Do I Need Specialist Equipment To Freedive?
Yes! Do not worry, you do not need much! However, there is some basic specialist Freediving equipment that you will need to start, such as a Freediving Mask, Snorkel and a Pair of fins!
These three items are the most essential for entry-level Freedivers. Each item has specific aspects which are designed for Freediving, for example, a low volume mask!
You will have the opportunity to hire all the necessary equipment while completing a Freediving course. However, you may find it more comfortable to slowly build up a small collection of your own gear such as a mask and fins.
Once you have completed the beginner Freediving courses, you might look into purchasing some more advanced items of equipment, such as monofins, weights, Buoys and Dive lines!
So what Specialist Equipment do you need to start Freediving? In this article we aim to discuss the following items found on a Freedivers Equipment list:
- Freediving Mask
- Freediving Bi-Fins
- Buoy And Dive Line
Let us have a look at the first and most important item on all Freedivers’ equipment list: A Freediving mask! But what makes a Freediving mask so special? I shall tell you!
A Freediving Mask is the most important piece of equipment. To be well suited for Freediving, the mask must be low volume, made of Tempered Glass, and most importantly: Comfortable!
Firstly, let us have a look at why a Freediving mask should be Low air volume.
Low Air Volume
A Freediving Mask should be low volume, to make it easier to equalise at depth, requiring as little precious air from your lungs as possible.
The ‘volume’ of a mask is the air between the face and the mask. Therefore, a low-volume mask is a lot smaller, reducing the volume within.
In all types of water activities, when you dive down, pressure increases with depth. While Scuba Diving and Freediving, as the pressure increases, the air spaces within the mask become pressurised.
As pressure increases with depth, you can feel the pressure against the mask, getting squashed up against your face!
While Scuba Diving, equalising the air space in the mask is easy, by simply blowing slightly out of your nose. With a constant supply of air, you can do this as much as you like! However, while Freediving, we have less air to play with!
Take a quick look at what a general Scuba diving mask looks like here!
As you probably already know, Freediving is diving on one singular breath! Therefore, Freedivers only have one breath in their lungs to get through the dive!
Low Air Volume Freediving masks are excellent, as they require less breath to equalise at depth. What does that mean? More of this valuable air is kept in your lungs!
So now take a look at what a Low Volume Freediving mask looks like here. Do you see? It has a much lower volume!
A Tempered Glass mask is important, to be able to withstand the pressure of the water exerted against the outside of the mask lens! Freediving masks are put under a lot of pressure!
Do not worry! Knowing whether or not a mask is Tempered Glass is easy!
The Glass of many masks have a little “T” marked on it, meaning that it is ‘Tempered’ and can withstand pressure and impact much better than regular masks.
If in the unlikely case that is not obvious on the mask, label or within the product description, is always best to check with the seller! Having a Tempered Glass mask is the best way to avoid it shattering, and damaging your eyes or face!
When shopping for a mask, you will find that most masks these days are made of Tempered Glass due to increased safety!
A comfortable mask should fit the shape of your face and create a seal to prevent water from seeping in! Comfort is always the most important while participating in any sport, especially one within the water!
Everyone has different shaped faces! When looking for a mask, it is highly recommended to visit a shop and try some on!
Finding the perfect mask is like finding the perfect pair of shoes! (or fins!)You need to try them on for size!
Testing a mask is easy! Firstly, place it on your face, and check that it fits all your contours comfortably and smoothly! Next, take some breaths through your nose, removing the air and creating a mini vacuum!
If the mask fits correctly, the seal should prevent additional air from seeping in and the mask should be stuck to your face! Keep it like this for a couple of seconds to make sure!
If the mask is comfortable, past the test (and looks cool!), then you’ve found the perfect mask for you!
Take a look at this awesome Ultra Low Volume Freediving mask which comes in four different colours!
Snorkels are very important for Freedivers as they remain on the surface to breathe before a dive. This Freediving item should be good quality, simple and comfortable!
Good Quality and Simplicity
Freediving snorkels should be very good quality and simple. They are a crucial aid to breathing on the surface with your face underwater.
Floating on the surface face down, breathing techniques are used to relax your mind and body. This activity is important for good breath-holding!
A good quality snorkel prevents any leaks or discomfort and removes any annoyances!
An annoying snorkel which does not fit right or keeps letting water in can possibly hinder your inability to focus on your breathing!
Comfort is essential, as Freedivers keep their snorkel in their mouths for a long period of time.
Finding the perfect snorkel for you might be a bit of trial and error. Snorkels can have different sizes and shaped mouthpieces, so it might take a snorkel or two until you find the perfect one for you!
Snorkels can even be fitted with custom mouthpieces which is a fantastic way to customise your snorkel to fit you perfectly!
The next essential item is very specific and famous for Freediving! Let’s take a look!
Freediving is famously known for the super long fins, usually in the form of two long blades known as Bi-fins. These items of equipment are very important to glide through the water, reaching greater depths and distances!
There are three main types of Freediving fins:
- Carbon Fiber
Plastic Fins are generally recommended for novice Freedivers, who are starting out within the sport! This is because not only are they cheaper, they are more flexible and easier to kick through the water with!
Carbon Fiber and Fibreglass Fins are incredible, but generally used more by advanced and deep Freedivers! This is because they can be a lot more expensive than Plastic Fins, therefore not usually recommended for beginners based on the price!
Freediving Bi-fins are very long, about ⅓ longer than Scuba Diving fins.
With longer fins, Freedivers can kick less, and produce the same amount of force!
Remember, Freediving relies on one breath! Therefore movement should be minimised and energy should be conserved!
You might be wondering, how do you know which Freediving fins to get?
If you are a beginner, perhaps purchase a plastic pair of Freediving fins. Once completing your beginner’s courses, choosing a pair of Carbon Fibre or Fiberglass fins might become beneficial!
So what should a Freediving fin feel like?
Freediving fins are closed foot, creating a pocket with flexible and comfortable material. When choosing Freediving fins, try the fins on and make sure they are the perfect fit!
Freediving fins must be comfortable, to prevent and kick inefficiencies! When holding your breath, you do not want to be worrying about
Okay, so they have to be comfortable and long… but what else?
Another important attribute of Freediving fins is stiffness! Beginners are recommended to start with a soft to medium-soft blade, depending on which discipline you will be using them for!
Soft blades are better suited for shallow dives or swimming on the surface.
As you get more comfortable and build those Freediving leg muscles, stiffer blades can come into action! Stiff blades are highly recommended for deeper dives, creating more force with each kick!
Bi-Fins are a very popular type of fins, but there is another! Read below to find out what they are called!
A monofin is one Fin, which is very wide, and fits both of the Freediver’s feet! Monofins have an impressive amount of propulsion, helping Freedivers reach further and deeper on less movement!
This type of Fin is used to increase the amount of propulsion of each kick!
Monofins have been proven very efficient, with many records, including Constant Weight and Dynamic Freediving records having been accomplished with the Monofin!
Have a look here at what Monofins look like!
Just like Bi-fins, monofins are also made out of Fibreglass or Carbon Fibre. However, unlike Bi-Fins, monofins are a lot more constricting, allowing less movement!
The style of fin which is best for you depends on what Freediving Disciplines you will be practising!
Weighs are not always used within Freediving, but without them, it can be challenging to get down! Weights make Freedivers less positively buoyant, allow them to swim distances or sink deeper with more ease!
Dynamic Apnea involves swimming horizontal distances, therefore remaining at the same depth. Weights can keep divers at a constant neutral buoyancy, making it much easier to swim further without floating up to the surface!
Constant Weight Freediving can involve wearing a weight belt, assisting the diver in reaching deeper depths of the ocean!
However, as the Freediver gets deeper, they become less buoyant. Therefore, in contrast to assisting in the descent, weights can make it much harder for Freedivers to swim back up to the surface!
Constant Weight Freediving does not have to be performed with additional weights and many divers decide not to wear them!
Without weights, the Freediver will be positively buoyant, requiring more energy to dive down! But on the bright side, no additional weight demands less kicking and energy during the ascent!
Buoy and Dive Line
Buoy and Dive Lines are very essential pieces of equipment, allowing the Freedivers to rest on the surface, and grab the dive line during the descent and/or ascent!
These two pieces of equipment are usually provided by the shop when completing training courses or organised Fun dives! However, if you have completed your courses and you want to Fun dive alone with some friends, these two items are a must-have!
Floating on the surface, Diving buoys are positively buoyant sanctuaries for Freedivers, allowing them to rest before and after a dive! Holding onto a buoy ensures peace of mind and total relaxation as Freedivers focus on their breathing.
Not only do buoys provide a resting place, but they also signal to boats on the surface that there are divers below. Boats should not come close to Diving Buoys and flags, to ensure the safety of divers below.
Buoys also come in handy to secure the dive line!
Dive lines exist for safety, depth and sense of direction!
While diving down in the blue, it is not always easy to know which way is down! A dive line assists in showing which ways are up and down!
Dive lines also aid divers at the bottom of the dive! When turning around, Divers can pull on the line, turning their bodies with ease and setting up and smooth ascent!
No-Fins diving is a great training technique to warm the body, lungs and eardrums for deep depths! With no fins, divers pull themselves down using the Dive line, conserving energy in their legs for the deep dive to come!
Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!
Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.
Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:
In this article, we have introduced a handful of the most important specialist Freediving Equipment! As a beginner, you might only start out with your own mask and a pair of fins.
Once you complete some courses and gain some experience, you might venture out and purchase some more specialist equipment such as weights, Dive buoys and Dive lines!
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