Freediving
- Always dive with a buddy!

Freediving has existed for almost as long as the human beings. In the early years people were freediving for food. More recently freediving has become competitive sport, with a lot of different disciplines.

Freediving is a very mental demanding sport. It’s primarily about finding the inner peace, get control over the mind and thoughts, and getting to know your own body.  

 

Equipment
Freediving is a sport that can be done completely without any equipment. Anyway there is a lot of equipment that can be bought some more relevant than others.

Goggles/mask
It is often a good idea to use a pair of goggles or a mask, depending on what is feels more comfortable.

Fins
There are many different kinds of fins. The most used at the moment in competitive freediving is the monofin, which can be seen on the picture above. A monofin is very efficient, but requires a lot of technique.

Neck weight
A neck weight is a weight that is used to neutralize the buoyancy from the lungs. It’s place on the neck to be as close as possible to the lungs, which gives the best body position in the water.

Wetsuit
In freediving a thin wetsuit is an advantage, because it minimizes the buoyancy differences doing the dive. To make sure to stay warm it is good idea to get a tailor made suit. These suits are made by a very flexible neoprene.


Safety
In freediving safety is always first priority. It’s absolutely not a dangers sport, as long as a few simple safety processions are followed. First of all “always dive with a body!” therefore I recommend joining a club or taking a course.

 

Photo: Morten Bjørn Larsen


“Try to use your mind more and not your muscles”
Jaques Mayol

 

Physiology
How is it possible to hold your breath that long? Well there are a lot of different things at play, one of the tings being the mammalian diving reflex, which we humans share with marine mammalians.

The diving reflex is one of the humans’ natural defense mechanisms against drowning. If you hold your breath, after a little while you will start to feel your diaphragm making contractions. This is a sign that the dive reflex is activated. The body lovers the heart rate to consume oxygen. The blood vessels in the muscles contracts which lowers the oxygen consumption, and concentrates the oxygen around the heart, lungs, and brain where it is needed the most.

If you are swimming or moving while holding your breath, the muscles will start to work anaerobic (without the use of oxygen), which can be felt as lactic acid.

The diving reflex is being triggered by primarily a high CO2 concentration and not so much a low oxygen concentration. And therefore it’s not a sign that you are running out of oxygen.

The diving reflex can be uncomfortable because it’s usually connected with contractions in the diaphragm. This is the body trying to blow out air, so you again can take a deep breath. This is where you have to stay calm and relaxed.

A lot of people believe incorrectly that you can hold your breath longer if you hyperventilate. But what happens is that you remove a lot of CO2 from the blood. And therefore the diving reflex will begin later, and that means it takes longer for the body to lower the oxygen consumption. A lot of the body’s signals are due to a high CO2 concentration, and by hyperventilation these signals will show up later than usual. And you therefore might think that you can hold your breath longer than you actually can. That’s why it’s dangers to hyperventilate!


"Freediving is about silence... the silence that comes from within..."
Jacques mayol


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