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What is Apnea?

Apnea training and surf survival course in Oahu

Apnea is the momentary suspension of 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 maintaining consciousness. Some expert athletes can exceed five minutes while remaining lucid. There are many different styles of this practice.  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.  For many reasons, apnea training is a great exercise for surfers and divers alike! Hawaii Eco Divers has developed an intensive apnea training program to help surfers fully maximize their breathing potential, oxygenate the body, and remain calm in stressful situations underwater.


Oahu, Hawaii: Ongoing classes on the North Shore – Weekends and week days. Email us with availability.
Pacifica (San Francisco), California: December 10th and 11th.
More Info: info@hawaiiecodivers.com

Apnea Training & Surf Survival Course in Hawaii

This apnea training course is designed with one primary goal: to increase your breath hold ability in stressful situations underwater. It is vital to remain calm and in total control of your mind and body. This course is designed by surfers and for surfers. You will learn different techniques of apnea and practice breathing exercises to fully oxygenate the body. This will be done through strengthening and increasing the capacity of your lungs. We utilize lectures, breath hold training and exercises for both breathing and swimming. Ultimately, surfers will walk away with a better ability to handle extreme situations in which mind control and the ability to remain calm are the main factors in your survival.

We will review apnea theory and breathing techniques to maximize oxygenation and breath hold. Further, we emphasize high surf risk management in order to recognize, minimize and avoid unnecessary risks found in the surf zone. This will include surf rescue scenarios that may be encountered while surfing or participating in 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 water man and woman should take.  It will make you and your surfing community safer!

This training is divided in three parts:

Apnea training and surf survival course in Oahu

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.

Apnea Training and Surf Survival Course


Before we start the apnea training in the water, 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. 

Apnea training and surf survival course in Oahu

BEACH and OCEAN (8 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 training & Surf Survival course in Oahu Hawaii

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

The main aspects of apnea 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 completed Apnea Training with Hawaii Eco Divers.

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…

Apnea training and surf survival course in Oahu
Surfer riding huge wave North Shore of Oahu with the help of apnea training
Apnea training and surf survival course in 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

If you would like to do a Scuba Oahu Dive then you can also learn more about our awesome dives by going to https://hawaiiecodivers.com/scuba-dive-oahu/

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