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Zero blackout / zero samba: How deep? How long?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Sep 28, 2001

When people start to push their limits in freediving, there is usually an increased risk of sambas (=loss of motor control) or even blackouts.

There are, however, freedivers who have somehow managed to avoid blackouts and sambas, nonetheless achieving good freediving performances. My question to you "conservative" guys and girls is: How good?

Second try, to state the question more clearly: :D

To all freedivers, who have never ever experienced a blackout or a samba: What is your personal best in constant weight and in static apnea, respectively?

As I am a blackout- and samba-"virgin" :eek: myself, I might just as well begin: constant -37m and static (don't laugh): 4:00min.

Looking forward to your replies!
Sad to say I've never been in water deep enough to go for a CW PB. My static is 6:00 minutes. I suspect that I could maybe go for 7:00 but do not have the desire to push that hard. I just enjoy freediving conservatively and have never suffered samba/BO.

I know that I can easily manage 1:30 dynamic under pretty well any conditions, so I guess that's probably good for 45m CW. However, with my wife on the shore waiting for me to return I am never going to take any chances.
hi uli, interesting question; in more than a year of quite exessive diving I experienced only one time the beginning of a samba (slight tremling of fingers but still able to remove mask and give OK-sign) when I really wanted to push limits. my PBs: Static 5:30 min, CW -35m, DWF: 70m.
64 feet in salt water-took 1minute 1second- and 2 minutes 20 seconds (and 20 pushups).
Got a CO2 headache once, but that was before I did any training.Never have any symptoms of low oxygen .
At one point in early 2000, I had pb's of 6'15 in static, 100m dynamic, and 45m in CW, without ever having had a samba/BO. It changed shortly after!

Laminar has pb's of 6'11, 55m CW and 125m dynamic without ever having a samba/BO.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Hi Eric, coincidence: I was just on your website for downloading the file on equalization - a very useful piece of information- you earn your karma !

But yet another question; you wrote : I had pb's of 6'15 in static, 100m dynamic, and 45m in CW, without ever having had a samba/BO. It changed shortly after!
--- why did it change ?

dani wieser
I haven't experienced a samba or BO yet (well at least neither me nor my buddies have noticed:)),
my PB's are:

static 6'25'' (dry)
DWF 145m
CW 58m

BUT I'm expecting to samba in the near future. why? because I think, that after my first year of freediving I've reached my limits without having to push really hard. the PB's increased in big jumps. I think that time is over now :(. anyway I'm quite curious how does a samba feel :D
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I forgot something,
I learnt almost everything about freediving here
So far our winners are:
Juka with his dry static of 6'25", dynamic of 145 m and his constant weight of 58 m.
Closely followed by Laminar with his pb's of 6'11, 125m dynamic and 55m CW without ever having a samba/BO.

Thanks guys, that are truly excellent performances!

Do I hear a 60 m in constant weight?

Eric made an important comment:
At one point in early 2000, I had pb's of 6'15 in static, 100m dynamic, and 45m in CW, without ever having had a samba/BO. It changed shortly after!

You never know, whether your first blackout :duh waits just around the corner...! :confused:

Safe freediving to y'all!
just incase anone might be thinking b/o's only await those who push their p.b's, my first b/o happened in a depth of 50% of my max. a case of lingering at depth on a fun dive, overconfidence, lack of knowledge and some other variable i havent yet understod. so if you've never had a blackout before it could still happen on a dive you least expect it to. safe diving,
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Hi Bevan

Just out of curiosity, how deep was the dive where you first blacked out and how much longer than usual were you at depth?


ash, was a dive to 30m lasting 2:30, most of that time spent lying on the bottom doing no work whatsoever. did the exact same dive and dive profile the next day with no problem atall. often do about 3:30 bottom times at that depth and when conditions are as perfect as they were(thailand). goes to show that there are variables we dont know about that can have a big effect on form from day to day. (in this instance i could rule out the usual culprits of over-ventilation, insufficient suface interval, and dehydration as the cause)
In winter of 2002, I had a samba from a recreational dive to 23m which lasted for 1'30. This was despite having previously done successful dives to 88m in 3'14 and 20m for 5'03.

So, just because you 'did it before', it doesn't mean that it is safe or that you can do it again!

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Hello you all,
very interesting thread this one.

Eric, do you have any ideas why you had a samba even if you did not push yourself?

Bevan and Eric - thanks for the feedback

This really interests me because I dive alone most of the time and I always stay within my own very conservative parameters.

So of course it concerns me that divers as experienced as yourselves have had problems on dives that were very conservative for you.

Eric - if you have any ideas as to what contributed to your samba, I would love to hear them.

It was winter, and I was using a heavy suit config with a giant weight belt.

I had just done a dive to about 30m where I had gone inside a shipwreck and gone into an air-pocket and breathed inside the air pocket. Then, I continued diving around the wreck. The dive lasted for about 4 minutes. Then, I surfaced, breathed again, then went down to about 22m and laid down on the bottom. I surfaced after many contractions in around 3'00. (No air pocket or anything). Now I was very cold, shivering. I thought I would make one last quick dive. I breathed and breathed, but couldn't feel satisfied. I assumed it was because I had accumulated CO2 from the last two long dives, so I hyperventilated to blow off that CO2 (which wasn't really the problem, it was just I was so cold I was generating CO2 and burning O2 like crazy). I still couldn't feel satisfied, but decided to dive. So I went down to 23m and swam along the wreck. Soon, I suddenly felt terrible (classic hypocapnia). I immediately started for the surface, but I was very heavy due to the massive weight belt. I thought of ditching my belt but now I was already at 10m, so I wouldn't have saved much energy. As I approached 5m my vision started fading and I felt like I was coming up from 85m.... and when my vision fades I go into automatic mode, where my last thought is always, 'remember to breathe...' I broke the surface (vision totally gone) but my instinct from so many record training dives made me breathe anyway. I had a huge samba and felt myself shaking. My buddy was about 30m behind me on the surface, and wasn't paying much attention because these were 'conservative' dives. Dive time was 1'30.

So, my problems were:
1. Far too cold
2. Too heavy at the bottom
3. Overventilated thinking that I was blowing off CO2 from previous dives
4. Couldn't feel satisfied despite hyperventilating
5. Low blood pressure and not well hydrated

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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