Our Team

John Prins
Instructor Trainer, Judge
hi, I'm John! I'm an AIDA certified Freediving Instructor Trainer based in San Francisco, and the founder of Fins and Foam Freediving.

People don't realize it because we don't have a tropical climate, but there are beautiful conditions for freediving in the Bay Area. Deep calm lakes for those who are into freediving for healing and meditation, and the wild Pacific Ocean for those who want to swim with sea lions, forage for uni and catch ling cod.

You dont need to be a strong swimmer, or be sporty or athletic. Freediving is not about struggle, it is about relaxing and slowing down. See you underwater!
Audrey Yang
Instructor, Judge
hi, I'm Audrey! I'm a PFI, NAUI and SSI certified Freediving Instructor based in San Francisco.

Back in the days of legal abalone diving, some friends and I were completely thwarted by bad ocean conditions during a "dive for abalone" Groupon. I took it personally, so I signed up for a freediving class.

In the decade since then, I've enjoyed a great deal of foraged seafood and "aggressively snorkelled" all over the world. While I scuba almost as much as I freedive, freediving lets me explore remote places that don't have scuba infrastructure, or where it's hard to bring scuba gear.

I became an instructor so that I could find more safe freediving buddies. You can be one too!
Brandon Burke
Hi I'm Brandon! I am a NAUI and PADI certified Freediving Instructor and spearfishing guide based in Monterey Bay, California.

I started freediving and spearfishing in my youth off the coast of Florida. I made Monterey Bay my home after falling in love with the enchanting kelp forests and challenging conditions that define this unique region. This fuels my belief that learning and practicing to dive here makes you a competent freediver with the ability to dive anywhere in the world.

I teach Freediving and Spearfishing courses. When I'm not teaching, you'll still find me in the water a few days a week. I love being immersed in the raw, beautiful nature of the ocean and am a passionate spearfisherman dedicated to an ocean-to-table lifestyle. I run Odyssey Freediving and am president of the Monterey Bay Tritons, which hosts local tournaments and events. I love working with Fins and Foam because of the community it creates and the accessibility it gives new divers to learn about freediving.

Hope to see you in the water soon!
Laura Melroy
Instructor, Judge
Hi, I’m Laura! I’m an AIDA certified Freediving Instructor and Judge living in Oakland.

My happy place is being in or around the water and I am way more coordinated in water than on land. I grew up as a competitive swimmer and water polo player, lifeguarded, taught swim lessons, and remain a forever hot tub enthusiast.

I studied marine biology in grad school and would like nothing more than to talk to you about the bright, slimy, misshapen creatures you see on your dives. Beware asking me about latin names, life histories, and dispersal mechanisms if you don’t have a lot of time :)

Freediving is a way for me to spend more time in the water and explore the California coastline with rare, but treasured, trips to warmer places. See you in the water!
Monica Schmiede
Instructor, Judge
hi, I'm Monica! I am an AIDA certified freediving Judge, Athlete and Instructor based in Marin County in Northern California.

Growing up on the East Coast, I started scuba diving as soon as I was of age and have traveled the world exploring underwater as much as possible. When I discovered freediving, I was instantly drawn to the experience of interacting more naturally with marine life without the assistance of cumbersome equipment.

I've grown to love the local kelp forests and lakes offered in California as well as the thriving community of divers and ocean conservationists here. It's an honor to continue to share the magic of freediving as an instructor for Fins and Foam and organizing local competitions to continue to grow the community.
Eric Pan
Instructor, Judge

Growing up in a landlocked city in northeast China, Eric had never dived into the ocean until he was 22. Despite being an avid swimmer for many years, he never thought one day he would be obsessed with the ocean. It was his first freediving class in an aquarium in China that made him realize his love for freediving.

Eric is now one of the deepest divers on the West Coast. He represented China in the 2023 World Championship and claimed four national records: CWT at 88m, FIM at 83m, CNF at 55m, and CWTB at 82m. Soon after that, he participated in the 10th Azul Freediving Challenge in the cenotes of the Yucatan and won gold medals in FIM and CWTB.

Eric is an experienced and bilingual (Chinese/English) AIDA certified instructor who, before moving to the Bay Area, previously taught freediving in Chicago, Hawaii, and LA.
Renee Blundon
Instructor Trainer
hi, I'm Renee! I'm an AIDA certified Freediving Instructor, PADI certified Instructor Trainer, and 3x national record holder in both depth and pool disciplines of freediving.

Originally from Connecticut, I have lived abroad for the better part of the last decade in Egypt, Europe and in Africa, training and competing in freediving for the last 8 years and teaching freediving courses for 7+ years. In 2018 and 2022 I represented the USA on the national Freediving Team.

I am now in the US Air Force, stationed in Monterey, and excited to be teaching freediving in California!

I write a blog and produce a podcast about training freediving at the highest level, check them out here:
Bizo Silva
hi, I'm Bizo! I'm an FII certified Freediving Instructor based in Davis.

By day I am an ER doctor, and on the weekend you can find me somewhere deep below the surface of Lake Berryessa. For me freediving is therapy and teacher. Each dive is a little death and rebirth, and I emerge with a new appreciation for the sights and colors of the world above water. In my teaching I emphasize the meditative side of freediving: using the breathing to slow the heart and clear the mind, entering a state of deep relaxation ready for a deep dive.

Check out the upcoming episode where I am the special guest on the Freedive Cafe!
Alexey Vlaskin
hi, I'm Alexey! I'm an Apnea International certified Freediving Instructor based in Sunnyvale.

I started freediving a decade ago in the warm waters of Sydney, Australia. In 2017 I became an instructor and in 2018 I won bronze in the Australian pool National Championships.

In 2019 I moved to the Bay Area to take a job as a machine learning engineer at Google, and in my spare time, when not teaching or competing in freediving, I developed the Divebud, an audio-first freediving computer designed to replace traditional dive watches, which is now in production. Try one and tell me what you think!