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Question for the really deep guys/gals.

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.


tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
Hey folks. I was ascending the other day, watching the bubbles come out from the sides of my mask as the air I used to equalize my superocchio expanded and freed itself.

This got me to thinkin'.... That air must become precious when you get down to 50m or deeper (someday...:hmm) . And [intuition tells me that] the fact that is compressed to a fraction of its original size would make that air that much more valuable... So that's the question. Upon your ascent, do you reclaim that air through your nose? Or do you just give it away since you packed at the surface, or don't think it's worth making the effort.

I always breathe that air back in on ascent :) Feels good, and probably helps, I think.
Erik Y.
I'm not one of the "deep guys" but I usually take back my air from the mask. The kicker is wondering if you suck up any water if it's going to make you sneeze. I've thought about posting the question.. have you ever sneezed or coughed way down under? I sometimes get down under and think... what if I sneeze. ahh well, I guess it's a risk I take.
Not only for deep guys

But for all of us shallow cats too.

I dont know anyone that doesnt sniff mask air back in on the ascent from even 20m.
Often i sniff water in and I try swallow it. Sometimes i cant swallow and i feel it trickle down my throat into my lungs. I resist the urge to cough. Coughing is deadly here.

On a 52m dive once I had my mask fall off at about -25m on the way up. My poor spotter met me at around 15m and I was already sprinting blinded for the surface. I left him behind me and breached at the surface, sputtering, blowing the water from my nose and sinuses before I could take a real breath. A real rush!

If there's water in my mask, I usually avoid inhalation altogether. But otherwise it's a habit I don't even think about anymore.

Do it all the time and it'll become second nature.

Vancouver, BC
I always re-inhale from my mask. By the way, that's what it's called: 're-inhaling.'

I have also coughed down there. Sure, you can resist coughing to a certain extent, but eventually it'll get ya.

Remember Yasemin Dalkilic's rule: 'If you haven't had a problem down there, it means you haven't dived enough times.'

Given that I have made thousands of dives and only coughed once while I was down there, it just goes to show that it ain't a common thing...!

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada

To go off on a tangent here..

In Hawaii 2002 in a presentation by a doctor invited to talk on apnea and heartrate we were shown something very interesting.

At the onset of apnea the heartrate falls. Even if exercising. The slides depicted a man on an exercise bike up to his chest in water. The heartrate printout showed a significant decrease in heartrate as soon as he stopped breathing.
BUT as soon as the first breath was taken after a period of apnea the heartrate shot up high again.

Since then i have banished any thought of a concept i have heard someone discuss in an old thread - 'mask pumping' ( i take this to be a conning of the body into believing that we are breathing and so try buy some comfort in the final stages of apnea.)

I have often wondered if a mask sniff would signal the body that we are breathing again and shoot the heartrate up. And would this be deliterious to the performance anyhow ?

What then about breathing in a mouthful of fresh air held in the cheeks for some future time during a dynamic or static ?


I also re-inhale on ascent and it is a habit that I do without thinkings.:)
Thanks Guys

Isn't it great to post a question before you go to bed, and wake up to find a half dozen reliable answers :)?

I do feel a little silly now. I was impressed with myself for having a lightbulb over my head, only to find out that I am really the 'slow kid' in the class :). hehehe

I appreciate the warning about coughing. I've never sneezed or coughed while deep; that is one 'experience' I can do without. Are you guys forcefully sucking the air back only when you feel the pressure in your mask increase, or do you sip it through your nose frequently? I would think that by continuously taking little sips of air, I could avoid sucking up any small amount of water that might be lingering at the base of my nose pocket.

Regarding the 'mask pumping'. Interesting... but I don't see how this could possibly work. If you are just continuously rebreathing your same air, one must conclude that it is the act of breathing (and not the function of gas exchange in the lungs) that prompts the heart to speed back up. Since involuntary contractions of the diaphram don't seem to speed up the heart rate, why would small, intentional, controlled movements do anything?

Also, why is coughing so dangerous where you live? Do the sharkies come running to see the commotion :confused:?

Thanks again guys,
Last edited:
Do no inhale through your mask on the ascent--that makes your body think you are breathing--instead, 'pack' through your nose, by sucking with your cheeks, and then push the air from the mask into your lungs as if packing. This is also less energy intensive since it does not use the diaphragm. To practice on land, try packing your lungs through your nose.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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Do you deep guys have purges on your masks?

Well I got my question in...wondering if I breathe out through the nose the purge will let it escape right?:confused: So how could I ever rebreathe the same air?
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Purge masks aren't the best masks for freediving. They're ok when you've got a supply of air on your back, but they're not much use down deep. Just my personal preference though :)
Erik Y.
I always inhale the expanding gas out of my mask when ascending. I have found that a little water doesn't hurt either. I feel like I need the air that is in my mask. I try to descend and ascend without releasing any air. I want to see no bubbles at all.
another tangent

Some of us have the ability to Pack our stomachs with air and produce a burp of various sizes, I guess that you could use this air but it may have picked up some stomach gases and not be breathable.

Re: another tangent

Originally posted by arbateman
Some of us have the ability to Pack our stomachs with air and produce a burp of various sizes, I guess that you could use this air but it may have picked up some stomach gases and not be breathable.


If, by some strange way you can do this, DONT.

As you said, air from your stomach has got some serious posionous gasses, and it can take out the lights of you brain, in a second.

Take some glue , inhale it, and see how you feel
a few seconds later... :)

I dont want to feel like this at -50m !!!!
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