving and it extends to improve performance of many other disciplines in their everyday life.”

Jessea has published a number of peer-reviewed, original research articles on human biology. She brings her biomedical expertise in discussing the physiological and psychological effects of freediving.

“Like marine mammals, humans have the genetic makeup that enables us to adapt to the aquatic environment. Some of the adaptations we achieve through proper in-water breath-holding exercises have a positive influence on our health. And it can be trained!”

Spearfishing, underwater photography, and animal gazing are Jessea’s off- time recreation. She travels, competes, and teaches diving in two languages--English and Chinese.

2015 was a break-out year for Jessea when she set Chinese National Records in Free Immersion, Constant Weight, Constant No-Fins, Static, Dynamic, and Dynamic No-Fins.



Resides – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Charles was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta surrounded by a wonderful landscape for activity. Though most would choose to reach the top of the Rocky Mountains, Charles decided to go underwater.

It was a family vacation at the tender age of 7 years old that began the spark that would ignite a fire for the life aquatic.

Once out of school Charles began working in a local dive shop. His love affair with diving would soon turn into an obsession. Logging an average of 130 dives per year, Charles quickly became familiar with all of the local dive spots. When he wasn’t working at the dive shop or out diving, he was in a pool swimming. It was during these pool session Charles discovered breath-holding and soon turned his sights to freediving. Shortly after completing the PFI course he decided to take on the competitive side of freediving.  Within a year he was diving to a depth of 70m and able to do a +6 minute breath-hold and in 2008, was the Men’s National Freediving Champion.

Continuing to train and compete, Charles enrolled in one of the first PFI Basic Instructor course in 2009.

With his passion for teaching and love for freediving he currently resides in Calgary, Alberta, targeting other niche communities such as yoga, swimming, and music to introduce the benefits of freediving too.


Ian Almasi
Phone: 425-923-9824
Facebook: Ian Almasi

For Ian, it took a lot of conviction to make his passion a lifestyle. For a long time, dive shop employees had no idea what the sport was and kept telling him, “There is no point in doing that.” Despite being shot down, he didn’t quit. Right before he left home to travel, he stumbled across the opportunity to take a PFI course in his home state of Washington. He jumped at the chance. 

While traveling in Chile, Ian connected with the Solo Apnea Freediving team and they changed his life forever. They were in the middle of preparing for a competition so he was able to get a lot of intense training in. Soon after, he entered his first depth competition on the north coast of Colombia and was blown away by how fast progress comes with proper safety and consistency in training. He doubled his personal bests and placed third in the competition. He knew that the solid foundation built with PFI methods was what led to his success. 

Bitten by the competition bug, Ian entered Deja Blue. Surrounded by PFI professionals, Ian realized PFI was the organization that lined up most closely to his beliefs about training and safety. So, he took the leap to become a PFI Instructor. Ian knows not everyone wants to compete, and that's just fine. Freediving is a sport where everyone can find their own niche of happiness and he can't wait to see you in the water.


Jarrad Thomason
Phone:  561-385-2661

Jarrad is the owner/operator of Fathomless Freediving. Born and raised in South Florida’s Palm Beach County, he grew up on the water. Jarrad’s father, a U.S. Navy Diver, started him with scuba diving at five years old. Jarrad currently holds active status as a PADI Divemaster. He has years of experience underwater hunting in the Bahamas, Florida Keys, and all over Florida. Jarrad was a sponsored surfer from the age of 14 until 2015 and traveled the world following waves from Hawaii to Costa Rica to Nicaragua, among many other amazing surf spots. 

Jarrad is also an active Emergency First Responder/CPR/AED Instructor. In 2004, he was nationally registered as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). He found a passion for freediving after seeing firsthand how much closer in touch he could be with the aquatic environment while on one breath of air. Jarrad has aspirations of competing in the near future.


Keola Bandmann
Phone: 808-443-9424

Keola was born in Hawaii, raised on the mainland, and is now back in Hawaii—at least half the year, anyway. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved the water, especially being underneath it. While in high school, his family took a trip to an isolated beach in Mexico. For the trip, his dad bought a few sets of masks, snorkels, and fins, and a couple of pole spears for him and his brothers. He was instantly hooked on spearfishing, and the water world became an even more delightful experience with his gear.

At the age of 26, with a strong desire to serve his country, Keola enlisted in the U.S. Navy to become a Navy SEAL. The lure and challenge of becoming the best of what the U.S. military had to offer was very strong for him. The fact that, of all the Special Operations units, the SEALs' main environment to work in was water persuaded him to choose the SEALs over any other Special Operations. Unfortunately, the high impact, high stress environment took a toll on his joints and he was medically retired.

Keola’s experience in the SEALs taught him the importance of being safe and always having a buddy. This goes hand-in-hand with PFI philosophy. However, techniques for freediving and apnea weren’t taught as part of his training. He wishes these things were taught while he served, as they would have improved performance in various aspects of his SEAL training.

These days, freediving allows Keola to continue being active without any huge stresses on his joints. He loves the challenges it presents and loves the freedom and “oneness” that he feels while diving.

In 2007, he and his wife bought a small place outside of Hilo, and their family has gone back every year for about half the year to stay and enjoy the winters. His number one diving buddy is his 12 year-old son, Kimo, who’s been in the water ever since he was a baby. They usually keep their dive gear in the car, so that anytime they feel like getting out in the water, they can. Keola loves Hawaii island and its beautiful waters and enjoys sharing it with others.


Nate Leazer
:  571-445-5581

Some of Nate's most vivid childhood memories are of being in the ocean, and that love of the water has influenced throughout his life. Since then, Nate has spent as much time as he can in and on the water.

He began diving in 2007 while in college, eventually leading him to obtain professional certifications with several agencies: SDI/ERDI and SSI while working part time at Coral Edge Adventures. Nate is a state certified EMT, naturally leading him to become a DAN Instructor. He turned his love of diving into a part of his Law Enforcement career, as both a diver on the Underwater Search and Recovery Team, as well as the team’s scuba instructor.

He was first introduced to structured freediving in late 2015 with Ren and Ashley Chapman. During one of his sessions, he performed a static 5:32 and fell in love with the sport. In 2016, he took the Intermediate Freediver course with Ted Harty; Nate then decided he not only wanted to teach--he also wanted to compete. He went back to Ted for additional training and, in early 2017, he went through the Advanced Freediver and Freediver Instructor program with Kirk Krack.

Nate is currently the Freediving Instructor at Coral Edge Adventures in Virginia and is working toward becoming a competitive freediver while sharing his love of the water with his wife and daughter.


Eiko Jones
Facebook: EikoJonesPhotography

While growing up in New Zealand, Eiko acquired his first SLR camera at the age of fourteen and started scuba diving. He quickly discovered his passion for capturing images of animals in their natural habitat. During extensive trips along the West Coast of British Columbia and Alaska, his focus shifted to coastal landscapes above and below the waterline, and he fully immersed himself into diving.

After years of being an avid scuba diver, he discovered the amazing discipline of freediving. Eiko took the PFI Intermediate course, and he was hooked. Learning the techniques and mindset of freediving has transformed his experiences in the water whether he's freediving, scuba diving, or simply floating in shallow river waters photographing salmon.Eiko completed the PFI Freediver Instructor course in Kona, Hawaii and is embarking on adding freedive instruction to his life as an underwater photographer.

Currently living in Campbell River, British Columbia, Eiko is a full-time photographer working in several genres, particularly underwater. He also leads unique dive trips in the local rivers and coastal areas on Vancouver Island, as well as photographic trips to other parts of the world. All water sports interest him, as well as hiking, caving, and sailing. He has also served six years as an Auxiliary Constable with the RCMP and holds a Private Pilot’s License.


Lance Lee Davis
Phone:  310-266-1093

Born in Singapore, Lance has been swimming in the ocean since infancy.  He came to the USA at the age of 5 and started his competitive swimming career soon after, putting in 11 years at club, state, national, and college levels. He trained alongside Olympic swimmers as an adolescent and, as a summer lifeguard, taught hundreds of kids and adults how to swim. This early exposure shaped much of his later freediving philosophy and taught him the importance of training, conditioning, and technique.

After some years of competitive apnea and spearfishing, including wins at national freediving competitions and one Guinness World Record ("Most Consecutive Underwater Somersaults on a Single Breath"), Lance realized that he had gaps in his training, specifically regarding safety, and he began to train with PFI. He finished his PFI Instructor Training in early 2017, and at the conclusion of the program in Kona, surpassed the U.S. Men’s National Constant No Fins record with a dive of 72M. Check it out here. 

Based in Los Angeles, Lance works on both sides of the camera in film and TV. He has appeared as a swimmer/freediver in advertising for Speedo, Nike, Ballantine’s, Hyundai, and others. In his free time, he is an avid spearfisherman and looks forward to working with PFI students and family.


Dan Semrad
Phone:  503-724-1501

With a curiosity for the natural world, Dan has always loved being in and around the water. His dive career started with scuba; he was so hooked on his new ability to explore the underwater world that, within two years, he became a NAUI instructor. During that time, he discovered spearfishing and the world of freediving. He was pursuing freedive education at the same time that the NAUI/PFI alliance started, so he went through the first instructor training to be offered through the collaboration.

In addition to being a freediving and scuba instructor, Dan is a professional educator with a bachelors degree in biology and a masters degree in education.  As a high school teacher, he has developed a program that allows students to take a science class during their school day in which they can earn science credit, college credit, and dive certifications.

Dan works tirelessly to build and support his local freediving community, and his passion spurred him to open the first freedive specific shop in Oregon.  As a regular contributor to NAUI Sources magazine, he educates readers about the world of freediving and the possibilities available through the PFI collaboration.  In 2017, Dan was honored to receive the Outstanding Contribution to Diving award from NAUI.

As a biologist, sustainability is very important to Dan. Through his shop, he has developed spearfishing training that provides students with the knowledge of how to be successful and safe while retaining consideration for our marine environment in order to minimize the impact that humans have as consumers of this invaluable resource. 


Ian Towne
Phone:  850-830-4011
Email: /

Ian grew up in the small beach town of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida where he spent much of his free time fishing, surfing, and diving. He went on to receive a bachelor’s and master degree in Marine Biology at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale while competing as a collegiate pole-vaulter. Ian has spent the last several years researching hogfish, spending most of his time out on the reefs freediving, spearfishing, and conducting research. Ian also helps catch sharks and rays for cancer research, lionfish ecology, and electroreception of marine organisms. Outside of research, Ian’s passion is teaching others about the underwater world he loves so much. 


Kimberly Jeffries

Phone: 808-212-9334
Instagram: @hapakimberly

Originally from New York, Kim grew up spending winter vacations with her family snorkeling in Hawaii.  It was during her summer travel in the subsequent years, however, that Kim’s curiosity for the ocean grew, ultimately prompting her move to Hawaii in 2011.  After taking an Open Water SCUBA class because it “looked like something fun to do”, Kim’s passion for the ocean quickly led to certifications as a SCUBA Instructor, a Closed Circuit Rebreather Instructor and a PFI Freediver Instructor. 

The underwater world also provided a diverse background for perhaps Kim’s greatest passion: photography.  Photography allows Kim to share the unique and mysterious underwater world with divers and non-divers alike and earned Kim multiple roles on the Emmy Award winning “Chasing Coral”, including safety diver and underwater photographer.  Kim has since provided commercial underwater photography for Omer and Atlantis Submarines and received several photographic awards, including multiple top three finishes in the Kona Underwater Shoot Out and, most notably, recognized as a National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year in 2017. 


Tim Andrews
Phone: 843-754-4743
Instagram: @mitswerdna

Tim Andrews was born and raised in Litchfield, Minnesota...about as far from the ocean as you can get. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as a Nuclear Machinist Mate in the submarine force. While serving on the islands of Oahu and Guam, he finally discovered the ocean and scuba diving.

During his early years in Guam, Tim spent most of his free time progressing through scuba training, eventually becoming a scuba instructor. It was not until he heard someone talking about the inner peace and tranquility found while freediving that he thought “I need some of that.” After several months and an introduction to freediving class, Tim realized freediving was “competitive relaxation.” He quickly put his new freediving skills to good use through spearfishing giving him an excuse to be in the water.

Moving back to Oahu, Tim sought to improve his freediving, expanding his knowledge and skills through the PFI Intermediate and Advanced Freediver courses. PFI’s commitment to safety and their building block approach to skills aligned with the leadership skills the Navy had instilled in him, making Tim quickly realize his desire to be a part of the PFI organization.

When not freediving or spearfishing, Tim can be found sailing, teaching scuba, or taking photos while diving a Closed Circuit Rebreather.


Barry Antonio Smith
Phone:  242-727-5339
U.S. Phone:  954-683-6277

Barry grew up in the Bahamas and fell in love with the water when he was five years old. He has been swimming and snorkeling ever since. He began spearfishing at 10 years old and enjoyed the thrill of hunting fish. He still loves to go diving and hunting for a meal every chance he gets and often welcomes visiting guests to come along on the journey. 

His first PFI class was in 2008, and he became an Assistant Instructor in 2016. The following year, Barry gained his Instructor certification. The emphasis on safety is what attracted him to PFI and he centers his teaching around it.  

Today he is the owner and operator of Paradise Cove Beach Resort Ltd., on the island of Grand Bahama, The Bahamas. This offers him a great opportunity--right off the beach--to teach freediving and run spearfishing tours. He also enjoys teaching snorkeling and water safety classes.


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Jackie Troller

In harmony with the ocean, Jackie Troller confidently instructs freediving workshops on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Her passion for freediving began during PFI's Intermediate course in 2012. From there, she participated twice as a safety diver in Grand Cayman for PFI’s annual freediving competition, Deja Blue. Her experience as an active safety support for freedive competitors gives her students the assurance they need to safely explore their potential.

Jackie’s skilled background as a swim instructor, NOAA scientific diver, and part-time schoolteacher contribute to her ability to effectively relay course content and the essence of freediving. Having graduated with a degree in Marine Science from the University of Hawaii, Jackie also peppers her instruction with interesting facts about local oceanic life.

Hawaii offers the perfect learning environment for taking the plunge into the fascinating underwater world of freediving. Come join Jackie to acquaint yourself with this new adventure and the PFI family.


Talya Davidoff

Talya Davidoff is a scuba diving and Freediving Instructor with a Degree in Marine Biology from the University of Cape Town.  She has passion for marine apex predators as well as conserving the ocean. She has worked on multiple projects like the Sharksafe Barrier, along side Michael Rutzen and Coral Reef CPR around the world

Although Talya's first love is teaching, she has recently entered the competitive Freediving world, wining both the South African Freediving Championships as well as the Cayman Open National Championships. Currently working closely with PFI association, as their first Crossover, She intends on breaking other South African Records and more.

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Anatoliy Pak


Anatoliy was born and raised in Uzbekistan, a country in central Asia, where the climate is similar to Arizona. His homeland is land-locked, so he did not have too many chances to be in the water as a child. Actually, Anatoliy really disliked swimming since it caused him a lot of discomfort in the sinuses. It was so until 2016, when he stumbled upon a YouTube video about freedivers swimming with whales. He was fascinated by how calm and serene this experience seemed. Driven by curiosity and excitement, Anatoliy researched ways to learn freediving. Among many training agencies available on the market, he picked PFI because of its clear objectives, solid curriculum, high safety standards, and diverse availability of instructors throughout the US. Two years later, after his first dive to 33’/10m in the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Anatoliy became a freediving Instructor with an ambitious goal to create a strong freedivers’ community in the Chicago and Midwest area.

Anatoliy is a licensed acupuncturist and a Tai Chi instructor; he utilizes freediving breathing and apnea exercises a lot in his busy acupuncture clinic to improve the patients’ health and wellbeing.

In his free time Anatoliy enjoys studying piano, playing underwater hockey, snowboarding, sailing, and camping with his family.


Scott Fitzsimmons


After a few years working as a Scuba instructor, Scott started his adventure in breathold diving in the cold waters of Iceland. Looking for new (and warmer) challenges, he completed the PFI instructor program and is the resident freediving instructor at Divetech in Grand Cayman.

Scott is currently working towards his BSc in health sciences and is more than happy to nerd out about physiology with anyone who will listen.


Rebekah Phillips

Phone: (831) 200- 3485


Instagram: rebekah_seas

As a Bay Area native, Rebekah grew up diving for abalone, fish and shells with her father. From an early age, he nurtured her sense of adventure and instilled a deep respect for the ocean and ecology.

After moving to Oahu for college (and the nearby ocean), her diving expanded with new shores, dive buddies and greater possibilities.   

Inspired by the passion and aloha of her peers, she decided to pursue freediving instruction and judging.   In 2018 Rebekah participated as a judge in the First CMAS Freediving Hawaiian Cup and accomplished the role of an International CMAS Freediving Judge.  

In early 2019 after much hard work Rebekah completed the requirements to become a PFI Instructor.   She currently resides and teaches out of Monterey Bay. Her goal is to promote accessible, safety focused freediving instruction so divers can experience the underwater beauty of freediving and Monterey.