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Beginner full kit advice

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redsands

Member
Sep 1, 2020
17
8
8
Hi All! I'm trying to put together a solid beginner freediving kit which doesn't break the bank. I've done a lot of research and I'd really appreciate people's advice/approval on the following shortlist of equipment before I buy! Sorry for the long post...

TL;DR
I'm a beginner and need to buy the kit. Is my shortlist of kit good enough? Should I go for 5mm or a 7mm wetsuit? Would this kit be suitable for diving to 30m or more?

Some of my stats... Height: 175cm/5'7", Weight: 74kg, Male.

I recently got AIDA 1+2 certified and would say I'm reasonably confident in the water with my experience in scuba as an old hobby. My current goal as a freediver is visit wrecks around the Devon/Cornwall area where some sit at around 30m/100' depth.

My main worry is getting cold. I gather that water temps in Cornwall range between 7-16°C year-round. I'm keenly aware that we are about to head into winter. On my AIDA course, the water temp must have been 12°C max and I used a 5mm open cell wetsuit in which did get a bit chilly. I had to fin around between dives to raise my body temp.

The fins I used on the course were Cressi Gara 2000HF (size UK 8-9) which I found a little too stiff. I found the foot pocket slightly too small with a fairly worn 5mm shoe. I was weighted with 3 x 1kg weights.

My shortlist of kit
Would you say this is a solid beginner's setup?

Also, do you think it would be good enough for diving to wrecks eventually? What would be the most important piece of kit to change for diving deeper? I'm guessing the plastic fins for carbon or fibreglass.
 

Johny Depth

Active Member
Sep 27, 2020
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Q. marker bouy .Knife and elastic weight belt in the future neropren weights jacket if desired. 7mm suit in winter deeper areas have warm thermils summer shallow water is warmer in the uk i used 5mm gloves suit 5 mm and 7 mm depending on current usualy mannaged or influenced from the wind try a dive store near you if poss ,.its impossible tobe100 percent accurate in the 1st year its all in experience hope you favour well in your under water adventures and shopping spree
 

redsands

Member
Sep 1, 2020
17
8
8
Q. marker bouy .Knife and elastic weight belt in the future neropren weights jacket if desired. 7mm suit in winter deeper areas have warm thermils summer shallow water is warmer in the uk i used 5mm gloves suit 5 mm and 7 mm depending on current usualy mannaged or influenced from the wind try a dive store near you if poss ,.its impossible tobe100 percent accurate in the 1st year its all in experience hope you favour well in your under water adventures and shopping spree
I had forgotten about the knife! Thanks for all your tips - I'll change some of my choices around a bit. I'm inclined to keep on with the 7mm suit as my starting point. As you say, it will be impossible to get perfect the first time.

I'm not looking forward to the spending but I can't wait to get the gear!
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
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I'm not familiar with Cressi footpockets sizes but if your foot size is 42 and you need size 44-45, their sizes must be quite far off. :(

But you don't want tight footpockets, as that will restrict blood flow and lead to cold feet. Better to wear thinner socks/booties and let the blood flow. I sometimes dive without socks in the Summer, if it's really warm - the footpocket itself covers your foot.

No spearfishing or camera or torch?
 
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redsands

Member
Sep 1, 2020
17
8
8
I agree - the sizing does sound far off. However, reading through the Amazon customer reviews (mostly Italians) it sounds like I'll have to buy one size bigger which is the 44/45 (the size below being 42/43).

I own a 4K Olympus Tough camera which goes to 40m and I suppose I could use the torch on that which is quite powerful. I hadn't considered that a torch might be necessary before! I may give spearfishing a go once I've got more experience.

Out of interest, do you keep a variety of weights handy like 2kgs and 1kgs depending on the type of water and type of wetsuit you're wearing? I'm thinking of getting something like 2x2kg and 4x1kg.
 

DRW

Vintage snorkeller
Jan 5, 2007
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Fin grips can come in useful when securing closed-heel fins whose footpockets happen to be slightly oversized.
 

redsands

Member
Sep 1, 2020
17
8
8
@DivingNomad We have no option to keep a stiff upper lip about our cold conditions this end of the pond!

@DRW That is a very handy tip. Thanks! I may well need them if my estimation of fin size doesn't work out as hoped.
 
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7BDiver

Active Member
Sep 5, 2019
147
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If you have narrow feet (which these fins do great with) I would suggest matching your shoe size with your fin size using the Gara 3000 LD. I use the 44-45 Gara 3000 LD and my shoe size it more in the 45-46 range. Using 2.5 mil Cressi no-slip socks with the fins my feet do not feel tight or uncomfortable and could easily use thicker socks. I like the fins themselves very much, stiffer than most but soft and comfortable foot pocket.
 

Markusfugit

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2011
51
9
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@7BDiver I'm committed now! The order is on its way. Once I have it I'll try it on and will let you know. Fingers crossed...
A note on the weight jacket suggestion: I've been using one for a few years and find it really helpful to have most of the weight where most of the buoyancy is. This would be particularly helpful when wearing thicker wetsuits (like I did in Canada, but "not so much" in Costa Rica) I also recently installed my small knife on one shoulder strap and a pea-less whistle on the other with a short lanyard. When doing shallower dives, I can clip a 1.5 pound quick release weight onto my belt. Have fun!
 

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redsands

Member
Sep 1, 2020
17
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I got my full compliment of kit. I'm sitting in my 7mm Cressi Apnea 2018 Complete, medium-size wetsuit and I've got to say I'm not comfortable. I feel like my neck is being squeezed, reaching up overhead is a slight struggle and to top it off I swear I nearly died of asphyxiation or strangulation of blood to my head. I still feel like I'm being strangled ever so slightly. Putting the hood on relieves the pressure a lot.

I'm going to give the suit a spin in the water next weekend unless someone tells me the suit might strangle me in the water! I am hoping being in the water will help ease it up. I really am surprised - my body is a textbook Medium size according to the specs on Amazon. My upper body is somewhat muscular but unless the suit is designed for a beanpole I wouldn't expect this to make such a difference.

For the record, for my Gara 3000LD fins, I returned the UK size 10-11 (EU 44-45) fins and got the 8-9 (EU 42-43) ones instead. They fit much better (as @7BDiver anticipated). I got a Seac Driver dive computer (great price on Amazon - around £80), some Cressi 5mm gloves and a simple line cutter for emergencies. Will upgrade to a knife when I'm thinking of sea diving. For now, I'll be using a quarry.

Really disappointed about the suit. Perfectly prepared to get the right size but I'm scared that buying the same suit in Large size would be wrong too! The lengths of the limbs are pretty good. Or does this mean I need to look for another suit entirely that suits my body shape better? I certainly didn't feel this level of discomfort using the 5mm suit on my AIDA 2* course.

Right, it's finally time to try and get out of this thing.
 
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miklcct

New Member
Oct 19, 2020
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That's really cold for diving. I'm doing my AIDA class in skin temperature (27°C) but some people still feel cold in their 3 mm.
 
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Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
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I'm sitting in my 7mm Cressi Apnea 2018 Complete, medium-size wetsuit and I've got to say I'm not comfortable. I feel like my neck is being squeezed, reaching up overhead is a slight struggle and to top it off I swear I nearly died of asphyxiation or strangulation of blood to my head. I still feel like I'm being strangled ever so slightly. Putting the hood on relieves the pressure a lot.
Without the hood there are obviously more layers bunched up right around your neck and the suit will feel more tight as a result.

Wearing it in the water is always a lot more comfortable and the neoprene will also expand slightly (or at least it will feel like it does). If it really remains too tight you could try stretching it. Various methods have been mentioned over the years here on the forum, mostly as low-level as inserting a large can of beans, balloons or a bag of clothes and then leaving it for a while.

I swear I nearly died of asphyxiation or strangulation of blood to my head
I assume this is a little exaggerated? If not and it's really strangling you, then perhaps stretching it won't help enough and a custom suit would be better. I went for a custom suit right away, because of the same but opposite problem of a long thin neck, big head, long legs and other parts that don't come standard.:)
 

7BDiver

Active Member
Sep 5, 2019
147
51
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I agree that a suit will break in and strangle less, will likely notice a significant difference the next time you put it on after some hours in the water, definitely had this issue having a thick neck.
 

Johny Depth

Active Member
Sep 27, 2020
116
41
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What model did you purchase on cressi !the newer models are one size up the i hope you did not purchase very old in stock model then go to the modern size chart thats been used for some years now,. I have very muscular arms neck and shoulders im the xl 5 im great with the cernia great with the scorfano and the other camo designs and the apnea cressi .,I always measure my chest then refer to the size chart im 110 cm although go to114 on deep in hale or their abouts,. the new suit takes a better form on the 4th occasion of use although you could try it on with some hair conditioner soap or shampo causes skin irretation unless its baby shampo i sit down in the shower so as not to slip on the foot surface its safer or if you have a bathing tub baby oil with water mixed in to a solution as so is a option but not good to the mask oils up the lense., if the jacket or suit dont fit send it back as defective let us know how you get on
 

redsands

Member
Sep 1, 2020
17
8
8
@Johny Depth It's a 7mm Cressi Apnea 2018 Complete size M/3.
@Leander I'm not kidding. My face was literally red from the pressure around my neck!

Thought I'd update on this. I gave the wetsuit another try before returning it and... It's like a completely different wetsuit. It fits beautifully. Is it the fact that it's my 2nd time trying it on so it could have stretched a little? Is it the fact that I had lubed it up ineffectively the first time and this time used a generous helping of Lidl-brand Cien kids shampoo, lemon-flavour? The suit slipped right on as it should. Last time it was as though I'd decided to try and wear a reluctant manta ray or something.

Best of all, the strangling isn't there. At least, only tiniest amount of pressure, not enough to put me off relaxing before a duck dive.

I daresay size L/4 could fit better on my chest but I think on balance the majority of my measurements are M/3 so I'll stick with it long enough to take it for a spin. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts on this. It helped me out.
 

Johny Depth

Active Member
Sep 27, 2020
116
41
33
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Get the next size up you could purchase a jacket buy its self .! Or have the neck area adjusted this is possible if you reside near to a maker of wet suits .
 

Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
420
228
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Good to hear, Redsands. Now go have fun diving!

A tip: put a tube of neoprene glue in your dive bag. You probably won't damage the suit anytime soon, but it keeps you from worrying.
 
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