Kirk in oslofjorden
All pictures taken at the course in Oslo.
UW pictures from swimmingpool or diving in oslofjorden -
quite murky the first 15 meters.
I must confess. The only reason I once took
a scuba certification course was to get the certification
card so that I could fill my bottles. I mean, what is there
to know, you just have to breath through the regulator.
Same thing with freediving do you really have to take an expensive course just to snorkle deep?
Since I have now learnt one or two things
about freediving. I have come to the conclusion that performance
freediving is way more complicated than scuba diving
and potentially more dangerous if you really are exploring
your own limits in depth, time or distance.
A freediving course is a place where you learn things that
will keep you alive and most of all it will help you achieve
Text and photos by:
Sebastian Naslund / Sweden
| In june 2002 I was an observer at Kirk
Kracks freediving clinic in Oslo, Norway (in Scandinavia).
Performance freediving has come a long way
during the last years. What hits me is that techniques that
just some years ago were considered advanced even for
world record holders today is at every mans disposal.
Some eight pupils have gathered in Oslo
for The performance freediving team clinic led
by Kirk Krack, Canada.
- Has any of you had a samba
The room is silent. No one answers. .
|The norwegian freediving community is a cautious
lot. Finally one participant can remeber beeing a bit dizzy
once after a dive. And yes of course the two samba disqualifications
at the last world championships in Ibiza. Tom and Thomas surfacing
somewhat confused after dives around 30.
During the coming days they will learn stuff
that has taken years for the pioneers of freediving to explore
Using simple visual explanations Kirk explains
- It´s like swallowing a golfball.
|Kirk has traveled many parts of the world
with this course. Soon some 20 courses amounting to nearly
Kirks own freediving started with a course with Pipin on Cayman.
Actually the course was more or less run by Pipins associate
at the time; Rudi Castineyra. Kirk teamed up with Tanya Streeter
(resident at Cayman Island in the Carribean sea). She attended
the same course and started training with Kirk. Rudi gave
some support over the phone during the first period. Tanya
who was quite eager soon discovered shallow water blackout
the hard way. (Now she is the world record holder with her
70 meters in constant wight).
If you are looking for your outmost limit
it is not just to gear up, head for the water and hope for
that magical divingreflex to apear after some dives. For
Kirk, a personal best is the result of a long series of
preparation. During the clinic I understand that everything
is presented in such order that the pupils will be totally
prepared for a personal best in constant weight at the last
day of the course.
Admit it thats what we all want.
Constant weight is the king of freediving discipines.
|Everthing is taught in steps added to the
previous one. Kirk teaches the exact breathing pattern before
the dive followed by a practical run through on how
to fill our lungs. Freediving "Kirk style" more
and more resembles a military operation. After counting your
personal number of swallowed golf balls you descent
using an exact number of kick cycles before counting every
equalizing up to the point where you fill your cheeks with
air freefalling down still couning your equalizations. Depth
is measured in equalizations. The grading is in the body
not on the rope.
But preparations for that perfect dive starts
the day before. If your personal best includes a bloodshift
you have to start "drinking heavily" the day before.
(If using the mouthfill technique you will equalize with
the air in your mouth, and let your lungs go passed a squeeze
beyond that theoretical total colapse. Bloodshiftwill
have to occur and it will work better if you are properly
Kirk suggests 3 liters the day before (pending on climate).
But it is a balance to much water can wash out precious
minerals in your body and bloodstream.
|Kirk is a man of details and has both the
practical experince and the scientific knowledge of really
deep dives. This comes from coaching several world records
at present he is coaching Mandy Ray Cruickshank from
the same country, same city and even same apartment, since
they are a couple.
||At times that apartment even hosts Martin
Stepanek, a co-instructor at many of Kirks clinics.
As an example of details explored by Kirk
and his performance team one could mention that milk products
before a dive can inhibite your abity to equalize. .
||And that saturated fats lessens the hemoglobins
ability to carry O2.
When the pupils hit deep water they
have a new methodical approach to their dives. Its nothing
like taking a big gulp of air heading down and hoping for
one of those lucky unexplainable dives.
||I have attended some four freediving clinics
and only Kirk Krack took safety
really seriously. Long drills in the pool actually saving
each other touching each other not just a description
on the overhead. A lot of self rescue precautions were discussed
that can be utilised when approaching surface after that really
Stig Severinsen from Denmark (62 meters
at Ibiza 2001) was there to see if he could polish his technique
and learn one or two things for his own future clinics.
Stig did a brilliant job imitating sambas and blackouts
while beeing rescued, since he was the only really experienced
diver at the course.
There seem to be some factors joining the
best freedivers of the world
they have all had blackouts (some
even see sambas as a trainingtool)
a majority of them also practices lungpacking and most deep
dives today are done by monofins. Since hands in front reduces
drag immensly, most deep dives include that feature. Having
seen Umberto Pelizzari diving to 73 meters with bifins and
hands down, says something about his ability.
One realizes that Kirk has seen a
great many blackouts. One new rescue technique that I hadn´t
come across before the course was the technique to blow
air across the face of the BO victim. The same stimuli is
used to make small babies start breathing when they cease
breathing for short periods.