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Personal Bests?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

P.B. in constant ballast?

  • 10 meters or less

    Votes: 12 10.7%
  • 20 meters

    Votes: 31 27.7%
  • 30 meters

    Votes: 30 26.8%
  • 40 meters

    Votes: 19 17.0%
  • 50 meters

    Votes: 11 9.8%
  • 60-100

    Votes: 9 8.0%

  • Total voters


neoprene dreamer
Aug 22, 2001
I am about to start training bit more seriously and would like to know some of your guys personal bests. How it felt where and how deep? So I would know what is the average depth?
My best so far has been 29meters what I think is okay for now, but should get better quikly as I start training:)
The Quest for a Personal Best


Good luck with your training! I've written some general thoughts down for you to consider as you progress below 30m.

One of the things I remember Eric Fattah saying was that the depths most conducive to blackouts and sambas was the 35m-50m range. People in the 30-50m range are still working on the best ways to dive (including me), whereas people in the 50+ range have had the experience to learn how to make the decision to "keep on sinking." The depth is significant enough to make "experimentation" dangerous.

Humans are designed to dive to about 40m. That's when our residual lung volume is reached. Sure, we can SURVIVE deeper dives, but many things have to be perfect for it to be possible. When you start pushing things beyond the 35m mark, you aren't used to the pressure, the psychology of going deeper and the relative ease of going deeper once you're that deep. It doesn't take that much more physical effort (except for equalizing) to go from 35m to 50m, you just sink a bit longer. That holds true for deeper depths as well. But your state of mind, your body's state of tension/relaxation, your overall physiology, and technique become crucial.

Eric also has said that for him a dive to 60m or 70m is not much different than a dive to 85m. Things still have to relatively perfect. It is still a deep dive. Many things can go wrong, especially if he "under" prepares for the dive, assuming it will be easy. It is interesting to watch Eric breath-up for a 25m recreational dive. It's the exact same breathe-up as he does for his world record depths... You might want to adopt that same focus for all dives, especially anything below thirty metres. Better to have gas left in the tank if something goes wrong.... Once my mask slipped off at 15m on the ascent from 51m. Luckily, it was a dive within my limits and I had no problems on the surface. Nasty feeling, trying to get the water out of my sinus and nose while trying to re-oxygenate myself!

For me personal bests count when they are done in relative comfort and confidence. My personal best is 51m which I've done four times. After that comes 48.5m, 48.0m, 47.7m, 46m, 46m, 45m (a few times) 45m-40m (15 times), 30-40m (50+ times) (these depths are not in order of how I reached them).

A friend of mine did a pb of 40m for the first time. His recovery on the surface was borderline (no shaking but he was staring off into space and not responding to verbal stimulus). He was happy with his "new pb" and I asked him if he felt confident that he could do it again clean. He paused for a minute and shook his head. Wouldn't you rather have a pb you would be confident that you could repeat on a good day? The next weekend, he changed his technique and reached 40m twice in a row with no problems recovering.

You can never be absolutely sure on any given day that you can do a depth. You can be confident, but I like to leave that doubt open so that I will listen to my body when it's important.

A note on quick gains: At one point my pb was 35m because I was having a heck of a time equalizing at depth. We had a long weekend and that gave me the opportunity to dive for three days in a row. I dove twice to 36m on the first day, then to 37m on the second and then on day 3, I dove to 47.7m. Obviously, I had figured out the equalizing problem. But I got a good dose of lung squeeze and coughed up blood. My rib cage and lungs weren't ready for the depth I had gone to. (I didn't know it at the time). The following weekend I did 46m at Nationals and again had a bad lung squeeze. My air was fine on both dives but had I been a little more nervous or tense, maybe it would have been a problem. Looking back, it was a foolhardy way to progess. I had no inner "gauge" to know if I was doing well on the way down, having skipped 10m. These lung squeezes continued as I hit 48m then 51.7m for the first time. Then I started to recognize that something was wrong. I started over again, with better preparation and training at 35m, 37m, 40m, 42m, 44m, 45m, 48.5m and so on until I made a clean 51.3m dive with no trace of lung squeeze.

I think one of the best things you can do is go for a pb in 2-4m increments. Say next dive you reach 33m, then set out to reach 30-35m several times in the next few weeks if your access to water allows it. Each dive will give you valuable sensory information to evaluate your deeper dives. Use this depth as a warm-up dive for your dives to 35-40m. This will give you a sense of how the day is going. For example, at the Canadian Regionals last weekend, I had a horrible start to my dive with many distractions and a poor breathe-up. When I finally reached 35m, I checked my lungs and general feeling. My lungs were already burning (they usually start to burn at 35m on the way UP!) and I felt awful. So I turned around, perhaps avoiding a blackout. It's a hard thing to do in a competition but I much prefer to give my instincts the benefit of the doubt and live to dive another day.

When I watch Eric dive to extreme depths, I often have to remind myself that he didn't just jump from 60m to 70m then to 80m and then 88m. He has made several hundred dives between 45m and 70m. This has given him a profound sense of his own body. That's something I plan to develop, too.

Hope this doesn't all sound discouraging. :) What I want to say is that for the time being, I consider myself a proficient 40m diver, even though my pb is a solid 51m. Even if I make 60m in the next few weeks in preparation for Ibiza, I won't upgrade my "rating" or whatever you want to call it to 50m until I have made several confident dives to 60-50m.

Good luck with your training, trust your instincts and learn how to listen to your own body. Oh yeah, and dive with a buddy who knows what to do if you black out underwater or on the surface. If he or she doesn't know, find out! One of the most important things while training is having confidence in your buddies as you push things.

Oh, and treasure your own personal bests. Who cares how deep the experts are, it's a "personal" best. As you go deeper, they become more rare so celebrate them.

I apologize for the length of this post.

  • Like
Reactions: DeepThought
No worries on the length of you post...

laminar - I read with great intensity on your details of personal best experiences.

All of my training for the last year has only been in a pool - doing Dynamic Apnea drills, weightlifting and deep breathing exercises along with my powerlung.

To read what all of you are doing keeps me motivated when my training get's tedious.

I am hoping that Kirk Krack's clinic is still a go for the end of this month, but with all that has occurred this week, the logisitcs may prevent him from doing it until his miami clinic at the end of october. He's suppose to let me know within 2-3 days. I am looking to see how my training has prepared me for the more technical learning and application of what he teaches.

I will be doing a first person account from either this one or the Miami one for Deeperblue once I get back from it.

Until then...

Thanks Laminar, your reply was great and I'll TRY to remember your warnings and advice as I train to go deeper..
Hope I find a good buddy from UK since I am about to move to there in a week..
But thanks again
Deepest so far..

As I was diveing in Egypt I did several "deep" dives and once or twice I felt little dizzy when surfaceing! was I close swb? I felt fine exept right after the surfaceing and when breathing few times, I felt kida strange.
Is there any clinics that teach how to help buddy when he/she blacks out? or do they teach that already in those clinics?
Well thanks

Hey Pekka....probably you were close to ascent bo or samba...be careful. Since you are going to the UK, maybe contact Howard Jones in Plymouth, from freediver magazine. A new friend of mine was trained by Howard, and he said the training was good.
good luck,
Erik Y.
Thanks Erik

I'll have to try to contact Howard Jones, sounds good, especially as I'll be liveing close by in Exeter. Ant real training would do good to me as I am self educated so far :)
Thanks Erik again

You told that you got lung squeeze many times when diving 40m+ for the first time. I've had same experiences, but I am sometimes still spitting blood at depths 25-30m.
How long it took you to get over with this thing? What I mean is how long did you let your lungs to rest after lung squeeze?

Hi Guys,

Pekka, give Howard a ring on (01752) 480763 or mail him at howard@freediver.co.uk for more info on courses. I work with howard on courses and stuff....

We run courses through out the winter in a military SETT Tank (Submarine Escape Training Tank) which is ~30m deep - crystal clear and 34 degrees all day long, it's a weekend course, and it's good fun. Last year Fred Buyle came by as did Tanya Streeter and Herbert Nitsche. Kirk Krack did a one day course there too, and i'm sure this year we'll get some interesting visitors...

Have fun & Dive Safe!

  • Like
Reactions: Pekka

Thanks Crispin, I did e mail Howard, and I'll give him a ring as I get setteled in, but what comes to the SETT, wow it was amazing just to wiew on the website, but as I found out I couldn't possibly afford to join you guys diveing in it:( But perhaps later on, if I get some money together..;)
It sounds so good that there is freedivers in the area, better than here in Finland where winter is about to start freezeing our sea and butt off!:t
Do you guys have spearfishing as well? that would be kinda fun too, and skills obtained when freediveing could be used fishing.. :p
Well perhaps we will meet someday
We will meet at some point - UK freedivers are a small friendly clan, and most of us love to spearfish too, so I think you'll have fun in the UK.....

  • Like
Reactions: Pekka
nice to hear

It is cool to hear that you guys are doing some spearfishing, I would love to get into that.
Do you know from where I sould by a new wetsuit as I'll be needing one soon. Is there a store/place where such (freediveing wetsuit) could be obtained?
do you guys have some courses on spearfishing? are they about the same price as the SETT?
I am looking forward on starting my freediveing in UK:p
personal bests

hey everyone,

i'm just now getting around to reading this post. it's great to realize how many serious freedivers interact on this forum. i don't mean to take away from Pekka's post, but i would really like to welcome feedback on my situation, as well.

i'm a florida native living in colorado, US now. i've snorkeled my entire life and got into spearfishing about two years ago. over time we realized that we could go as deep as we wanted. 25m was deep to us back then. we moved out to deeper waters and spearfishing took on an entire new meaning.

recently, we got into hunting in about 35-40m for shallow pelagics. my partner loves the challenge of hitting the 30m mark and does it consistently. my problem starts when i'm about 25m. i consider myself to have excellent dynamic apnea and can chase fish for miles underwater, but when i'm inverted past that 25m mark i always bail out and level off. granted i'll stay down for a while searching for fish, something in my head just won't let me down deeper.

i think the loss of Loren Maas last July kinda wigged me out. i have no doubt that i'm capable of going deeper, it's just that i'm feeling more and more naive to the techniques as i read everyone's comments.

i'm planning on attending Kirk's class next february, so i guess that's a start. but, if anyone has any comments, words of encouragement, or just constructive criticism, i'd be greatful.



Hi anderson, I think most of us has had a sticking point, and always will have one, no matter how we progress. You are obviously an adept diver (not naive as you say) to be fishing at those depths. Certainly the death of Loren Maas and others is enough to make us think twice about pushing ourselves.
Kirk's class will help. It helped me. I spent a long time working up to 42 metres, about 3 years. Whenever I hit a new depth freediving I remember that it took me 2 years of scubadiving to be comfortable at 16 metres! I was a big chicken, but determined to be comfortable. Eventually I was diving over 60 metres on with tanks by myself, in the dark.
My point is that it may take a long time to get another 10 metres....that's a big increase psychologically, and that's most of the trick. I would try just 1 metre deeper next time, then keep diving that depth for a few days or weeks. Then 1 more metre....what's 1 more metre, really? Soon enough you'll be hauling up 500lb Swordfish from 40 metres! Well, you never know! If you laugh at that and don't believe, then it will never happen. If you believe it and visualise it happening, then it will happen. One step at a time though.
Take care and good diving,
Erik Y.
Hi Anderson,

If you're getting to 25m and back with a speargun in hand then you're doing pretty well! I'm sure you'll be able to go much deeper in Kirk's class with a reference line, no speargun and proper safety.

I don't spearfish but I've found over the past few years that my maximum comfortable recreational depth is about half of my maximum performance depth. Right now I can do repeated wall dives to 30m (27 with camera) but with a proper work up, I can do one 60m dive on a good day.

Repeated 'working' dives are a far cry from a focused depth dive where all you're concentrating on is streamlining, relaxation and equalization. When you're concentrating on something besides depth, it can be hard to believe you're capable of you're best unencumbered depth. Yesterday Laminar and I took part in an underwater cleanup in 13m of depth. I think I speak for both of us when I say we were glad the lake wasn't any deeper.

Good luck in your course!


Do not worry about "taking my post", it is so great to hear other poeple going through a same that I am and that brings some more inspiration to work on them.
when you start feeling comfortable below 25m tell us what did it if there was something technical or psychological? I would like to know as well, because I am working on a same problem and about the same depth as well:)
Safe diveing to you all
thanks for the words, guys!

granted, i am carrying a large gun tethered to 35m of floatline which is dragging a lifegaurd buouy, so i realize i should be pretty happy with what i'm doing.

i see how this sport can get so psychological! i know that when i come up after shooting a fish in a hole, it's so strange to go back down without my gun. i feel "naked" and awkward. i feel like i can't stay down for more than 30 seconds! i would assume you guys would agree that i might need to start practicing diving w/o my gun. it's funny, because i even feel i can go deeper when i have my camera in hand. i wonder how Freud would have labeled me! :D

alright, take care guys and i'll keep you posted. i'm back down to florida in a couple weeks.

Diving with a gun


Funny you should say that you feel naked without something in your hand. Maybe handling a camera or a speargun distracts (or focuses) you on other things besides how deep you are.

I've never tried diving with a spear gun, but then again, it's been months since I've been deep with bi-fins and I think that would be a huge adjustment to start with, since I dive with a monofin. I limit my recreational dives to about 35m. Spearfishing or going down to look is a lot different than going for depth alone. So going deeper is a much different "thing" and I wouldn't want to have to worry about a gun or a camera or anything.

And anyway, for me freediving is diving to depths where I feel good. So if being deeper than 25m doesn't feel good, give it some time.

good to hear from you pete.

i guess it goes back to your instincts. if i thought there was a need to go deeper for spearfishing, i assume i'd try. it's funny how just starting out the day, 15m seems real deep. but, in no time i'm realizing that my ascent is starting to take more and more time than on previous dives. we drift when we spearfish, and we cover lots of different depths. i guess it's a pretty neat feeling to be on the surface looking at the bottom you just came up from and realizing you had just been crawling on it for some time.

i guess i'd be better off if i had no idea what depth i was at. preoccupation seems to be my answer. i'm too anxious now to hop into Kirk's class. i'm hoping my habits won't be too difficult to break.

thanks again,

Post-Kirk diving

I'm sure that Kirk's class will help you dive deeper, but you may find that you won't increase your spearfishing depth by much, but you'll feel more comfortable in general at your usual depths.

It will be neat to discuss this with you after you take the course.

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