Tip: try pushing your hips as high as possible at the beginning of the duckdive.
Breaking the extra buoyancy of wetsuit and full lungs is never easy. Definitely the first few meters of a dive is the most challenging for many divers. However, a proper duck dive can push you down to 6-7m depth without any fin stroke! Sounds like a dream right? The idea behind duckdiving is all about changing the weight balance of body. Have you ever seen a video clip of a duck diving? If not please search it. They raise their centre of gravity as much as they could and let the body weight push them in the water. It is just the same for us. During duck dives the key is to raise the bottom part of the body and position the legs in a perfect vertical stance. As soon as your weight pushes you down, a strong pull with your hands will help you to hit at least 5m mark.
The better the core techniques of a diver, the higher his performance will be. The better our fining technique, the less oxygen we will consume and the faster we will be in the water. Proper fining should be with minimal knee bent. Strokes should come from hips and the minimal bent on the knees should apply a whipping effect to push the water away from our fins. Applying the correct technique is usually difficult at the beginning but once the muscles start getting stronger you will start feeling the real difference. For training exercises you should check the DVD of DWW issue no:9.
Tip: Softer fins will let you adapt the correct technique much faster.
Without equalisation there will not be a dive; full stop. Preventing the equalisation problems is the most important thing that you can do in a dive. Regardless the technique you are using during the dives, equalising frequently and gently is the key to have a problem free dive. Unlike the common belief, “equalising often” does not make you lose more air than “equalising rare”! The same amount of air is needed in the middle ear to have the same effect. The downside of rare equalisation is the sudden pressure change and possible trauma on the middle ear and tympanic membrane.
Cutting the water by creating minimal drag is the key for faster descents and ascends. In order to do that proper body position is essential. One of the most common mistakes that is seen on spearfisherman is the head position during descends. As a hunting instinct, spearos regularly watch the sea bed for potential targets. Starting from the duck dive, they tilt their head backwards and the degree of tilt increases as they come close to the bottom. Tilted head not only puts a lot of water drag hence slows down the diver but also makes relaxation much more difficult. At the beginning of the dive, it is just the contracted neck muscles that create disturbance but later on descend as the fishermen tries to get a better view and increases the angle of his head, lower back and abdomens will also get stiff. The result of this chain reaction affects the flexibility of our diaphragm which makes equalisation very hard at great depth, if not impossible. The ideal head position during freediving can be described as a very relaxed neck with a tucked in chin.
Tip: Having this position during spearfishing usually does not help the spearo to observe the sea bed but it is still possible to use it with a little tweak. Diving with a bit of angle (thus creating an angle of view to see the bottom) and making quick glimpses towards bottom will let you see your preys during descends.
Relaxation and catching the inner peace
Ask any freediver about the secrets of a bigger breath hold and most will tell you the same thing. Relaxation, relaxation, relaxation. Relaxation starts from the mind. When the mind is in peace and in a phase of meditation, muscles relax more. Relaxation not only saves more oxygen but also lets you focus more on your technique and on your game plan. Visualisation before the dive lets you relax more during dive phase. Listening to your body and figuring out the part that is most tense is the key in this phase. Once you maintain full relaxation, the comfort of your dives will progress dramatically.
Tip: Try closing your eyes at deep dives for the first half of descends. Closing the eyes usually lets you stay with the visualised image of the dive and keeps you in a stable psychology.
Undoubtedly the future of spearfishing will involve more and more freediving by each year. Your skills in freediving will always be crucial for the safety of spearfishing. Mastering the secrets of basic freediving techniques will definitely give you the edge when you are trying to catch the trophy of your lifetime. Basic freediving courses and training with professionals will help you to establish strong fundamentals that you can always rely on. Of course being an excellent freediver does not necessarily mean to be a good spearfisherman but don’t you think better skills help you to be a better spearfisherman?