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Underwater Pumpkin Carving
ScouterJT - 9/26/2008 11:32 AM
Category: General
Replies: 4

I’m thinking about heading to Dutch Springs for their underwater Pumpkin Carving contest

Any tips or secrets to successfully carve a pumpkin underwater? (not that I am all that creative carving a pumpkin above water, but that is another story)
GypsyDiver - 9/27/2008 9:21 AM

Underwater Pumpkin Carving
Tips from the Giant Pumpkin
Pumpkin Selection
Design: There are several factors in a winning design. The first is if you want to win, it needs to be diving related and scary for Halloween. Next, the more detailed you can make it the better it will be. After deciding on the design, practice carving it above water to make sure it is possible to carve with the dive knife you have. If not, choose either a different design or a new knife. Lastly, you should come up with something original that wasn’t seen last year. If the rules allow you to predraw your design on the pumpkin, definitely do so.
Size: The larger the pumpkin, the better your design can be and the judges will usually give credit to someone who figured out a method for sinking "The GREAT PUMPKIN!!!" Of course the larger it is the more difficult to sink it and most rules state you can’t cut the pumpkin until it is underwater. Try and find a pumpkin with a fairly flat surface to carve on as deep grooves can make carving more difficult. Thinner pumpkins are easier to carve and when I come up with a method for determining if a pumpkin is thin or thick I’ll share it. See the following section on dealing with buoyancy.
GypsyDiver - 9/27/2008 9:24 AM
Carving Tips
Actual Carving: The easiest method is to sink right to the bottom, depends on the depth of course, and sit indian style or lay with your knees behind you, with your buddy, shining his light on the pumpkin. Another method I’ve used is to find a ledge and put the pumpkin under the ledge, this works well in deeper water if there is a wall nearby. Grottos would work well since you could converse with your partner, but it is difficult swimming around with a pumpkin so you should know the area very well. As long as you are weighted down fairly well, carving at 15-20 feet works well and gives you as much air time as you need. If you aren’t weighted down enough, go down to 30 feet. A rocky bottom is preferable as you will have better visibility. Cut a large circle out of the bottom to use for scraping the pumpkin out. Save the bottom as this can be used to hold the light up as forces the light to shine upwards, instead of illuminating the bottom of the table. If you have a partner that you’ve practiced with, it is to both of your advantages to share in the carving duties. You can both share in the victory and you don’t get tired as easily when carving. Also, when just holding a light, you seem to get colder faster. If there is a time limit or even if there isn’t, if you have a light that can be attached to your mask and allow you to see, then both divers would be able to carve, thus increases the time you have for detail work and to cleanup the pumpkin before surfacing.

Buoyancy: Pumpkins float..., okay you probably knew that or guessed it by now. One diver or even two divers with all the air let out of their BC might not be able to sink a large one. I’ve seen people wear extra weight belts or do similar things, but personally I think this is a quick way to get seriously injured, ie. the pumpkin suddenly pops free. My preferred method is to put a net or a large shopping bag around the pumpkin and then tie it to a dive bag full of rocks so that it reaches neutral buoyancy. After you cut the pumpkin it will be negative and once you’ve finished carving you can get rid of the rocks accordingly and make a safe ascent. As soon as you are under, use your large knife to punch a hole in the bottom to let out the air.
GypsyDiver - 9/27/2008 9:25 AM
Knife Selection: RAMBO knives have no place here except for cutting a small hole in the bottom after submerging. I prefer the smallest dive knife I can find with a point, with also a saw on the back. Wenoka used to make a perfect knife for this. This knife has paid for itself in prizes many times over. Most contests will allow you to bring a spoon to hollow the pumpkin out. If possible scrape the pumpkin out as much as you can, as a thinner pumpkin is easier to carve on and requires less sawing.
Illumination: The more light the better! I’m still searching for a light that will brightly lightup the pumpkin, but will sit flat on the bottom of the pumpkin and not be visible when looking at the pumpkin. Smaller dive lights work well when stuck in the bottom (where you punched a hole to let out the air) of the pumpkin like a tall candle.

Also look at

or Google search “underwater pumpkin carving tips
Matt65 - 10/11/2008 3:30 AM
Really??? They have pumpkin carving contests under water? Wow, I never would have thought, but then again I’m very very new to the sport. So how did it go? Did you win? Or has this event occured yet?