Monday, September 30, 2013

Ultradeep constant weight spearfishing progress

Recently I have crossed paths with Trevor Hutton a good few times. We have spent a few good days at sea both learning from each other. Our mission being deep spearfishing on constant weight.  Back in 2009 Trevor and I spoke about spearing a fish deeper than 50 m. Then my goal was to do it on variable weight, i.e. extra disposable weights taking down to reduce the energy expenditure on the initial descent and reduce the descent time as well – the return to surface is also easier and assisted by the positive buoyancy of the wetsuit. Things were hectic back then for me and arrival of Griffin (my now 4 year old son) work etc. had me too distracted to follow up with sufficient focus.
Trevor was adamant it should be done constant weight(CWT) and I disagreed, but greatly respected the purist in him, and of course his capability. Later he went on to get the bankie in 60 m, cwt, in Durban on Number One reef.
As I often do when seeing something that fluffs out my tail feathers, I asked: “How can I do that?” and considering my then ability I left the topic labeled as “unobtanium”.
I had picked up some good tips on our freedive for spearfishing course swap that we did in 2009. I gradually worked these into my training and kept at it, quite often enthusiastically overtraining and getting sick. Gradually I swung around to less but more effective training and learning to know my body and how much I can subject it to.
Last year Trevor and I spoke about a mission he is on and I was challenged to up my performance. I also acquired his old monofin (a Chenbin swimfin) and embarked of my monofinning hobby. This added focus required that I drop serious spearfishing because I could not do it all and train my boy Zephyr (9 years old) to spearfish too.
Four recent dive outings with Trevor at sea finally saw me do my first -50 m spearfishing dive to 51 m (168 feet) constant weight using my Breier bifins. Finally we had a good day with 18 deg water, moderate swell and wind and little current. We anchored on Lucia reef 50-57 m. Background music was rolling – humpbacks singing and bellowing sufficiently to vibrate in my chest. Surface viz was about 10 m dropping to about 8 and then 5 m lower down. Trevor did the first dive reporting good viz down to 54 m.
I did a warm-up procedure which I adapted from Trevor’s one. I did not pack but just took a full breath and departed.  It was a long slow descent of about a minute and ten seconds,  17 deg  C on the bottom and a clearer 6-8m viz, all this to the tune of the bellowing and singing humpbacks. Though there were no fish worth spearing during my ~5 sec visit on the bottom. The ascent was 45 seconds dive, totaling 2:01 for the whole dive. It was a good comfortable dive that I did with ease despite swimming skew up the angled safety guide rope. In a new activity like this we must have good safety, for now I follow a rope for a number of reasons including: 1. a back-up for leg cramps(here I would pull up by hand if my leg/legs were not functional), 2. for direction guidance especially at 5 bar pressure where narcosis becomes a possibility, and 3. for the safety diver to know where to meet me - AN ABSOLUTE MUST for now. On completion of the dive I also run through the freedive surface protocol too. If I fail this protocol I will consider the dive a failure as I must be fresh and alert to ensure reduced risk. Such a failure will require attention to one or more aspects of the dive.

I must thank Trevor for my improved skill, I now find myself  laughing off 40 m CWT spearfishing dives and being confidently enthusiastic to attempt 50+CWT spearfishing. A nice expansion of my comfort zone. Perhaps most important is the seed he sowed in my mind back in 2009 was to do this CWT rather than variable. My insistence was to do it in Cape waters where dive conditions are a bit harder that up north. Let’s  see what the future holds and how I pass skills on to my son Zephyr who I know one day can far exceed what I do to now…
The awesome thing about my present mode of training is that it is just what I want – less is more – I do very little hard training – far less than before – I has truly dawned on me that I severely overtrained and that there are huge technical improvements to be had that far outweigh extra hours of running, tables, or pool training.

So, I have been trained: to train, and to rest right, and freedive a lot better (deeper and safer) but by no means will I stop here – I feel there is more in the engine room and will explore that plus I still need to get that fish, but that I now know is just a question of time.

Thanks Trevor you have greatly aided my ultradeep spearfishing. My weakest links are identified and being addressed. As I write this my chest has a slight soreness from last nights set of ribcage flexibility stretching exercises I did to enhance equalization.

Trevor is at present..., how should I put this,  He's undertaking a big challenge. Best of luck [Skill] to you  Trev.
 More to follow in the next few weeks...

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