Freediving: Eyes open or eyes closed?

[gravatar size=18 align=absmiddle email=sanne.buurma@gmail.com] This is a post by [the_author_posts_link].

This has been a question for me since I found out that a lot of freedivers just close their eyes when freediving. My normal way of conduct is different per discipline:

  • Static – I start out with my eyes closed, but when the contractions or the boredom starts I usually open my eyes for distraction or no real reason and I’ll be looking around the pool floor.
  • Dynamic with or without fins – I always have my eyes open, if I close them I’ll end up in lane 8 instead of lane 1 where I started. I did try a few times to close them, but it’s a must to re-open them every few meters to stay on track, which in my perception is not bringing extra relaxation to my game.
  • Depth disciplines – I generally do not close my eyes when I freedive into the deep, but as I explained in an earlier post, this had to do with not being able to fully control or anticipate the environment variables.

Why close your eyes?
what_is_freediving_2I’m aware of the fact that whenever you open your eyes, the brain gets extra stimulus on all the images it receives, so closing the eyes sounds like a good idea to have your mind relax and get along with images you control for yourself. Having said that, for me it’s feels like a mandatory thing to really know the variables from the environment I’m freediving in.

Change is good!
So, I’m willing to change my way of the game just to see how much this can help me relax and being able to get my mind at ease with this way of freediving. Over the last two weeks I started closing my eyes in the depth disciplines. As I know now how the bottom setup looks like at the 23 meter deep buoy in Panheel, it’s much easier to freedive descending with my eyes closed. I still need to get used to it and I still haven’t made a depth without ever opening my eyes.

So the next time I’ll visit the outdoors for some depth freedive training I’ll have to make a depth without opening my eyes until I resurface and see how that feels.

Your thoughts, tips or useful info?
What is your way of freediving and dealing with eyes open vs. eyes closed? Please leave your thoughts, tips or useful information in the comments below.

7 thoughts on “Freediving: Eyes open or eyes closed?”

  1. deep diving with eyes closed is really nice, i like doing it with my hand/hands touching the line, when you are in the sink phase, and all you do is think of equalization, it is very similar to closing your eyes in static, helps allot. I also started recently to dive only with a nose clip its an interesting experience, and i like it more every time i try it. The sea water are very pleasant to keep your eyes open in. For the pool its good practice to close your eyes and see how strait you swim ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Your post is very close to my World Sanne:)
    I started closing my eyes in depth last week..i did 25m CWT and honestly it was a pleasure! It was so much more spiritual than diving with open eyes, this type of diving, i think is closer to the menatl and spiritual site od Freediving.
    As for the rest..dynamic with closed eyes is undoable!:)

  3. i very often close my eyes…. also when i do dynamics… , sanne and jorg see how slow i was in genf (DNF) but my technique is very stupid there.. the only thing i open my eyes when i feel that i? not on my course (over the line on the bottom)
    in sta i closed my eyes all the time..
    for me is freediving very mental… i have a awesome feeling when i come up after a long sta-dyn dive, where i dive up and open my eyes over the surface… than it feels like a “new world”

  4. @Eri @Lukasz @Andi Thanks for your comments. To follow up these comments:

    I have been applying the Eyes-closed to my outdoor freediving in Panheel since my post here. I can say I do notice a big difference in how you experience the dive and what to prepare for when freediving with eyes closed.

    I used to experience the full dive and would be watching all that was going on around me. Now with my eyes closed (even in preparation) I find myself missing the images that my eyes provide, but in return I have a relaxed & peaceful state of mind taking me to the depth’s just as easy as my former method. Once at depth of 23m I can totally relax and focus on my heartbeat and do some serious hangs over there.

    I’ll be experimenting with it for a while longer in different disciplines and update about it in a new topic. So far I like what I’m ‘not’ seeing ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Sanne, I have experimented with eyes closed during CWT dives. Generally, I start with open eyes, watch the line and at some point I close them for short intervals which helps me relax and better enjoy my dives. For some great dives I closed my eyes after the depth alarm and visualized reaching my target depth – and when I opened them I was already there…

  6. @Lubo,

    Thanks for your thoughts and experience about this.

    In the depth disciplines I can relax, but only up to the point when equalization gets harder. I need to find a way to equalize deeper than 30-35 meters without really stressing my body. In my perception I should be capable of doing deeper dives than 50 meters when it comes to air, but equalization keeps me from doing so.

    How does this influence your dives, do you manage to relax with eyes closed when you get to the point where the air in your lungs can no longer be compressed and plasma fills the alveoli?

    I believe that equalization is different per freediver, when it comes to how easy one can eqaulize. Thus meaning it comes down to difference in anatomy. What techniques do you use while equalizing? How do you train them?

  7. @Sanne
    Well, I have to say that I haven’t been deeper than 40 meters (I’ll take care of that on my next trip to Greece in Sept)- so this is an opinion of a beginner ๐Ÿ™‚
    I found out that relaxation was the key factor for equalizing. At first I thought that I couldn’t go past 30 meters with my EQ technique. But then I did many dives focusing ONLY on head position, then – some dives with focus on relaxation. Closing the eyes helped me feel my body and produce some positive mental images. I saw immediate results on my diving.
    Regarding the EQ technique that I use – it’s a combination between Valsalva and Frenzel, but it’s kind of hard to explain it exactly.
    For training – I did the exercises of the Frenzel-Fattah document and a nice BTV document (hands free EQ) from Trux’s site. One more thing, cleaning your nose with a neti pot makes wonders ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *