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level 1 course

The Universal Apnea surf apnea and survival skills course is a one-of-a-kind program designed to educate and up-skill surfers, surf lifesavers, ocean swimmers and ocean warriors in dealing with hold-downs, managing stress, breathing effectively and up-skilling in ocean conditions.


Our surf apnea course has been developed by a team of highly accredited professionals including World Tour surfers, accredited surf coaches (Surfing Australia), swim coaches (Swimming Australia), clinical scientists, freedivers (AIDA), paramedics and ocean lifeguards.


The course is highly reputable and is based on the most recent evidence based science and coaching methods. At Universal Apnea we are committed to providing our students with the best knowledge and experience possible in a safe and supportive environment. 

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Participants will learn essential safety skills, breathhold techniques, survival skills, panic management, anxiety reduction strategies, optimal breathing methods, and performance enhancement techniques specific to surfing and water sports. Upon completion, participants will receive a Level 1 certification in Universal Surf Apnea.


The course will be conducted over a single 4-hour session.


  1. Understand the fundamentals of surf apnea breathholding and its application in surfing.

  2. Develop basic breathhold skills to enhance performance and safety in the water.

  3. Learn survival techniques for extended breathholding situations.

  4. Understand basic anatomy and physiology in regards to breathwork and survival.

  5. Gain techniques to manage panic and anxiety during breathholding.

  6. Explore optimal breathing methods for improved surfing performance.

  7. Apply specific exercises and drills to improve breathhold capacity and overall fitness.

  8. Familiarise oneself with safety measures and precautions while practicing surf apnea.

  9. Achieve a Level 1 certification in Universal Apnea Surf Apnea.


  1. Introduction to Surf Apnea Breathholding 

    • Overview of surf apnea breathholding and its benefits

    • Understanding the physiological and psychological aspects of breathholding

    • Safety guidelines and precautions for practicing surf apnea

  2. Breathhold Techniques and Survival Skills

    • Proper breathing techniques for surf apnea

    • Breathhold exercises and drills to enhance capacity

    • Survival skills for prolonged breathholding situations

  3. Panic Management and Anxiety Reduction 

    • Identifying panic triggers during breathholding

    • Techniques for managing panic and anxiety

    • Mindfulness and relaxation exercises

  4. Optimal Breathing for Performance 

    • Importance of efficient breathing in surfing

    • Breathing anatomy and physiology. Understanding the respiratory system

    • Roles of oxygen and carbon dioxide within the body. 

    • Mind - body connection. Breathing and the nervous system. 

    • Breathing exercises to enhance performance and recovery

    • Techniques for maximising oxygen uptake and utilisation

  5. Breathhold Training and Performance Enhancement 

    • Advanced breathhold techniques and strategies

    • Exercises to improve breathhold duration and control

    • Mental and physical preparation for competition or challenging conditions

  6. Certification Assessment and Graduation

    • Level 1 certification assessment. Basic breath-hold and water skills are required for certification (physical components) and a 90% or higher pass on theory exam required for full certification. 

    • Individual feedback and guidance on progress

    • Graduation ceremony and certificate presentation



This course contains both dryland, classroom style learning and in-water learning. Courses are delivered by highly accredited coaches with a maximum ratio of 8 students to one coach. Sessions are held at aquatic centres in heated, chlorinated pools. 


Please note that the condensed nature of this course allows for an accelerated learning experience. It is recommended that participants have a basic level of physical fitness and comfort in the water. 

dates, locations and costs

Courses are run throughout the year at various locations across Australia. Stay tuned via our website and Universal Apnea social channels (FB & IG) for upcoming dates. Keen to get a group together in your area? We require at least 6 participants in a group, so grab your mates and shoot us an email to get a course running at your local. 

Level 1 Surf Apnea Certification Course cost: $199 - $250. If you require additional training sessions to pass the exam requirements, you may join our group training sessions, or secure private sessions with our coaching staff to help you achieve your goals.

Got questions? Shoot us an email via the contact form below. Don't be shy!

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