Holding your breath for an extended time period is something we often think is reserved for big wave surfing. In the conditions most of us Scandinavian surfers find ourselves in, serious focus on breath hold techniques is somewhat unnecessary. However, if you’re like me, and panic quickly sets in during hold downs in head-and-a-half-plus surf, these techniques might make you a little more confident. And furthermore make your surfs on the bigger days a hell of a lot more comfortable. A few weeks back i attended Augusto Vegas’ Breath Hold Course. The course was a total of 6hrs, with 3hr dry training in surfsnosk8’s shop in Munkedamsveien followed by 3hr of pool exercises in Frognerbadet.
The objective of the breath hold course is not to magically become an expert freediver in the two day duration of the course, but to give you the necessary tools to start training by yourselves and/or with your friends.
Augusto Vegas was borned and raised in the water in Peru, not far away from ASP big-wave tour spot Pico Alto. In fact this wave is also where he started his big wave surfing at age 18. Before the age of 16 he was a body boarder, but watching all the surfers at Pico Alto on proper surfboard he realized that «If I want to ride such waves, I better be on a Surfboard».
Back in 2007 he started instructing freediving after a trip to Thailand turned him on to it. For the last 10 years he’s been treveling the world making a living as a tour guide, freediving instruction (Apnea Total & SSI systems) and as a «Natural Health & Skills Coach (www.wildfitness.com).
Surfnorge hit Augusto up with a few questions(watch videoclip in the bottom of the page):
Top 3 tips for improving mentality if easily panicking in a wipeout situation?
– Firstly, I would work on practising proper relaxation and awareness exercises, breathing and meditation practise are great ways to acheive this. Then I would start a simple and easy to follow program that exposes me to similar sensations as the ones I could experience during a «real life» challenge (caught by a big set, hardcore wipeout, etc). Its important to follow the program long enough and mindfully to start picking up the knowledge and gaining deeper understanding of what you are ging through.Little by little, start using this knowledge on your day to day surf session. When duck diving, or wiping out.Take baby steps. The ocean is a beautiful, but also very powerfull playground. Progress with humbleness and don´t expose yourself to too much too fast.
Would practising freediving be beneficial in the more stressed situation we encounter as surfers?
– Absolutely. Eventhough, they are very different sports: one is over and the other under the surface. At the end of the day we are all humans wanting to enjoy the ocean.
With Survival Apnea we´ve taking freedivers knowledge, but applied it with the thought of more intense and unplanned situations.
Top exercise on land that you would give away for our readers?
– I am a big fan of body weight exercises and olympic rings, as a way to strengthen joins and muscles with the intension of reducing chances of injury.
Then to develop an overall strong mind and body, in my opinion few things could bit short and sharp sprint sessions or kettlebell swings.At the same time, breathing exercises, meditation and dry breath holds are simple practises that allow us to work on the mental side of things.
Top exercise in water?
– High heart rate «dynamic no fins» with short intervals in between. However, before starting such exercise, I would work for a while on the exercises taught in the course. They will help raise the skill and understanding, before jumping into intense training too fast.
Lastly, will you come back and set up additional courser for norwegians not lucky enough to attend your previous classes?
– Its on the list 😉 I´ll keep you guys posted!
Video from one of Marianna and Augusto’s breath hold course(filming by: Marianna Krupnitskaya and Augusto Vegas):