View Full Version : How do you free dive?
I was interested getting into freediving, and had a few question for you guys. What is needed to freedive. Such as what kind of gear and accesories do you need, and do i need to take any classes to start of. Do most people do it of a boat or just of shore. Where are some classes i can take in the southern california area. any info would be greatly appreciated.thnx.Mikee
11-25-2003, 03:43 AM
The following will be a very basic list of gear. You should be able to search this site and also www.deeperblue.net to get more info on specific items. There are many detailed threads on subjects like fins, masks, etc. You need to decide whether you want to get minimal, inexpensive gear to try and see if you really like the sport, or if you want to go ahead and get quality gear. You are going to have to do your homework, though! There is so much gear out there! Stop into local shops and just start checking out all the varieties of gear, and ask questions. But I think that if you are going to be asking them for a lot of advice, you should go back and support your local shop when you buy your gear, whenever possible.
Personally, I am still fairly new to the sport myself and spend a lot of time online researching stuff. I have only done beach diving in south O.C. so far and to a max of 30 feet (and have found plenty of fish!). The fins I have I chose for durability during beach launches, not for deep diving. Do your homework!
Wetsuit - lots to choose from. I am still using a 4mm/3mm surf suit, and am going to be buying a hooded vest to wear underneath for the winter. Many people wear thicker suits than mine, but I am pretty warm-blooded.
Fins - Strap or full-foot? Long or regular? Super-stiff or flexy? I am using Scubapro jetfins right now because I got them for next to nothing and they are almost indestructible. These are not freediving "longfins" that many people prefer. I will end up getting longfins (maybe for Christmas!)
Mask - go try them on, that's the only way to figure out which ones will fit you right and seal right. Go to a shop and ask them to recommend a mask for freediving (usually a "low volume" model). Get the best you can afford, but don't feel like you have to spend $100 on an ultra-high-end model.
Snorkel - lots to choose from. Mine is old, there's lots of newer styles that probably work much better than mine.
Weight Belt - not absolutely necessary. Let's see, I think I made all of 5 dives without one! Really helps you get down and stay down. I really prefer a pouch belt and bag weights, and I drive a Ford too! Chevy guys probably like iron weights.... j/k
Gloves - just to stay warm, or kevlar to catch lobsters. Check 'em out!
Boots/Booties - again for warmth, but for me especially good for protecting the feet during beach launches. Some people never wear any, and I know they get cold in the winter! Choose carefully to make sure they work well with the fins you get, and size your fins with the booties in mind.
Knife - I would carry one just in case of any entanglement problems.
That is the basic list of items that will get you in the water. If you want to start hunting fish, that's another list entirely. The most important thing will be to just get in the water (with a diving buddy of course!) and just get used to the gear and the breath holding scenario. Don't push your limits! The deeperblue site has a lot of good articles on diving physiology and things like "shallow water blackout". In south O.C. there is a new club, OC Hunter, that is very freedive oriented and was holding training seminars at a local pool. I'm not sure if that's still going on. Check out www.ochunter.com
Take everything I have said as coming fom a fairly new diver and do your homework.
11-25-2003, 01:17 PM
When I was a kid I bugged my parents non-stop until they finally gave me scuba certification classes for my 13th birthday. I was so psyched that I outscored everybody in my class on the tests. I had seen enough Jaques Cousteau shows to know how much I was going to love scuba diving. Naturally, I was sure that "snorkeling" was for less adventurous types than I, and that I would never stoop to such a low level.
Sure enough, you guessed it, I dove on scuba all of about 3 times before it lost its gleam. Years later, while living in Hawaii, and on a pretty tight budget, I got bitten with the diving bug again. However, this time it was the freediving bug. I was thrilled to learn the simplicity of the sport (not to mention that it fit into my budget). Once I added spearfishing to the docket, I was hooked.
The ease of gliding through the water silently, at speeds that make scuba divers more than envious, and the ability to swim right next to fish without alarming them is unbeatable.
My .02 is to get a bunch of gear that easily fits into your budget and try it out. Most freedivers are more than happy to have a new dive buddy, and after you try it on for size, you can start salivating over the latest fins and super low-volume masks and spearguns like the rest of us do.
11-25-2003, 09:36 PM
Another thing you may consider is checking out second hand sporting shops(there everywhere in socal). I have found great deals on used dive stuff. I bought my first gun from a used shop for 70 bucks, it was a great first gun and now it comes in handy for friends/backup. I have seen tons of good wetsuits and fins for cheep. Then if you decide you like the sport, go for the new good stuff. The one thing that I am learning real fast is that to get good at diving/spearing you have to put in the time, and if you do buy nice new stuff don't skimp on the costs. The good stuff is good for a reason. Good luck!
11-26-2003, 12:38 AM
The input has been great. I do caution you on one thing though. I would not recommend going into any diveshop and asking about equipment if you want to primarily freedive. Most diveshops are scuba-oriented, and a lot of the gear is not optimal for freediving (though it's passable). However, some divehop staff won't tell you that; they just want you to buy their gear. I think another guy recommended Beach Cities diveshop in Dana Point to you in another thread. They are a pretty good diveshop if you want to freedive and spearfish.
cool thnx for all the info guys.mike
11-27-2003, 11:40 AM
Another quick note, I go to the dive shops to try on the gear (ie. fins) for size, and then go to www.scubastore.com and find the gear on there and it comes out much cheaper and arrives in 3 days. I don't recommend you get any picasso gear, it sucks, believe me, I preffer cressi.
as far a masks: I like the superochio, snorkle: america, fins: gara, knife:norge. None of this gear is super high end but it gets the job done better than most.
I hope this helps a bit.....
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