Equipment for freediving | Seanomad Freediving School
Equipment for freediving
Equipment for freediving

1. Freediving Masks

omersub freediving mask, green"Alien" low-volume freediving mask by Omersub

Freedivers who choose to use a mask must be sure that the mask fits properly. Freediving masks should have the following features:

Low volume: for easier equalization of the mask upon descent
Flexible: the mask skirt (the part that seals to the diver's face) should be very flexible so that it is comfortable when compressed
Clear lenses: to allow your buddy to see your eyes
Enclosed nose: to prevent mask squeeze

2. Bi-fins (Freediving Fins)

freediving equipmentCarbon fiber "Gara" fins by Cressi

Bi-fins are single-foot fins that are created specifically for freediving, although some scuba divers also use them. Bi-fins should have the following features:

Long blades: fins designed for freediving are longer and more powerful than typical scuba diving fins
Full-foot: full-foot fins allow the freediver to feel the fin movements and give him more effective propulsion than open-heeled fins (full-foot vs open-heeled fins)
Advanced materials: Freediving fin manufacturers have developed innovative materials for better underwater propulsion, such as fiberglass and carbon fibre. These materials are not used in scuba diving fins, but they are perfect for freedivers who must balance finning effort and propulsion.

3. Monofins (Freediving Fins)

a freediver uses a monofinFreediving with a monofin ©

Monofins are only used in freediving. A monofin is a single, wide fin that fits over both of the freediver's feet.

Propulsion: Monofins provide excellent propulsion. Most records in constant weight and dynamic freediving are achieved with monofins.
Kicking technique: Freediving with monofins requires a different technique than freediving with bi-fins, and it takes time to learn. It is recommended to take a course before using monofins.
Materials: Monofins are usually made of fiberglass or carbon fibre.
Less maneuverable: The drawback of monofins is that they are not as maneuverable as bi-fins. Monofins do not work well for scuba diving, snorkeling, or buddying another freediver.

4. Freediving Wetsuits

freediving equipmentFreediving wetsuit ©

Experienced freedivers prefer to use wetsuits designed specifically for freediving. Desirable traits in a freediving wetsuit include:

• Close fitting: Freedivers usually prefer custom fit wetsuits for a close fit.
Two-piece: Most freediving wetsuits have an integrated hood and a two-piece suit including a “long john” or high trousers and separate jacket.
No zipper: to minimize water circulation
Material: Freedivers prefer open cell neoprene for warmth and mobility, but it is more fragile than the standard closed-cell neoprene used in scuba diving wetsuits! To don a freediving wetsuit without damaging it, it is best to make it wet (without soap) before putting it on!

5. Weight System

freediving equipmentFreediving weights and belt ©
Another difference between scuba diving and freediving equipment is the weight system.
Position: The weight belt is worn on hips rather than waist to facilitate deep breathing.
Material: A good freediving belt is made of rubber so it stays on hips when water pressure compresses the wetsuit during descent.
Weight size: Freedivers prefer small, hydrodynamic weights to minimize water resistance.
Quick release: To allow the freediver to drop his weights in an emergency. Safety is also part of your freediving equipment!

6. Freediving Snorkels

freediving equipmentHigh-quality freediving snorkels © Cressi, 2011

Snorkels may not seem important to scuba divers, but for freedivers they are an important piece of gear. Freedivers spend a great deal of time breathing through snorkels while preparing to dive or watching their buddies. Freediving snorkels should have the following attributes:

Mouthpiece fit: The mouthpiece should be comfortable and fit the diver's mouth well.
Rigid: The snorkel should be rigid.
Purge valve optional: The advantage of choosing a snorkel with no purge valve is that water is less likely to enter the snorkel from the valve during deep breathing.
Float: Freedivers sometimes attach a small float to the snorkel to avoid loosing it on the surface.

Tip: Remember to remove the snorkel from your mouth during the dive to be able to inhale when you reached the surface breathing in water!

7. Buoy and Line

freedivingFreediving surface support station ©

Freedivers who dive independently from a shop or service provider will need a buoy. A buoy is necessary beacuse it allows the diver to rest before and after the dive. The buoy is also used to secure the freediving line. Important features of a freediving buoy and line are:

Floats high in the water: to allow the freediver to rest with his head well above the surface
Has handles: to facilitate resting and towing.
Is flat: for comfortable, effortless resting.
Strong attachment point: To support the line and any weights attached to it. • Thick line: The line attached to the buoy should be thick, so it is easy to hold and will stay in place with only a small amount of weight attached to the bottom.

Safety first! The use of a buoy is mandatory for ocean practice due to boat traffic. For safety reasons, it is recommended to use the help of a freediving school to organize freediving sessions, especially in new or unfamiliar locations.

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