Vid Ogris has lived the freediving instructor dream life in Asia and is now settled back in his home country Slovenia where he runs his own freediving school Apnea Bled. We caught up with him and found out more about his experiences as a freediver and freediving instructor.
Could you please introduce yourself to our readers? (The same way you introduce yourself to new students)
I am the guy who will teach you how to fight the urge to breathe, face your fears, stay relaxed while doing both and still have fun. Otherwise my name is Vid and I come from Slovenia, Europia 🙂
When, where and why did you start freediving? What inspired you to get started?
Being one with the water, the sense of relaxation, being one with myself, overcoming my fears, mental preparation. Well, those were for sure NOT the “deal makers” for me.
I started in 2012 mostly because freediving was on my To-Do list and my girlfriend at the time was the “you should do it” kind of person. Since my active cycling days were over, I had some time to spare and I decided to try it. It was my first time in the water with a wetsuit, long fins and weights. There was no special inspiration for me, no “inside calling” for the sea or stuff like that. For me it was more like a learn a new “skill approach” and do some other sport-related activity. Also the community was interesting and very supportive, something not so familiar to me from the times before.
What is your favourite freediving location and why?
I loved Moalboal, Philippines, due to water temperature, depth is close to the shore, and the general vibe of the Philippines. There is lots of marine life, so besides training conditions it gives lots of opportunities for snorkeling.
For wreck diving it was Bali with Tulamben USS Liberty and Malta.
For marine life it is Komodo. A freediving live-a-board trip I did there was unforgettable. It was just me and my girlfriend on a boat with our guide Ludo and we had an incredible 1:2 experience. A combination of diving and a biologist explaining all the marine stuff. There are lots of nice places to dive, mostly depending on the buddies you dive with.
What has been your most memorable dive so far?
If I had to pick one it would be the Batu Bolong in Komodo. The amount of fish in one place was incredible. Otherwise it would be my first freediving competition in Belgrade, Serbia. Because it was so different from any other competition I did in my life. I was so nervous when doing static apnea, the 3 – smth minutes I did felt like 12, and I still consider them the hardest 3 minutes in my life 🙂 The dynamic was not much better either.
What is your favourite marine animal and have you freedived with one yet?
I want to swim with penguins and seals one day 🙂 but mostly penguins.
Why did you become a freediving instructor?
At the beginning I just wanted to upgrade my knowledge about freediving. My instructor trainer was Tomaž Jereb and his knowledge is incredible therefore I learned a lot about freediving, diving, first response, knots, etc., also non diving related stuff. I never intended to work as a freediving instructor. That was in 2014. Well, a lot can happen in a year I guess 🙂 So in 2015 I was already working full-time, as a freediving instructor in Bali, Indonesia.
Where do you teach your courses?
Mostly in Slovenia (Lake Bled) and Croatia.
How would you describe your local freediving community?
It is growing. More and more people are learning how to freedive, there is a big community of freedivers and spearfishers in Slovenia. Lots of training groups. Samo Jeranko is doing a very good job with his freediving club and training groups, so it is easy to find a buddy to dive with.
What gives you the greatest sense of achievement or satisfaction when teaching freediving?
When somebody overcomes his fears and/or obstacles, whether being mentaly related, or equalization blocks. Sometimes you can already see their smiles on the way back to the surface.
If you had to convince a friend to try freediving, what would you tell them?
In short and simple – There is no reason why you shouldn’t try it. It is a new life skill to learn. You will see where it takes you then later. You will be able to enjoy the underwater life when on holidays, it can help you become more confident when doing water sports, etc. there are way more reasons to try freediving than not to try freediving.
Other than teaching freediving, do you have any freediving related projects, trips or activities you would like to share with us?
You are always welcome to come freediving to Lake Bled in Slovenia. It is an interesting experience with an awesome view outside of the water. Some huge fish can also be found. Diving in Alpine lakes (lake Bohinj included) is good mental preparation due to a big thermocline and bad visibility.
Thank you Vid!