What is Apnea?


Apnea is the momentary suspension of external breathing, more commonly know as holding one’s breath.  During apnea, there is sufficient oxygen in the lungs and blood stream to allow a person to stop breathing for several minutes while remaining consciousness. Some expert athletes can exceed five minutes while remaining lucid. The sport of apnea and free diving consists of several different styles.  Static apnea trains the athlete to remain underwater for long periods of time, without moving.  Dynamic apnea trains the diver to go the far distances or depths underwater without the aid of equipment for breathing, only with the reserve air in the lungs.  For many reasons, apnea training is a great exercise for surfers!  With this in mind, we have developed an intensive training program to help surfers fully maximize their breathing potential, oxygenating the body remaining calm in stressful situations underwater.


Hawaii (North Shore, Oahu)
June 2-3

Fiji  May 10-11-12

New Caledonia May 20-21-22

More Info: info@hawaiiecodivers.com

Apnea & Surf Survival Course in Hawaii

This course is designed with one main goal in mind: to increase your breath hold ability in stressful situations underwater, while remaining calm and in total control of your mind.  In this apnea course for surfers, you will learn different techniques of apnea and breathing exercises to fully oxygenate the body, and strengthen and increase the capacity of the lungs . The class is designed to help you spend more time underwater  and utilizes lectures, intense breath hold training and multiple breathing and swimming exercises. It’s main purpose is to aid surfers in dealing with extreme situations where mind control and the ability to remain calm are the main factors in your survival.

In addition to apnea theory and breathing techniques to maximize oxygenation and breath hold, we also emphasize high surf risk management in order to recognize, minimize and avoid unnecessary risks found in the surf zone.  We also present and work on many surf rescue scenarios encountered in the sport of surfing and other water activities.   Finally, we will cover the importance of providing CPR and rescue breathing to unconscious drowning victims.

This is a course that every waterman and woman should take.  It will make you and your surfing community safer!

This training is divided in three parts:

THEORY (4 hours)

We will first study the physiology of apnea in an academic setting. This information is very important when we push our bodies to the limit. Understanding what causes our bodies to black out during breath hold training exercises, and how to identify signs and symptoms of hypoxia, is crucial in order to train safely. High surf risk management, emergency action planning, and dealing with panic will also be studied in the academic development portion of the course.

Swimming Pool (6 hours)

Before we start the apnea training, we will present some rescues skills in the pool in order to train apnea safely with a partner. We put into practice proper ventilation and breathe ups in order to perform numerous underwater exercises. Each exercise simulates a real situation found in the surfing environment. Participants work with  training partner throughout the entire class. 

Ocean (6 hours)

We start the second day with CPR training and breathing exercises, followed by a full O2 table apnea practice. This is when people typically achieve their personal best  breath holds (most get three minutes, with some people holding for four and even five minutes). Later, in the water we present more dynamic apnea and survival skills before moving into the surf rescue part of the course. This is when participants learn tools that could help them save lives. Finally, we focus once again on stress apnea exercises simulating wipe outs or long hold down. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  

Apnea & Surf Survival course in Hawaii

Participants are provided with a self-study manual that must be read entirely prior to the beginning of the class. You must complete the knowledge review and bring the answers to the first day of the training.

These are the main aspects of the training include:

  • Physiology of apnea
  • Proper breathing exercises to improve ventilation and strengthen of the lungs
  • Safety
  • Static apnea
  • Dynamic apnea
  • Stressed apnea
  • Risks and dangers of training apnea
  • Surviving a massive wipe out
  • Risk management and emergency action plan
  • Surfing rescue skills
  • CPR and rescue breathing   

The cost of the two full day apnea & surf survival course is $350.00 + tax

We also offer one day private/small group classes if you want to focus only on increasing your breath holding skills. 

Videos of professional surfers who trained with Hawaii Eco Divers before.

Many prominent members of the North Shore surfing community have completed this apnea training. These include Jamie Sterling, Nathan Fletcher, Trevor Carlson, veteran Eddie Aikau competitor and master shaper Dennis Pang, City & County lifeguards Paul Smith and Ian Masterson (who is also a high surf risk management professor at Windward Community college), regular Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach surfer Tracy Yamato, Finn Masterson and a many more

Billabong team manager and professional surfer Rainos Hayes has also benefitted from Hawaii Eco Divers’ apnea course on a previous training.  Rainos organized a class for some of the members of the Hawaiian Junior Surfing Team including the Moniz brothers. Mike and Chris Latronic also took the course and created a video for their TV show.

Big Waves Surfers Pato Teixeira, Silvia Nabuco, Guto Gutemberg, FBI agent Carlos Ozzy and more…

Surfer riding huge wave North Shore of Oahu

Ricardo Taveira
Padi Master Diver Trainer
Rescue Diver & Apnea Instructor
EFR -CPR Instructor at American Heart Association
Big Wave surfer with 30 years of surfing experience

We follow the highest standards in safety and certification

Oahu Scuba Diving: Boat and Shore Dive, year round!