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Dive Training for Free Diving or Scuba Diving Discuss and learn about dive training for free diving or scuba diving in any geographical region.

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Old 11-26-2019, 06:08 PM   #1
Pfish
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Bottom Time

Good afternoon. Took a D1 Freedive course locally here in So Cal. But I have a question that perhaps the board can answer: How do you know what your individual bottom time is? Is there a physical sign? Something I should be aware of? Do not want to make a mistake as many times, I am guessing one is all it takes. Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-04-2020, 11:41 PM   #2
chulho
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Re: Bottom Time

are you talking about bottom time / dive time for spearfishing? you'll probably need to tweak some methods taught in free dive classes for spearfishing. the main obvious difference is that for spearfishing, you're not pushing your max depth or bottom time. you want to be able to do the dive (with certain time/depth) for hours or all day.

it's like learning to sprint as a sport, then now you want to run a 30 mile trail. If you're just starting out, make sure you go slow- for progressing in both depth and breath hold/dive time. I'd say after you re-surface, you should still have at last 15-20 seconds of breath hold in you before it really starts to hurt (where you can still keep holding your breath). but your dive time will also change depending on ocean temp/wetsuit thickness or buoyancy+weights.

for example, if I'm doing 1:15 minute dives in norcal at around 45 ft, I resurface and I can hold my breath for another 30 seconds at least. and I can do that all day or until I get cold and have my first shivers. but if I'm diving in Baja, I can do 2:00 dives with 30 second additional after I resurface, all day.

I don't actually hold my breath for 30 seconds now, but I have done this when I was just starting out and couldn't accurately assess how much more I could hold. so you can do this test also when you're diving, but another thing that'd help you assess is practicing breath holds on land (lying down). it really helps to get to know the subtleties of your breathing and the urge to breathe- how that develops and intensifies, and how much longer you can still hold comfortably, and then how much more uncomfortably.

so when you're at the bottom, with a slight sensation of urge to breathe, you know how much longer you have left. hopefully you take into account how deep you are. I usually try to get super comfortable in a certain range of depth (for example 50-60ft for dozens of dive days) while improving my bottom time (ex. from 1:00 to 1:20)-with breath hold tables and cardio. and if I go deeper than 60ft, it's done intentionally and I cut back on dive time to 1:00 and slowly improve on it.

this is just the way I do it- but definitely go slow, don't come even close to maxing out, don't ever be out of breath, and practice breath hold on land (mostly with tables but trying to max out at times) so that you're familiar with your breathing/breath holds.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:45 AM   #3
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Re: Bottom Time

Do not hold your breath after you surface. This is very dangerous. Your class taught you hook breathing when you surface. Practice tables on land. If you want to push it in the water to explore limits, only do it with a freediving instructor.
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:12 PM   #4
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Re: Bottom Time

the point is to differentiate what you do in sport freediving and spearfishing, where in spearfishing you are doing the opposite of pushing your max. everything should be easy, chill, with plenty of time breath hold left after resurfacing. and same with depth. and yes, holding your breath after resurfacing isn't something you generally want to do, but if you have no idea how to find your dive time for spearfishing, just know that after resurfacing you have a good chunk of comfortable breath hold left (I like 30 seconds for myself)- and you can find out how many seconds you have left through breath tables dry or just a singular instance with a buddy in the ocean- you don't need to/shouldn't keep doing it, once should be enough and you're basically never going past the sensation of urge to breathe.

I've found that a lot of things I learned through pfi and freedivers.net weren't conducive to spearfishing in cold norcal. obviously, no packing, and even purging to the degree I've been shown and demonstrated successfully during class. during the class, few guys had sambas- one right next to me in the pool. when I don't purge, I have a better sense of how much breath hold I have left- which for me, seems safer, especially since I'm not trying to push to the max while spearfishing. it cuts my max breath hold to about half, but I never feel compromised. I also found hook breaths extremely helpful maintaining lucidity after my max dives during classes, but unnecessary when I'm spearfishing at less than 1/3 of my depth capacity and 25% of my breath hold capacity. this is not advice, but observation of my own personal experiences.

but ok, I take back my advice and agree with dctrjayyy- especially since you're someone who's struggling to find dive time for spearfishing, don't actually hold your breath after surfacing. just "know" you can- via dry breath holds lying down in your bed.
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