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“A surreal experience”

Apnea Total - Day Courses
Ranked #39 of 100 Tours in Koh Tao
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Apnea Total Koh Tao is the headquarters for the network of Freediving schools based around the world, it is an independent organization established in 2003, and the first freediving school in Southeast Asia operating for over 14 yrs. Monica Ganame (Argentina) and Eusebio Saenz de Santamaria (Spain) are the founders, the duo and their team are internationally recognized freedive instructors with vast experience in competitions, training and freediving education. Apnea Total has featured in the countless media publications worldwide that identify the school as the most reputable centre for freedive education and training. Their qualifications include dives deeper than 100 meters and static breath-holds of over 8 minutes. The Apnea Total Team promotes freedive education and safety from beginner to instructor level. To date, over 12,000 students have successfully completed Apnea Total courses. Currently there are schools teaching AT system worldwide.
Reviewed 22 February 2014

I wanted to say thank you to Tobin and the crew at Apnea Total (especially Camila and Rick) for giving us such an amazing experience. My partner, Jo, and I recently completed the beginner free diving course with Apnea total. We both made it to 20 meters, which was way deeper than we thought we could go after 2 days. I did the static apnea class as well, and achieved a breath hold of 2:48. Another guy in my class held his breath for 4 minutes. I enjoyed my experience with Apnea Total so much that I dedicated an entire article just to the beginner course on my travel blog (http://dirtypawsblog.com/2014/02/20/freediving-a-deep-sense-of-euphoria/). If we had been staying longer than 2 weeks I definitely would've continued free diving with Apnea Total. Thanks for an awesome time. Cheers, Chris and Jo.

2  Thank Chris F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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117 - 121 of 253 reviews

Reviewed 15 February 2014

I did the beginner two day course at the beginning of Feb this year and chose this company after researching all the options on the island. I had a great impression straight away, even from the first email I sent them. Everyone is so friendly and helpful and genuinely happy to have you there and learning what they obviously love to do. It is a small school and everyone gets personal treatment and made to feel important which is quite different from some of the scuba dive schools on Koh Tao.

The course itself I found really interesting and so much fun. I was really impressed by how much easier it was than I thought! In the mornings of the two days we did theory and breathing techniques in the classroom and both afternoons we went out to the sea to work in the water and practice what we had been taught. I really liked the way the instructors would encourage you to achieve your potential but always stressed not to push yourself too hard and to make sure you were always relaxed. They made it clear that the aim was not to get to the bottom, but to get more confident in the water and become aware of what your body was capable of, while enjoying it at the same time. Saying that, if they saw you were capable, they allowed you to go that bit further which was great.

I was a bit sceptical that I could get to 20 metres at first but I managed it on the second day and it was surprisingly easy! I'm sure most people will surprise themselves as to what they are able to do on this course, and all without feeling stressed or like you are pushing yourself at all.

People have mentioned in reviews that they would like something to see while diving, and although that would be great, what these guys are teaching is the basics of free diving as a sport, which does involve following the rope down. However, you can easily go away afterwards and use these really useful techniques when you are snorkelling or swimming in the ocean to spend more time in the water having a look around... which is what I did around Koh Tao after the course and it really made me more confident about diving down and not scared to stay down, I will keep practicing and hope to keep improving!

The only thing I would have liked to do differently is to practice more of the kicking down with the fins on the second day rather than just pulling down the rope as I found that technique more fun and satisfying. However, I'm sure the instructors know what they're doing and have their reasons for this!

Also, don't worry if you are a little nervous because all the instructors will look after you really well and never make you do something you are not comfortable with. Plus, I'm quite sure you will be able to do it better than you think! Thank you guys, it was a great course with great people and I would love to come back one day to do more!!

1  Thank Sarah_Smaje
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 February 2014

This course definitely worth what is paid for. The techniques are well taught by the instructors and it is totally comfortable the way that they guide you in the ocean showing the freediving techniques. Well done, guys, thanks!

Thank carolinehpereira
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2014

A business is only as good as the people and these people are great, excited about what they do, which feeds back straight to you the student. An amazing must do experience. My first time and on day 2 went down 20m, and I am hooked.

Thank WGFarrell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2014

Apnea Total's operation is small, probably never more than 20 people in a day, but still manages highest standards due to expereinced freedivers teaching the course. The team acheives a balance between classroom and practice. Safety is stressed at all turns, the technique is based on yoga, however even if you are not "into" yoga the breathing excersises make the technique of streching of chest, lungs and diaphragm intuitive. AP makes you push your limits without feeling the usual pain of pushing yourself. You are helped to bring yourself to the limit, but also to make sure you don't go beyond this limit.

The only scope for improvement I can think of would be to find a dive site with "something to see", which there are many of around Koh Tao. The classroom to sea transistion could also be handled more efficiently, seems to take forever at midday heat for everyone to find their fins and suits - perhaps have students pick out the kit before the start of the day? Getting from classroom to sea below 1h+ should be easy.

1  Thank klaurson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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