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feeling seasick on the surface

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Dec 2, 2004
I got my freediving wetsuit recently and have started beach diving in the local kelp beds. I started with a small amount of weight and now am carrying 20-22 pounds. In my last couple of excursions even while just swimming on the surface I have started to feel seasick and rather quickly upon entering the water. I suspect that it might have something to do with the added weight affecting my balance in the surface swimming position since the earlier outings did not produce any symptoms.
I went kayaking yesterday in chop and cross swells and experienced no symptoms during the sunset hour paddle

Has anyone experienced anything similar?
If I were to vomit while out in the water would it be okay to continue without returning to shore?
Is there any reason not to continue diving ?
Regarding having to vomit any recommendations on how to do it while in the water?
lots of thing could be affecting you in the water, feeling seasick could be due to what you have been eating , drinking, smoking, and how much sleep youve had, your body will react differently every time. Forgive me if im not up on this but what in the be jessus are you doing with 22 lbs of weight on?? are you diving in the dead sea? are you feeling seasick or dizzy from trying to stay afloat with all that weight :hungover
I'd drop it back to 12 lbs and see if that helps at all. 12 lbs should be enough for 8 to 15 metres or so with a (5mm?) freediving suit.
Possibly the extra weight is puting your body a litttle deeper in the water at the surface and changing the amplitude of your body's movement in reaction to the waves. I could see where no weight would have you bouncing like a cork, which doesn't seem to bother you on the kayak....it must be the extra bit of submersion during your breathups that's causing this, one way or another.
Has the wave pattern changed at all?
If you do vomit, just make sure you get some fluids in you to replace the lost fluid, to keep your BP up, etc.
Ginger pills work well for sea-sickness if it doesn't go away.
Erik Y.
if you did vomit several times id head back in you would probably be weakened and a bit dehydrated, as far as methods, gag reflex is a bad thing under water making you want to inhale and thats no good. next time your out just make sure your hydrated drop the weight back and i do not no what the water temp is there but make sure your not over heating with that 5 mil suit!! dive safe
wetsuit is a 5mm omer mimetic with a soft weights type belt. Diving with a wet suit and weight belt is new to me.
I read somewhere? that a full wetsuit had about 24 lbs of buoyancy and was trying to balance that out
anyway that was the thinking.
There is a shore break at the location ( deer creek road, ventura county, calif) and I am still trying to figure
out what is the correct weight for me. I started out with 16 pounds but it didnt seem like it was enough weight
as I had to swim to stay down or hang onto something. I read that the goal was to feel neutral around 15 feet?

Glad to hear everyones thoughts on the matter and what I am doing wrong here.
hey oyster, i believe 25 ft is the neutral point. try this as you would in scuba, fins down head out of the water , exhale fully if you sink down to your eyes youve got close to the right weight, if you go under to much weight if you dont sink to little. most people starting off use way to much weight but everyones body is different and fat percentage has alot to do with weight also. good luck,
Ideally you want to be neutral at your hunting depth, but that's unrealistic as we dont just hunt at one depth. So if you're diving at 20 feet usually, then you'll be neutral or slightly heavy there, so you can rest on the bottom. This should make you positive somewhere above that depth. Don't be too concerned about the exact positive depth. As long as you're not kicking like mad to get to the surface.
I have a few extra clip-on weights on my float that I snap on my harness for shallower stuff so I can lie on the bottom relaxed. Sometimes I dive with less air in my lungs too. When I start getting deeper, I take the weights off.
Possibly there is some wave action moving you around on the bottom to lift you up when you're trying to stay motionless? 20+ lbs is really heavy nless you are fairly overweight, and I suspect that if you exhale at the surface you will sink like a rock!
Best of luck; keep us updated amigo.
Erik Y
Oyster, here my thoughts:

1.- Check out the weight that you are using.
2.- Where are you placing the belt? If its placed to high on your stomach, this could make you breath bad (1/2 or 1/3 of the normal breath) and faster.
3.- If you are using a lot of weight, you are using more strenght to swim/float, which makes you breath faster, and if this combines with #2 you could feel dizzy.
4.- Are you using lube (shampoo/conditioner)? As I mentioned in another post, I developed an allergy against the lube....and it was nausea and getting dizzy, sometimes even throwing up. I stopped using the lube and the problem was solved.
5.- I have also heard of some people who react to their pee in the wet suit.
6.- Check out the kind of food you are eating before diving.

So far, this is what I can say,


The Law of Hydrostatics is any object immersed in fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displayed by the object. Archimedes principle.
Based on the advice received here I am going to try again with less weight.
I think up to now I have been going fairly shallow 10-20 feet as I am not
too confident yet about myself with the wetsuit and weights. Maybe a
bit deeper I will be able to stay down

normanhghntr said:
The Law of Hydrostatics is any object immersed in fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displayed by the object. Archimedes principle.

Commonly understood, especially among divers. Therefore.....?
Erik Y.
I use 24 pounds in weight to dive - after 5 meters I sink like a stone - but I tried with less weight and sure I'm neutral at about 8 meters - but what an effort to get there!!! Lose so much O2 in the process. The only real issue for me is that coming up from anything 10+ has to be well timed as there is somewhat more effort in the return - I also use my float line to climb up while kicking - But I would rather fight to come up than to get down..... I know that this presents another issue of SWB - but I'm also very carefull to set enough recovery time between dives.

As for the seasick business - I recon - no matter who you are you can be prone to it! some more than others - but how many times I have been out with blokes that say "oh...I never get sea sick" and then.... there she blows!!! hurling over the side! rofl

can be many things contributing to this - but the less fuild in the system the better in my experience!
I have pulled myself out of the water a couple of feet via the anchor line on the bow, to hurl and then immediately dive again feeling great. It seems really difficult to hurl when the stomach is a couple of feet below the surface. I would be more cautious about diving on the verge of hurling, instead of afterwards. Did you possibly take any salt water down your snorkel? This is always a sure fire way to get sick. I have had pretty good luck with ginger root powder (capsules). No side effects, all natural. Like someone posted, sleep and hydration is very important in prevention.
therofore to much weight. hey oyster there is one more thing ive just thought of about the seasick thing, is your wet suit fitted properly? there is somthing called i believe cooraded squeeze, when the neck of your suit cuts into your cooraded artery it can cause dizzyness, and vertigo and nausea, sorry my spelling sucks but thats the most logical explanation :thankyou
I too used to get sick on the surface when spearing. It would come on fast and i would puke and feel fine afterwards. then after 30 min or so the same again. Towards the end of the day i improved. Never sick on a boat or flying or when diving.

I solved it instantly by getting a looser wetsuit top , one that didn't squeeze my neck ( i found myself puling it away from my neck constantly) and an Impluse II dry snorkel. ( So perhaps there is something to the previous posters carotid artery squeeze theory? )
If you are overweighted and lying deeper in the water perhaps you are getting in more salt water and even tho you spit this out, it still aggravates the situation.

I get seasick on the surface too.
It ruined at least 3 of my competitions for sure... And man is that nasty!? You climb the float to vomit, but no matter what the contractions leave you with your face underwater... :yack
And when someone swims past by you and asks you whether that odd chumming technique works you really want to use that speargun!
In my case I am quite sure it has nothing to do with weights or tight wetsuit cuz when I climb the boat and get out of the wetsuit I continue vomiting like a broken sewing pipe! And since I know I'm not a natural born sailor I never get even close to water when I am hungover or something...
The sickness also gets worse if I am tired or didn't have enough sleep.
Now I never tried any of the usual motion sickness pills - I bet they'd work, but I dunno whether they may have any side effects when freediving.
Now when I am hunting and I get seasick I usually head for land immediately, cause I can't really see any point in continuing if it's not fun. Besides, it's useless since you cannot really relax on the surface and have normal bottom times. It's a bitch when you're on competition though - after 6 hours in the water you simply want to drown and end this misery. If you have a boat, try hiding in some calmer cove, there may be not much fish there, but at least you can dive normaly.
I am quite confident, if you simply get seasick easier, like in my case, the only solution is to learn to live with it, mate! Cheers!

If technique, ginger, or over the counter medication don’t work, here is an idea. There is the fairly new anti-nausea drug called Kytril. The old anti-nausea standard for curing seasickness was phenergan, used by the Nava and other professional offshore organizations. It is very safe, but has one big side effect – sleepilyness! To offset this it is commonly used with a stimulate such as caffeine. Not the best thing for freediving!

Kytril is a new anti-nausea drug that works just as well as phenergan but without the sleepy side effect. It was developed for cancer patients on chemotherapy or radiation. It is considered so safe with very low occurrence of side effects that it is being prescribed now for pregnant women. This is the reason I learned about because my wife is currently pregnant.

The only major drawback I can see is its extremely expensive. Its about $70 per pill in the U.S.. With our health insurance it comes to $17 per pill. Overseas its about $34 per pill.

I have one friend who just can’t go offshore period. He throws up in the boat and in the water. Over the counter remedies, and ginger don’t work for him. This really depresses him, because he has invested a lot of time and money into acquiring freediving equipment and pool practice. He is going to try it again and take a pill (should have one left over from the wife). If it works I don’t think he will have a problem getting a prescription from his doctor.

Its expensive, but just getting offshore is expensive (not to mention the time and money invested in a spearfishing tournament like Ivan has experienced) so if it works it will be worth it.
One pill that works and its cheap is the gravol. Some people say that they get a bit sleepy with one pill, if this happens try with 1/2 of it the next time.


I just looked up Gravol. Its main ingredient is dimenhydrinate, which is the main ingredient in Dramamine which is an over the counter medicine sold in the U.S.. My friend has taken a lot of Dramamine, but it has not worked for him. Others say it works great.
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