Our AIDA Instructors
Clinton Laurence is the Principal Freediving Course Instructor of Freediving Gold Coast. He is an AIDA Instructor Trainer, the highest level of freediving instructor, which means he can teach all AIDA courses from beginner to instructor. He has been teaching freediving for over 8 years which makes him one of the most experienced freediving instructors in Aust
ralia. He is also an AIDA Judge level E and has organised and judged in over 5 AIDA freediving pool competitions. He has personally certified over 200 students.
He believes that everybody who is comfortable in the water has the capacity to extend breath hold times, dive deeper and improve their quality of life through the sport of freediving. For him freediving is not about competition per se but more about overcoming personal limitations to achieve super relaxation of mind and body and applying these skills in our day to day life to better manage the pressure of modern living.
Clinton has always been interested in mind-body disciplines and this is reflected in his profession as a sport and clinical psychologist and prior pursuits of martial arts, in particular judo, karate and aikido where he has reached high degree black belts and competed at an international level.
Clinton brings a vast experience of physical and mental training to freediving. This is shown by:
- A Bachelor of Human Movement Studies from the University of Queensland.
- Joint First Class Honours in Psychology and Human Movement Studies from the University of Queensland.
- Masters of Clinical Psychology from the Australian National University.
- Consultant Psychologist to the Queensland Academy of Sport and the Australian Institute of Sport.
- Full-time Lecturer for over 5 years at Griffith University School of Exercise Science teaching the subjects Exercise and Sport Behaviour, Sports Coaching, Exercise Assessment & Counselling, and the Psychology of Injury and Rehabilitation.
- He now works in his private practice as a Clinical Psychologist at Parkside Medical on the Gold Coast and which is also the site for all freediving theory courses.
To have fun and safety on the water Clinton is also a qualified professional boat captain (Coxswains), a PADI EFR Instructor and a Pool Lifeguard. For a more comprehensive list of these qualifications click on 100% Safety Commitment.
For those people interested in the numbers, Clinton is one of the current top depth Australian divers. He has dived to 60 metres in Free Immersion and 62 metres in Constant Weight. This can be verified on the website of the world record keeping body AIDA International. Click on this link to be redirected to their website. If your instructor is not listed on this website they have never entered an international competition though it should be emphasised that all AIDA International instructors must be able to dive to a minimum depth of 40 metres using bifins to be certified.
Cristy Gearon is an AIDA Instructor, AIDA Judge and 1 of 5 members who have been assigned by the AIDA Board to act on the AIDA Youth Commission. She is our commercial skipper (Coxwains Grade 1– Near Coastal) and boat mechanic for our own purpose-built freediving vessel. Cristy’s previous commercial experience in boating has been on fishing charters and sailing vessels. She also was awarded the MED 3 award (Marine Engine Driver’s qualification from TAFE proving that she’s not only not afraid to get her hands dirty – she actually likes it. Cristy is the sole operator of an eco-tour she runs called ‘Water’Bout’ which celebrates the beauty, diversity and ecological significance of South Stradbroke Island’s ‘Jumpinpin’ in the Southern Moreton Bay Marine Park. She holds a Bachelor of Education and has 12 years teaching experience working in the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary settings including mainstream, behaviour units and the disability sector. When she’s not teaching freediving with Freediving Gold Coast or running her eco tour she’s teaching in local Gold Coast High School. She’s looking forward to the day that AIDA introduces freediving courses for children and their families so that families can grow as freedivers together. Cristy is 1 of only 4 female AIDA Instructors in Australia.
“Freediving has a simplicity about it and it gives you an honest awareness of who you are and where you’re at. Few experiences can be that raw but still enjoyable.” Cristy
Ben Noble is an AIDA Instructor and a veteran of Australian freediving. His freediving career started like most, after watching the movie The Big Blue. Many years later on holiday in Fiji he happened upon an Australian freediver. By chance (or fate) they bumped into each other again back in Australia and started training together in Sydney. In 2005 Ben moved to the UK and started training with various clubs in London and also was a regular depth diver at Saltfree, a freshwater quarry on the Welsh border that was an icy cold 4 degrees at depth! It was here that Ben fine-tuned his depth diving and started to compete in 2006 in AIDA competitions around Europe and Egypt. In 2008 he became the first Australian to successfully complete the AIDA Instructor course and commenced teaching Australians how to freedive shortly after returning to Australian shores (in fact one of his students was a very keen and talented Mr Clinton Laurence!).
Ben has had a successful competitive career, some of the highlights include:
- Representing Australia twice in Freediving World Championships (2006 Hurghada Egypt and 2007 Maribor Slovenia)
- Winner, Australian Freediving Championships (Pool and Depth) 2010
- Runner up, New Zealand Depth Championships 2013
- 8th place, Vertical Blue World Cup Bahamas 2012
- Winner, NZ Depth Championships 2012
- 8th place, Mediterranean Freediving World Cup 2010
- Winner, British Freediving Championships (no fins category) 2008
- Six Australian Records in 3 depth disciplines, including breaking the 100m barrier in a No Limits dive to 105m in 2010
Ben has kept incredibly busy out of the water over the years as well. Frustrated as a newbie to the sport and having no resources available in Australia, Ben set out early to gain as much knowledge and experience whilst overseas in order to bring it back to Australia and grow the sport. In 2006 he co-founded the Australian Freediving Association and was President of the AFA until 2014. During this time he organised and judged in Australia’s first ever AIDA competition, held in Sydney in 2009. He has also organised some of the largest competitions in Australia and, when judging has been the Head of Safety for Australia’s largest competition to date, the Pan Pacific Championships in 2015. He has also been on the Board of the British Freediving Association and was the Treasurer on the Executive Board for AIDA International from 2010-2014.
Ben has been an AIDA International competition judge for over 10 years and is Australia’s most experienced judge, having been fortunate to judge in many locations in Australia and around the world. Seeing the rising talent of Australia’s freedivers over the years has been a huge thrill for him and a sign that the sport is thriving here in Australia.
Rebecca worked as a landscape designer in Hong Kong for 4 years. After her first encounter with freediving, she was fascinated by the moment of reconnecting with water – the basic element of life which somehow disconnected from human evolution. Diving with mindfulness and rhythm in every single breath allowing the mind takes control over our body, that’s when we can hear our own heart beat and experience a deep state of calm and peace in the vast silent ocean, and being able to stay truly in the moment. Rebecca believes freediving is not only a way to understand ourselves and explore the power of mental focus but also a healing tool for stress and anxiety in the modern society.
In early 2018, she decided to leave the urban city life to focus on learning and training with AIDA Instructor Trainer and German Champion Stefan Randig. Since then she has been training divers in the Philippines and Hong Kong. In July 2018, Rebecca became an AIDA Instructor and started teaching. She looks forward to sharing the underwater joy with all ocean lovers.
Rebecca has extensive Competition Safety Diver experience in the Asian Freediving Cup (June 2018), Korean Cup (July 2018), Freedive Panglao Mini-Competition (July 2018), Japan Freediving Cup (September 2018), Philippine Depth National Championships (May 2019) and the Asian Freediving Cup (June 2019). She has previously taught freediving courses for the Borderless Freediving Association in Hong Kong (Aug to Nov 2019) and Freedive Panglao in the Philippines (July 2018 to August 2019). She brings unique experiences and knowledge as an AIDA Instructor to Freediving Gold Coast.
Matt Louden is an AIDA Pool Instructor with Freediving Gold Coast. He discovered freediving after a knee injury that limited his ability to surf, and wanted to connect back to the water and ocean. He is a high school teacher, and has found freediving to be an amazing way to let go of busy life and simply get present to the world around him no matter how the day went.