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A newbies mind barrier

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New Member
Jul 23, 2004
A few kilometers away from me there are some nice quarries. They have been abandoned years ago and they are filled with very clear water and have a depth of about 15m(50ft).

There are several tippers on the ground.

I usualy try to reach one in 10m(32ft) depth.
But the more I get closer to it or when I finnaly reach it, I always have this strong feeling "Stop going deeper... There's already lots of water above you!" and it feels like I'm getting out of air.
But on my way up I notice that I had more than enough air to go deeper. I could probably do the whole 15 meters, but this barrier in my mind just stops me.
I should probably try to reach something deeper... something where my 10m-tipper is out of sight.

Do you have any ideas how to get rid of this mental barrier?

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Welcome to DB. Nice pictures.

Just a few suggestions:

First of all, you can have your divebuddy meet you halfway on the return, for safety and ease of mind. Some divers tug the float when they are the bottom so the guy a the surface knows it's time to head down for the rendevouz. If no float is used, one guy can still go down and meet the other one with a bit of good timing (or good visibility).

If you dive alone, it might be a good idea to listen to that voice and get comfortable at 10 meters instead. It is a typical thing to get fixated with numbers. Happens to everyone. The guy doing benchpresses or the one running 5 miles every day...

It is quite possible that you can get to 15 meters today, or maybe even 20 meters. It doesn't matter. Getting to those depths for the sake of the depth will just make the session an adrenaline and fear-filled one. Forget about that. You didn't go the the quarry to get stressed up did you?

Try to enjoy just being in the water instead. Float along the bottom... look at the many things there.. play with your camera.. take it slow and easy...enjoy being weightless. The world does not end tomorrow. There is really no point in going down to a certain depth if it is not enjoyable.

If you still feel you have to break some mental barriers, try to at least get comfortable at a shallower depth first. You can also try and search this forum for posts about training breatholds on land. Some of the best divers here, do most of their training out of the water. It is faster, easier and safer. Then when you return to the water, things will hopefully be a bit easier and you might feel more relaxed (important).
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I had the same problem...
if you have some quarry that is deeper where you cannot see the bottom try there...
when I couldnt see the bottom I would have no problems reaching 15m but if I could there would be some probles :)
try samo aerobic training... i was running before summer every day for 30minutes for 3 months and the first day of diving I was really amazed how easy it was!
Thanks Tommy and Mlaen.

I guess writing about my problem already helped me a lot :p and your suggestions were helpful as well.

Today I was diving again and I tried not to think about the depth <g>. I didn't even try to go deeper than usual, instead, when I was on my way down I looked out for small stones on the ground and took them with me or I dived along the ground and explored the close surrounding area. That helped me to relaxe and I felt very comfortable while I tried not to care about the water above me.
And belive me, its not very easy to relaxe. The ground is pretty scary ;) I mean there are lots of tippers, rails, dead trees and strange dark shadows. :eek:

A few minutes before I ended my last dives another (free)diver came to this quarry. He was wearing scuba fins and scuba googles, but his freediving abilities impressed me. He dived to a pump station in 12m depth and sit on its roof for a while until he decided to ascent slowly. The cold forced me to leave the water and I couldn't talk to him afterwards.
Maybe I meat him again another day and have a small chitchat or even a dive or two.

I already have some plans for tomorrow.
About 10m(maybe more) away from my tipper and 2 meters deeper (12m) there is an interresting rail intersection (of the turnable kind).
I'll try to go down to my 10m tipper and from there along the ground towards the intersection in 12m. When I reached the intersection this way, it shouln't be a problem to do the whole 15m.

I already had some funny moments. A few days ago I was exploring the ground. I found a broken basketball at 8m. While I tried to grab it (it was strange heavy) I suddenly heard the breathing noise of a scuba gear. I turned around but I couldn't see any scuba divers. Then again the scuba noise. This time I i looked upwards and saw this scuby divers above me. Somehow funny;)

Well, read you tomorrow.

You should try diving with a line and doing some pulldowns. I find it much easier to relax and get comfortable at new depths when I'm doing a pulldown rather than kicking to get down. I just focus on the line and before long I'm at depth.

tie your weightbelt to your floatline so that if you decide to venture or stay down longer you can drop your weights in an emergency and still be able to keep them, and take off any depthgauge that you are using.
instead of frighten from it concentrate for accomplishment...When first time start to diving realtively deeper water (more than 10 meters) it gives me some adrenaline that did not allowed me to dive, then mt spear stucked at 16 meters and i easily retrived it after the dive that was not succesfull at the 15 meters. But the thing in my mind when going down " i can not let this spear there"
;) The thing is don't hurry up for progress and not risk your life and be sure that there is someone at the top waiting for you.
by the way, are there any fish in that quarry? it would be jolly nice to stick a few bass in there and come in a few years and shoot a few ;)
Hello all!
Thank you for the replies.

@ Jason: Well, I use a line from time to time just to count knots.
But its more an annoyance cause I tend to change the spot often, and there are almost always scuba divers around that might get annoyed by the line.
Btw, what do you use to pull you down?

@mishu: I don't wear any wetsuit nor weightbelt, so there is nothing to drop in the case of an emergency ;)
Oh and yes, there is fish in the quarrys: perch(bass?!), whitings(or whatever its called), lots of crayfishes and sometimes even freshwater jellyfishes (very rare!). But I guess the fishes are too smal.. <30cm(1ft)

Originally posted by Murat instead of frighten from it concentrate for accomplishment...
Good point. Maybe I should drop something valuable? :D
But seriously, I already try to do exactly what you suggested.
Now I always try to reach the bottom, touch a specific object or, as posted above: pic up small stones and bring them to the surface.

I know it's just a matter of relaxation, because after only two weeks I have a static time of 4:00min and reach 50+m in dynamic.

Well, lets see what tomorrow brings :)


I just did a intro freediving course last weekend and one thing we did was learn about our maximum static and dynamic. Mine was 4 min hold and about 55 metres.

Anyway, I've never been deeper then about 10 metres and was really nervous about going to 20 (which was what we were going to do). They setup a variable weight exercise so that shot us to 20 meters fast then all we needed to do was slowly swim up.
It was good on a number of levels because on the way down all I had to do was concern myself with equalising and listening to my body. After that I wasnt concerned with the depth, only thing was the crush of the water that was strange. Following that we did it by just finning down to 20m hang out for 15 seconds then swim up.

I was pretty happy as like I said deepest I'd been before was 10 meters. It made it clear to me alot of this stuff is in your mind.

If you cant do that then setting up a line to pull down would be the next best thing

good luck!
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@ spike:
Stupid me! One year ago (or so) i've left my scuba club (because I didn't scuba dive for years :-/). On Monday I saw that there was an apnea course last weekend for VDST(CMAS) members 30km away from me. But with leaving my scuba club I also left the VDST (it's an umbrella organization for scuba divers in germany) so i could not have joined the course... well, it was too late anyways.

But I'm sure I'll participate in an apnea course as soon as I found a new job and moved to whereever I'll have to work :D

@ mishu1984:
That whouldn't be a good idea, because I whould have to worry about the regulatory agency than ;) while diving. Fishing requires a fishing licence, which I don't have.

But nevermind... Last monday I bought an apnea mask at ebay, which will replace my ÜBERHUGE mask. I can't await receiving it!!

Now I'm looking for some good beginner fins.
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Sporasub H.Dessaults are pretty good fins. Also Cressi Gara 3000 (soft) or 2000 (hard) are very good with very performance and IMHO you cant go wrong with Cressi-sub products although their manuals just straigh out suck
The key to fins is the fit of the footpocket.

Try on as many as you can to make sure they are the right width etc.

I got the Gara3000's but find the pocket a little narrow but alas.... they are nice fins :) With hindsight I should have got the Esclapez blacks.

I might visit some local dive shops next week... Let's hope they carry freedive fins.

My new apnea mask arrived today. Of course, I had to cycle to the next lake to test it.

.. realy nice mask (compared with my others).
VERY comfortable, extremly lightweight, easy to equalize...

Just one thing sucked...
... the lake.
Ok, I didn't expect it to be like my beloved quarries, but it realy disappointed me.
It smelled like.. uhm..*something*. The visibility was awefull.
I literaly had to stick my nose into the sand to see the ground :-/ and on my way up I couldn't even see the surface, so I swam into the direction where the most light seem to come from :hmm

Some years ago I used to scuba dive in this lake and the visibility was much better back then: 5 to 10m.
The spearfishers amongst you whould have enjoyed it! Lots of Pike, carp 'n stuff.

But nowadays... :yack

Guess, next time I'll drive to my quarries again and try to reach depths beyond 12m :D
Off topic:

Hey Ricochet, I think I recognize your avatar, is it from 'Happy Tree Friends'? :D
rofl Yes, "cute".
They do deliver happiness in a very special way to their spectators. ;)
You deserve some karma because you reminded me to go to the site and watch some clips...
Though the resent ones in the site are not as good...
Cute for sure.

It's unforunate that they always have to end up in some kind of total mayhem everytime... unfortunate for them!

I thought about sending in an idea about a freediving related episode, but then figured they probably wouldn't even consider it. Who would understand except other freedivers...
By the way (being a scuba diver as well, myself) I can't see them getting annoyed over you having a line down. A lot of scuba divers also drag a flag float around with them - granted, maybe not in a quarry (though I can think of at least a few I've met who do)

It sounds to me that you're solo freediving and I can understand that other freedivers must be pretty scarce in your area. Something you might want to consider is to freedive when there are scuba divers around - on purpose I mean. Not that you'd be depending on them to rescue you if anything should happen, but because it's a lot more fun to "buzz" them, and they may just get a kick out of watching you too. Some scuba divers that I have done this with, see me having fun with less than half the equipment they're used to, and suddenly you have more potential wannabe freedivers eager to give the sport a try........
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