Posted by Walt on May 19, 2005 at 22:20:22:
In Reply to: Why is it ridiculous? posted by Chuck Tribolet on May 19, 2005 at 07:56:37:
I was entering some heavy surf (6 to 8 footers) while skin diving and body surfing in Mexico in 1996. Just my snorkel, mask and fins. Out of nowhere a rogue wave came pounding in; not sure of its height, but I remember looking up like I would at a 2 story house thinking 'this is really gonna hurt'.
Dove under it (snorkel in mouth) and my only memory is a roar, tons of water, and a sensation of the surf pounded me to the sandy bottom, bouncing. My next conscious memory was being miracously outside the surf zone, beyond the still crashing surf with no mask or snorkel, trying to swim, but feeling no movement. Looking through the crystal water, I saw my right leg was bent sideways at a ninety degree angle above the knee.
Had to body surf back in after I caught a lull and just some six footers to ride in. Fortunately there were people on the beach who came to help me out of the surf as I could not walk. I lost an inch of my femur. Point is I held my breath until I came to, obviously didn't drown, and managed to come up beyond the heavy surf.
If I had a reg in my mouth and took a breath under that wave, I probably wouldn't be writing this.
My "retail store" instructor showed us regs in mouth, which I followed until I learned years later why this wasn't such a good idea. I went back to the way I had been skin diving, with my snorkel for entries and exits. When you're entering the 'crashing one footers' of a typical class, it doesn't make such a difference. Get hit by a real wave, though, and the snorkel and breath control can save your life.
I've been skin diving for over forty years and have never felt the urge to inhale while under water (obvously without a reg in my mouth). My subconscious just won't let me inhale water. With scuba I know I have air,so I breath and exhale. Under a few feet, lacking control, taking a breath and popping to the surface you can indeed embolize. Therein lies the danger.
Thanks to that wave I also developed a keen appreciation for the force of water. If the surf isn't good for an entry and isn't forecast to be good for my exit, I'll pass on the dive. Have nothing to prove; will dive another day.
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