How To Skin-Dive
How To Skin-Dive. Our expert skin diver takes us beneath the waves on just one single breath of air to discover the amazing underwater world. Learn how to hold your breath and swim among the fishes.
Step 1: You will need
- 1 mask
- 1 hood
- 1 wetsuit
- 1 weight belt
- 1 pair of fins
- 1 booties
- 1 snorkel
- 1 inflatable snorkelling vest
Step 2: Prepare and don equipment
It's absolutely essential that your equipment fits comfortably. Why not watch the Videojug guide to snorkelling to learn how to select and wear the right kit.
In addition, you may want to wear a weight belt, because you'll be buoyant when underwater holding a breath.
A weight belt with a quick release buckle can be released and dropped very quickly if you get into trouble in the water
Thread some lead weights onto the belt... And make sure they're secure.
Use lead weights that weigh about 5 per cent of your overall body weight if wearing just swimwear or a thin shortly. If diving in a full-length or thicker wetsuit, use 10 per cent of your weight.
Step 3: Practice the dive
The pike dive is a headfirst surface dive that gets you underwater and heading downwards with the least amount of effort.
Float in the face down position, bend forward at the waist and thrust your head straight down.
At the same time lift your legs above the surface as if you were doing a handstand.
As soon as your fins submerge, start to kick.
Step 4: Hyperventilate
Try hyperventilating to stay underwater longer. It lowers your body's carbon dioxide levels and tells your system to resist the urge to breathe.
Take a sharp breath in and exhale slowly, emptying your lungs entirely of air. Do this three times. Then finally take a full breath in… and dive
Step 5: SAFETY WARNING!
Hyperventilating can lead to serious injury caused by hypoxia or shallow water blackout if you don't do it right. Do not excessively hyperventilate.
Step 6: Equalize your ears & mask
Water, as you probably know, is heavy. This causes an increase in pressure underwater that squashes your air spaces. It's vital therefore that you equalize air spaces such as sinuses and ears to avoid discomfort.
To equalise as you descend, pinch your nose closed and blow gently against your pinched nostrils - much like you would when "popping" your ears when flying in a plane.
Equalise every metre or few feet, before you feel pain or discomfort.
You also need to equalise your mask to avoid painful mask squeeze. Simply breathe out through your nose into the mask whenever you feel it tighten around your eyes and nose.
Step 7: Perfect your fining style
The key to getting most out of skin diving is to relax. Finning efficiently and moving slowly will give you longer bottom time.
Try not to use your arms while underwater. This only uses more energy and more oxygen.
Use the scissors style kick, which is where you kick from the hips with your knees slightly bent.
Step 8: Clear your mask
Mask flooding can be a normal part of skin diving. It can happen at any time….
To clear your mask, simply tilt your head back and hold the top of the mask against your forehead.
Exhale through your nose into the mask. As you do this, the air pushes out the water through the bottom of the mask.
Step 9: Skin dive
Start off by skin diving in a swimming pool or calm water, perhaps by a busy beach with little or no waves. Stay close to shore so you can get out of the water quickly and easily whenever you need to.