Byron Kay @konafreediver
Guided Freediving Charters in Hawaii
Updated: Mar 18
So you got your freediving certification. Now what? Its time to go freediving of course! But where to go and who can you go with? Fortunately for you dear freediver more and more scuba diving operations and snorkel tour operators are beginning to add freediving to their mix. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about freediving tours in Hawaii.
Freediving Tours in The Hawaiian Islands
What to expect on a Freediving Charter
The idea of offering boat charters to Freedivers is a relatively new one. Snorkelers have long had a plethora of options when it comes to boat tours. My wife and I took a charter in Maui to Molokini crater in 2010. We were 2 of many snorkelers on board. Being that we had more ability to swim and dive we wanted to explore farther from the boat and dive deeper. They were ok with this but made us stay within certain boundaries. The spot we were at was clearly better suited for snorkeling. The reef was mostly non-existent (thrashed) and it was shallow. As we ventured farther towards the edge of the crater the bottom became deeper and the marine life changed. A jack (ulua) and an emperor (mu) swam right up to us without fear. I could only imagine what it would look like on the other side of the crater. Fast forward to today and you now have the option to see it yourself!
Benefits of a Freediving Charter
Sites are better
Selected sites will be more friendly to exploring, offering greater depth and other topographical features that would not be as appealing to just a snorkeler. In Kona we have many swim-throughs and caves. Boats will often attempt to find sites with less current to make your diving easier.
Guide is provided
If you do not have a buddy this is key, but even if you do have a buddy having a guide makes the time you spend in the water more effective since they know where all the good stuff is. They can take you to the best parts of the reef. Watch for current, and find reef critters more easily. Having a guide maximizes your experience. Kona Freedivers provides certified instructors as guides so they are also able to help you with your freediving technique should you want a little brushing up.
Freediving Tours By island
Freediving companies and tours on the Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island is possibly one of the best places to Freedive in the world. Our mix of calm waters, easy access to depth, beautiful reefs, and large marine life make it an ideal freediving destination. It's also home to many of the current and past freediving record holders.
Specializing in offering freediving services only. We are an FII facility that also sells freediving specific gear.
We also offer freediving coaching from shore and private charters for up to 6 Freedivers from our premium fast boat the Honu Lele.
Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures
One of the most thrilling and epic freediving tours available in the world
Like cruising through the bush for big game this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience
While not specifically a freediving charter I recommend this company because it's experience is uniquely suited to Freedivers. As a Freediver you will be able to take advantage of some of the most epic large animal encounters available to Freedivers in the world. Yes that's right. Their 33' rigid hull inflatable is designed to go fast. Really fast and with twin jet drives makes for some pretty amazing maneuvers not possible on any other boat. Kona's home to 13 different cetaceans (whales,dolphins etc.) and they can be a challenge to find. Not so much on this boat! The owner is a world champion freediver and all of the staff are certified Freedivers.
Top Shot Spearfishing - While not a boat charter like the rest of the offerings here Jeremy Selg offers a unique spearfishing course from shore. The benefit is it helps to keep the cost down and yet still provide a fun reef spearfishing experience.
Freediving companies on Oahu
Oahu is a great jumping off point as it's where most flights arrive in Hawaii. It also has some great wreck diving. Much of Oahu's diving is on or near sandy bottom so this provides a great place for all of the neat wrecks available there. It's also one of the more populated islands so there is a lot going on with many Freedivers living there.
Honolulu Scuba Company offers freediving charters from their 4 boats. On Sundays they offer a guided charter from Wainai (the west side) with their instructor who is an SSI certified freediving instructor. Their boats range in size from 35-37ft. wreck and Reef. SSI instructor.
One Ocean - A shark diving operator. The charters are not specifically meant for Freedivers but many Freedivers enjoy this charter because they get to be in the water with sharks. There are 3 boats smaller boats with limited capacity to 6 maximum. They specialize in shark encounters without a cage.
Freediving companies on Maui
Maui freediving is varied. There's some neat sites on the main island of maui but much of the clear water and depth will be found on Molokini crater or the islands of Lanai, or Molokai.
Maui Dreams Dive Co - Offering freediving charters with or without guide provided. Their Newton 46' visits wrecks, reefs, molokini crater, and napili coast. 21 pax maximum keeping it nice and roomy. Their guides are PADI freediving instructors. Freedivers that are certified can go without a guide if they have a buddy.
Top Shot Spearfishing - While not a boat charter like the rest of the offerings here Top Shot offers a unique spearfishing course from shore. The benefit is it helps to keep the cost down and yet still provide a fun reef spearfishing experience. This is great for novice or experienced spearos.
Freediving companies on Kauai
As of this writing we could not find a freediving operator in Kauai. But that may change someday . . .
If you are a freediving company or a dive company that offers freediving charters and you would like to be listed here please contact Byron@konafreedivers.com to be added to this list.
About the Author
Byron Kay is a freediving instructor and the founder of Kona Freedivers and owner of Kona Honu Divers as well as Kona Snorkel Trips. They stand out as Hawaii's top rated and most reviewed businesses among their peers having a perfect 5 star rating on google. To learn more about Byron and his latest goings on visit his bio page.