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exhalation on the ascend?

Simos

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Feb 15, 2009
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DR = Dive Reflex

Why do you need to exhale 2m-3m from the surface? What are you trying to achieve? In any kind of 'normal' diving scenario you shouldn't really be diving that close to the edge where this technique would make any difference.

Personally for recreational freediving at least I don't see the point and 3m is still deep - what if all of sudden you hear a boat etc or get caught and need to stay under for those extra few seconds?

Also with a bit of practice you can easily time your exhale while breaking the surface so you don't lose any time in inhaling when you surface.

Regarding your experience with exhaling you are only suppressing your urge to breathe momentarily - I remember the first few months of freediving training, I always had to exhale as soon as I had raised CO2 (ie urge to breathe) - it just tricks your body into thinking you are actually breathing for a few seconds but actually you are worse off.

Finally, you didn't really have to mention that you never had a blackout - you wouldn't be here today if you did.
 

Simos

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Also I won't go into the explanation but you should be aware that the deeper you are the less the urge to breathe (perhaps more accurately it's more difficult to BO) - you really shouldn't wait for the urge to breathe to start surfacing. The danger is that you are deep and you feel no urge to breathe and then on surfacing you have a SWB because you stayed under too long.
 
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cdavis

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Jan 21, 2003
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Exhale before surfacing? Krack and Fattah are two of the most knowledgeable divers on the planet. Case closed.

Tuboludo, what they are doing and what you have done are not the same thing. Trux is right, Mullins too.

Connor
 

tuboludo

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Thanks for all the info guys, but you are not really answering my question !!!!!!!!!!

In the beginning of this (old) post they recommend that you should exhale before breaking the surface, especially if you have been packing your lungs before the dive….. I was once told that if I exhale before breaking the surface I will have a greater chance of a SWB ???!!!

Is this correct in your opinions????

They way I am diving today is that I am not exhaling before I have broken the surface!!!!

Should I keep doing what I am doing or should I change my practice????

Okay, maybe 2 – 3 meters before the surface is too early. What about 1 meter before surfacing? If at all!!!
 

Azrael3000

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Nov 5, 2011
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One additional problem that I could see with exhaling on ascend is that you inhale immediately when you break the surface. If then you have an unexpected wave impacting you, it could cause a cough reflex which basically empties your lungs not allowing you to replenish air and thus potentially causing you to blackout.
 

trux

~~~~~
Dec 9, 2005
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apnea.cz
If you do exhale, as written above by Kirk (11 years ago!), you do exhale only very shortly under the surface, and only very slightly to allow rapid partial inhale, but still without going to negative transpulmonary pressure (which would reduce the PaO2), and especially to still have enough air in case you need to clear the airways when surfacing.
 

tuboludo

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If you do exhale, as written above by Kirk (11 years ago!), you do exhale only very shortly under the surface, and only very slightly to allow rapid partial inhale, but still without going to negative transpulmonary pressure (which would reduce the PaO2), and especially to still have enough air in case you need to clear the airways when surfacing.
Thanks Trux for a straight answer. I will try that when I find my self packing a lot, just to exhale the top of my lungs (a small amount of air) just before I break the surface!

Have any of you guys tried ascending with your eyes closed? I do it some times, when I feel certain there are no boats in the area. I find it very relaxing and I sometimes thing that shutting off my vision makes me consume less oxygen, but maybe that is just my imagination – it is like meditating, but then again, I find most of my dives like meditating!
 
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tuboludo

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One additional problem that I could see with exhaling on ascend is that you inhale immediately when you break the surface. If then you have an unexpected wave impacting you, it could cause a cough reflex which basically empties your lungs not allowing you to replenish air and thus potentially causing you to blackout.
I have often been diving in big waves out in the open ocean and have seldom experienced water splashing on my head. I think that the further away you are from the coast, where the waves will break hard, the more you just float up and down like a cork in water.

I sometimes use a snorkel when I free dive because I am used to this from spear fishing and I am always spear fishing closer to the coastline where I find the waves more eruptive than further out on the ocean.

When free diving, I sometimes lie on my back with my face into the sun with closed eyes preparing my breathing before diving. This mostly depends on the weather and water conditions.

But most often I lay face down doing my breathing through the snorkel with my eyes closed before diving. I then either leave the snorkel at the surface or I dive with it and take the mouth piece out before breaking the surface on ascending
 
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Simos

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Feb 15, 2009
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Tuboludo my 2p for what it's worth is to try and keep things simple. For the vast majority of freedivers there is really no need to pack, nor exhale on the ascend etc. The more you complicate things, the more things can go wrong.

There are things you can do to make your diving safer and it's worth finding these out, ideally through a course. But the one thing I think is worth thinking about is that as you progress in your freediving journey, you will be becoming 'better', be able to hold your breath for longer and dive deeper and inevitably getting closer to your limits. Please just make sure you have a buddy there the day you do find out what your limits are.

I really know from personal experience how much it sucks not being able to dive because you have no buddy but I also know some things in life suck way more...

Anyway back to the original topic, I think it's worth focusing more on making sure you know how to best recover once you're back on the surface than anything you can do in the last few metres before surfacing as that can make a difference for safety.
 

tuboludo

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Aug 5, 2012
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Sometimes when I finish a dive and I am safe and well back on the surface with my head above water, looking at the boats or the birds in the sky, I keep my breath for a little while to reflect on my dive and feel in control of it!

But then I read different comments likes these ones in this post and that really confused me:

By jon:

“If you exhale in the last 10 feet the idea is that you will be less likely to succumb to shallow water black out do to the vacume effect. That is, 02 in your blood stream gets sucked back into your lungs as they reexpand during the last 10 feet of ascent.”

By Chefcock:

“Many freedivers hold their breath until they reach the surface, so after reaching it, they have to exhale. This can cause blackout. When you exhale underwater, you can inhale immediately after reaching the surface. I have learned to inhale first, especially after a difficult dive.”

And I have been reading on the internet that packing your lungs on a dive can block for the bloodstream to your hearth and what not when ascending and that you therefore should exhale etc. etc., and since I do pack my lungs before a dive I suddenly got worried about my diving techniques when I read all these comments and that is why I have been asking all these questions about exhaling before braking the surface!
 

tuboludo

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I think it's worth focusing more on making sure you know how to best recover once you're back on the surface than anything you can do in the last few metres before surfacing as that can make a difference for safety.
You mean recovering from a dive going wrong, or are you talking about recovering before you next dive, like relax time in between dives etc.????:confused:
 

Simos

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Feb 15, 2009
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You mean recovering from a dive going wrong, or are you talking about recovering before you next dive, like relax time in between dives etc.????:confused:
I meant the way you take the recovery breaths once on the surface (which is partly mentioned in one of the quotes you made) but also very importantly the time etc you allow between dives. Eg if you don't allow for enough time after a hard dive, this will make it more likely for you to have a SWB on the next etc. Also there are hook breaths and other techniques to help increase your chances of not encountering any trouble on the surface (eg because of drop in blood pressure etc).

I can't really help that much as I am no expert - people can tell you the theory on here or you can read about it but the truth is that you probably need to have a course or learn from someone in practice to be able to apply these correctly and without a buddy you don't have any room for error, hence my previous comment.

Personally I keep things very simple (no packing etc etc) or breath up routines etc but one thing that I naturally ended up doing upon surfacing (without anyone ever mentioning this) is what you quoted ie I inhale as I break the surface before exhaling (or maybe I exhale a little first but certainly I don't do a proper full exhale).

Would be interested to see if this helps from more experienced divers but it feels like the right thing to do and in terms of physiology it should make sense.
 

tuboludo

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I meant the way you take the recovery breaths once on the surface (which is partly mentioned in one of the quotes you made) but also very importantly the time etc you allow between dives. Eg if you don't allow for enough time after a hard dive, this will make it more likely for you to have a SWB on the next etc. Also there are hook breaths and other techniques to help increase your chances of not encountering any trouble on the surface (eg because of drop in blood pressure etc).

I can't really help that much as I am no expert - people can tell you the theory on here or you can read about it but the truth is that you probably need to have a course or learn from someone in practice to be able to apply these correctly and without a buddy you don't have any room for error, hence my previous comment.

Personally I keep things very simple (no packing etc etc) or breath up routines etc but one thing that I naturally ended up doing upon surfacing (without anyone ever mentioning this) is what you quoted ie I inhale as I break the surface before exhaling (or maybe I exhale a little first but certainly I don't do a proper full exhale).

Would be interested to see if this helps from more experienced divers but it feels like the right thing to do and in terms of physiology it should make sense.
Hmm, this is all very interesting. I wanted to go diving today (first diving session in four weeks because I have been having a nasty cold), but we are experiencing our first snowstorm this year today here in Denmark, so not a good idea for me to go and do crazy stuff :rcard

Now, the reason why I think your last comment is very interesting is that when I think back on my recent dives, all though I am not 100% sure, I think that what I automatically do when I break the surface is actually to breathe in! Just like you do! Maybe it is just a natural reaction.

Maybe the extra air I packed before my dive somehow got lost while equalizing on descent???!!!

Maybe I just worry too much?!

Maybe I should stop reading too much?! (ha ha) rofl

I have been taking lessons from professional free divers here in Denmark and this is the main reason why I have been asking so many questions in this post, because they told me again and again, don’t exhale before you have your beautiful head safely above the surface!!!

Anyways, like I have mentioned in other posts in this forum, the area where I go diving in the North of Denmark, the maximum depth is only about 14 meters – yes I know that can be just as dangerous as diving on 3 meters, especially because I dive alone, but I don’t have any diving buddies who wants to join me one, two times a week, and I just need to go out there and feel alive :inlove

I only go deeper when I am in Tenerife, diving at a free diving point in Tabaiba, but there I never dive alone. We are always minimum 5 to10 guys, but I haven’t been there in a while, and now I am really looking forward to get back there with those crazy free divers, and believe me, I will have a lot of new questions to ask them :confused::friday

Cursos de Apnea en España SSI & AIDA - ApneaCanarias
 

trux

~~~~~
Dec 9, 2005
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By jon: “If you exhale in the last 10 feet the idea is that you will be less likely to succumb to shallow water black out do to the vacume effect. That is, 02 in your blood stream gets sucked back into your lungs as they reexpand during the last 10 feet of ascent.”
This is actually enitrely wrong. By exhaling you cannot suppress the "vacuum effect" in any way, rather the oppositely. The volume of the lungs play absolutely no role here, it is the changing ambient pressure and hence also the changing PPO2 in lungs and in blood. The pressure in lungs (and hence the PAO2) is not given by the volume of the lungs, but by the ambient pressure. So the pressure will be identical in full as in empty lungs. If there is any difference between PAO2 in inhale vs. exhale on the surface, it is completely negligible underwater, and even it it were not - the difference is just in the opposite direction (lower pressure in exhale than in inhale), so it would make the "vacuum effect" even worse.

By Chefcock: “Many freedivers hold their breath until they reach the surface, so after reaching it, they have to exhale. This can cause blackout. When you exhale underwater, you can inhale immediately after reaching the surface. I have learned to inhale first, especially after a difficult dive.”
Yes, it is correct that by exhaling the PAO2 drops, but if you exhale under water, or on the surface makes no difference - it drops in the same way, and if the 0.4 seconds of difference really play a role and can cause a BO, the there is something terribly wrong with your diving (especially considering you are diving alone).

Personally I think that a small exhale very close to the surface is not too bad and in some cases may be justified. Indeed some freediving schools teach it. However, I fully respect the other opinion that the breath should be held till the last moment. For most freedivers, especially for those not well understanding all involved physiological processes, keeping the air may be indeed safer.

What is much more important than the exact timing of the exhale, is learning and drilling to put the accent on the inhale, and in no way on the exhale. You never must force exhale, especially not the first one. You must force the inhale (especially the first one). At unexperienced divers the end of a difficult dive looks like this: PFFFFFFFFFFFF aah PFFFFFFFFFFFF aah PFFFFFFFFFFFF, while it should be pff AAAAAAAHHHH HOOK ppppffff AAAAAAAHHHH HOOK pppppffffff AAAAAAAHHHH HOOK

where "PFFFFFFFFFFFF" = strong forced exhale removing as much CO2 as possible; and "aah" = quick short inhale just to allow exhaling again; and oppostely "pff" is a quick flat exhale trying to keep as much CO2 as possible (important to avoid a BO); AAAAAHHH is a forcefull inhale, and HOOK is a hook breath (hold and compress).

This must be learned and drilled even at the easiest dives, otherwise there is no way you'll remember doing it correctly when you surface hypoxic from a difficult dive.
 
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Simos

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Feb 15, 2009
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Hmm, this is all very interesting. I wanted to go diving today (first diving session in four weeks because I have been having a nasty cold), but we are experiencing our first snowstorm this year today here in Denmark, so not a good idea for me to go and do crazy stuff :rcard

Now, the reason why I think your last comment is very interesting is that when I think back on my recent dives, all though I am not 100% sure, I think that what I automatically do when I break the surface is actually to breathe in! Just like you do! Maybe it is just a natural reaction.

Maybe the extra air I packed before my dive somehow got lost while equalizing on descent???!!!

Maybe I just worry too much?!

Maybe I should stop reading too much?! (ha ha) rofl

I have been taking lessons from professional free divers here in Denmark and this is the main reason why I have been asking so many questions in this post, because they told me again and again, don’t exhale before you have your beautiful head safely above the surface!!!

Anyways, like I have mentioned in other posts in this forum, the area where I go diving in the North of Denmark, the maximum depth is only about 14 meters – yes I know that can be just as dangerous as diving on 3 meters, especially because I dive alone, but I don’t have any diving buddies who wants to join me one, two times a week, and I just need to go out there and feel alive :inlove

I only go deeper when I am in Tenerife, diving at a free diving point in Tabaiba, but there I never dive alone. We are always minimum 5 to10 guys, but I haven’t been there in a while, and now I am really looking forward to get back there with those crazy free divers, and believe me, I will have a lot of new questions to ask them :confused::friday

Cursos de Apnea en España SSI & AIDA - ApneaCanarias
Unless you are quite skilled, you will likely lose some air during the dive. The most obvious is the air you push into the mask and then on ascend re-expands and is lost - of course if you practice you can learn to take this air back in as you ascent but it needs some practice. Obviously ear equalisation is another culprit (i noticed this happening to me) and then there is that odd phenomenon which I never fully understood whereby at the end of a dive (even in DYN) you are a little bit heavier than when you started...

If I would take a bet I would guess that you lose some air but also, you don't properly pack. In any case like Trux said, focus on the inhale and not the exhale.

The more you ask freedivers, the more confused you might be in my opinion especially if you don't put in some time to understand the physiology behind things - otherwise it all sounds like a bunch of different techniques and you are just thinking 'one vs the other' and which is correct but they might all be right for their individual circumstances and type of diving.
 

tuboludo

Atheism is beautiful :D
Aug 5, 2012
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PS, when I was a child I joined a diving club at the age of 12 and they taught me that I should never take more than three (3) heavy deep breaths before a dive in order to avoid a blackout on ascent!

Since things you learn as a child really stays with you, I never go beyond the rule of three heavy deep breaths. Of course over the years I have perfected my breathing techniques and my focus of being relaxed both physically and mentally, but I never exceed those 3 times of breathing.

Sometimes I take one or two deep breaths and then relax and wait for two to three minutes before taking my three breaths. Sometimes I need to take a brake anyways because a boat has been coming to close to me while I have been preparing my dive so that I need to postpone my dive, wait, relax again, and then start my breathing all over again. But all in all, I don’t over breathe before diving.

So why am I telling you this? Well, I experience many free divers who just keep breathing and breathing, excessively, and I am thinking to myself, they must become dizzy from all that breathing before there dive and according to what I learned as a child, they might even put themselves in a greater risk of having a blackout ???!!!

So maybe in reality the success to a safe dive begins long before you start diving!!!

Just a thought :)
 

Mullins

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You're still hyperventilating tuboludo. Not as much as some people, but not a fantastic approach either. Breathing technique is certainly not something you've "perfected." I'd suggest ditching those last three deep breaths. If you're determined to dive alone, you'll need to be fanatical about safety.
 
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