Are you a Shark Week junkie? Do you find yourself entranced with ocean shows on Animal Planet, National Geographic? Or, did you get caught up in the book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, or grow up on stores of Jacques Cousteau? If so, it might be time for you to take your dream to the next level and put yourself in the shoes (or fins) of those who have gone before and try scuba diving. You will be one step closer to experiencing the depths of our beautiful oceans and lakes.
Trying scuba diving is an experience unlike any other. You may find yourself experiencing emotions as you would with trying any new sport or experience. The initial fear is expected, but your instructor and buddy can help you overcome anxiety and get you to the fun part!
What You Should Know
You will likely have to fill out a form before you go. This is to ensure you are not at any medical risk to do physical things like Scuba Diving. Don’t lie, because the only person this can harm is you. Honesty is a good policy when it comes to your health.
- Embrace Being Awkward
In your try scuba class, you’re going to put on gear and it’s going to feel awkward. No one expects you to feel any different. Accept the fact that you are going to feel a bit silly and if you can laugh at yourself, now is a great time to get it out of the way. Nobody looks good in a mask, with a snorkel stuck to their head, and no one is elegant with fins on land. Nobody.
- Your First Breath Might Be Scary
As humans who swim or have been around water, we learn to hold our breath underwater. The first rule of scuba diving? Don’t hold your breath. Ever. So immediately, we have a mind-body conflict that we have to overcome. For some, this is scary. We lack trust in ourselves, our equipment, fate, whatever. Being mind-body aware is a good thing, so use it to your advantage.
- Mind Over Matter
Breathing underwater is unnatural to most of us. Anything new can be scary, but we have the ability to take a mind-over-matter approach and settle ourselves down. Scuba diving is a great way to practice focusing on something as simple as a breath of air. If you feel nervous, stop. Take a deep breath and try to calm down as you would on the land. Think of diving like yoga – smooth, easy movements, calm and peaceful breathing. If you do it right, you might want to fall asleep!
- Swimming and Diving are Different
If you have been swimming in your lifetime, you know that you have to move your body to stay above water. Your hands are moving, feet are moving and your eyes are moving. But when you are scuba diving, you aren’t actually swimming, you’re merely suspending yourself in water. You can suspend in water without propulsion. Just like any mind-body relaxation technique, try relaxing your arms and hands, then your legs. Think of going completely limp and you’ll start to be more aware of your breath. Pretty soon, you’ll find how calm you can be and how diving and swimming are actually different.
- Scuba Diving is a “Lazy Sport”
Unlike many sports, scuba diving itself is a relatively lazy sport. We try to relax as much as possible, breath normally and take in the sights and sounds around us. We’re not running, we’re not exhilarating and we’re not working. As you try scuba in the pool, relax and think “lazy”.
- It’s All About You
Focus on yourself first. You might be comfortable and might really want your buddy to be where you are, but don’t try to focus on anyone else right now. Do not push friends, buddies, spouses, children past their comfort level. And if you are not comfortable, do not allow yourself to be pushed. Take the time you need, and communicate with your buddy and instructor what your needs are. Better yet, help communicate how they can best help you and don’t be shy about it. Trying scuba is a learning experience. Give it a chance and don’t expect to get it perfect right away.
In summary, take your time, relax and enjoy your first scuba experience. The more you relax, the better experience you will have now and if you continue in your diving adventures with an Open Water certification.
Oh, and don’t forget to bring a towel.
Enjoy the video below of first time scuba divers trying out the sport for their first time!