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When do you start ascent?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Oct 3, 2002
Hello again!

When do you decide to come up to the surface to avoid Sambas or SWB in the return? Do you do it right after your first diaphragm contraction or do you allow yourself for a bit extra time, let's say 5 s.?

Cheers, gerard.
That is the question no one can answer... well I mean it is dependent on so many different factors... how many dives/ how tired you are, how long was your last surface time..ETC.
Try to feel your body..don't trust on any equipment, like timer depth guage, but your feelings... and have buddy to take care of you...:)
I usually let first few contractions come before I start my ascent, but it is very much personal thing, some people don't get contractions at all! so..it is not really good thing to rely on.
Where do you dive at? ..just curious..
Safe diving!
My 2c..
Hi Gerard, besides knowing your capabilities (which are even then not always reliable), you must take into account: if you are "fully charged", meaning that you are in "full dive mode" . For some, this means 5 to 10 dives, and for others, it means a few statics and/or negative dives to initiate the dive reflex.
Also, the depth you are at will make a big difference. If I am at 13 metres, lying on the bottom fully relaxed, then I will allow 30 contractions or more, but if I have reached my deepest depth (50 metres) or thereabouts, then I will not hang around at all....just getting back up is the focus for me in that case. Better divers than me will have no problems at 50 metres.....I watched Eric F do statics at 55 metres!
So, dive to your limit, and over time and many dives, start with a few contractions or a certain amount of time (say 10 seconds), then return to the surface. Add more time at the bottom and/or contractions, if you are able to do so. Of course this is performance diving, and you will need a good spotter ;)
Hey guys!

I see where you are going but don't you think it is a bit too risky. I think freediving should be done in absolute control. Life is too precious to play with. I'd hate blacking out even with a competent spotter, just imagine that he is not that competent, I mean he can get nervous and in consequence "letting you die" rather than helping you. I am not dramatising here I'd like to be in full control.

I guess relaxation is critical but Physics and Chemistry are a reality.

It's very easy go down but you must think you have to go up too.

I'll stick to the first contraction with the aim of delaying its occurrence.

BTW I am in OZ (no more clues):naughty

Regards, gerard.
Not simple

I really don't recommend using contractions to measure your turning point. I once did a 62m dive where I got contractions on the way down at 55m, and I surfaced easily. Brett LeMaster used to get contractions on the way down at 45m, and he would go all the way to 80-83m and surface fine. On the other hand, I have had several dives where I didn't get any contractions on the way down, and got only 1 or 2 contractions in the very last few meters of the ascent, and I either samba'd or BO'd.

A much better way is to get a general idea of how you are doing BEFORE you go down. You can do this by doing a surface static, or a static at 10m. See how long you can go, and compare it to a previously known situation; this will give you a relative idea of how you're doing with respect to previous days of diving.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
I agree with Eric, contractions are not really reliable warning signal, if you have read about BO's that spearfishermen have experienced or something like that where you are doing stuff at the bottom.. they usually have this "I felt just fine and then suddenly...".
I have noticed that when diving with a timer and depth guage you tend to do bit longer dives, because you trust the time and depth are "safe"..but then you don't pay so much attention to your own body.. Although the comment about the "I felt just fine and then suddenly.." would apply to here as well..
I try to dive within my limits and to the safe side... more dives clearer picture I have about my limits..
...Life is too precious to play with Well yes but when you freedive there is always the danger of something going wrong... and about your buddy..do some lifts to make sure he knows what to do if you BO...
Safe diving!

I see, so what is your main indicator then, feeling uncomfortable or a trigger mechanism in the brain telling you is time to go up?

I'd like to hear your different opinions, not because I'll follow them, it's just simple curiosity. Personally, I follow my brain (or sixth sense) telling me that's time to go up.

Regards, gerard.

personally i always do warmup statics and stretching and i usually have very constant diving conditions (weather, temperatures, pesonal fitness etc).
as soon as i start my dives i feel how good a day i m having. that is what limits my depths/times. i start out shallow getting into the right diving mode. having done many dives in the same area under various conditions gives you a good idea on how long/how deep you can safely go. i dive with a depthgauge/timer which i read regularly and i also wait for contractions as a duideline.
i ve already experienced situations without a depthgauge/timer when i was so involved in the dive that i overlooked time and depth and just so made it back. won t happen again (knock on wood!).
using contractions takes more practise for me at least. what i like to do is drop down, sit on the bottom wait some seconds and then come back up. the bottom time i increase from one dive to the next. in the beginning i ll be on the surface without having contractions, in the end i ll surface after 10 contractions. that s where i usually stop. during statice i hold about 45 contractions, during fast dynamics around 15-20.
so when doing a dive, beeing a lot more relaxed than during fast dynamics, that gives me the confidence to stay down even when contractions start.

during 1 hour in water i spend around 30 minutes underwater. if i d push it too much i d have to do longer surface breaks.

when trying for cw i dive with a buddy and push it a little more. but not much.

generally for me it s the experience after many dives that gives me a good feel about my body and how much and how long is possible on any given day.



Heh how do I know when it is time to get up... I know my limits about when diving with timer.. I only have depth guage and that tells me when I haev gotten beyond the fast surface limit...-20m-- other than that I just listen to my body..I guess you could call it sixth sense...(The one which tells you when you are going to die if you don't get air..:duh )
With timer...well that is totally different thing and usually have someone watching.. when doing CW... which I do propably once a year..but still I just push it just little bit beyond.. I get contractions around -25M... so little past that, I would say 10 contractions before turn...
Safe diving to you guys!
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