02 Jul Freediving in Bali: surfing under the ocean
Freediving in Bali is definitely on the list of the most popular entertainments in Bali, but for us free diving is, first of all, another way to improve yourself in surfing. Freediving is snorkeling without using any equipment, it’s the whole art of diving as deep as possible, counting on capacity of your own lungs. This is one of the most useful sports for surfers, and it’s not just because of duck dives, but some other things on top. What are these things you will find out in our article.
Why you should to try freediving in Bali at least once?
Just for a note: there are several types of freediving, but there is always the most important thing in common – using the possibilities of your own lungs. It’s all that matters. All lessons of freediving in Bali start with practice in a swimming pool. During your first practices you do not randomly dive in different directions and while descend under the water you hold a rope. Let’s talk about freediving from surfers point of view.
- The ability to hold your breath is one of the main aspects in surfing, which is also important for your safety during surfing big waves or when swell is huge. We are not interested in the particular depth of freediving, but duration of it, because it is a great test for our lungs. All professional surfers who ride big waves should be also ready for good wipe-outs after all, because the bigger a wave is the longer is your wipe-out. When you’re getting caught in the washing mashing with “spin” mode on and the second hand is ready to go to a round number two, panic and disorientation can begin and get you really hard.
- Freediving in Bali teaches surfers not to panic and breath properly. Do not panic in this case means do not open your mouth (first of all) and do not make unnecessary moves while trying to get out. Thus, these rare but accurate wipe-outs won’t stall you. If you want to surf big waves maybe you should think about moving under the water – so you will spend less time achieving your goal.
- Freediving is a challenge to yourself. Why? Imagine beautiful coral reefs, colorful exotic fish, glare of the sun … and now it’s slowly disappearing, water becomes colder, and you go down into the deep ocean without any equipment. Does it sound scary now? Probably, but in real life there is nothing to be scared about. Anyway, human’s brain is arranged in the way that everything described above will cause rapture and interest only of a very modest audience.
- Freediving in Bali increases stress resistance. Scientifically proven that the less your body and mind are strained, the less oxygen you consume. All the stress that you are actually going to have during this experience, including dealing with the fact that there, under water, you have to control yourself will remain in the past.
- Surfing and freediving in Bali have much in common: it’s unity with nature, a search for your inner self and an ability to live in the present, enjoying “here and now”. The only one difference is that in one case it is meditation on the water, in another – under. Both of these exercises help to discover our real abilities on the physical and mental levels and quit inner noises in our heads, which distract us from reality and bind the body and mind. If you had this experience you know, if you didn’t – think about it.
By the way, the legendary big wave surfer Jerry Lopez always forbids speaking in line-up, explaining this by the fact that surfing big waves requires a full immersion in the moment and concentration on what lies ahead of you.
Working on yourself: before freediving
The duration of holding your breath depends on a number of factors such as age, sex, physical activity, nutrition, lifestyle, environment and so on. The average of it is different for everyone. You can improve initially weak lungs capacity, and vice versa just spoil what is given by nature. Let’s start in order.
- Before freediving avoid alcohol and smoking (of course, better to exclude it forever). ENT doctors have come to the conclusion that these 2 products clock the channel connecting the pharynx with the middle ear (Eustachian tubes). You would feel something like muted sounds, crackling in the ears and acute pain. Being under the water, where the atmospheric pressure increases every 10 meters, with these symptoms is a huge risk to your health.
- Use 4-7-8 breathing exercise, it is a kind of warm-up for lungs, that is also calming the nerves. First, make a deep exhalation through the mouth, freeing lungs. Then take a deep breath through your nose counting to 4 and hold your breath (count to 7). After that just release lungs through the mouth (counting to 8) and repeat the exercise 3-4 more times.
What is the principle it is based on: a deep exhalation contributes to release a body from carbon dioxide and relaxes muscles, a deep breath feels all parts of lungs with oxygen and soothes our body as well. And finally, holding your breath helps to slow down heart rhythm. Concentration on breath in general helps to quit your busy mind and concentrate on important things.
- Don’t focus on breathing too much and let yourself to relax. Find your “happy moment” and imagine its each and every detail, live it in while holding your breath during training. It can be memories from childhood or any other moments from the past, it can be your dreams or planned goals. For example, Dave Wassel, the big wave surfer, in one of his interviews said that he imagines how he is teaching his son an alphabet and don’t allow him self to come up from underwater until they reach the last letter. Being in stress your body consumes 67% of oxygen! So let yourself be happy – and save your oxygen!
Summarizing all of above, free diving is not only physical, but also mental preparation for surfing for sure. Expanding your limits, you free mind. It is not necessary to have daily access to the ocean or sea, do some exercise for your lungs every day and you will feel the result very soon!