Nearly every surfer has experienced the sensation: pinned to the ocean bottom, trying to swim for the surface, desperate for a few quick gasps of air to avoid what might happen if they don’t. It’s a scary moment and therefore, a tough time to stay composed — even the pros say so. According to Kurt Krack, who teaches a surf survival course around breath holding, composure is key. While on the North Shore, six Oakley surfers took part in Krack’s two-day course to better prepare themselves for the type of hold-downs and life-threatening situations that come with competitive surfing and freesurfing waves like Teahupoo, Pipeline, Jaws and many of the other heavy-water breaks around the world.
During the course, the crew of guys — which ranged from big-wave surfers Danny Fuller and Rico Jimenez to WCT vets Melling and Tommy Whitaker to upcoming pros Eric Geiselman and Thomas Woods — learned the science of how the body is affected by a lack of CO2 and then got in the pool to put into action their live-saving education. As you’ll see, learning to stay submerged for upwards of four or five minutes isn’t a feat strictly for NAVY Seals — one of the guys added almost four minutes to how long he could hold his breath based on what he learned and applied.