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Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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icarus pacific

Nov 7, 2001
Every now and then, much like a full solar eclipse, the head staff types here at Deeper Blue come up with a pretty good idea. This particular forum and Beginner Spearfishing is one of them. And seeing as how I'm always willing to help a good thing, I've been given Mentor duties for these two places. Can the Nobel prize be far away?

As this is a primarily beginner area, no question(s) is out of bounds and I'll do my best to either answer your question and/or moderate the answers that will undoubtably come flooding your way from all sorts of would-be aid givers, genuine flakes and general wann-bes. There are more than a few members here that I'll bring in for their takes on the topic so you'll be sure to get the real scoop. All I ask is that you give it a shot- ask, listen and go try it safely. Deal? :cool:

If you don't feel comfortable asking the general populace here, drop me a PM or an email and I'll see what I can do. But again, if it has to do with you learning more about diving, dis is da place.

In case you don't know who the heck I am, I've been doing this for a whole lotta years, for fun, profit and giggles and have dove pretty much everywhere and made my share of mistakes along the way, most of which only left a small scar or rash. Old school learning curve. I'll drop the info to you so you come away smooth. :crutch

Let the games begin.

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Hi sven, I respect you as all the DB staff good work! I have directed my friends here before and will keep doing so in the future...and their quest for knowledge will quide them to your safe hands.. I'll sleep in peace:D
Good work ma man!

Originally posted by icarus pacific
I've . . . made my share of mistakes long the way, most of which only left a small scar or rash. sven

I thought you'd gotten rid of that rash a long time ago sven . . . maybe you ought to try something stronger than Penicillin G!
This is definitely not good for your image! :naughty Where is your publicity agent? You ought to fire him!!! What will people think if they see a good heart under those tough scales?

(I would have said "hide", but seeing as you're a fish...)

So, to the theme: Even though I've been with DB now since november I'm still a newbie freediver. I can only dive to 11 meters
whereupon I start to run out of air due to my serpentine descent as I have to straighten out approx. every three meters for equalizing before continuing on down. I have to improve my equalizing and even though I've read and practiced Eric's great equalizing document, I can't get my soft palate into the "neutral position". I must, in the parlance of the ancients: "Keep on trucking!" In dry static I can hold for 5:05 and in dynamics 75 meters. So in theory I could do 20 or 30 meters once I get equalizing down. For the moment I do the valsalva.

I am not complaining though, I really enjoy getting where I go, and seeing what's there waiting to be discovered. Today I focused on the sounds all the fish were making. It was a concert of crackling rocks! I also found a necklace, a pair of rusted scissors and played around tickling a small sole/plaice. All in all a fun day.

Originally posted by Adrian
I really enjoy getting where I go, and seeing what's there waiting to be discovered. Today I focused on the sounds all the fish were making. It was a concert of crackling rocks! I also found a necklace, a pair of rusted scissors and played around tickling a small sole/plaice. All in all a fun day.


Nice stuff Adrian! Indeed that's what it's about for me anyways- enjoying the trip and seeing what there is to see. Making it back to the surface is always a bonus too. :crutch

I have a couple compadres that have to go through the same acrobatics as you to clear their ears. I'm assuming that the sinuses are all clear and you're starting your dive clearing right away?
Here goes....

Okay, I’ll go for it: …with roughwater swimming experience, it seems the transition to safely freedive means primarily finding a group of freediving-buddies and get with it. Joining the local free diving group looks like the next logical step(--right?)
– After (of course) contacting the leader/manager via PM, and explaining my level of inexperience and desire for a mentor*. I realize this approach could be considered ‘dumping’ on the leader…and he/she may not be interested in that role:
Any suggestions for handling this tactfully? Short of that, I’ll continue with rough water swimming and maintaining my endurance in the water.
I noted cjborgert’s post in Beginning Freediver Training, “…for most reasonably fit folks, there is more to be gained by learning to freedive effortlessly than by increasing your level of conditioning.”
I will admit there’s tremendous appeal to simply get into the water and spend more time exploring. The difference obviously being the change in focus.
Alright, that’s 2 questions, really…um :eek:…make that 3;
It appears the 3R Group here doesn’t like to have snorklers out with them unless we wear a wetsuit and open foot fins and booties. (i.e. they specifically posted ‘…..here are some suggestions:
(a) Use dive boots and open heel fins rather than bare feet and full foot pocket fins.
(b) Use a full wetsuit rather than a shorty or just a bathing suit.
Thickness is less significant -- a spring suit is OK.)
–Is it appropriate to ask what that’s about?
–Water temp today is 65F. Today the surge was Zero…(my-t-fine!) and personally, my feeling is-- the less ‘gear’ the better.
I want to get off to a good start with these folks, not get labeled a contentious soandso.
---I'll go for 4 here: When booking for a boat dive, what is the proper way for a freediver to clarify w/the agency/DM/whoever...that 'yes, I'm planning to freedive, no tanks, thank you...'
:eek: I think that's enough for now....
Thank you, Sven.

*. [[I’m not about to enroll in Kirk Krac’s course, as competitive free diving doesn’t interest me (no disrespect intended at all, just a fact)]]
Originally posted by icarus pacific
I'm assuming that the sinuses are all clear and you're starting your dive clearing right away?

Yes, first equalization just before diving. I'm still going to work on the soft palate. Any suggestions for glue or something to hold it in place? rofl

Their demands for a wetsuit regardless of the thickness and the wearing of booted fins indicates that they want you to be as protected as possible from possible hazards such as jellyfish stings, bumps against rocks, getting slightly cold or whatever. I don't think that they would mind a full pocket fin with neoprene socks as that would satisfy their desire for another part of the body being duly protected. I'm guessing though.

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Good questions Cynthia!

Chris (cjb) is pretty right that learning to dive without the struggle and wrestling that most new affishianados ;) go through during their learning curves is the best way. There are many divers of my meeting that while being in great shape, are just plain fighting the water rather than employing it to help them. :crutch By your open water swimming, you're already on a fast thrack to understanding the ways and means. Keep it up!

Joining a local dive club is real big on my list for anyone. You'll be introduced to some real good and diverse talents that will be very able to help you along as well as the many and flailing idiots that premeate the society. It's much like an OR floor. ;) While most clubs stress tanking, SCUBA, many are also very competant freedivers and are happier than pigs in poop to find a buddy with a schedule that matches theirs to allow them the chance to get out there. In SD, the Bottom Scratchers are the crowd. There are clowns there that invented the game. Take a look in the back of the Diving California rag available at the dive shops for the addresses and contact numbers.

And don't discount enrolling in a freediving specific course, ala that given by Kirk and Performance Freedivers. Many are there just to get more comfortable in the water as well as increase their bottom times and be better fishermen. Any opportunity to learn something is fine by me, even if it doesn't seem real relevant right now. Kirks a fine guy and very able to take a neophyte or a Sultan in Training deeper, longer and safer. Three of my favorite things.

When signing on a boat trip, you'll need to ask at the desk what the agenda(s) is- is it for photos, fish, lobster, deep, and combo... Get with the DM and befriend the stern crew and let them know that you're just going freediving. No worries. In fact they'll allow you a lot more latitiude as you'll be visible.

And as far as gear goes, you wear what suits you for the conditions. Anybody needs a 7 mil when the rest are in shorties is fine by me, long as they're safe. Much as in the sheets, what you wear often gets in the way. :p
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Hi Sven,
I've seen that flailing, splashing, fighting stuff in the water...it's kinda strange. I sure like feeling what the water is doing...and moving with it. Part of the dance, right?
Thanks for the chuckle....w/the reference to the OR floor: Damn, you've captured the visual! (Boy does that bring back memories!)
--And I will check out the Bottom Scratchers. That’s huge progress-- Many thanks for the lead on a good group.
--Your endorsement of Kirk is nicely stated. I’ll put that on my to-do list. :)
--Yep, I’m with ya about extra equipment. :eek: ---less is more!
Nobody needs extra gear to distract/intrefere with the activities…or main event. ;)

Post Script: I discovered the San Diego Council of Divers traces it's history to the BScratchers,"The origins of the Council date back to 1933 with the founding of the oldest dive club in the United States- the Bottom Scratchers."...and that Volker Hoehne, on the Board of Directors for the SDCD is the leader of the SD Freedivers...so it appears the group has evolved quite a bit.

....."affishianados".....nice touch :cool:
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As a newbie, I took Kirk Krack's course last October without any intent to compete. The fact that he has trained world record holders doesn't affect his approach to teaching newbies at all. He's all about safety, basics, technique and comfort levels. He's such a darn nice guy too! I'm going back as soon as do a little more diving.

Good luck and have fun!

Stephan and Sven,
There's comfort knowing you're both around and willing to help us newbies to the joys of being free.

...just got off the 'phone with the manager of the SD Freedivers...we're going out Monday!! :p
--and you're right, Sven; he seemed happy to incorporate a newbie into the group. (I was a tad worried...these guys are serious spearos, I don't want to cramp anyone's style w/the presence of a rank beginner...me)
He made me feel very welcome. :eek:
The Bottom Scratchers has pretty much merged w/the SDCD. There are members of the SDFreedivers who were original members of the Bottom Scratchers. I feel very, very fortunate to be included into the bunch.
Yes, I will keep my mouth shut w/ ears and eyes wide open.
--The learning curve has just begun.
Thanks for the support and input from everyone here, it's a wonderful gift.


"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that leave us breathless."
Great going OS, and congrats for joining SDFD. I'm sure you'll be surrounded by a great group of people and the starting of a long friendship. I've learned from the Keys Kraze that you can meet a great group of people that way. If I get out there this fall maybe you can show me some of the "hotspots" in the area.
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.....On a mission....

Hey, Jay...Thanks!
I'm on a mission w/the inside scoop.
You better believe I'm keeping my eyes open for those hotspots!
It would be my pleasure to be able to show you some great ones. You can count on that. :p
--I noticed that beauty of a catch in La Jolla...not far from where I swim. :D

---I also got a good lead about a local shop here that caters to freedivers.
[Always good for some last-minute items if something breaks, or whatnot. Not, of course meant to detract from the great deals on the DB Store]:eek:
Originally posted by Jay Styron
Be careful what you say, I just may show up on your doorstep, speargun in hand.:D

Jay--That is not a problem...in fact...

--Sven, the advice is very appropriate,"And as far as gear goes, you wear what suits you for the conditions. Anybody needs a 7 mil when the rest are in shorties is fine by me, long as they're safe."
I scouted the venue. Because of the (mostly) rocky site, I decided to go w/a 3mil wetsuit. Good thing...the LG placed us on some rocks (to learn what ya do when there's no escape) and 'blooey!' --we got pounded....Sliced, but not minced:eek:
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You know, I've read through many of the messages everyone has posted and I'm amazed @ the level of kindness and helpfulness you show here, especially for newcomers...it's just refreshing to see good human nature like this all clustered-up in one place.

My story is basically like this: I was born near the ocean in Venezuela, have been a swimmer since I was 6, won a few medals, quit swimming competetively @age 17 (that's when I started dating and drinking, etc) took on scuba @age 19, and have been scuba diving and swimming non-competitively on&off ever since (I'm 33 now).

The water, the ocean have always have an extremely strong effect over me. I can never be away from it for long periods. I've been known to just jump on a plane to Los Cabos on a moment's notice and rejoyce swimming in the cold waters of Cabo, same thing with many other spots. Being under water sedates me in a pleasurable way, I think I feel whole when I embrace the silent sensations of being under water.

I quit my job 2 years ago and dedicated to owning and operating sushi bars, and love every minute of it because it keeps me close to fish (i don't sell overfished or endangered species)and the ocean...my wife calls me a fish man!!

I would love to do freediving, but feel a bit out of shape and rusty, and don't know really where to start. Does anyone know any good spots or schools near Houston (the Gulf) where I can get started or get a feel for the sport?

Thank You !
Hi Sasu,
Let me be the first to welcome you to the site. As you've seen there's alot of great people here and I think you'll find alot of help here. I know Tanya and Paul(Streeter) have a schoool in Tx and I believe it's somewhere near Houston. I'm sure someone will be able to tell you exactly. I'm not sure about near shore opportunities there but I know there's some good spearfishing in the Gulf. I would guess the vis isn't great near shore like NC.
Again welcome and keep the questions coming.
Welcome indeed!

See if you can score a phone book for the area and look up the numbers for the SCUBA shops. Many will have affiliations with clubs or know other numbers you can follow. Also check out the USA- Underwater Society of America for a club directory. As with another DB member here, you'll find that as with this site, most clubs out there are happy to have your company.
Okay, here's another question....:eek:

I read the DB article ‘Boat Dive like a Pro’ Parts I and II
It's a great detailed explanation of how to be a pleasant member of a group with very specific needs and concerns.
Green-As-Grass here needs to know how one befriends the DM and stern crew....and......
Which agendas will be compatible w/freediving when booking? I would guess that a photo shoot dive would mean lots of fragile equipment on-board, more time required for divers to enter and exit the water, and give them a wide berth....but how to know which other agendas are compatible?
I’m sorry if this seems obvious, but….not to me.
[A ‘live’ tour of a working OR can’t be any more complex, so I appreciate your patience]
This will also help me understand my (new) friends in the Freediving Club, and avoid behaving like an Arse.
Training in Smoothness applies to above-water etiquette too :cool:
‘---the Devil is in the details…’ :p

Thanks! Cynthia
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