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Mouth breather

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by TheDivingBear, Apr 12, 2002.

  1. TheDivingBear

    TheDivingBear Registered

    :eek: Hi all. I am enrolled in a OW PADI course and am not having fun. We (my wife and I) both thought this would be a fun thing to do, diving and getting certified before we go on vacation. My wife loves the water and I really enjoyed snorkeling and skin diving in the Carribean. :)

    However, we've had 4 classroom sessions and only two pool sessions (out of 5). Our first session included our swimming test, so we crammed all the session one skills into 20 minutes. What has this to do with mouth breathing?

    Simple, I am one and I had thought that breathing off a regulator would be second nature. However, it is proving to be more difficult for me than I thought. And, we are getting no practice time in the water to get comfortable. One of the first things we did the second night was mask removal. I barely got the chance to practice the mask clearing. I feel like I am sucking air out of the regulator instead of breathing and that makes me feel anxious. This is not fun.

    I contacted one of the shops Dive Instructors and, after he talked to the shop owner (which I understand), he told me that it takes time and it is normal to have some anxiety. While I agree SOME is normal, I just cannot get comfortable enough to relax and enjoy it.

    Any suggestions? I read the post by WolfGirl and while similar, the situations are different.

    The Diving Bear
  2. JustAddWater

    JustAddWater Contributor

    Does your instructor/school allow pool time outside of scheduled class to practice skills, and gain comfort and confidence? It would be worth it to ask. Don't be too hard on yourself. Scuba is an adaptive skill, and takes time to feel like it's natural.
    Best of luck.
  3. Beezer

    Beezer Guest

    A good regulator might make all the difference. When I had my class I also felt as though I was "sucking" the air instead of just breathing. My mouth would also be sore by the end of the weekend from clenching my teeth all the time trying to keep the reg in my mouth (I think the hose was too short and continuously kept pulling out). Once I got through my classes the first piece of equipment I bought was an Apex regulator. What a difference! It's as good as breathing the air on land!

    Ask your instructor if there is a different regulator that you can try. I would also voice my concerns about not having enough pool time and see if there is another time that you can come just to practice. Luckily my scuba shop has their own pool so after I bought my equipment I went in their pool to test it out. It was a good time to practice some of my skills before my check-out dives as well.

    I did find it more relaxing and enjoyable during my check-out dives. I had plenty of time to practice my bouyancy and breathing. Having my own equipment was very nice as well.

    Hang in there!
  4. roakey

    roakey Old, not bold diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Colorado Springs, CO

    Try and get some extra pool time and just submerge without a mask, relax, and breathe normally. Do this in the shallow end so you stand up if need be until you "get it."

    Once you convince yourself that you can breathe without a mask, you realize that you have all the time in the world to clear it, even using multiple breaths if need be and the skill becomes trivial.

    If you can't get pool time, literally using a snorkel in a bathtub can simulate the same thing. Plus it'll give your wife something to tease you about for the rest of your life. :)

  5. chepar

    chepar Contributor

    A different regulator might make a difference, you might ask to try another one.

    When I took my OW, I had minor difficulties with my regulator - mostly with the mouthpiece not fitting well. It felt like it was pulling to one side, and wouldn't stay in. Much of my time was spent fiddling with the regulator and thinking about it not feeling right. I mentioned it to my instructor, and he made a quick adjustment - much better. When everything is new and there is much to take in, the smallest problem can cause anxiety. However, I didn't experience any problems with breathing easily, so I can't help you with that.

    You should ask if you can have time outside of class in the pool with your instructor to practice skills and just get comfortable underwater, or sit in on another class during a session of pool work.
  6. socaldiver

    socaldiver Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Maui

    I have to agree with the people that suggest extra pool time and just practice breathing thru the reg. Your instructor should not have any problem giving you an extra 5 or 10 minutes a session to relax and practice. I would also approach the owner of the LDS, but only if your instructor is not cooperative, and request their support and help.

    Sorry to hear you are having problems, because if you don't overcome it you will miss out on a beautiful world.
  7. jbd

    jbd Dive Shop


    It sounds like you are feeling rushed and pushed to get done. I think the extra time in the pool would help as the other have suggested. There is no time limit to beat. Ask for the extra time and if you think it would benefit ask for a paid private pool session--one on one with an instructor who can focus on working with your specific difficulties.

    All of us on this board learn at different speeds and in different ways. What really important for you is that you learn in your time and in your way so you can enjoy what all of us enjoy so much.

    Welcome to the boards and feel free to ask all the questions you want. There are alot of very knowledgable people here who can probably help you.
  8. CincyBengalsFan

    CincyBengalsFan Instructor, Scuba

    Jbd is right on. Don't rush it. Most dive shops might have a problem with extra time but the instructors usually don't. Just ask. I'm an instructor and love to give extra time to people. With in limits anyway.
  9. TheDivingBear

    TheDivingBear Registered

    =-) Ah! Thanks for all your help. As I said, I had talked to one ot the dive instructors, who then talked to the shop owner. "Yes, we know you are being rushed, but you will have time to practice and we are working on getting you all another pool day."

    Thanks for all your input. Tomorrow is our next day in the pool, provided there are no storms (from my fingers to God's ears). I plan to ask if they have any other regulators that I might try, ones with more flow so I don't feel like I am sucking through a straw.

    Wish me luck, and hey, if we can't get this in before our vacation, it will always be there when we get back.

    Bear :snorkel:
  10. Spectre

    Spectre Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wicked farther south of familiar
    During my OW class, we had a pretty big class, 12 or 14, perhaps
    more. Not the point. Anyway, he did a lot of the stuff in two
    groups, bringing one down to the deep end, doing the drill,
    bringing them back, and switching to the other group.

    While waiting, most of the people kneeled in the shallow end
    and talked. I was the class freak, while we waiting, I was lying
    on my chest on the bottom watching the other group and
    practicing my breathing.

    And I'm still a freak today... When I get way to stressed with
    work and life, I'll draw a bath, and then lay facedown in the
    tub for a couple hours just relaxing...

    Whenever you have a break in your class, get under and relax.
    If you're not comfortable with your breathing, it's going to snow
    ball as you do other things [as you've already noticed] :)


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