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Using a freediving nose clip might not be so common at the beginning of your freedive career, but as you progress, it can bring you many benefits. This summary explains what advantages you will enjoy when freediving with a nose clip and what is the best model for pool training and open water competitions.
What is a nose clip
A nose clip is an accessory that is designed to wear directly on the nose or on the freediving mask’s nose pocket. The simplest models consist of a wire with rubber cover, but one can find adjustable plastic ones too with silicone covering. They are used for watersports, most commonly while swimming and freediving. It holds the nostrils closed and like this, doesn’t allow air escaping as well as prevents water entry to the nose.
Why you should use a freediving nose clip
Once you decide to give a try to freedive with a nose clip, you will quickly realize that it can bring you many advantages like significant improvement in your static and dynamic apnea performance, as well as contributes to establishing a clear, effortless diving style.
The main benefits of using a nose clips for freediving
- allows hands-free equalization
- leaves you with more oxygen
- helps to strengthen the mammalian dive reflex
Learning and mastering the right equalization is essential for freedivers out of health and also performance aspects. The most optimal maneuver is the Frenzel equalization when you equalize the middle ear by using the back of your tongue to create pressure, but it takes time and efforts to learn it. The common equalization is the Valsalva technique when you try to exhale through the nostrils while pinching the nose with your hand.
This Valsalva method is easy-to-learn and works good while fun diving. On the contrary, constantly brining up your hand to your nose affects badly your hydrodynamic and the rhythm of your dive, which are important factors if it comes to performance. To solve these problems, using a nose clip that holds your nostrils closed is a simple yet very effective solution that contributes to effortless dives and improves your efficiency.
As you descend, the increased pressure will push the mask to your face causing discomfort. Therefore, you need to equalize your mask too which means a significant air-loss. The best freediving masks have low internal volume that need less air to equalize, but if you freedive with the aim of reaching great depths not just for fun, using a nose clip and goggles is the best choice to enjoy having more oxygen and skip the mask equalization issues.
The mammalian dive reflex
Strengthening the mammalian dive reflex is essential for freedivers. This skill allows to stay underwater for extended periods of time.
The mammalian diving response is a reflex which is a skill of air-breathing vertebrates (especially in marine mammals but also in humans and diving birds). It includes a set of physiological responses such as heart rate slowing and blood rerouting to essential organs. To trigger these responses, special receptors on the face needs to be submerged in water. The most receptors are around the eyes, nose and forehead.
If you wear a freediving mask, it covers these areas therefore the receptors cannot get the signal. Therefore, you should use a nose clip with or even without swimming googles that leave your face and the receptors free. This helps to achieve a stronger mammalian diving response and a more relaxed diving style.
How to wear the freediving nose clip
There are 3 different ways how you can wear your freediving nose clip:
- with freediving mask, on your mask nose pocket
- with swimming goggles on the nose
- without googles on your nose
Some models are designed to be usable with a normal freediving mask too and remain on the nose pocket. This technique is common when fun diving and/or trainings, but not when competing. The reason behind this is simple: like this, you won’t enjoy the advantages of having a stronger mammalian diving response, since most of your face is still covered.
Competitive athletes wear the freediving nose clip with special fluid googles that cover only the eyes, not the whole face. Some divers wear it without mask/goggles. If your eyes are not sensitive, or you find it more comfortable out of personal dive preferences, of course you can do like this. But be careful, because the chlorinated pool water or the salty sea water may cause irritation.
If you are thinking to get new mask, make sure you check out our freediving mask buying tips!
The best freediving nose clips
Mares nose clip
The Mares nose clip is a popular and affordable model that is perfect to use in the pool and in the ocean too. It can be worn on the nose but also on the mask providing the wearer with the benefits of hands-free equalization. This nose clip from Mares is light, compact yet durable. No matter you need it for swimming or freediving, the soft grips and ergonomic design makes it comfortable to wear.
Omer nose clip
A high-quality product that is perfect for any freediving activity including spearfishing and snorkeling too, moreover a great choice also for freediving competitions. The Omer nose clip fits all freediving mask but the best is to use it with the Omer UP-M1 that comes with a special nose pocket design for a secure clip-placement. For the most comfortable experience, the toggles are mounted on sprigs that open under pressure ensuring easy air flow.
Scubapro nose clip
If you are looking for a professional and precise freediving nose clip, consider buying this Scubapro model. The lightweight aluminum makes it durable, while the soft pads provide you with extra comfort. The Scubapro nose clip is adjustable and comes with a neck strap. A great buy for pool and sea training as well as for competitions!