My Freediving Journey part one: Static breath-hold personal record!

I’ve been putting this off for too long, but with all the extra time during COVID19 it seemed only right to actually take the opportunity to learn new skills. In this case – finally learning to freedive.

“Freediving: (n) The sport or activity of diving without the aid of breathing apparatus”

I have spent lots of time doing breath hold duck-dives as part of my job here in the Caribbean as a SCUBA instructor and dive-boat captain; Whether that be checking underwater mooring lines, retrieving dropped items, showing marine life to snorkelers, setting shallow-water anchors, or a multitude of other reasons.

However, getting formally trained to maximise my breath-hold time, and by definition the depths I can swim down to and the time I can physically spend underwater – is something that for one reason or the other I never actually took part in …. until now.

Static breath holding‘ is generally conducted in the pool, you simply lie face down in the water holding your breath for as long as possible while someone monitors you to make sure you don’t pass out and potentially drown! In this case – my girlfriend Candace. (Who, for the record, has also a very respectable personal best of 3 mins, 29 secs!)

Before attempting a new personal best, we spend lots of time doing what’s called O2 and CO2 tables. These are breath-holds of varying lengths with also varying breaks between the holds that train your body to deal with a lack of oxygen and a build-up of CO2 respectively. (Remembering that the strong desire to breath when holding your breath is caused by a build-up of Carbon Dioxide, not a lack of Oxygen.)

Also – before the personal record attempt is made, we conduct mini breath holds which get the body ready and primed for the main event. We have to not only to prepare physically, but mentally too. Being relaxed is a huge contributing factor to how long one can hold their breath for. During the build-up sessions I try to become very aware of my body and release any tension being held in my muscles and try to calm my mind; I have even found factors such as how much coffee I drank that morning, how recently I ate, and my mood, have a massive effect on my overall result.

Follow me on my new mission over the coming weeks as I start delving into the world of diving without tanks!

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