All posts by Jorg

Preparing For The Snow

9 Weeks and 3 days to go! You probably can tell I’m looking forward to our Snowboard vacation to Flachau, Austria, in January. Maybe more about that trip later, but for now I want to focus on preparing my body as much as possible for the trip. Because there will be loads of powder snow and park riding involved, I really need to prepare myself to ‘survive’ the intense week in the snow.

So, where am I standing? Well, it has been months since I last visited the gym to work with some weights. Running is at an all time low. I stopped freediving for the winter. But the good news is I’m skateboarding around two times a week and snowboarding 1 to 2 times as well. So specific sport conditioning has already started. Now the rest.

In short, I’m too heavy, to much fat, too little cardiovasculair power, not enough strength and for sure not flexible enough. And I really need to change that before we go in 9 weeks time. This week I already started again with some light basic fitness exercises and running to warn my body to prepare for the coming weeks.

While I normally plan such projects to the minute, I’m going to change that a little this time and see where this will get me. Just some basic rules and that it. A few rules that I can remember and stick to it for 9 weeks. How hard can it be?

  1. do some regular fitness, running and stretching for the basics. Try to do some for 6 days a week and take 1 day rest.
  2. try to eat as healthy as possible with 3 meals a day. Don’t eat anything anymore after the last meal of the day. No sugar drinks! Eat what and when you want on Sunday, just to keep sane.
  3. keep skateboarding and snowboarding as much as possible and have fun doing it. Except that growth doesn’t occur in a straight diagonal line, but that it sometimes can plateau. Stick to it!

And that’s about it! 3 simple rules: basic maintenance of the body, energy intake, the passion. Not to difficult to follow? Lets see in the coming weeks where it will bring me.

Natural Evolution

I just love sports! I can’t live without it and I need to do it every day. Yes, I’m still talking about sports. There are many great sports out there, but the ones I’m always attracted to are the ones where creativity, individualism and natural skills are involved.

Because there are loads of sports that fall in that category I could never dedicate myself to only one discipline. There are just too many fun sports out there to just keep myself to only one kind of experience. I’m a multi-disciplinary guy. I can’t just focus on one thing in life and keep myself committed to it. There are way too many good things out there to keep untouched.

And I’m not alone. Also co-creator of this blog Sanne is a multi-sport person. We always shared interest in all kind of sports like Fitness, Cycling, Track & Field, Running, Swimming, Snowboarding, Skateboarding and of course the reason we started this blog, Freediving.

In the last years we trained together in many sports but only blogged about freediving. But while we still have fun freediving, at the moment we have even more fun with some other sports where improvement and skill development is still in its infancy.

After loads of talks and discussions with Sanne about this blog and freediving, we notice that our freediving philosophy is not only a freediving philosophy but a philosophy in general. Our way of doing sports together and collecting different experiences and developing skills to become better at a certain sport is what drives us time and time again to improve as a person and as a team. And that is what Team Sharkbait is about!

So, while freediving training has gone into hibernation mode for the winter, our skateboarding and snowboarding trainings are more awake then ever. And while we started this blog as a freediving only blog, we see now that it’s time to have a natural evolution to expand to write about all our sport  experiences. This blog will not only be about freediving anymore, but about all our sport experiences we do as a team.

To make sure that our regular readers who are only interested in our freediving adventures are not drowned in content they are not interested in (and vice versa) we will update the Team Sharkbait blog so that you can very easily select a different sport to read about, if you’re only interested in certain parts. We will even create some separate RSS feeds for the people who use them.

We hope that you will continue to follow us and give feedback now that we expand to an even more interesting road!

Water & Web Update

Water firmly attached to the Gene pool - My Son Rody and Daughter Indy

On Thursday Bertrand, Sanne and I went in the water again. While Bertrand had seen plenty of water in the last weeks, it has been a while since Sanne and I put our heads below the water surface. To be exact, almost 3 months without any pool training.

After last weeks surprise of a decent dry static, I was pretty eager to go to the pool and experience some more freediving feelings like that. Arriving in the pool we set out our own private lane and I started with some neutral statics at 5 meter depth, the bottom of the pool. It felt pretty good to be under again and relax and look around at the scubbies and snorkelers.

Three deep statics later it was time to put some motion in it and I started walking across the bottom of the pool. Still fun to do and almost as relaxing as the statics. After that it was time for some dynamic without fins and wow, that felt really really bad. So bad in fact that after two tries my positive feeling was completely gone and I was thinking of going home again. I just don’t know, something felt really wrong after those dynamics. The breath hold crawls to test things out still felt the same as 3 months before, but this dynamic thing, I don’t know…

In fact two days later I’m still thinking what to do with it. Should I start training again, or will I just keep to some recreational outdoor freediving and that’s it. Lets see what next week will bring. Maybe I will only do some crawls for the rest of the year, or maybe just stick to some statics at the bottom. So yeah, got some motivational issues at the moment 😉

On another note, I’ve been pretty busy restoring the old posts on the Sharkbait website. Links to websites and other posts were wrong, pictures were missing, etc. I fixed everything from the beginning to January 2008 at the moment and my plan is to slowly fix the whole archive. Over the years we wrote already more then 250+ blog posts here and it’s sometimes very inspirational to look back and see what we did some years back. I’ll give an update when I’m completely done with the monk work

In the last few weeks Sanne and I have also been discussing about how to continue with Team Sharkbait and what to write about and slowly the ideas are getting clearer and clearer, so expect an update on that as well.

Dry Summer

Autumn has already started and my deep freediving counter says ‘1’. I’ve never did so little depth freediving as this year! And still the dive I did, together with Bertrand and Sanne was great! So much fun and no problems reaching the same bottom as last years end of season, also slightly less relaxed then before.

From January till the July we did our weekly freediving pool training, even sometimes two times a week. Pool space is open again for us since two weeks, but I still have to start with pool training again.

Is it lack of motivation? Not for freediving! During my holiday visit to Turkey with the family I did several ‘freedives’ over there, but it was limited to ‘deep snorkeling’ due to absence of a buddy who could spot me. But for sure the depth was pulling again.

Maybe it was just time to sharpen the saw once again. Once lesson I’ve learned since that I started freediving in 1997 is that sometimes you have to listen to your body and don’t push things. Just wait until you ‘need’ it again.

Well, that feeling is coming I guess! Tonight I did a dry static out of nowhere while watching a nice Snowskating movie. First try was a 2 minute hold and felt really bad and I was immediately having negative thoughts about quitting. But after a 10 minute rest I decided to try it again and did 3:51 minutes without any noticeable contractions. Was that 4 minute mark still in reach? After a 5 minute rest I tried again and 4:07 seconds later I was a happy man!

Now I need to find a way to bring these dry static times into the water once again. Because in the water I still suck big time with statics. Oh yeah, and it would be nice to try our monofin again! It’s been a while, but it’s not the end, only a new beginning.

Old School Freediving

Our Hardcore Trainings Pool

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Yesterday evening me, Sanne and Bertrand were forced into freediving between the recreational swimmers. And instead of just putting on our monofin and making a bloodbath between the swimmers with lost finger, toes, or worse, we decided to give ourselves a real old school freediving training once again.

My body was still hurt from the snowboarding of the day before, but men did the training feel good! I can’t help it to just like those intense freediving trainings where you really gasp for air, build up Co2 till headache, burn your legs until you can’t move them anymore. All in all it was great again.

The combination of Apnea crawls, back kicks, different strokes and breathing patterns and around 1200 meter covered underwater felt painful but good. Bertrand is new in our group, but he managed to do an excellent job! Finally someone who is not only able to complete such a training, but even enjoys it as much as Sanne and me. He even managed to do 4 laps of relaxed underwater swimming with his bi-fins in the end! Good stuff and motivational to watch him continue.

We have to do this a lot more!

What Just Happened?

Was it flow? Or did I just cheat time itself?

Today I was looking back at the week and I noticed that somehow I didn’t do any freediving at all. The Tuesday swimming sessions with Sanne haven’t take place at all during the last week, this due to a planning conflict between this session and my son’s skateboarding lessons. And the Thursday training got canceled due to the fact that Sanne was very late at home after some hours in a traffic jam and me being totally depleted from energy because of a family trip to the swimming pool.

So, while the sun was shining hard this afternoon, I decided to fill up the blanks with some dry walks, while my son was riding in the skate park. After sitting on a bench for 2 minutes and breathing lightly I started with my first walk. Normal pace and just strolling along. After 45 seconds I got my first contraction and stopped. It felt terrible, as usual. I walked back to the bench and prepared again for 4 minutes. Started walking and at 43 seconds I got my first contraction and at 48 seconds I just couldn’t hold it anymore. This time it felt even worse and I almost pissed in my pants. Why am I doing this?

Back to the bench and forget about the dry walks! Just relax, enjoy the sun and watch my son skateboard. What a great day, I was thinking. After 20 minutes or so, and nearly falling asleep, I was thinking about why my dry walks always suck so much. I just don’t know why this is. I decided to do one more dry walk, but this time I would stop at the contraction and I wouldn’t promise myself that I would go on a little longer. Just walk until contraction and that’s it!

Instead of using the bicycle lane, I know decided to walk around the skatepark, and instead of looking down the whole time I decided to look at my son and what was happening in the busy skatepark. With the same speed I started the walk, just enjoying the sun, the people, everything. After a lap of walking I felt the contraction coming and stopped the timer. I just couldn’t believe it when I looked at my stopwatch. 1:35 minutes. What just happened?

In complete disbelief I walked back the exact route and the time was correct. My best dry walk time ever was 1:25 minutes from 6 years ago or so. And I remember that one as one of the most painful breath holds ever! And now… no pain, no contractions, nothing! And this time? I guess this was one of those famous ‘flow’ performances, the one that happens only every thousand times, the one where I ‘lost’ time. I just hope that it will happen to me again in the next session… 😉

Waiting For Summer!

As we came back from the pool last week, I told Sanne that it was time for depth again. I’m missing it! But overhearing the story of some scuba divers who went out last weekend and hearing them talking about 6 degrees water, I convinced myself I could wait a little longer before putting on my wetsuit.

I was looking back on this site for some older posts and what we’ve been doing. It was fun to read back what we have done already and especially what we have accomplished. Great stuff and so glad that we started this blog already so many years back. While our Sharkbait blog is 99% filled with freediving stuff, it is not only freediving that keeps Sharkbait occupied. It has been more about the way we do sports in general and how we enjoy doing it. Besides freediving, we also enjoy swimming, running, cycling, track & field, freerunning (Parcours), trampoline jumping, skateboarding, inline skating and especially snowboarding as well.

So, our philosophy about how we experience sport is not just freediving specific, but can be layered upon many other sports. Maybe it is time to update and republish our Sharkbait philosophy post again and see where we are standing today. Good times!

Step By Step

Great session yesterday evening! It was the first freedive training after our snowboard vacation, so we were curious high the high altitude training would have helped us with our performances. At the moment Sanne and I are trying to accomplish two things in the pool.

The first is to increase monofin technique. We already came from far with this one. The first quarter of this year was really dedicated to using the monofin and I’m glad to say that both Sanne and I are finally using the monofin in such an easy way that turning back to bifins for dynamic performance dives would only be done of nostalgia.

The basic technique is there and there is even room to play around and experiment with this technique in the form of amplitude changes, body position adjustment, power and kick cycles. We both agree that for the moment our best strategy to go by is a kick-kick-kick-glide cycle in the pool we are using now. As this is a 25 meter pool we need 3 complete kkkg cycles for one length, which feels good compared to effort put in.

Now we need to start working on our weighting stuff. With the technique in the body, it is time to start fine tuning it and because a neck weight is even more uncomfortable for me then it is for Sanne, it is time to fix this this month.

Our preferred way of propulsion: Waterway Glide Fin

The second part is increasing comfortable performance (CP) so that it reaches closer to our maximum distance (MX). Increasing performance is always a trick by itself, and we tried already a lot of methods in the past for this. Reading back all our training logs from the past years one thing comes to mind; speed! The one variable we didn’t use to much is the speed were we would go to the next step. We used weeks, number of repeated performances and other variables to determine if we could make the next step, and the one thing that comes to top that still could be tweaked is going slower with the steps we take.

We still maintain the idea that we should be able to perform near our limits all the time without any big warm-ups and strange techniques. So that together with a program of increasing our CP nearer to our MP, brings us the current schedule we are  doing.

My own comfort distance is a 40-45 meter dive. No contractions, still good technique and the ability to relax underwater at the end. As soon as I turn at 50, I tense my body but especially my mind. So my task is to make sure I can do 45 meter dives without any tension and yesterday was the first time I could accomplish this, which I’m very happy with. I’ve never been able to keep so relaxed at this distance, so a big break through for myself. As I’m not as experienced myself with the no warm-up routine as Sanne is, I do a total of 4 dives like this with around 2 minute rests between and that’s it for me. So at the moment my CP=45 while my MP=75, which brings my CP/MP ratio to 60%

Sanne is already much further with his no warm-up routine and his CP. Yesterday he did 95 meters and make it look so easy. He stopped underwater at 95, made a stop gesture with his arms and slowly surfaced. His MP=125 meters, so his CP/MP ratio is 0,76 which is already great. And we are just getting started. This one dive is everything Sanne does for performance training. He is already so tuned in this no warm-up routine that this is sufficient for him.

The rest of our training is dedicated to technique and helping other freedivers improve. So still a minimum time invested in performance training for maximum results and still a lot of time left to enjoy the water. I just love this method!

Keep Going Strong

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Just back from todays freediving training in the pool. Felt great again. The first dynamic run still feels the hardest, but after that I can start enjoying again.

All the training is starting to really work. Today for the first time I did a kick-kick-kick-glide cycle and still felt relaxed. Normally I would tense up during the glide section of the cycle, but this time everything stayed easy and fine.

It takes me 3 cycles and 20 seconds for a 25 meter lap. So that is 9 kicks in total. If I do a continuous kick cycle I need 15-16 kicks to complete the lap. So this is a big win. Keep in mind that Sanne and I are making very small kicks as opposed to some other people who prefer it another way.

All in all pretty good training once again. Sanne is really getting in shape with his monofin and I’m wondering how soon he will be doing the same distance as he always did with his bi-fins, but this time without any stress. 😉

Some other news that the Dutch visitors will probably like: from now on I’ll put a Dutch translation of my posts on the Shark Sports Sharkbait website. Different URL, different language, same content.

Do It!

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We solved our lane-problem once again. But this would be an even better solution!

Yesterday was a good freediving session in the pool! Besides some good technique training it also reminded me of taking charge of your own destiny.

We share our pool with a scubadiving team and in the last weeks we claimed our own spot, putting a line in the water so that we would have a private lane. This evening another scubadiving team joined ours for a ‘deep’ training lesson in the 5 meter pool and they had hired half of the pool.

So when Sanne and I arrived, first thought was that we couldn’t do dynamic today. Way to many freedivers in the pool and no way they would let us take a lane for ourselves with so many divers. We decided to go for static and afterwards take the public pool.

I already was pissed about this and was thinking that I could be standing on the slope as we spoke. But then of a sudden, I told myself to shut up and just do it! I took the monofin went to the head of the diving team and told him we would only need a very small lane at the end of the pool. After some discussion we got approval and setup our training line!

Mission accomplished! Only thing left to do was a good training! Sanne suggested that I would start with my 4 times the distance we agreed on. And after a hard first successful distance, but with rotten technique and with some good coaching from Sanne, I managed to improve the other 3 performances in technique with each set. So pretty happy in the end! Another session like this and it is time to up the minimum set distance.

Sanne was next and we decided that he would do 3,5 laps, which is 87,50 meters. After 30 seconds of preparation he was underwater. Nice kick and glide! And very very nice to see the improvement of technique between now and two months ago. Really amazing accomplishment. He’s now looking relaxed underwater WITH a monofin on his foot.

Afterwards it was time for the not-so-newbies-anymore Kai and Levi (correct me if I’m spelling your names wrong!). After some very visual and mental training how the monofin technique must look like with some subtle hinting at some metaphores the two guys had no problem with their attempts with the monofin. It actually looked already better then their bi-fins attempt!

Mental note to self: Arrange that damn neck-weight!