Interview with Dr. Jaap Verbaas

Today’s episode is an interview with the Author of Longer and Deeper, a cross training guide for freediving and spearfishing. Dr. Jaap Verbaas is a crash test dummy of the highest calibre. I geek out way too much and we talk about hypoxic squats, essential tools and mindset for improving your freediving performance and even diets that can help.


Standout highlights (for me) are Jaap’s experimental mindset and his demonstration of how to plan, measure, experiment and learn from each experiment.  If you are engaged in any form of freediving training then you will find plenty of value in this interview and the Longer and Deeper book.

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Interview Time Stamps


6:00 Where are you based, what do you do and how did you get started freediving?

7:00 Freedivewire.com – what is it and what compelled you to become a freediving writer?

9:25 What freediving/spearfishing hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them? Jaap talks about equalizing issues at depth.

15:40 Canadian Spearfishing. Where do you spearfish? Chasing flounder in cold water with a Polespear

18:40 What’s your go-to fish dish

Dr. Jaap Verbaas Hypoxic Squats, Myoglobin and improving freediving performance

19:30 Longer and Deeper: Overview of the book and key concepts


I read the book and really enjoyed it – all of it. I think a huge part of why its such a good book is your Experimental Mindset:  Where did you acquire this habit? Are you a Tim Ferris fan? (I noticed the slow carb diet and lots of your methodology is similar)

  • How did you adopt this theorize, plan, measure, adapt methodology?
  • Is this a skill or orientation that all of us should adopt?
  • Muscle mass: when does it become counter-productive for freediving

Jaap Verbaas | Myoglobin, Hypoxic Squats and Going Longer and Deeper

Hacks for improving freediving performance

  • Blood quality and cardio: exploring the relationship
  • Myoglobin: the oxygen holding cells in your muscles. Theories about training to increase it
  • Hypoxic Squats: desaturating the oxygen in your muscles. Measuring the change
  • Hypoxic Squats: How to do them and the device you need to measure your oxygen saturation (oximeter – check this one out)
  • Spleenic contraction? Can you see it on an oxygen saturation graph when your body is steadily depleting?

40:10 Perfect Dive/Shit Dive comparison – great concept (this is awesome for looking at the separate metabolic phases of a dive that you can specifically target when training)

Can you walk me through a good spearfishing dive right now? I’m hunting reef fish in 18m/60ft and to get the fish curious enough I need to hold some bottom time. (I’d love to get into the dive phase concept – are there 4 phases in a spearfishing dive?)

Ok now the converse…what does a shit dive look like?

The physiological demands on the diver at each stage and how symptoms can point to what you may need to target in your own training regimen

Jaap Verbaas | Myoglobin, Hypoxic Squats and Going Longer and Deeper

My copy of Longer and Deeper is covered in highlighter and notes!

“The goal of training is to adapt the body to specific conditions. In freediving, the goal is to adapt the body to underwater conditions. These conditions include;

  • Increased pressure
  • Reduced Oxygen
  • Increased Carbon Dioxide

Specific training is possible for all 3 of these conditions” Dr. Jaap Verbaas

47:00 Can we talk about training for each of these conditions specifically for spearfishing?

  • CO2 Tables training can be great for spearos suffering early onset contractions
  • Mid-Distance Sprints for reducing lactate and leg soreness on the surface
  • Blood – improving quality. Cardio training boosts blood volume and is proven to improve the quality.
  • Swimming training is good for CO2 tolerance as well as cardiovascular training

*further detailed breakdowns and training plans are specifically laid out in Part 3 of the Longer and Deeper book


  • Stretching (what about for 37 year old weapons?)
  • Animal Walks? The crab walk – I can’t do it.
  • Hypoxic Squats. How and why (this seems to be the biggest needle mover – why?)
  • Blood quality – Cardio – freedivers (top level can be anti)
  • Yoga and breathing

62:20 DIET: Myth Busting (are you rehearsing for the show)?

74:00 TOOLS


  • What kind of stuff do freedivers and spearos do that annoys you?
  • Did you have any unexpected findings or conclusions, for apnea training?
  • What are you curious about and working on right now?
  • What can we expect from Jaap Verbaas in the future?

85:00 Freedive Wire

  • Tell us About FreediveWire.com
  • What kind of articles can guys find on there if they want to learn more
  • What determines the content you write about?
  • Where can people find you?

Contact Jaap at info@freedivewire.com or connect with him on Facebook or Instagram

Dr. Jaap Verbaas Bio

In 2011 Jaap moved to Perth after his MSc in the Netherlands. Unfortunately he did not dive there until 5 years later. In 2012 he made the move to Vancouver to start PhD. He earned his PhD from Simon Fraser University (2017) in geology. Thesis paper here: Worked on the 1600 million year old connection between Australia and Canada.

Other Scientific articles:

  1. The link between Australia and Canada
  2. Separation of Australia and Canada

In 2013 Jaap started freediving in Vancouver, Canada. “Shortly after I find myself living in my van for about 8 months, through winter. My freediving buddies were kind enough to help me dry my gear after dives.”

In 2015 Jaap founded Freedive Wire – now one of the most comprehensive and influential freediving sites on the internet. “I took a leave of absence from my PhD and founded Freedive Wire as a community site in late 2015. During this time, me and my GF, (now wife) were in Kuala Lumpur for 3 months. In the original website divers could sign up, post dive sites and so forth. A few months later I realized people were more interested in my articles than in the dive sites etc., even though I expected the dive sites and social aspect would be the most exciting. I started writing more and doing more research.”

In 2017 Jaap started experimenting training with diet, pure O2, oximetry and NIRS. He soon realized that most of the land-based exercises he was taught were only good for CO2 tolerance, not hypoxic training. After a hell of a lot of experimentatin and research he finally published Longer and Deeper.

Popular articles on Freedive Wire include:

These spearfishing retailers now have 99 Tips in stock!!

99 Tips to Get Better at Spearfishing Retail Outlets

Australian Spearfishing Retail Stores

  • Adreno – Brisbane. 56 Deshon St, Woolloongabba QLD 4102
  • Adreno – Melbourne. 1184 Nepean Hwy, Cheltenham VIC 3192
  • Adreno – Sydney. 1/678-682 Botany Rd, Alexandria NSW 2015
  • Adreno – Perth. 2C / 376 South St, O’Connor, WA, 6163
  • Spearfishing SuperstoreCairns. 303-305 Draper St, Parramatta Park QLD 4870
  • The Dive Shop – Port Lincoln. 4 S Quay Blvd, Port Lincoln SA 5606
  • Frogdive – Willoughby. 539 Willoughby Rd, NSW 2068
  • Spear and Fish Downunder – Newcastle.  990 Hunter street. Newcastle, NSW 2302
  • Spear West – 2/1 Baden Street, Osborne Park. Western Australia. 6017
  • Extreme Spearfishing – 1/539 Pitwater Road Brookevale, Sydney NSW 2100

USA Spearfishing Retail Stores

  • The Dive Source – Florida 16 #2, 3721, St Augustine, Florida
  • Oregon Freediving Company – Oregon City 919 7th St, Oregon


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