humming to keep water out of the nose

I’ve been told by two people now to try humming to keep water out of my nose when rolling. Neither one told me specifically that they do this themselves. This is if I want the ability to roll without nose clips.

I’ve tried just a slow exhale in a pool, as I was going down and realized I forgot to put my nose clips on. It worked ok until laying back before coming out of the water and got some water up my nose. Much better than no exhale, but not perfect.

To prove that you exhale while humming, try humming then holding your nose. The humming stops.

I’m wondering if humming works better or worse than just a slow exhale. The humming might be a lower and more consistent exhale rate. Maybe I was inhaling for a split second when laying back and that’s why the water went up my nose. On the other hand, maybe the water just pushed or dropped in successfully against my exhale rate when laying back, and would go up my nose easier with the lower exhale rate.

Does anyone here use the humming method for a standard Eskimo roll? How well does it work?

I’d like to try it in salt water first, but won’t get to the coast for at least a couple more weeks, between the 30+ knot winds for the past month, and tides not favorable at the bays right now.

Would like a few more opinions before braving it in fresh water, not to mention clorine.

Paul S.

What tune works the best ?
I heard whistling will blow the water out of your mouth and after that third failed attempt you need to whistle “Dixie” !


and Happy New Year,

Jack L

I’ve heard that
and tried it. It works, albeit slightly for me. Water does still seem to enter a little. I don’t like exhaling through my nose and losing my air to avoid a little discomfort.

I tried some different techniques until I finally just started letting the water rush in to get used to it. It’s no longer uncomfortable for me to let the water fill my nasal passages, but never in a pool.

Really good question, actually.
I think low pitch is less air flow, high pitch is more air flow.

So probably a smooth sliding scale going from low to high. Conserve air in the beginning. Get some extra exhale at the end. hhhmmmmmeeeeee

Paul S.

Salt water will not burn
Fresh water and pool water will.

I doubt it
"I don’t like exhaling through my nose and losing my air to avoid a little discomfort."

I’m not sure it makes any difference.

The air coming out is CO2 instead of O. Holding them in won’t help you stay concious.

uh, abc
Lets not get too critical here. I’m speaking of how I feel when I lose my air. I’m not arguing the actual loss of oxygen vs. CO2.

I’ve also been diving for years so I’m very familiar in this area and don’t advocate holding breath…however, in rolling, 1 foot underwater, holding my breath is of no consequence.

I actually like to be able to control my exhaling process. When I capsize, I hold my breath. If I’m under awhile, I start a slow controlled exhaling process. In this process I do feel like I’m able to stay under longer. Same for me with free diving.

So, for me, if it’s a mental thing to increase my time under, so be it. A full nasal quantity of H2O is something people should train themselves to get used to, because they aint gonna have those noseplugs on when the s.h… hits the fan.

high vs. low pitch
Pitch is controlled by tongue height, the length of your vocal cords and larynx height. It’s just like a piano string: the shorter, the higher the pitch. Men have longer vocal cords, therefore a lower voice. The second variable is larynx height. This everyone can control. To feel it, put your fingers on your larynx (you “adam’s apple”/“voice box”), sing a vowel, and then go up an octive. You should feel your adam’s apple go up and down with each octive. “eee” is higher pitched than “ah”. But I seriously doubt this has much effect on supraglottal air pressure, although this does sound like fertile ground for further government investigation! I’ll have to apply for a grant. $100,000 and a few new Impex Curritucks for the study should do …

Dubside advocates sucking it up and taking water in your nose like a man (my words, not his).

Just make it a lab project for undergrad Chem Es in momentum and mass transfer, AKA fluid dynamics.

As a tax payer, I’d chip in my dollar for the grant, but it would take too long to get the answer.

Dubside advocates no clips, but does he advocate sucking it up, or exhaling?

Good explanation on the high versus low pitch. You’ve probably got me on the air flow, but I want to see the study, er, or the lab report. Maybe I’ll work out the lab. Blow up a balloon with my nose by humming high and low or something.

No wait, a clear tube in a bucket, goes down and makes a u-turn up, hum high and low and observe the water dynamics in the tube.

Paul S.

What about pinching off the nostrils
with your, um, nose muscles. I can do it part way. Maybe with some practice, plus humming.

So far, I’m not comfy with the idea of letting the water in on purpose. If all ocean, maybe. But I paddle lakes a lot too. Too much runoff in the lakes in the winter to be comfy with the idea of that brown water in my head. I suppose it’s mostly clay, but …

Paul S.

Not being critical
I practice with nose plug on. And of the times I capsize without one, I hardly noticed.

It’s afterward that my nose was not comfortable.

I do think exhaling would help to reduce the discomfort. On the other hand, I’m not sure if anyone actually do that (exhale slowly) when the “sht hits the fan”.

Actually the air coming out is N2
The air going in is mostly Nitrogen and the air coming out is mostly Nitrogen, you deplete only a fraction of the oxygen with one cycle of breathing in, although it does now contain more CO2. I expect the divers here or the exercise phsyiologists to chime in with the precise amounts.

Not a real world issue.
If you need to roll you are not going to be spending the time to think about humming.

I could make it a reflex

That’s not what I was explaining regarding your assumption that I was referring to exhaling slowly while the sht hits the fan.

What I was meant was, quite simply, this: I think it’s a good idea to practice without the plugs (in water you don’t mind entering your nose) and allowing the water to fully invade…ie, let it flow in. It’s uncomfortable at first, but with practice, it will become fairly tolerable. For me, the water floods in to it’s limit, and stops. Blowing out through your nose becomes unnecessary.

No, I didn’t miss it.
I know you’re not a beliver in exhaling. Nor am I. But others are. I was just wondering if they still do that when they do get knocked over by condition.

You also appear somewhat ignorant the fact no two people’s nose are the same. What doesn’t bother you much can be dibilitating to others. For them, it’s nose plug or no practicing rolls. So the third option of exhaling while under water might be the better alternative.

Do you let the water flow in
in fresh water, like lakes? Or just salt water? I know you said not pools. Just trying to understand your experience.

Paul S.

Even in a practice roll in fresh water, when I’ve forgotten to wear the nose clips I still rolled up as normal. The rush of stinging fresh water is noticeable but not debilitating. It hurts afterward more than during.

Paul, you can experiment right at home in the bathtub as far as humming high or low, not humming, slow exhaling, etc. I think you might be making a mtn out of a molehill, but hey, no harm done.

Call me arrogant, but
I refuse to do any testing of kayak techniques in the bathtub. In a 55 gallon drum in the backyard, maybe.

Sure pick on us geeks for making a lab project out of a simple try-it-and-find-out ;-).

Paul S.

"CO2 instead of O"
If that were true, CPR/rescue breathing would not work. Fortunately, our lungs are not that efficient and plenty of oxygen remains on exhale.

If you hold a breath in, you can extract a bit more oxygen and last longer between breaths (easy to test - time yourself with full and empty lungs).

For rolling, the buoyancy of inflated lungs can help too. Having air to blow out and clear any water in your head is a also good thing. Can prevent you from inhaling a mouth or snootful of water at an inopportune moment. All this adds to teh comfort factor, which helps you keep you wits, which prevents bailing.