View Full Version : Solo Freediving Training?
04-25-2004, 05:01 PM
I unfortunately end up diving alone about 50% of the time. I have just begun doing some apnea training that seems to be showing results after only a couple of sessions. This makes me want to practice going deeper. Yesterday, I made it to 50 ft for the first time.... while diving solo.
Yes, I know some will say that I am shooting for one of the "Darwin" awards, but I am trying to be conservative in my dives.
My methodology was to start by acheiving a depth I was confident in, 30 ft. Then I would repeat that depth and check for 10 seconds bottom time. If successful, I would increase about 5 feet in depth. I told myself that if I experienced any contractions during ascent, I would not go any deeper. Using this method I reached 50 ft, and didn't even repeat the depth to check for bottom time. I was happy to stop there for the day. But I will want to try going deeper again, and may be diving alone.
So, I would like any and all advice on my techniques as I am still fairly new to this, having started about 8 months ago, and never getting the opportunity to dive with more experienced people. Shoot - half the time, I have been diving alone! Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom.
04-28-2004, 11:34 AM
Kahuna, I'm by no means an expert, and I love this forum b/c it's the best place to learn, but I think as long as your realistically conservative, diving solo is sometimes the only choice.
If I had to limit myself to diving with a partner, I probably wouldn't have broken into double digits yet.
04-28-2004, 11:54 AM
The key in not pushing yourself (ie how deep can i go, how long can i stay down) when you are solo (but diving with others is much safer and helps you get better as well). Once you are at ft 50 i wouldn't go much deeper than that if you are solo. If what you want is fish or a workout you can do it (surface hunt) without goin any deeper but going solo isn't recommended and remmeber no fish is worth you life. Once you get closer than 2/3 of your air used you get into the danger zone so head up well before that. If your buddy is there and WATCHING you by all means push away. 70 ft and 50 ft are the same all you do is drop for a few more seconds and clear a few more times. its all mental. but once you are down there its the trip to the surface that gets you. If what you want is to see how deep you can go maybe tie a floatline to your weight belt and have some one in the water with you even if they can't dive down to get theyll be able to pull you up. most fatalities happen 15 feet from the surface on the ascent. remmenber don't overweigth yourself. be safe
04-28-2004, 08:45 PM
DaKahuna or others - what are contractions and what are they saying is happening to your body? Last weekend I was freediving in Bimini where I would normally have been on SCUBA. I'm not very good at it, but we were diving 30 feet most of the time. However, after exerting myself for about a half an hour I started to experience a sort of contraction I guess on my way to the surface where I would combat an urge to inhale. Is this a precursor to SWB? Thanks for any info:cool:
04-28-2004, 09:08 PM
Thanks, glad to finally get some feedback. I didn't figure anyone was going to chime in with a "hey just go for it" on this subject as it is serious business. I'm sure that Spearboard wouldn't condone solo diving for safety reasons and blah, blah, etc. But a lot of people do it, so it should be discussed.
I posted over at DeeperBlue about this also and got some info I thought was valuable. First, they had run a poll on how many freedivers dive alone. 86% percent of the responses were either "Yes, regularly" or "Yes, but with depth/time restrictions"! That's a huge number of solo freedivers!! This is why I think it is a subject to be discussed, even if it is with a "wish you wouldn't do this, but if you do..." slant to the info.
Next, I learned that it is the body's intolerance for CO2 that actually triggers the desire to breathe, not a lack of O2. For this reason, it was recommended NOT to employ any "purging" techniques to the breathe-up process. That is because purging expels more CO2 from your system which usually results in a later onset of the desire to breathe or a less urgent feeling of the desire to breathe. So by NOT purging, you leave just a little bit of a buffer in the form of your body's natural desire to breathe. This isn't any sort of cure-all, but is something that is easy to incorporate into the safety plan of solo divers that might help to stay on the conservative side.
My experiment with the depth was not supposed to be the focus of my day in the water. It started out as a quick afternoon hunt for a little dinner. The vis was terrible due to the arrival of some large waves, so hunting was useless. I ended up drifting way out past the surf zone looking for clear water. There wasn't any, so I decided to just practice some dives and decided I felt very good that day, so I went deeper. That's how it happened, and I know it's how bad things happen too! But hey, I live in sOCal, I'm probably more likely to die on the freeway driving home, so I may as well have a good dive, right?!
Any other feedback on safety measures for solo freediving?
04-28-2004, 09:34 PM
what are contractions and what are they saying is happening to your body?
It's your body punching you in the chest, yelling at you "Hey Jackass, get me some air! I'm die'n over here..."
Natural reaction to a build up of CO2. SWB usually occurs after you've ignored them for a long time after this. "long time"... well, that really depends on your heart rate. If you really want to know how long, hold your breath until you pass out, above water of course. :)
04-28-2004, 10:02 PM
You posted while I was working on my post or I would have tried to answer your question before.
Contractions are the involuntary action of your diaphragm trying to make you breathe. Like I posted earlier, it is actually more related to the body's desire to get rid of toxic CO2, rather than a cry for more O2. In the searching I have been doing I have read threads where people were talking about when and how severe freedivers experience the contractions (in relation to doing static or stationary breath-hold attempts). The reactions varied from contractions starting at 30 seconds to some people never getting them, even during a 5+ minute hold. There are lots of people that got contractions at the 2-3 minute mark that continued on to a total 5+ minute hold. Because of the widely varying responses, it would be wise to do a little experimenting to see how your body reacts (sitting on the living room floor to start!)
Being in a dynamic, or active state totally changes your breath hold capabilities of course. So just because I can hold my breath for 2 minutes after my contractions start when doing static holds, doesn't mean I will get anywhere close to that in a dynamic state.
Please take my info as coming from someone who has more online experience than in the water experience at this point, and keep asking around. Personally I try to dive so that I don't experience any contractions at all, but it does happen sometimes unfortunately. Most blackouts happen less than 15 feet from the surface, or even after surfacing. Experimenting and getting to know your body's reactions/signals is most important I think.
04-29-2004, 06:01 PM
Junior, Marcus and DaKahuna are right on about contractions. However, I'd be real careful about using them as a guage for incipient SWB in dynamic conditions for reasons that DaKahuna mentioned.
05-01-2004, 10:19 AM
A few weeks ago I went freediving solo, just for some peace. Though I was the knucklhead........:D
05-01-2004, 01:04 PM
Did you find it??? Although the risk of death is ever present in the sport. It would be much better way to go than being hit by a drunk driver...Just alsway think of your loved ones before trying to push yourself and know that unless someone is watching you you run a great risk of becomenig a stadistic.... A swim as a workout os very diffrent then apnea trainning, the later being the deadleist of the two...
05-01-2004, 09:38 PM
Yeah, I found it. Coupla hours away from the world and I got to think, relax, and yeah, I got some peace.
No, I didn't push it. In my misspent youth there have been plenty of brushes with overenthusiasm and testosterone toxicity. Holding my breath long enough to black out isn't ...well....peaceful.;)
Four years ago some silly b%*%h clobbered me from behind while I watched in the rearview. Today, everyday is a gift
05-18-2004, 02:05 PM
50 Ft. Is a good depth to stop freediving alone. SWB can come wether you had contractions or not. I feel pretty good at 50 with about 20-30 secs on the bottom. When going deeper a partner gives you that mental assurance. This helps you slow your heart rate down and dive a little more comfortable.
Remind me to post the story about Me and Julie Riffe saving Lil John off Ft. lauderdale in 85 ft of water,after his SWB.
As you increase your depth make sure you increase your surface time. Most people feel ready to go around 1 minute after the last dive. You shouldn't go unless you have 3-4 minutes between dives. This gives your blood ample time to re oxygenize and lower your CO.
I use Suunto Mosquito Dive Watch, this is the best for freediving as it displays surface time between dives.
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