We always include breath hold and breathing techniques in our Surf Fit retreats. It really is a fascinating skill to explore. Both Andrew 'Cotty' Cotton and Andrew Blake have been on many courses and forCotty it's a vital part of his big wave surfing.
In actual fact Cotty says that even on the big wipeouts (waves of 50 feet high plus) you don't get held down that long, the average being between 10 and 20 seconds. Unless something goes wrong and your leash gets snagged on rocks or debris you'll pop up fairly quickly. This is especially the case now that inflation vests are standard equipment.
However, just having the knowledge that you can hold your breath for 5 minutes (Cotty's personal best so far) gives you a confidence to avoid panic in challenging situations. And as we all know, panic kills.
Andrew Blake explains it like this "We do pool training to simulate the demands of surfing and teach realistic techniques to help you remain calm under stress as used by Cotty and his team. We cover techniques to: reduce oxygen consumption, improve CO2 tolerance and control the mind to avoid panic. We also look at physiological benefits such as: improved haemoglobulin levels, a quicker mammalian dive reflex to reduce heart rate and increased peripheral vasoconstriction redirecting oxygen rich blood to organs and the brain!"
So we are not trying to make you super breath holders on our retreats, but we are giving you the skills and techniques to understand about the importance of breathing properly and we will increase your breath hold.
Obviously this is all done under strict guidance by qualified lifeguards (both Cotty and Andrew Blake have their life guarding qualifications). We don't expect you to push yourself too far. This is not the intention with any of the sessions on the Surf Fit retreats. However, we assist you to explore your own potential which will help boost your ocean confidence and help you tackle the waves you've always wanted to ride.