From one extreme sport to the next, Ocean Minded Ambassador, Chuck Patterson is always pushing the limits. This past summer he took his “sky’s the limit” mentality under the deep blue sea, and shared this insane diving experience below.
by Chuck Patterson
I just finished 4 days free diving with Performance Freedive International (PFI) on Kona, Hawaii and wanted to share this insane experience with you all. I took the course to get a better understanding about the physics, safety and risk management involved in diving and pushing my own limits passed the depth I have always desired to explore.
On the first day, Kirk Krack & Shell of PFI ran an incredible educational course with several hours of classroom discussions and videos about the science and physics of breath holding, depth diving technique, breathing exercises, blackout scenarios, overall safety and rescue diving. Then we hit the pool to refine our breathing and free dive entry technique, as well as our static breath holding, which I surprised myself by holding my static breath for 5:37!
Afterwards on day 2, we finally hit the ocean and worked off of a floating frame made up of carbon poles, floats, pulleys and a couple sets of 40-meter lines with plates that dropped to the ocean floor. From here we practiced our breathing technique and Kirk gave us several different depths to work up to. Some of these exercises were very intense! We had to pull down and up with our hands without kicking our fins and we did several dives where we worked on entree, head positioning, body posture and proper kicking technique. By the end of the third day, several of us were able to pull down and up, and kicked and glided to 100 feet below the surface. On the final day, we refined our diving technique so we could ‘own’ every depth and several of us even pushed it to the max line length and conquered 132 feet!
I will never forget the pressure at that depth, pushing my mask so hard against my face to where I thought my eyeballs were going hit the glass in my mask. It was crazy! When I was dolphin kicking my way back up to the surface, I felt like I just summited Mount Everest. It was so awesome! This was a game changer; an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget and you can count that I will be back again soon to explore what lurks beyond 132 feet below.
Thanks to Michi (my dive partner) for getting me addicted to free diving and to PFI for pushing me below and beyond… Much aloha.