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Ventilation time during Spearfishing...

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New Member
Mar 7, 2005
By the time I am done doing the "proper ventilation" techniques that I learned from an instructor last summer, the mutton snapper I spotted 3 minutes ago is long gone. Is there a ventilation procedure used while spearfishing that will speed up my reaction time on the surface while still clearing off a safe amount of CO2.
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My personal short breath up is 2 or 3 deep abdominal (make sure your belt is on the hips, not on the stomach) breaths with slow exhale, 1 with a forced strong exhale and another 1 or 2 deep slow ones focus on the dive.

I find useful closing my eyes and trying to focus in something else than the big fish on front of me... concentrate on the dive to avoid stupid mistakes (like the float line tangle on my fins!) and keeping in mind that an aggressive body language will ruin my chances.

The urge of breath is trigger by CO2 and you don't take much risks going down with high concentrations of it... you just feel a strong and early urge to breathe, making a short dive.

Do some interval training on the pool: you'll see your CO2 tolerance increase and you fast find the best and most efficient short breath up for you. This as been the best improvement on my diving for the last years.
Pablo - Thanks dude...that sounds like a good method to try for short breath ups. Definately trying to relax after spotting a fat mutton on the bottom is key for me too. Will give it a try....PS - Alison, thanks for your response...I am grateful I can see fish from the surface, the Florida & Bahamian waters here are gin clear and a blast to dive in.
Here is my opinion. I think you should save the proper ventilating breathup for all but dives you know you are going extra deep or long on. The main thing ventilating does is decrease CO2. If you have had proper time to recover from your previous dive, you should already be close to being 100% oxygenated.

The point of this is CO2 build up is the primary trigger for the need to breath. In other words pain. If you skip the ventilation you’re not putting yourself in any greater risk. In fact you might even be safer, because the signal to get back to the surface and breath is going to be better.

The other thing that needs to be considered when spearfishing is the dive response or more accurately the CO2 tolerance you get. Competition freedivers don’t do the number of dives a lot spearfishers do. If you have been spearfishing 1 ½ hours and done 25 dives, your dive response and CO2 tolerance may be really high.

Part of doing multiple breathholds is the increasing CO2 tolerance you get. This is why when you do statics it seems to get easier and easier with the more you do because the signal to breath from CO2 becomes less. They may feel like they are getting easier, but after a number (approximately 3-6) your O2% is falling faster than on the earlier holds. In other words you feel like it’s getting easier, but in reality your getting closer and closer to a blackout.

For this reason some spearos don’t believe in doing any ventilations. But the main point is that after you have done several dives don’t use feeling good as an excuse to push your limits. Realize part of feeling good is probably the CO2 tolerance you have built up and not an increase in ability.

So when you get back to the surface from a dive, breath off the CO2 and then concentrate on breathing with the lower lungs using the diaphragm and slowing your heart. When you see a fish you want to dive for, take a big breath and go.
Don - I see what you are saying about your CO2 tolerance getting better as the number of dives add up. We usually move to deeper spots to hunt as we get "warmed up" and the day progresses. Based on what you said, maybe we should reverse our thinking...or at least cut out the ventilation breath ups if we're doing multiple dives???
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