Want to know what freediving equipment you need to freedive in the UK and further afield?
While freediving can be practiced in some safe conditions with no equipment at all, for the majority of dives a few items are necessary to make sure the dive is responsible and safe.
Here are the basics you need to get, before you head into the water.
Some specialist companies do design wetsuits specifically for freediving however, with the different depths and changes in temperature that they bring specifically in mind.
The wetsuits go from 2mm to a cosy 7mm for deeper dives.
During cooler weather, additional warmth can be achieved through the use of a 5mm-7mm hood and gloves, as well as a 5mm-7mm hooded vest under the wetsuit.
Freediving fins are unusual ans you can get a little confused when buying your first pair and have to choose between different stiffness and different overall design.
All fins are designed to move water in the opposite direction of travel, they do this by scooping up the water and pushing it backwards, but freediving fins are also designed to have an automatic multi phase kick cycle, where as you kick the flex and snap of the fin produces a second burst of power at the end of the kick.
Plastic is tough and cheap, best for recreational dives and spear fishing. Plastic composite has more of a reactive snap throughout the length so better power transfer will occur.
Getting a little more expensive, Fibre glass is quite fragile, but the most affordable way to get a pair of very snappy fins. Carbon fibre is the most expensive but lightest of all fins. Still fragile but with the best reactive snap. All the top divers will use carbon fins for deep dives.
Many professional freedivers prefer to use a monofin on dives. This is a single fin that the diver fastens their feet into, creating movement similar to a dolphin or whale when swimming.
A Fiberglas monofin is best for starting out. Stiffer fins-used for finswimming sprints-require better conditioning, a higher undulation frequency and are not always suitable for the slower pace of freediving.
Freediving Weight Systems
Freedivers wear weighting systems, weight belts or weights, generally made of lead, to counteract the buoyancy of other diving equipment.
Weights are also used for neutral buoyancy at a specific depth, and their weighting must take into account not only the compression of the suit with depth, but also the compression of the air in their lungs, and the consequent loss of buoyancy.
Divers will wear weight belts, along with lead weights, to control their dives at different depths. These include ditchable weights, weight harnesses and clip on weights, dependant on dive and location.
In free diving (breathhold) the weight system is almost exclusively a weight belt with quick release buckle, as the emergency release of the weights will usually allow the diver to float to the surface even if unconscious, where there is at least a chance of rescue.
A good quality mask is the most necessaryfreediving accessory, that freedivers invest in. Make sure to get a freediving mask and not just a low volume scuba mask. Her are a few good mask providers, to choose from:
The other most important accessory is some sort of timer of waterproof watch.