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my buddy sucks air out of his mask while diving

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give me gills!
Jun 18, 2003
If he feels low on oxygen he just keeps sucking the air that's left in his mask. Is that potentially dangerous? I told him I'll ask the pros. Don't want him to get sick or anything.

Thanks guys
no prob

What your friend is doing is called mask pumping. It's more of a fake out for the noggin that you're actually kinda breathing than it is an additional supply of air. I do it as I'm coming up from a dive that has been, uh, extended and I'm dynamic-ing like a mutha.
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Mask pumping

Is not a good thing Icarus man. as soon as you body thinks its breathing the heartrate shoots sky high. I saw this in a lecture during the Hawaii Pacific Cup. They had a guy in a tank on a bike pedalling away on apnea.

His heartrate falls fast after a few seconds of apnea and stays that way regardless of his pedalling till he takes his first breath. Then it shoots high before normalising.
If your heartrate shoots up prematurely it can only be deliterious to your breathhold. It does this i suspect to circulate what it thinks is now oxygen rich blood to the organs quickly. But it also eats much oxygen in doing so. Blood goes lungs- heart- brain and you might be asking for a prem shutdown by doing this .

I wonder if Cayman is referring to mask sniffing rather than pumping? If so its not bad for you - ie wont make you sick. I have not encountered a heartrate increase from sniffing and i suspect that its because there is no exhale.

But who am i to teach an old dog new tricks :)


ya know, I was just using that word- deliterious a minute ago... :hmm

While I haven't actually heard of the term "mask sniffing" I suspect it's a shallower version of mask pumping which is in itself little more than a sniff, especially if you're using the usual very low volume mask. Trouble with mask pumping, sniffing and generally everything nasal, the nose pocket is so clogged with snot so as to render the attempt at getting a whiff negligable. I'll agree that this exercise will induce a heartrate flutter and as I said earlier, when I myself am doing it, it's usually on the looong way up whilst I'm keeping an eye out for that swimmy feeling in front of my eyes.
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mask pumping

I belive what my friend is doing is called mask pumping as mentioned above. Thanks guys for all the info on the effects. I will let my buddy know as soon as I see him. Thanks again.
Mask pumping

the way i understand it is a shallow breathing in and out of the mask to simulate normal breathing. Naturally its better accomplished with a high volume mask with a flexible skirt.

I once read a post by 'Bill' where he said he did this on a dynamic to make it more comfortable even at the expense of a few meters.

Bill ? Whats mask pumping by your definition ?

Icarus, if you are simply sniffing back the expanding air as you rise without an exhale then by all means do it on all ascents ( snot aside) Its really good for you. Gives you curly hair and rosy cheeks and leave to appeal if you are overcooking it.

Re: Mask pumping

Originally posted by Skindiver
the way i understand it is a shallow breathing in and out of the mask to simulate normal breathing.

if you are simply sniffing back the expanding air as you rise without an exhale then by all means do it on all ascents

Is there an echo in here? I was thininking that's what I said. :D
for Cayman's sake.

I thought would spell it out again more clearly..... clearly.... clearly....clearly....

Personally, i dont think his friend is 'mask pumping' anymore than i think you are 'mask pumping' especially since you don't admit to exhaling into the mask. Semantics to you, but a real difference to me.
Cayman is now erroneously off thinking his friend 'pumps' his mask.

it's not life and death anyway...anyway...:D

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