Keola Bandmann

Owner / Instructor

    Keola was born in Hawaii, raised on the mainland, and now, is back in Hawaii. Since he can remember, he has always loved the water, especially being underneath it. While in high school, his family took a trip to an isolated beach in Mexico. For the trip, his dad bought a few sets of masks, snorkels, and fins, and a couple of pole spears for him and his brothers. He was instantly hooked on spearfishing, and the water world became an even more delightful experience with mask, snorkel, and fins.

    At the age of 26, with a strong desire to serve his country, Keola enlisted in the U.S. Navy to become a Navy SEAL. The lure and challenge of becoming the best of what the U.S. military had to offer was very strong for him. The fact that of all the Special Operations units the SEALs main environment to work in was water, added to the reason he chose the SEALs over any other Special Operations. Unfortunately, the high impact, high stress environment took a toll on his joints and he was medically retired.

Among other things, Keola’s experience in the SEALs taught him the importance of being safe and always having a buddy. However, techniques for freediving and apnea weren’t taught as part of his training. He wishes these things were taught while he served, as they would have improved performance in various aspects of his SEAL training.

    These days, freediving allows Keola to continue being active without any huge stresses on his joints. He loves the challenges it presents, and loves the freedom and “oneness” that he feels while diving.

    In 2007, he and his wife bought a small place outside of Hilo, and their family has gone back every year for about half the year to stay and enjoy the winters. His favorite diving buddies are his daughter, Ke'olani and his son, Kimo. Both have been in the water since they were babies. They usually keep their dive gear in the car so that anytime they feel like getting out in the water, they can. Keola loves Hawaii island and its beautiful waters and enjoys sharing this with others.

Valerie Bandmann

Office and Finance Manager

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There's no better way to explore Hawaii than doing it in, on top of, or under the water. If you live here, you already know that. If you've come to vacation, well, that's just part of the lure of coming here. Whether you spear fish, take pictures, work out, surf, or just have fun in the water, a professional course in freediving will greatly enhance your enjoyment.

The Freediver course is a 2-3 day course utilizing the classroom, pool, and ocean to instruct you on how to become a safe and efficient breath-hold diver who is comfortable and relaxed in the water environment down to a maximum depth of 66 feet (20 meters).

The course will cover the following fundamentals of freediving.
  • Essential safety procedures for freediving and other disciplines associated with freediving
  • Proper breathing techniques for breath-holding and freediving
  • Confined water skill development (static apnea)
  • Open water skill development (techniques for deeper diving)
  • Equalizing
  • Equipment for freediving
  • Freediving physics and physiology

Here are just a few reasons for taking this course
  • You are interested in learning the fundamental techniques of freediving
  • You dive in shallower waters and want to be able to go deeper
  • You want to be able to hold your breath longer
  • You want to freedive safely
  • You want to be efficient while diving
  • You want to be more comfortable in the water

Equipment you will need

For this course you will need a mask, snorkel, weight belt with weights, fins, a full-body wetsuit with a hood, and a timing device or dive computer. If you don't already have this equipment and you are looking for suggestions on what equipment to purchase, here are some general recommendations.

  • mask--fit and comfort are the most important aspects. Also look for a low volume mask.
  • snorkel--big bore, comfortable mouthpiece. Simple is best.
  • weight belt with weights--rubber weight belt, with anywhere from 2 to 6 lbs. of weight.
  • fins--bifins, no monofins. Freediving specific fins are best
  • wetsuit--two-piece wetsuit with hood is preferred. A 3mm wetsuit is fine for most people, but if you tend to get cold rather easily, consider getting a 5mm wetsuit. After 2 to 2-1/2 hours in the water it can get cold.
  • timing device or wrist dive computer--any water resistant watch to 50 meters or greater should work. A dive computer which has a dedicated freediving mode is best.


  • Good health and fitness
  • Ability to swim 100 meters without fins, snorkel, wetsuit, or flotation, and without stopping
  • Ability to tread water for 5 minutes
  • Those 12-17 years of age need parental/guardian permission

Medical Questionnaire

Before starting this course you will need to fill out a medical questionnaire which I will send you via e-mail once you've signed up. If there are any "yes" responses to any of the questions, you will need to get a physician's approval and signature to be able to participate.

General itinerary

Our days will begin at 8:00 A.M. and finish by 6:00 P.M. A basic outline of the days look like this:

   Day 1 (8 AM - 5:30 PM): Classroom, pool

   Day 2 (8 AM - 4 PM): Pool, ocean

   Day 3 (8 AM - 12 PM): Ocean


The Freediver course is $400, unless otherwise noted. Classes are limited to 5 people. I offer private courses, which start at $500 and could be higher depending on arrangements that need to be made to accommodate the course.

Upcoming Classes

February 25-27, 2019, Kona, Hawaii.

April 2019. Exact dates yet to be determined.


If you have any questions regarding the Freediver course please call Keola Bandmann at 808-443-9424 or e-mail to [email protected]