Lubomir Stefanoff | freediving and UW photography

Archive for July, 2009

Plans for the summer

by on Jul.29, 2009, under Freediving

This week I’ll go freediving…in the pool. Again, second weekend in a row. I really need to go to the sea, but that will happen in two weeks maybe. I just have lots of work to do (that’s why I don’t have the time to blog). I plan 2-3 weekend freediving trips in August and hopefully I’ll get 10 days off in the end of September/beginning of October for visiting some great Greek islands.
Freediving in mountain lakesMeanwhile I’ll continue working on my idea to dive in mountain lakes above 2000 m. I need to receive a special permission, plan a weekend with at least two fellow freedivers and go there and dive. I have some experience with mountain lakes – it’s a bit cold, but a 7 mm wetsuit and thick gloves will do. It’s a ‘cool’ experience – one is beneath some great peaks and at the same time it’s a great place for freediving. Well, there aren’t many underwater inhabitants, but still the view from the surface is magnificent and worth carrying the equipment. I plan to do deeper dives and hopefully my ears won’t complain about depth and water temperature. Anyone tried Docs Pro plugs? I might order a pair of them from the UK.
Before going to the deep lakes I want to get comfortable with 35-40 m constant weight dives, maybe a new pb (40+ mtrs) will boost my confidence. I’ve resumed some good stretching exercises that are said to help the body cope better with depth.
Well, I’m late – I have to do some dry static exercises now…I’m experimenting with more intense ‘workouts’ that are short and…not boring at all.

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Training sessions in Thassos

by on Jul.22, 2009, under Freediving

We spent last weekend freediving in Thassos (well, we traveled more than we dived but that’s another story).
This time I focused on the free fall phase and concentration during the dives. I was doing easy 25-30 meters dives and did not attempt to go deeper.
Regarding the freefall – I worked on staying streamlined and relaxed. I still turn a bit sideways, but no so often as before. It’s interesting when I focus on this issue time flies really fast and I reach the targeted depth easily…which points out the importance of being calm and concentrated. I’ve noticed that I am able to do good dives despite not being in great form – and the reason is that I am focused and all other thoughts are either left behind or just disappear after a few deep breaths. So far mental exercises weren’t among my training priorities, but now that I’ve really realized their importance I’ll start doing them on a regular basis (as physical training).
On Sunday I tried diving with my new Paradisia nose clip. Freediving without a mask is a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, but one gets quickly used to it. And I would gladly trade the good vision (with mask) for the opportunity to equalize hands free while using the monofin. It’s ok if you are using a rope…I have to remember that on ascents I’ll have to suck back the expanding air – I can feel it trying to escape through the nose and it’s annoying (I thought that I always do that, but maybe I hadn’t noticed the air escaping from my mask on ascent?). Anyway, I need to use the noseclip more often and try deeper dives (35+meters) when I feel completely comfortable with it. Theoretically, with both arms extended past my head, the better contact with water on my face, and the lack of mask to equalize I could dive deeper…I’ll test that assumption in the next few months.

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Thoughts on static apnea

by on Jul.10, 2009, under Training

Static apneaRecently I’ve been thinking more about how I do static apnea. If I have to choose what kind of freediving I’ll do in a certain day I would definitely say that it wold be constant weight with monofin. That’s what I really like, it’s practiced in the sea, I enjoy the pressure on my body when I go deeper and I can relax and concentrate; and furthermore, there is always something to see from the marine life.  It’s different with static apnea – especially when it’s done on land. There is no physical effort, one just tries to relax and play with the mind. Sometimes I do easily good static apneas – when I’m concentrated and enjoy the holds. But sometimes I get bored quickly, I cannot concentrate at all, let alone decide to stand some good contractions. I know that it’s important to do decent breath holds and I have to work on relaxation and concentration. I’ve tried different techniques. During the first 1-1:30′ of the hold I check and relax my muscles; then I start visualizing in great detail some pleasurable moments from the past – thus occupying my mind and ‘forgetting’ that I am holding my breath. I’ve also tried visualizing a scene from nature and it works great.When the contractions begin I’m still able to visualize another reality, but for a short time. Then it becomes harder and even though I know I can still hold my breath safely, I’m tempted to quit early. I’ve tried doing some series of pressing my fingers with the thumb, and it ‘steals’ time. Some days it works – but last week I couldn’t concentrate and my mind was everywhere…which led to quite short apneas. I tried longer ones – and did some – but it was not fun at all – I struggled and forced myself to do them. I wonder if good static times are achieved with determination or more likely with a relaxed mind…or both.
Usually I set some goals for my training sessions, but sometimes when you have a bad day it’s better to switch to other exercises and focus on heaving fun or have some rest. Thus even when I haven’t reached the goals I would be satisfied. Of course the line between ‘a bad day’ and ‘not motivated to train’ is thin, and I’d rather have more successful sessions. I train and freedive for fun, after all.
Today I went to the pool and everything worked fine, no hard times in getting in the mood for some breath holds. Now I’m trying to figure out my own routine that will always work – that’s why I’ll write down some observations and test them in the future.

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