The biggest factor to consider for any diver is safety. Ideally, you want to be buoyant enough to float on the surface. The reason being is that if you run into problems on your dive, your dive buddy can bring you to the surface to float much easier if you’re already buoyant. Bear in mind, that every situation presents its own diving approach. With safety in mind, it’s also important to pay attention to these factors to determine how much weight you should use:

  1. Wet suit thickness
  2. Depth of dive
  3. Body weight
  4. Body size and composition
  5. Whether you’re diving in fresh or salt water

Easiest Way of Calculating Your Freediving Weight:

Over weighting yourself while freediving or spearfishing can be potentially dangerous. The safest way to calculate the amount of weight needed is to test yourself in the water, if you’re diving to depths less than 30 feet, start by weighting yourself to be almost neutral at the surface, perhaps 1lbs or 2lbs light. You don’t want to find yourself using energy to keep afloat or using too much energy getting to depth.

‘You want to be sure that you will float up in the event of a shallow water blackout’

Freediving weight for beginners:

It is even more crucial for beginners to be safe during their initial dives. Remember, no one is expecting you to dive 10 meters and hang around in order to determine your neutral buoyancy. The easiest method for determining freediving weight is to put your wetsuit on and sit up right in at the surface. Put your arms on your sides and float upright in the water without finning. This should let you take a complete exhale and the water should only reach a level between your lower lip and chin. If for some reason the water is not reaching your chin when you exhale, you should add a little weight and keep adding until you reach that level.

Many experienced freedivers and spearfishers slightly overweight themselves by an amount easily neutralized by very slow forward swimming while breathing up for the next drop. Though anything over 30 feet, you could risk being too heavy as the pressure down deeper squeezes the air in your lungs and particles trapped in your suit making you less buoyant, particularly if you’ve ever had trouble returning to the surface – you want to be buoyant enough to float up in the event of a shallow water blackout. If you experience shallow water blackout, being neutrally buoyant at 30 ft should bring you to the surface.

Start with 2lbs per millimeter of wetsuit or 10% of your bodyweight. (This is a rough guideline, may vary due to body type.)

Freediving Principles

Below, we will be outlining some of the core free diving principles. You may have heard or seen these terms online, so we thought we would provide a brief description for each to give you a better understanding of freediving weight principle terminology.

 Constant Weight Freediving: Constant weight freediving consists of a freediver using only his fins and arms for a dive. It is the most common depth discipline for freedivers.

Recreational Freediving: This is meant for situations such as shallow reef freediving. You should adjust your weight so you’re positively buoyant on the surface but still heavily weighted in order to explore. If shallow diving, you should be neutrally buoyant a little higher than the sea bottom to make sure you’re not sinking too fast and crashing into the sea floor / reef.

 Free Immersion Freediving: Similar to constant weight, you should be neutrally buoyant within at least 10 meters. This allows you to easily practice free immersion diving techniques and equalization to shallow depths. To keep yourself from rising up after a dive, you can increase weights to help dive to deeper depths.

 Variable Weight Freediving: In this case, you’ll descend using a weighted sled. For the most part, no weight is worn aside from a weighting belt to seal off your wetsuit. Normally, you’ll wear a thicker suit to help aid in positive buoyancy.

 No Limits Freediving: Like variable weight, you’ll be aided in your descent so no weights are necessary. Coming back up, you’ll be helped once again by a buoyancy device or a lift bag which will take you back to the surface. It is recommended to wear a suit that will keep you warm and provides additional buoyancy to aid in your ascent.

Freediving belts & weights

Buy yourself a rubber belt, Nylon belts have a tendency of slipping up your waist while descending, also consider buying Vinyl coated weights as the lead can be toxic if rubbing on bare skin.

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