Freediver explains how they use ‘mind over matter’ to hold breath for staggering time
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A freediver has taken to social media to discuss how they tackle exploring the depths of the ocean without breathing apparatus.
Freediving is the practice of holding your breath and diving deep down into a body of water.
Famous freedivers such as Herbert Nitsch and Mirela Kardasevic are known to descend hundreds of metres below surface level and hold their breath for multiple minutes.
As of March 2021, Croatian freediver Budimir Sobat holds the record for the longest time breath held underwater (male).
While underwater in Sisak, Croatia, the 56-year-old managed to stay in the deep blue for a staggering 24 minutes and 37.36 seconds.
According to Apnealogy, there are currently 50,000 competitive freedivers worldwide, but many more are expected to take part in recreational diving.
While the occasionally tragic consequences of freediving have been making headlines recently thanks to critically acclaimed Netflix documentary The Deepest Breath, many are still passionate about the sport and have explained how they pull off incredible physical feats.
One of these freedivers-for-fun has recently taken to social media to discuss why they believe holding your breath for long periods of time is simply ‘mind over matter’.
Brightening up a Reddit thread that was discussing diving horror stories, an experienced diver shared their advice.
They wrote: “That’s the moment when you start to panic - and that’s the skill in freediving, getting to 160ft and your brain is on the edge of panic.
“But you just relax and say ‘I’ll be fine’ - the majority of freediving is mind over matter.”
Elsewhere in the post, they continued to say that their former instructor believed that, with the right mentality, they could eventually dive up to 200ft.
“I may try it one day,” they said.
Elsewhere in the thread, the same user discussed how they think fellow freedivers can best conserve their energy and maintain their air intake.
They wrote: “When you’re freediving you come up slowly more to conserve energy and air.
“You haven’t breathed compressed air so you haven’t taken on much nitrogen (repetitive deep freedivers can get bent but it’s rare).”
They then warned that by coming up from the water too fast, you must be aware that a high surface pressure gradient may be present.
“If you don’t have enough (sic) oxygen in your bloodstream when you come up sometimes your alveoli can rob O2 out of your bloodstream to keep the right lung balance, and make you pass out.”
To conclude, they also reminded freedivers that upon finding a passed out person while spending time in the deep blue, you should ‘blow on people’s lips and faces to bring them round’.
For this reason, he warned that you should never freedive alone, recalling: "I was in Menorca, down at 20m taking photos of an octopus, alone. I was probably down for 2 minutes or so and maybe overstayed my welcome."
After getting into trouble, panicking and passing out while ascending to the surface, he said he's lucky to be alive.
He concluded: "I had passed out at 6m - the wind had resuscitated me when I got to the surface.
"If it hadn’t been windy, I would most likely have been dead, as the wind told my lips and the receptors that I was above the surface."