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Stopping delayed Samba

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Blue Member
Aug 30, 2002
Having experimented using Skindiver's anaeobic switch technique I can definitely say that a sprint at the end of a dynamic/CW significantly extends my distance/depth, and I feel great when I surface :p

The problem is that I end up with a serious O2 debt and find it impossible to take a few good deep breaths. Instead I pant a few times and almost always have a slight samba. Actually I feel fine, but after some seconds I seem to make a strange noise and jerk a bit. Anyway it's enough to get my buddy worried and probably enough to disqualify me from a comp :(

So, should I deliberately surface earlier despite the fact that I feel fine, or DOES SOMEONE HAVE SOME BREATHING ADVICE that could stop this happening?


Don't try to do deep breaths right away. Try to do a few "hook breaths", just breathing into the upper chest and pausing momentarily after each. Its hard to explain without demonstrating but its like sucking in a bit of air, bearing down on it a little and then spitting it out. The goal is to oxygenate some air quickly to re-supply the brain, and to increase blood pressure to the brain. The problem at the end of a long performance is that your blood has become de-oxygenated and just getting air back in the lungs doesn't immediately refresh it so a bit of fast turnover with minimum exertion helps. You've also just stuck your head out of the water, causing a drop in pressure and you need to make sure that you push it back up so that the newly oxygenated blood quickly circulates back up there. Stay low in the water with just your head out and float in a relaxed position. Focus on just a few of these short fast breathes first.

Hi Alistair

You are going further so the technique works for you. But you can still go too far, regardless of what technique you use. You must try assess a safe time to surface. For constant weight its out of your hands. For dynamic you have to be on your toes.

Having a 'handler' in Competition that is instructed to shout at you to breathe - and hook breathing ( 3) is advised - and also to remove your mask and signal within the 20 second time limit is a very good idea.

Dont go for you mask too soon. Never mind how good you feel or not. Have your handler call to you at the 15 second mark to remove the mask and signal. This gives you 15 seconds to recover and signal. Dont move your head and keep your arms and chest underwater until you have to signal. Be sure to stand and not float.
Signal first as a tester to see if you hands are competant. Drop it back into the water if you are unsure of its steadiness. Then take off your mask when it becomes critical timewise.

One last thing. I have managed to have a shake in my doctors rooms after packing and blowing out fast into a spirometer for a lung volume test. I too was feeling great obviously.
Point is the forceful exhale wobbled me and i have no idea why ( and gave me a headache ) You may be falling foul of the same mechanism. Be deliberate and controlled and practise your recovery after each surfacing even if only 25m so that you develop auto control.


PS. Dont forget you can only do one of these max efforts. The acid build - up will fatigue you and prolly pre - dispose you to a wobble if you try it again in the same session. i have been known to drive 350KM to the dive site to do one warm- up process and one big dive and then to get out and drive home again for this reason.
Go to gym and do plenty heavy work on the legs to ensure their relative immunity to lactic acid build - up over a short burst.

And... this method works for me so far. I will likely end up dumping it for a more tried and tested method like slow and relaxed all the way, some time in the future. It's not Gods truth.. Ok ?
I tend to learn the hard way :)
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Thanks for the advice! Very good and comprehensive.

Also timely as I entered my first competition yesterday!!

It was the 1st round of the Apnea Academy Trophy. This was one of 3 pool rounds (the open rounds start in Sicily in June).

What a great experience. It was really only Italians (and me) there, but I got to chat to and compete alongside some of the greats (Davide Carrera [WR -91m Free-Imersion], Gaspare Battaglia [World Champion], Stefano Tovaglieri [co-founder Apnea Academy], Alessandro Vignani-Lolli [WR -88 CW]).

It was extremely nerve wracking (the sound of my heart in the first 30 seconds of the static was deafnening...), and my performance was OK considering the pressure. I was particularly worried about disqualification (it's a team event too) and there were several big Sambas.

In the end I didn't breathe up enough for the static and had to fight contractions from 2 minutes onwards. In the end I made 4:03... And in the dynamic I stopped at 85m when I could probably have pushed for 100m (about 3 seconds sprint), preferring to be safe than sorry.

For me the most wonderful performance were the 2 women who made 125m dynamic.

Anyway, thanks for the advice not to push too hard - it served me well. Next time I'll put the breathing into action and get closer to the champs!!


Nice numbers

Very nice numbers for your first comp Alistair. 100 Points for keeping it together rather than blowing it.

Many people use the "hook breath" to stay conscious. I prefer to keep pressure in the lungs (and in the brain) and take rapid shallow breaths (5-10) and then a deep breath. When you're on the edge of consciousness, a deep exhalation before your hook breath can finish you off.

So far I've never suffered a samba or blackout in dynamic or constant. (not that that is absolute proof! :) )

Vancouver, BC
Originally posted by laminar
When you're on the edge of consciousness, a deep exhalation before your hook breath can finish you off.

Perhaps we mean different things by the term "hook breath"... certainly I didn't mean to imply that there ought to be a deep exhalation. Keep them fairly shallow and keep the pressure up. I haven't samba'd either, but I think I was close on a static back in Feb... fortunately my recovery breathing seemed to do the trick.
True, Andrew. Perhaps we have a different idea of what a "hook breath" means. Most often I've seen other divers from the "hook breath" school exhale forcefully and they wobble on the edge of the void and sometimes they fall off.

Also, if you watch freedivers relatively new to the sport, they'll often raise their head and shoulders out of the water (or even stand up) at the end of a static or dynamic, when a simple head tilt will do. Or they'll start talking or forget to breathe. You might say they pushed it too far, but the correct recovery is something you can make so automatic that even when the world is black and you can't hear anything, you come back to find that you're breathing properly and giving the ok signal.

It does take a lot of practice. But it is easy to do. On any static, dynamic or constant dive, use the exact same recovery (different for each respective event) so that it's not something you ever think about. Do it for anything close to your max. Technique is best practiced when you are fresh.


Vancouver, BC
Hook breath

I too am against a forceful exhale for reasons mentioned above. For me a forceful exhale has no place in hook breathing.

The breathe out is purely a recoil breath, which comes out initially a bit fast because of the pressure you have placed it under for a second or so. I make no attempt to totally breathe out. Rather release pressure out, breathe in again quickly but not fully, just enough to get new air in and pressurize that for a second. Three is my number because it also functions as a timing device that takes 10 seconds and leaves me 10 sec to signal etc.

I do this not to pull myself back from unconsciousness ( i also have not been there in either dynamic or constant ) but as a general defogger precaution for the day i do end up functioning on auto.

...Samba question.

Hi friends,
I know this thread is about stopping delayed Samba; would someone be kind enough to define Samba? What is the difference between a Samba and Shallow Water Blackout (SWB)? It appears it's a matter of degree....I'm unsure. Thanks :)
I didn't know either, but use the "Search" function of the forum.

I think "the old dogs" of the forum get's tired of answering these questions over and over :eek:
Oh... and thanks for the advice.

This weekend I did a series of dives to my previous PB, hook breathing upon arrival, and I never had any problems.

Now to go deeper...
thanks :)

Thanks, Skindiver :) The thread you forwarded was a perfect answer to my questions. 'Preciate that. Karma to you!
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