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Had a scary surf hold down, now training apnea

divebali

New Member
Aug 26, 2021
5
0
1
31
Hi all, im new here and as the title says I had a bad hold down with surfing. Now I have spend a few days reading up on how to improve my mental state and breath holds while getting pounded and tumbled by a big wave.

My first step is doing CO2 apnea training, after doing this for 2 weeks i will continue to O2 apnea training and at last i will do training while my heart beat and adrenaline is high and try to re enact a surf hold down.

I am hoping to get some advice and tips and trick of what I could do better or what im doing wrong.

I just had my first CO2 apnea training session, laying on the couch.

-Breath up 2:45 (5 seconds inhale, 10 seconds exhale, completely relax. Before holding my breath, 1 complete full exhale and 1 complete full inhale)
-Breath hold 1:20
-Recovery start time 2:30 ( first 15 seconds of recovery are spend doing HOO-K breaths, the remainder back to normal)
-Repeat for 8 lap and every lap 15seconds less recovery time.

My first session was great, I felt super relax and never really had any urge to breath. Because it was my first time I was curious how long I could hold my breath so afterwards i hold my bread and i started feeling the co2 urge around 2:35 and i was able to hold my breath until 2:50.

Now I have a few questions.
-Is it okay to do ONE long breath hold after doing CO2 apnea training? Im aware you cant do co2 and o2 apnea tables on the same day so wondering if doing 1 long breath hold is fine?
-Should I increase my co2 breath hold time? Like I said, I felt totally relax at 1:20.. How long of a hold do you guys recommend?

Thank all of you in advance!
Greetings
 

J Campbell

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2001
607
187
148
66
Yes, it’s OK to do breath holds after CO2 tables. There is a lot of dogma in the “rules” of freediving. It’s an individual thing. Experiment and note how you feel. You will know that you hav e done too much if you feel tired and unmotivated.
 
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divebali

New Member
Aug 26, 2021
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Okay thank you.

Day 1: I had a 2:50 breath hold at the end so i changed my co2 holds to 1:30 for Day 3.
Day 3: I had a 3:40 breath hold at the end so CAN i change my co2 holds to 50%, meaning 1:50 a lap ?
Or is 1.50 too much ?

If there are any other remarks please let me know. Thanks!
 

Michael-AT

Member
Sep 28, 2020
6
3
8
40
Ok I'll give it a try. I see your motivation & I think it's a good idea to practice. However I'm sure you realize the times you achieve in your dry training will not translate into the surf hold down situation. #1 key to long breath holds is being relaxed, which involves minimal/efficient movement, slow heart beat/calmness etc. So I don't know if that makes sense because (sadly) I do not surf, but you might practice being thrown off the board with a hold down along with your apnea training. Thing is, when you are in such a situation you need to stay calm and don't trigger your fight-or-flight lizard brain behavior, i.e. panic. You could also try visualizations to prepare your brain that hold downs can happen and that they are "normal".

Interestingly enough I've only recently seen the film Maveriks, and there is this scene where Frosty makes Jay practice to hold his breath for 4 minutes to be prepared for a hold down. While again it is a good preparation and intention, but in practice I highly doubt that it would work (at least not the way it was shown in the movie - with dry training at home and during classroom lessons (with the occasional funny blackout)).

You might also want to try apnea walks, so to simulate situations with movement, which will be closer to the situation you want to be prepared for. There are lots of good tutorials and YT videos out there, which also address safety measures. Definitely don't rush anything (not even with dry static tables), the body needs time to adapt. Also, no training in the water without supervision. I guess you know how the story ended for Jay :cry:

Ok, so not really answers to your direct questions, but I hope some of my thoughts will be helpful anyway for your journey. Enjoy the ride! Hopefully one day I too will have the opportunity to learn how to surf (y)
 

mad mat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2006
28
9
93
36
Good luck with the training. To complement the O2 and CO2 stuff, you can mix it up in the pool if you have some mates. Never do any sort of breath holding in water without a mate!

With a mate, better with two, find some water that is atleast shoulder deep. If you have blacked out googles use them for extra benefit or just close your eyes. Tuck up in the fetal position, hold your knees, take a breath and have you mates spin and tumble, forward, backward side to side in a random fashion. Amount of time is up to you.

Or at least over your head water, preferably a dive pool, carry heavy object eg weight belts or kettle bells as far as you can (remember to have a mate so you dont drown yourself). Actually saw some big wave surfers mention this one some where as well.

Some other fun games like carrying stuff under water with only one person allowed at the surface at a time carrying an object under water.

Im sure there is plenty of other activities on the net.

Have fun , be safe.
 

marcusmonde

Active Member
Feb 6, 2011
5
0
36
Hello my friend,
Have a look at Survival Apnea school, they are specialized in Apnea and surf (I believe he’s in. Ali as well).
Stay safe and enjoy the sea
 

camposartu

Member
Apr 19, 2018
10
6
18
47
Hello,
I surf, freedive, spearfish, taken freediving courses, dry train in my living room, etc.

Breath hold training is good as you get confidence since you know you can hold your breath for x amount of time. Yet as someone else mentioned, is all about being relaxed, specially while dealing with a wipeout.
When surfing they way you fall, energy levels and that last breath of air will influence your time.

What has helped me the most for hold downs is… yoga. Is all a personal journey, for me yoga has given me a “relax switch” that I turn on and off when I want to. I have never been more relaxed while pinned down to the reef, being rag-dolled and taking the beating that come with solid sized barrels.

Another person mentioned doing apnea walks and that is a good recommendation.

Keep at it!
 

waterbro

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2008
7
2
88
Hi all, im new here and as the title says I had a bad hold down with surfing. Now I have spend a few days reading up on how to improve my mental state and breath holds while getting pounded and tumbled by a big wave.

My first step is doing CO2 apnea training, after doing this for 2 weeks i will continue to O2 apnea training and at last i will do training while my heart beat and adrenaline is high and try to re enact a surf hold down.

I am hoping to get some advice and tips and trick of what I could do better or what im doing wrong.

I just had my first CO2 apnea training session, laying on the couch.

-Breath up 2:45 (5 seconds inhale, 10 seconds exhale, completely relax. Before holding my breath, 1 complete full exhale and 1 complete full inhale)
-Breath hold 1:20
-Recovery start time 2:30 ( first 15 seconds of recovery are spend doing HOO-K breaths, the remainder back to normal)
-Repeat for 8 lap and every lap 15seconds less recovery time.

My first session was great, I felt super relax and never really had any urge to breath. Because it was my first time I was curious how long I could hold my breath so afterwards i hold my bread and i started feeling the co2 urge around 2:35 and i was able to hold my breath until 2:50.

Now I have a few questions.
-Is it okay to do ONE long breath hold after doing CO2 apnea training? Im aware you cant do co2 and o2 apnea tables on the same day so wondering if doing 1 long breath hold is fine?
-Should I increase my co2 breath hold time? Like I said, I felt totally relax at 1:20.. How long of a hold do you guys recommend?

Thank all of you in advance!
Greetings
suggest the ocean warrior course


cheers!
 

PrimeMerian

Active Member
Jun 7, 2014
12
3
43
70
Aloha DiveBali,

Fifty years ago, I used to surf Waimea Bay, 12-20 feet. I never even thought of trying to do that until I could hold my breath reliably and repeatedly for 3 minutes (I was also a free diver) and I was glad I did. Really large waves create a lot of bubbles and suds. You cannot swim through bubbles and suds, you will have to rise with the dark water, which is shaded by the suds. You have to relax and remain calm - as you have noted - as you rise and then you have to be prepared that when you pop through the surface, you will need to face (or find) the coming waves and you may only get one breath before the next one breaks on your head. You also have to orient and note where the impact zone is and where the safe passage area is. Then you have to swim underwater, below the next wave that had just broken over you, toward the safe zone (paddle out area). In those days we did not have leashes so once we were in the safe zone, we could then look for our board and usually body surfed toward it for retrieval.

Those who surf Waimea often train by picking up 30 pound stones and jogging across the bottom of the bay during the summer and try to stay down as long as they can. This helps them keep their breath hold ability for the next winter. There are videos on YouTube showing this being done. I am sure there is a similar location in Uluwatu.

In your area of the World live the Sea Peoples who are indigenous to the ocean area between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (amazing people with amazing stories and history). The average divers among the Sea Peoples can hold their breath for 7.5 minutes (longest 15 minutes) and they usually spend that time underwater harvesting sea cucumbers (they also carry rocks to stay down). They have been documented to have special genetic coding for their spleen which is enlarged to service and store their red blood cells.

Once you have achieved significant ability to hold your breath, your spleen will also enlarge and if you get an ultrasound of your abdomen (i.e. to document a fatty liver for example - divers disease, LOL), the ultrasound operator will also document your enlarged spleen. There is also Taravana that the Tahitian divers get from repeated deep dives. This is a precursor to the bends. Do also be aware that with enough accumulated bottom time, a free diver can actually get bent, so give yourself enough time to blow off your accumulated nitrogen when you are on the surface. This was proven in the sixties when a submarine rescue trainer (and escort) named Pavlov had to be decompressed for 19 hours after repeated escorts of trainees to the surface in the Netherlands Navy Submarine Escape Training Tower. Interesting.

Stay Safe and Dive On!
Aloha PrimeMerian
 
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divebali

New Member
Aug 26, 2021
5
0
1
31
@Michael-AT - @mad mat - @marcusmonde - @camposartu - @waterbro - @PrimeMerian

Thank you all so much for answering, I really appreciate it!!

For now I will continue finishing my co2 for about 2 weeks and afterward i will do my o2 tables.. Once completed I will start doing the wipe out course which includes getting my heartbeat up to lets say 150 and have a workout buddy have me spin underwater to reenact the feeling of getting hold down by a big wave.

At the moment im still a long way out.. Today I went over the falls, had my leash been wrapped twice around my leg and had my tshirt stuck over my head. I think I only stayed under the water for about 7seconds but damn it still feels like a life time. A very slight panic starts... I need to fix it and be more relax, easier said than done.

I do have a few more questions.

1) Since my current max static breah hold is 3:40, my current co2 tables are 50% which means laps of 1:50 breathholds.. IF lets say I manage to get a 5 minute breath hold does that mean that I could move up to 2:30 co2 table breathholds. Is this indeed how it works, or would it be too long ?

2) Day 1 and Day 3 i did the full 8 laps... but yesterday (Day 5) I didnt feel like doing the full 8 laps so i went with 4 laps instead... but the last 4 laps from the 8.. meaning i start with only a 1:30 breath hold for lap1 and then, 1:15, 1:00, 0:45 Is this fine ???

3) Right now my standard co2 apnea table consists of 8 laps and I start with 2:30 breathup and i will end with 0:45 for the last lap. Is this fine?? Some co2 apnea tables i have seen online dont go lower than 1 minute breaht ups, while I have also seen some tables that go as low as 30 seconds for the last lap. What do you guys recommend, what is right? and what is most effective?

4) How long would you guys breath up before attempting a maximum record breath hold.. Im currently doing a 3 minute breath up and managed to get 03:40

5) I ve read the following: ''Another type of CO2 table consists of relatively short breath holds, for example 1 min 30s, but you take only one breath between each breath hold, i.e. hold for 1:30, exhale, inhale, hold for 1:30, repeat. This way the CO2 levels in your body can reach very high levels.'' Would you guys recommend this type of co2 tables as well? Should I try to do as many laps as possible ? With a max of 8 laps ?

Sorry for the many questions, im just so curious and excited about this all. Cant wait to improve and learn more.
Thanks in advance once again for taking your time to answer any of my questions.

Cheers!
 

divebali

New Member
Aug 26, 2021
5
0
1
31
Would you guys perhaps know a different place where I could ask these questions? Thanks!
 

waterbro

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2008
7
2
88
I asked the big wave guys at Ocean Warrior and this is what they wrote;


Hey Henry,

When you’re getting held underwater by a wave, what’s your body telling you?

You need oxygen! And you need it FAST!!!

That’s all most people think about - Oxygen.

But you also need to consider Carbon Dioxide.

Here’s why.

Let’s say you’ve just fallen on a wave and got driven underwater.

You’re stuck underwater for 5 seconds or so before you can swim back to the surface.

Then you breach the surface and see another wave coming for you. So you take a big breath in…

Or try at least, but your lungs are already full of Carbon Dioxide. So you get barely any oxygen when you breathe in.

And then you’re stuck trying to get through another wave with no oxygen.

So what should you do in such a situation?

Use the "Dump Breath".

This involves breathing all of the “waste air” out of your lungs right down to the bottom of your diaphragm as soon as you breach the surface. Allowing you to get a full breath of fresh air in.

If you can get one dump breath in, great. But if you have time, do several, in a slow, calm and controlled manner to get as much oxygen into your lungs and blood as possible.

Hope that helps, and Keep Surfing

waterbro
MEXICO3.jpg
 

divebali

New Member
Aug 26, 2021
5
0
1
31
@waterbro Oh wow thats actually such a good advice and it completely makes sense.. I will definitely try this next wave hold down! Thanks
 

waterbro

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2008
7
2
88
Welcome you are,

We all must learn to Fall before we learn to Fly..

Here's to Flying!
 

mad mat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2006
28
9
93
36
Here is a thought: if you are going to drown, it may as well be peacefully. Or in other words, don’t worry about what you can’t control. You can’t control the wave but you can control your thoughts. It’s a conscious choice to remain calm even when you think your done. By staying calm you free up cognitive processes and you conserve oxygen which in the long run, will help you live longer.

nice and calm=live longer

frantic and scared=drown quicker or have miserable time.

just keep talking to yourself and reassure everything is going to be ok.
I would go back and put yourself in the same position again were the rope was rapped around your leg, just wrap around your legs at the side of a pool and jump in (with a buddy of course).

when you start freaking out, stop yourself, tell yourself “I’m ok”, focus on the problem, “I need to undo the knot”. Remove the fear with control.

as mentioned yoga is very helpful. I never advanced to the point of it improving breath hold but certainly controlling my thoughts.
 
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waterbro

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2008
7
2
88
good point, one that is not mentioned enough, as our dear "sport of kings" has exploded over the past several decades.
actually, the process starts before you even get wet. saddens me this is not passed down to the kooks, we ALL were kooks
at one time, it takes years to become a surfer of any skill, I see very little of aloha mystique / gravitas these days.

example - surfing the North Shore of Oahu, Winter of 2010, paddled into an outer reef wave (Revelations), and had the distinct
and clear thought: "Don't Fall Off!", and halfway down the face, five plus board lengths high, fell off. my lesson was and is this:
The Universe, including your tiny little body, doesn't hear the word "no". my body did exactly what it was commanded to do:

Fall Off..

there is a place you have to be, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually to ride big waves, taking years to maybe attain.
even these days, a very small club. On the leg rope subject the only thing I can say with certainty, if you rely on a leg rope
instead of the requisite water skills, better have your life insurance paid up. I've seen leg ropes maim and kill boards and bodies
in person, up close.

as mad_mat wisely puts it,
I'll take it further..in "waves of consequence":

Your Mind Will Get You Killed.

any thoughts of the mind cannot be going on, either elation, fear, whatever - any "Mind" activity takes focus and power from the
reptile or limbic "brain". plus the mind is far too slow to process by intellect the sensory inputs and outputs to ride a beastly wave.

in closing, some training ideas - learn to meditate, first sitting, then moving. go surf good waves at a sandy break without a leg rope
lose your board, swim in and get it. - imitate the way the big wave guys train, carry weights across the bottom of a swimming pool.
yeah, it is a lot of work, why do it?

isn't the ultimate goal to have total fun rather than just survive?
 
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erixsparhawk

Member
Apr 17, 2021
10
5
8
36
Would you guys perhaps know a different place where I could ask these questions? Thanks!
1) Since my current max static breah hold is 3:40, my current co2 tables are 50% which means laps of 1:50 breathholds.. IF lets say I manage to get a 5 minute breath hold does that mean that I could move up to 2:30 co2 table breathholds. Is this indeed how it works, or would it be too long ?

2) Day 1 and Day 3 i did the full 8 laps... but yesterday (Day 5) I didnt feel like doing the full 8 laps so i went with 4 laps instead... but the last 4 laps from the 8.. meaning i start with only a 1:30 breath hold for lap1 and then, 1:15, 1:00, 0:45 Is this fine ???

3) Right now my standard co2 apnea table consists of 8 laps and I start with 2:30 breathup and i will end with 0:45 for the last lap. Is this fine?? Some co2 apnea tables i have seen online dont go lower than 1 minute breaht ups, while I have also seen some tables that go as low as 30 seconds for the last lap. What do you guys recommend, what is right? and what is most effective?

4) How long would you guys breath up before attempting a maximum record breath hold.. Im currently doing a 3 minute breath up and managed to get 03:40

5) I ve read the following: ''Another type of CO2 table consists of relatively short breath holds, for example 1 min 30s, but you take only one breath between each breath hold, i.e. hold for 1:30, exhale, inhale, hold for 1:30, repeat. This way the CO2 levels in your body can reach very high levels.'' Would you guys recommend this type of co2 tables as well? Should I try to do as many laps as possible ? With a max of 8 laps ?
You can also try: https://www.reddit.com/r/freediving/

1.) Lets say you only test your max breath hold every few weeks. When you do a CO2 table a 1-2 without too much struggle you up the hold time %. When you retest your max breath you go back to 50% hold time based on the new max breath hold
2.) If I understand your question correctly then No. The most benefit from the CO2 table comes from the last few rounds. You are better off doing the tables less frequently and committing to finishing them. When you are working on appropriately challenging tables it will likely be too difficult to skip the "warm up" rounds in the 1st half.
3.) There isn't much science on most effective. It will likely depend on the subjective feeling of how difficult the last round was. You want to be able to complete the tables, you want to feel uncomfortable and challenged, but you don't want it to be miserable or a heroic effort. Time might also be a realistic constraint. I do prefer going down to 15 sec breath up, since you are working CO2 and it will start with the most CO2 of all your rounds.
4.) 3 min is what I do.
5.) Works fairly well, it basically is O2 training as well. I usually do this as apnea walks. 15 min or so. I know lots of people that do it for 30 min.

All these tables and structure are great for mid range long breath hold work 3->5. When your breath hold is shorter than 3 min max hold, any sort of holding your breath works well for training. Over 5 min starts to get murky especially when you are doing it specifically for freediving training. I had been done traditionally, but there are now concerns that it induces earlier and stronger contractions which can be dangerous at great depths.
 

SDC79

Active Member
Jun 29, 2015
14
10
43
42
Opening disclaimer: I have very little experience of surfing. However, based on my experience of stressful situations, and of freediving, the only useful bit of your tables was at the end, between 2'35" and 2'50". The bit where you are not in difficulty is easy, for (almost) everyone. The hard bit starts when it gets hard. I'm not a freediving instructor, and I'm not going to claim to be able to help you in any great way, but I can tell you that knowing the science behind breath-holds changed my freediving overnight. Put yourself under stress that's safe whenever you can, and the more dangerous stress might be a little less so. (Or as the British Army has it: Train hard, fight easy.) Any questions, please ask.
 
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