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Beginner who doesn't know where to start.

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

mbritojr

New Member
Nov 8, 2003
5
2
0
Hi there,

I have led a life full of water activities since I was very young: sailing, swiming, diving, etc.... I was always able to stay underwater much longer than my friends while hunting for Quahogs (large Rhode Island clams) and while at play in the water but never thought much of it.

While on a recent trip to Grand Bahama Island (my first visit to tropical water) I took a snorkel tour of a reef. Annoyed with the depth of the water and poor view of the coral I decided to dive deep to get a closer look, staying under for long periods of time. Apparently the instructor/guide took notice and was impressed, saying to his fellow instructors, "Looks like we have a freediver along with us." I had never even heard this term before.

He told me a little about freediving and asked me to come with him on a dive he was hosting later that day. Unfortunately, the group was already full. I left without diving or seeing him again.

Now that I am back and have read up a little on what freediving really is, I am VERY INTERESTED and want to know more.

Most of the articles on this website seem very advanced and use alot of terminology I have never heard before. I need some very low level education on this subject. Can someone help? Is there a "Glossary of Terms" I could look at? Are there some very beginner-oriented training articles I could read?

I am planning another trip to Grand Bahama, scheduled for this Christmas. It would nice to have some education on freediving and maybe even start some training before I return!

Thank you in advance for your advice....Mike

:)
 

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
1,016
220
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Mike,

Welcome to DB :). Glad to have ya. You've found the right place for beginner info. You see that blue search button with the magnifying glass at the top of the page. Use it to find all sorts of good info. I'm sure that many of your questions have been asked by others, so you'll probably find most of what you're looking for by using the search. If not, post away....but I would recommend that you keep your questions/threads specific, since it is difficult to respond to vague questions (eg. How do you freedive? ;) ). Adrian has posted a freediving glossary in an older thread....here's the link http://forums.deeperblue.net/showthread.php?s=&postid=216035#post216035.

Read away!

Ted
 
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mbritojr

New Member
Nov 8, 2003
5
2
0
Thanks for the tips. That document of all the definitions from the post you indicated is so useful! Thank you so much. I will be sure and post more specifically from now on as well. Thanks again!
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,006
779
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Welcome Mike,

Follow unirdna's advice and you can find almost anything you want about freediving.
You picked a good place to go diving. Christmas, you will need a wetsuit, a 3/2 full suit is perfect. Less is ok, especially if it includes a hood, but something really is needed unless you plan to be in the water less than an hour. Fins, whatever you have is fine for starters, but if you plan for much freediving, longfins would be a real advantage. Weight yourself a little heavy, 5-6 pounds plus whatever the suit needs. A little more if you are diving less than 20 ft, a little less in 40 or more. Whatever belt you have is fine, but if you are buying one anyway, get a rubber belt, much superior. I haven't dove that stretch of reef very much, so find some local knowledge.. In Grand Bahama, reef is available in any depth you want, out to unlimited, so go for it. One local tip, night dive the little jetties along the coast, Lucaya, etc. Lots of spotted lobster, which eat much better than the kind you see in the daytime. A light, heavy gloves and very fast hands is all you need. Grab'm, spears gigs or snares are way to slow.

Good luck

Connor
 

mbritojr

New Member
Nov 8, 2003
5
2
0
cdavis,

Thanks for your reply! Will I really need a full suit?! I am used to 65 degree water in the middle of summer here in Rhode Island, so not much phases me as far as the cold goes. The only time I have ever worn a full head to toe suit was while surfing in late November. I will take you advice however, and pick up a full suit. Might not go for the booties/gloves/hood though, I can't imagine the water being that cold. As for the belt, I will definitely look into the rubber belt as you said, staying under was difficult in that very salty water. And yes I agree, rubber is the way to go I hate diving with those big clumsy metal weighted belts.

I have a pair of bodyboarding fins but they are very rigid and short. I may stop by a local dive shop and look for some of those long fins you mentioned (off season sale I hope)...

Lucaya is actually where I stayed while in Grand Bahama! The reef I visited was fairly close to port Lucaya. I also heard the very same thing about the night-sea life. One of the dive instructors said: "To dive at night and see different creatures and the phosphorecent alge is a must." Unfortunately the cruise ship docks there for only a one day excursion...

Thank you for your tips. Do you (or anyone else) know of any "dry static" (is that the correct usage of the term for out of water land training?) methods I can use to begin increasing my breath hold? I have searched for articles on this website but most seem too advanced for my beginner state or involve a pool...
 

jeffitz

New Member
Sep 15, 2003
4
4
0
51
I'm fairly new to freediving myself. I just took the advanced clinic at Performance Freediving ( http://www.performancefreediving.com/index.html ) and I highly recommend you do it if you can get to one of the locations (you'll learn a lot and get to dive with world champions at the same time). An excuse to go to Hawaii perhaps??

As far as the wetsuit goes I'd say you'll need it - you should be spending more time resting at the surface than diving (at least twice a long as your last breath hold to be safe), so I'd say you'll get cold after a couple hours. Being warm greatly increases your breath hold time, believe me. I learned to surf in Boston/Rhode Island in February so I get that you're used to it, but I think you'll be happier (at least use a springsuit).

If you don't already know about proper ventilation techniques, then you should definitely at least try to learn to belly breathe, then segmented breathing, followed by purging, and maybe even packing. Improving in this area will probably greatly increase your hold times right off the bat. The idea is to rid your body of all excess CO2 and then fill it with the maximum amount of 02 right before your hold.

As far as increasing your breath hold goes here's some simple tables. Only do one type of table per day as it changes your blood chemistry and makes doing anything else pointless. Just lie on your bed or floor completely relaxed. Don't do these in a pool without the direct supervision of a buddy as it's way too dangerous!! For Oxygen tolerance: Ventilate (breathe) for 2:00 then hold for 1:00; Ventilate for 2:00 then hold for 1:15. Do this 8 times adding :15 to each hold every time and do the last time twice. If it's too easy at the end just add more time to the starting hold next time. For Carbon Dioxide tolerance: Ventilate for 2:30 then hold for 1:30; Ventilate for 2:15 then hold for 1:30. Do this eight times subtracting :15 from each Ventilation time and do the last Ventilation time twice (keep the hold time constant throughout). To make this harder keep the hold time the same and decrease the starting ventilation time. You can also increase the hold time to make it harder (but then keep that time the same throughout).

My favorite are the apnea walks (which in my very humble opinion simulate the whole thing pretty well and really seem to improve my performance the fastest). First, find a place with a large flat grassy area or on the beach (this is important because you can pretty easily knock yourself out and you're going to want a soft place to land if that happens), then sit in a chair or in a way you can easily rise to start walking. Ventilate for 3:00 then hold until you feel the first contraction (it's kind of a not-so-nice little convulsion in your diaphragm), now rise and start walking at an even pace as far as you can and mark it. Now return to the start, ventilate for 3:00, hold until contraction and start walking. Keep doing this until you just can't stand the fun any longer. Of course, now your done for the day as well. If you do a search for apnea walks I'm sure you'll find a whole bunch of variations on this site.

Hopefully it's okay to post this info. Just remember, the pool is completely unsafe for doing this alone (as is the car - if you're driving).

BEST OF LUCK AND HAVE FUN!!

Jeffrey
 

mbritojr

New Member
Nov 8, 2003
5
2
0
Thanks for all the great tips Jeff!

Ok, wet suit it is! If you guys say I need it, I am going to get one.

I am going to do some reading on the breathing techniques you spoke of. I also have read about the Apnea Walk on this site. It seems very interesting. I may try it when I get home if the lawn is dry enough.:D

At the very least I am going to begin trying the breath hold table you outlined below right away. I am sure it will be very easy for me to incorperate this training routine into my cardio work out every morning and I can't wait to see the results this Christmas in the Caribbean.

All this advice has been amazingly helpful thank you for the big response everyone. I will keep you all updated on my progress via this thread if you are interested in how your advice has helped me.

Thanks again!

P.S. Performance Freediving will be holding no more classes until the beginning of next year. Too late for my trip, but an interesting possibility still.
 
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cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,006
779
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mobritojr,

Check your private messages, top of the page under "user cp"
 

Gerald

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2002
105
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Great stuff

The tables given by Jeffrey are great. There is safety in the multitude of counsellors, practically speaking, Umberto Pelizzari (Apnea academy) also used similar tables to work us up into longer static times. Static is definitely not my strength, however I managed a 5:01 under his supervision. He would only allow us 2 minutes recovery/breathups between breathholds, yet we increased our times from 2:00 - 2:15 - ... up to 5 minutes easily. Considering the AIDA evaluation system, a 5 min static is very promising, because it scores just as much as a dive to a depth of -50m in constant weight, providing there are no psycological or physiological hindrances (equalization, ...).

Just my 2 cents of advice for a beginner:

With all the information alvailable in the internet moral support has never been as important as today. I think that's what a good clinic is all about: to cheer up newbies, intermediates and pro's.

Good freedive-buddies: People You can rely on are worth their weight in Gold. Develop a net of buddies - even if they don't live in Your local area - You can still hook up with them somewhere else. Last Year I met with some german buddies (as an Austrian) at the Red Sea (Dahab) via the internet.

Joy: Never loose Your joy in freediving. I am still as excited about it as I was 30 Years ago. Never compare Yourself with somebody else. If You want to make a personal Best, always compete against Yourself - celebrate every PB - even if the world record is three times as high (or deep).

Evaluation: You are the only person that can evaluate Your dives subjectively - in light of Your resources/commitments (ie the time, money and energy that is left to do some proper training).
Buddies, teachers, judges, .. can only evaluate your dives (hopefully) objectively.

Safety: It has been said a million times - never do any kind of experiments in the water by Yourself, not even in the bath tub. If You have to freedive by yourself because there is no buddy around, stay well within Your limits - timewise and depthwise.

@Mike: keep us updated about the progress You are making, we are eager to hear from You :)

Have safe and pleasant dives
Gerald
 
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mbritojr

New Member
Nov 8, 2003
5
2
0
Connor: Replied to your PM check your User CP

Gerald,

Great advice! I have been asking around, looking for a RI freedive partner but have been unable to find one as of yet. No worry, my dry land exercises have been keeping me plenty busy.

I agree 100% with never losing the joy I get out of freediving. If I ever lose interest in it or it becomes a frustration I will leave it behind.

As for your comments on evaluation: I love that freediving is a competition against myself. I know that my numbers can never be compared to anyone elses because of how different eveyones body is. It really doesn't bother me if anyone has a 1 min. better static time than me because they may be better suited for breath hold biologically or have more time to train or any number of factors. However if I can increase my personal best by 2 min. before my trip, I will be satisfied.

I def. understand the stress on safety. I will always wet train with a partner and dry train smart (like not doing Apnea Walks in my living room around the glass table and hard wood floor ;) ). The way I look at it is, it must be pretty hard to enjoy freediving if you are dead...so dive smart!

I will definitely keep all of you updated. I began some of the basic training outlined in this thread and in a few articles on this site and have determined my max. static breathhold right now to be about 2:38. I will continue to train and give a performance update at the end of the month.

Thanks for your advice, keep it coming guys!
 
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Diving Hawaiian

New Member
Nov 21, 2003
8
2
0
Another Junior

Hello All,
I like everyone else here think that this is one of the best site on the net and by far the best for anthing related to diving!

So, I have been here in Hawaii for about a year and enjoyed going to beach and snokeling around, then one day, I decided to go to the bottom, it was only about 20 feet, but it was a rush and thrill that is unparallel!
Since then I have puchased a weight belt, snorkel and a good mask. I was using a pair of Mares quatro and I have recently purchased, from DB of course, a pair of Cressi 3000.
Now time for the hard part, learning how to use all these new toys. In the water I can dive to about 40 feet before running back for some air. I have been reading all the post here and I am looking for some advice. First, what is the best way to train your legs for the stress put on them using the longblades. One of my problems is that I have a hard time keeping the blade horiztical, it tends to turn slightly, not excesive, but I see it maybe 30 at an angle.
Plus, how do you guys hold your breathe for 5 min.
That seems astonishing!!!!

thanks for any suggestions,

D
 

cjborgert

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2001
401
30
118
My 2 cents

This may seem strange, but I use a pair of very short fins to train - a model of Force Fins called Maximum Force, or something like that. They extend only about 6 inches beyond the end of my toes, and they feel heavy . . .real heavy. I might get the same workout by wearing a pair of suplus army boots, who knows, but these things really put a hurting on my legs. When I first started using them, I thought I might drown (and I was a competitive swimmer in college). A 25-yard pool suddenly feels like a 50-meter pool! These do not reproduce the cadence of a long blade, but for shear overload, I've found nothing better (haven't tried the boots though - might be even tougher). The drawback is that they are expensive - over $100. You can even buy some torture devices to attach to them that increase the drag, but I've not needed those yet.

Regarding increasing your breath-hold, I'm convinced freediving is totally counter-intuitive. Unlike every other sport I've ever done, the less I try, the better I do (not to be confused with physical conditioning, which does help your diving, but is a completely different activity). It's all about learning to relax every muscle and nerve in your body, even to the point of reducing the number of thoughts going through your head. You can't get psyched up for a good dive . . . you get psyched down. . .you must let go of your ambition to stay down longer, to go deeper, and instead just focus on getting so totally comfortable with the water and the depth that you feel completely at home. When that happens, your dives become longer and more rewarding.
 

Gerald

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2002
105
27
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Re: My 2 cents

Originally posted by cjborgert
Regarding increasing your breath-hold, I'm convinced freediving is totally counter-intuitive. Unlike every other sport I've ever done, the less I try, the better I do (not to be confused with physical conditioning, which does help your diving, but is a completely different activity). It's all about learning to relax every muscle and nerve in your body, even to the point of reducing the number of thoughts going through your head. You can't get psyched up for a good dive . . . you get psyched down. . .you must let go of your ambition to stay down longer, to go deeper, and instead just focus on getting so totally comfortable with the water and the depth that you feel completely at home. When that happens, your dives become longer and more rewarding.
Great comment. I tried to give Karma, but it failed. I also set a link to this post on another thread named Best piece of advice.

Have safe and pleasant dives
Gerald
 

ActiveMatrix

here fishy fishy!
Apr 10, 2004
51
6
98
Originally posted by mbritojr
I was always able to stay underwater much longer than my friends while hunting for Quahogs (large Rhode Island clams)

Hey man, I dig quohogs all summer long! Literally like 400 lbs a week, all by diving! ROCK!

Originally posted by mbritojr
I have been asking around, looking for a RI freedive partner but have been unable to find one as of yet. No worry, my dry land exercises have been keeping me plenty busy.

Hmmm, interesting... I am also just getting into the sport, although I have a lot of experience in skin diving, and freediving just messing around on shipwrecks and such. I live about 10 minutes east of providence, just in case you don't know where Swansea is...



Everyone else, this site is awesome, and like I said, I am a newbie, although I have a lot of experience skindiving and freediving without any training or knowledge (I used to hyperventilate before a deep dive, for example...) I have a question though...

doing the dry static apnea exercises Jeffitz outlined in his post on this thread, I can get up to 4 minutes. Is this good?

I also read a post somewhere saying there were tables online that estimated a max dive depth based on that number... If someone could point me to that, I would be much appreciative.
 
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skarz

Rasta Freediver
Mar 4, 2004
199
22
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About the whole ventilating breathe holds..... im 15 and fresh into the world of freediving. I've never done holds, and frankly can't hold my breathe that long! How does this look for a newbie.....

*2:00 ventilate
*30 second hold
*2:00
*40 second hold
*2:00
*50 second hold

etc. etc.

P.S. What should i do for taking in air? Quick breathes, then a big breathe full before my hold? Help please!
 

Cingene

Will Dive for Food
Mar 4, 2003
400
30
0
Hey Ted,

I never noticed those little blue things on the bottom of each post. rofl I am serious I just never took notice :head . Thanks for the enlightenment Ted.
 

sublimished

the white whale
May 2, 2004
50
4
0
Skars, for doing dry static holds I just found out about this program from the forums... It helps you configure your own excersize routine and counts through it with sound clips too. Pretty neat...

http://www.freediver.co.uk/
Just scroll down to where it says Downloads
 
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