Posted by Eins on October 03, 2000 at 16:00:15:
In Reply to: Beach diving entry techniques posted by Gary on October 02, 2000 at 13:17:36:
This is my version of how to do it.
On both entry and exit, timing is more important than fins on or off. Agreed, to time the lull is easier from shore, so let's start there.
Watch at least one full set and a following lull to know how long both phases are. This will give you peace to know that when the lull starts, you don't have to worry to be knocked over. Then, right after the last wave of the set, don't loose time and walk in as far and as fast as you can. Mask should be on, regulator in your hand or your mouth. Regulator has to go in your mouth at least when you notice that waves are coming that might get you underwater. I prefer the fins off version and walk in beyond the surf zone. That's key: get BEYOND the surf zone before you stop. Then, put on your fins (regulator is now in your mouth, and possible waves that might break over you won't do much harm because it is deep enough and you're breathing). When fins are on, proceed according to your dive plan.
If you decide to go in fins on, also get as far as you can as fast as possible, but, of course, walk backwards. As soon as it is deep enough to swim, swim.
Should you get surprised by bigger waves than you expected during the lull, stand sideways to weather the oncoming wave. Do this last second and keep walking until that moment. Once the wave has passed, continue to get out of the surf zone.
On exit, you want to stay on the surface just behind the surf zone and watch the sets to do your timing. Once you decide that the lull has started, fin in as fast as you can, always keeping an eye out to sea to monitor unexpected waves. Once it gets shallow enough to stand waist-high, either take off your fins (if the lull is weak enough) and then walk out, or keep finning until you hit the beach and crawl out, or, if you can, stand up early enough with your fins on and walk out backwards, again monitoring the incoming sea.
Like others, I prefer to have my reg in my mouth all the time during entry and exit which prevents sand from getting inside and I'm always prepared to immediately duck underwater if I need to. I keep my BC empty so I can duck under a breaking wave and inflate it once I get beyond the surf zone (on my way out). On exit, I have the BC inflated to a point where it gives me the proper buoyancy to stay at the surface once I want to get and stay there.
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