If you’re a newcomer to the world of diving, you may be wondering if there are any differences between scuba diving and freediving. Yet, anyone with any experience will tell you that there are some huge differences. One of the most important differences is the type and amount of gear and equipment you’ll need. So, get comfy and take a look through our guide to freediving gear.
If you’re scuba diving, you need a lot of different equipment, including fins, a mask, regulators, a tank, and a buoyancy compensator. On the other hand, freediving at its most basic involves absolutely no equipment at all. Your lungs are all you need to freedive if you really want to strip this pastime right back.
However, while there isn’t any mandatory freediving equipment, that doesn’t mean that freediving is better without any extra gear. In fact, most freedivers prefer to use certain items for their own comfort or safety or when they’re practicing a particular discipline.
With this in mind, here is our guide to freediving gear and some key features you should be looking for when you’re choosing them.
A Freediving Mask
A freediving mask is a popular choice. It makes it easier to see underwater and plan a safe route back to the surface. If you’re going to wear a mask, it’s essential to ensure it fits well and has low volume to equalize the mask more easily upon descent. It should also be flexible and comfortable when it is compressed.
An enclosed nose is important to guard against mask squeeze, and the lenses should be clear to improve your visibility.
Single-foot bi-fins are specifically created for freediving, but scuba divers will sometimes use them. If you’re going to use bi-fins, they need to have long blades for extra power under the water. Furthermore, they need to be full-foot fins so you can feel their movements more effectively and achieve better propulsion.
The best bi-fins are made from carbon fiber and fiberglass. These ensure the best balance of propulsion and finning effort.
Monofins are wide, single fins that fit over both your feet. These fins are used only for freediving. They allow for excellent propulsion under the water. However, the technique required to use them correctly can take some time to learn. Therefore, it’s always advisable to undergo some instruction before you use them for the first time. The best monofins are made from either carbon fiber or fiberglass.
It’s best to choose a wetsuit that has been specifically designed for freediving. It should be close-fitting and preferably custom-fitted to ensure the best possible closeness to the body. Two-piece wetsuits are the best choice. A separate pair of high trousers or long johns and a jacket with an integrated hood.
It would be best to avoid a suit with a zipper as this will minimize the water circulation. While open-cell neoprene wetsuits are better for mobility and warmth, they’re more fragile than closed-cell neoprene suits. Therefore, it’s best to make the suit wet before putting it on to avoid accidentally causing damage.
A Weight System
Scuba divers use weights too, but the ones you use for freediving are different. You wear a weight belt on your hips instead of your waist to facilitate deeper breathing. You should also choose a rubber freediving weight belt. This will stay on your hips correctly when compressed under the pressure of the water during your descent.
Hydrodynamic, small weights are best for minimized water resistance. Furthermore, a quick-release system is essential to drop your weights if you’re in an emergency situation.
Although scuba divers don’t think that a snorkel is important, for a freediver, they’re essential. Freedivers will spend lots of time using a snorkel when preparing for their dive. You need to ensure that the mouthpiece is comfortable and fits your mouth properly and that it’s made from a rigid material.
You may want to add a float to your snorkel, so you don’t accidentally lose it, and you may want to consider choosing one without a purge valve since water will be unlikely to get into the snorkel when you’re deep breathing.
Line And Buoy
If you’re planning to dive independently, you’ll need a buoy to rest after and before your dive, and so your freediving line can be safely secured. You need to ensure your buoy will float high on the water and that it is flat and has handles to facilitate towing and resting.
It must have a strong attachment point for supporting the line and weights, and it should be thick enough to hold easily and remain in place with just a small weight fixed to its bottom.
A Diving Watch
Another key piece of equipment that you should add to your freediving gear is a good-quality diving watch like the Garmin Descent G1. This handy piece of kit gives you plenty of information about your dive, including your depth and the length of time you’ve been underwater, so you can plan your next dive, work on meeting your diving goals, and most importantly, stay safe while under the water.
The best dive watches are designed specifically for the purpose and are water and pressure-resistant to depths of around 300 meters, so you can be confident whenever you go underwater.
Do I Need To Buy Specialist Freediving Gear?
Although there is no mandatory freediving equipment, you’ll definitely have a more enjoyable, safe, and comfortable diving experience if you invest in some key items as outlined above. If you already have scuba diving gear, you may be wondering if you need to buy specialist equipment for freediving.
The answer to that depends very much on what you already have. Still, in most cases, it’s best to invest in equipment designed specifically for freediving since it will be made from the most appropriate material and the most effective design.
Did you find our guide to freediving gear helpful? Let us know in the comments.
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Last Updated on April 25, 2022
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