Thursday, April 2, 2009


So there you have it, I did an 8 minute static in competition for the first time last sunday. For me it did not totally come as a surprise because I did my first one in training about 6 months ago. But recent training did not go according to plan during the last few weeks before the competition. For this reason I took a week of from pool sessions. I did a little dry CO2 and O2 training but not much.

I was standing on the shoulders of giants because of all the tips and help I got from people around me and on the internet. Even so, for me personally this is a milestone I am very happy with. So I would like to put some more info on this blog that might be useful for other freedivers.

Some people asked what my preperation was and how the static went, so I will write about that here.

good night sleep
9:00: breakfast - two bananas and one bowl of yoghurt with honey
10:00: 2.5h car ride to Belgium, was drinking lots, mostly tea and water.
13:00: settled in the pool, relaxed a bit, chatting with fellow freedivers
13:30: be safety for Erik
13:45: be safety for Daan
14:00: kept drinking spa/water
14:09: start pack stretches
14:19: put my suit with 4kg weights on
14:24: deep breathing about 4 breaths per minute by the side of the pool
14:34: enter water (27C) empty lung (RV) static ~1:30
14:38: another empty lung static ~1:45 (about 50% of max)
14:40: 2x30s statics to find good amount of packs (tried 15 and 19 packs)
14:42: go to competition zone, normal breathing
14:43: 6 deep breaths during one minute (yes I know: hyperventilating)
14:44: tidal breathing, put noseclip on (no mask for me)
14:45: Official top (exhales, inhale, exhale, inhale, pack 15x)

Room for improvement here would be threefold.

1. stop hyperventilating for OT-2 till OT-1
2. don't do the empty static warmups anymore
3. one less exhale before OT

The static went pretty much as usual except that because of the lack of food in my system contractions came a little late at 3:45. My focus, determination and intend were better than in training. The first 30-60 seconds I was forcing myself to not influence my muscles. Trying to relax and see what my body would do, not identifying myself with either my body nor my thoughts. Usually I try to wait for thoughts and emotions to come, when they come mark them as 'thinking' without judgement and wait for the next event. The 'problem' I found with that is that at some point the words thinking, thinking, thinking quickly after each other start becoming heavy, like a hammer on a nail. This adds another layer. I then have to notice my noticing thoughts and let that pass. Maybe this is where true mindfulness starts but lately I found it works better to use some self-hypnoses instead of just the word 'thinking'. So what I did is tell myself in a way similar to talking to a little kid (I don't know the english term for it so that's why I describe it). I say (in dutch) "think slowly... slowly... and quiet...' Of course I say this slowly, firmly, matter-of-factish and as much as possible without stress. After doing this many times I arrived near 7 minutes, at that point deciding to better my n.r. of 7:33 and after that one (15 seconds) tap at a time. 8:01 was just about doable. I've been told that only at 7:30 contractions were visible which I find good because it also means that I was not mentally trying to influence them. At 7:45 I was aware I let out a few little streams of airbubbles. Since I was aware and clear-minded enough I allowed myself to pass 8 minutes.

For the first time in competition I did hook-breathing during recovery and I had the feeling that this did not yet automatically go as good as should be. More max attempts in training are needed for that. So two hook-breaths, two recovery breath, noseclip of, ok-sign, 'I am okay!' and wait for the result. I did not see a white card being shown to me, my safety (Daan, thank you!) told me and he was even happier than I was. My mind was not ready to let the outside world in just yet, that took another 5 minutes. (good times)

A movie of the last part will be on youtube soon.


  1. Cool !!!
    This is truly inspiring
    --Ulf Dex

  2. Thanks for describing the way you think Eric during your static. Very worthy information! I find the disassociated position of thinking very interesting while I'm nomally associated. New training ideas now, thanks!

    See you tonight in training.


  3. Amazing! Respect to you Eric!

  4. cool man !!! very inspirational:)

  5. Great to read about your success Eric, jsut one point? Why are you against using the RV holds before hand? I use these as a warm up and have done for a while. Do you find they are using too much energy?

    Well done again!!

  6. Hi Chris,

    Because any warmup-hold will make the max hold easier. Max holds/dives should be hard because you really want the diving reflex to kick-in as soon as possible.

    When I began using the no-warmup method for my dynamics the dives seemed harder, but now no more. It's just plain stressful considering that I will have to go through 5-6 minutes of contractions when I do what I think is the right way forward.

  7. Congratiolations to you Eric!! I wish I was there but as you know I was in Marocco for a short holiday desert trip (a strange enviroment for a freediver!) I'm glad you did your thing and I believe your journey is not over yet and I hope to be there when you make another magic step forward someday, this is not the end! O and I read your story but you forgot to mention one importing thing you did during your preperation.....spitting in the pool!!!!!hahaha! See you in training,