While we were in Hawaii for the Ironman World Championships, Michael took a few days to do something that drives him: free diving.
He wrote a few words about what he learned. Hope you enjoy!
Freediving, Kona Hawaii
While Turia was embarking on Ironman in Hawaii, I opted to further my knowledge in free diving. I signed up for a Level 1 and Level 2 free diving course, set over four days in the beautiful seaside town of Kailua, Hawaii, where the lava rock meets the sea.
Throughout Level 1, we worked on the body’s physiological responses of adaption to depth. The aim was to reach a depth of 20 metres comfortable. At 20 metres, your lungs decompress to ⅓ of their original size.
I began by breathing up on the surface, three second inhales followed by ten second exhales. This allows the heart to slow, therefore using less oxygen in the bloodstream.
I tumbled over using the least energy possible and slowly used the power of my flippers to kick to 10 metres. Grabbing hold of the guideline rope I sat there until I had the urge to breath then slowly kicked myself back up to the surface.
I repeated this process breathing, tumbling and swimming to 15 metres, urge to breath, return to the surface.
I was able to reach 20 metres without any discomfort and was happy to complete the Level 1 course in a day.
We all have a happy place, somewhere we can visualise in our mind and our body instantly become euphoric and relaxed. To complete the Level 2 course and go beyond 20 meters it’s essential you find your happy place.
Level 2 was run over three days with a maximised depth of 40 metres. I was anxious with this depth. I just had to let all my emotions go and find my happy place. There was a significant amount of information to absorb and execute. Count your fin cycles, equalize constantly, smooth kicking, less thinking/less energy burned, release your mask as it squeezes to your face, arm over head to create a streamline, accept the water pressure surrounding your body, forget about breathing, relax, find your happy place ….
For the next two days I was reaching 30 metres and turning around. I just wasn’t comfortable and my mind was thinking about too many things. I couldn’t find my happy place.
On the last day I kept it simple. I told myself “You can hold your breath for four minutes, it takes two minutes to complete 40 metres, believe in yourself and go to your happy place.”
Rather than kicking down, I took hold of the weight that takes the guideline to the bottom. The instructor Daniel would stop the line as it reached 40 metres. Equalize, take a big breath, drift into my happy place and I would sink to 40 metres without having to think. I was ready.
I tumbled over and completely let go of all the tension in my body and went into my own little world. It felt like only a matter of seconds and the line went tight, I was at 40 metres. I felt total euphoria without any urge to breathe. I finned backed to the surface with a total dive time of just over two minutes.
I love the feeling of being deep under the water in the ocean. My body and mind reach a profound, intense level of meditation and relaxation that gets me so high and stoked to be alive and live life. I know it sounds strange. I wish I could explain the feelings more, or hopefully one day you can try it for yourself.
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