Recently I had the privilege to do a one on one Surf Survival Course with Joe Knight from One Ocean International Joe is a legend, an all round waterman. He’s a professional freediver, offshore survival trainer, surfer, paramedic and the list goes on. But most importantly he is a good bloke, patient, good teacher and motivator.
As a water photographer and surfer I have spent quite some time in the ocean throughout the last decade. I considered myself a good swimmer and a semi-fit person. Most of the time I felt comfortable out in the elements, maybe a little bit to comfortable at times… until that one day, when the ocean showed me how quickly you can lose control. The result; a near drowning experience in Bali. The first wave of the set sucked the water off the reef, detonated on top of me and the rest is history.
From that day on I had never fully regained my confidence in big surf. Until I met Joe that is.
His Surf Survival course is life changing to say the least. My good mate Dan did the free diving course with Joe a few weeks prior to me and said afterwards: “One of the most valuable things you can learn in life, worth more than any university degree.” Turns out he was absolutely right. It’s a must for every keen ocean person.
Within one day I managed to increase my breath hold time doing a static apnea from 1:20min to 3:30min first go. Dan even got close to 5:00min. Insane, right! We simulated 2:00 minute hold downs in big surf, getting ragdolled around underwater whilst being blasted in the face with air bubbles from an oxygen tank. I was able to gain some amazing new body awareness, experiencing what running out of Oxygen and CO2 build up really feel like. The point where I used to panic underwater and thought I’m going to drown has now changed to; Relax, you’re not even half way through your Oxygen reserves… plenty more to go!