Apnea training with Hawaii Eco Divers
One thing you as a surfer or water sports enthusiast should invest in this year is an apnea (breathhold) training course. I just did one. And, its probably the smartest thing I did so far this year! I went in super stressed and worried, and came out tired but happy, and and inch taller I think!
First of all, what is apnea anyways? Ever heard of it? Well, its basically defined as “holding your breath” or “suspension of breath”. So, you can either decide to hold your breath willingly, or something is hindering your breathing. Either way, how long you can cope without breathing is obviously crucial to your survival.
…If it was just a question of breathing or not breathing it would be easy, since everyone knows how to breath. Its the most basic instinct we have. So why take a course?
Well, its a lot more to breathing than just inhaling and exhaling. In order to be able to hold your breath for minutes at a time, maybe while getting pounded by the ocean, you need to know how to maximise the use of your lunges capacity.
You also need to maximise your bodys ability to cope with high levels of CO2 building up.
And last but not least, you need to learn how to maintain calm and take control of your body with your mind. Especially when your body starts asking for you to breathe. And this part my friends, is the hardest part. Trust me.. This is where all the work really starts. By the end of the course I cried like a baby. However, I also managed to hold my breath for WAY WAY longer than I ever thought possible. All this in just 2 days.
The course covered all the aspects of apnea that you need to now in order to train this safely. The most important rule however, is to NEVER TRAIN APNEA ALONE! So please be safe and take a course. Here are the main aspects of the course:
- Physiology of Apnea
- Proper breathing exercises to improve ventilation and strengthening of the lungs
- Static, Dynamic and Stressed Apnea
- Risks and dangers of training apnea
- Surviving a massive wipe out
- Risk management and emergency action plan
- Surfing Rescue skills
- CPR and rescue breath
This pic is from the static apnea training. We learned about breathing techniques and rythms, how to maximise O2 use and elimination of CO2.
We also learned about how to prepare the body for this training.
You can do that through stretching and yoga techniques combined with specific breathing exercises. This part was maybe my favorite. At least its peaceful 😀 And you get the chance to really listen to your body and try to control it with your mind. I listened to my heart beat slowing down and imagined I could fly. So I flew up into the air and travelled all over the island 😀 Next thing I knew, I had held my breath for 4 min 32 sec.
Here is a fun little teaser I made with some clips from the course. The clips are made by the amazing water photographer / videographer Thiago Okazuka and he was so nice to provide some for me. Long story short; the course is most definately worth the cost. If you ever have the chance to go please do so. And if its with Hawaii Eco Divers, they offer you a lifelong possibility to repeat the course! You pay once, and after you are welcome to join again, and again, and again 😀 EPIC! OK guys, stay safe! Enjoy the surf.
If I can do it,then for sure you can do it to! But go through the proper training first. The course has definately made me more secure about my capabilities both in and out of the surf. And hopefully, it will help me and my friends stay safe in the ocean while doing what we love to do (play in the waves).
Dont get me wrong; I did not come out of the class as a “Big wave rider”.. Hell no.. Rather the opposite. I came out thinking “big wave riders are officially INSANE”.. However; I have modified it now. I realise they take calculated risks veeery very close to their limits, and on a regular basis.. But emphasis on CALCULATED.. They know A LOT more about the ocean and ocean safety than the average surfer. So dont be fooled to think you re ready for big waves just because you took a breath hold class. But it sure as h### will help you improve your confidence out there.
This course might come to Portugal soon, so if you are interested, please let me know and I will see if I can convince the coach Ricardo Taveira to come help us out!