• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

benefits of "apnea suit" over traditional wetsuit for diving in 72 degree water

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Shallow Water Whiteout
May 29, 2004
I do a lot of diving in the freshwater springs in FL (72 degrees F) and I'm looking to get a suit. Is there a huge advantage to getting an "apnea suit" or will I be fine with a traditional surf or SCUBA suit?

I really don't want a hooded suit, and can't find any good non-hooded apnea suits.

An input is appreciated, I have no experience in this area... :)
For the ultimate freediving enjoyment, I would recommend diving without any suit. Diving without a suit is very enjoyable in water warmer than 50F.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Heh, I've been doing that for 6 years and all I have to say is it's FREEZING. I'm usually shivering visibly after only 20 minutes, and I'm pretty sure that's preventing me from advancing in my diving. It's hard to relax when your body is shaking...
Eric I just calculated that to be 10 degrees Celsius. Are you mad or you like walking around with the smallest package on earth :D

That is freezing. I wear a 7mm suit for water colder than 15 degrees C

How long do you stay in the water for at that temperature.
I'm coing up with about 22 C, but it's still taxing after a while, even in a 3mm jump-suit.
If you get cold quickly when diving without a suit, don't blame the water, blame your cold tolerance.

If you decide to use a wetsuit instead, then you are fixing the symptoms, not fixing the problem.

Sort of like if you have a headache. You could take tylenol and fix the symptoms, or you could destress, fix your diet, exercise, and so on, to fix the root of the problem.

Laminar wrote an article not long ago here on DB on methods to increase your cold tolerance. A faigin diet high which is extremely high in essential fatty acids will help. Eating coconut based snacks before getting in the water helps too. Learning to relax your muscles one by one is also essential.

Wim Hof, from Netherlands, is a specialist in cold tolerance. He has virtually no body fat (very thin), yet he can remain in 0C water (32F) for over an hour without shivering (Guiness Record 66 minutes). He has held his breath for nearly 7 minutes while submerged under solid ice in a frozen lake, and he holds the records for breath-held swimming under ice. He has climbed Mount Everest in shorts, despite -100C wind chill. He has run half marathons in the snow, with bare feet.

So, there's no point in denying that it is possible. The question is how badly you want it.

Personally, I last comfortably for about 12 minutes in 43F/6C. This increases to 18 minutes in 8C/46F. I took a bath once in 73F/23C water for fun, after about half an hour I got bored, still pretty warm. I'm 6'0" and 174lbs, so not much fat!

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
That Wim Hof dude sounds hardcore.

It must be that I am a wimp :D

Sod it. I prefer to be a warm wimp that a frostbitten macho man.

I will save my cojones for the tuna hunting coming up shortly.

Thanks for the info though.

PS Are you sure he climbed to the top of everest in shorts?
  • Like
Reactions: tuomo


  • iceman1.jpg
    17.6 KB · Views: 488
"For example, with the retention of breath after exhaling, stopping inhalation at that point, and remain four and a half minutes without oxygen"

Thats quite a feat.

how long can he hold inhaled?
Eric - do you do specific breathing / visualizing for water at these temps ?

I find I get cold pretty quickly. I went swimming (no wetsuit, surface swimming) at the start of the summer when the water was about 11C - I was swimming for about 20 mins, and after the initial "damn, this is chilly" feeling, I felt ok, got out to dry off and after about 5 mins started shaking uncontrollably. I shook for the next 40 mins or so ! Luckily the sea is up to the heady heights of around 16C now.

Also I noticed that doing statics last month with another guy in an indoor pool I got chilled and started shaking alot sooner than he did.

I eat pretty healthily, swim alot in the sea (20 min swims a few times a week) and think that perhaps there is a genetic predisposition to feeling cold/poor circulation in addition to what you mention about cold tolerance.

Somedays all the blood has drained from my feet and they are white as death and have no circulation, then they go blotchy purple and take an hour or so to come back. This is strange because I would say that my regular swims in the sea would give me some cold tolerance.

Having said that maybe I am not going enough. When I lived in Hokkaido, Japan the winters got down to about -15C and I watched the thermometer inside drop over the winter months to around zero in my bedroom (but the bed was warm :)) - after a few months you do actually think that 8C is warm !

Any ideas on circulation ?!
There *is* a genetic component to this that I think is being denied. My little sister died at age 4 because she had a circulation problem. Perhaps if she had learned yoga or total concentration she would have conquered it? (there's some sarcasm there for the slow ones)

I've often wondered if I have the same problem (since I come from the same parents) but to a lesser extent, since it's never been diagnosed as a serious problem, but I have always felt like my cold tolerance is below normal.

BTW Mike, the 10C calculation was done from the 50F that effatah mentioned...
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Alison
Interesting discussion.

111, I'm curious about the specifics of the problems that cause the untimely death of your sister. Reason I say this is because having cold extremities is not necessarily a sign of poor circulation.

There is a phenomenom in the 'blood world' known as counter-current exchange. This is a mechanism bodies use to keep heat in the core of the body. Incoming and outgoing blood vessels are arranged very close to one another. Incoming blood (which has traveled to the outer parts of the body) has been cooled (given that the body-core temp is higher than the surrounding temp). When this 'cooled' blood passes by the warm, out-going blood, is 'robs' it of some of its heat. This is one factor (among others) that makes hands and feet get cold quickly. It also allows 'cold'-blooded animals, like tuna (and presumable dinosaurs) to maintain body temps much higher than their surroundings.

The way I combat (cold hands/feet) is to keep moving. When you use muscles, they release heat. This increases core temp, and will inevitably help warm extremities (despite the workings of counter-current exchange).

I don't doubt that some folks have incredible cold 'tolerance', like efattah and the gentleman from the Netherlands. But there must be a reason/mechanism for it to work. It's not enough to say that some people can handle cold temps better than others. efattah has stated that neither he nor Wim Hof is any too fat. So insullation is obviously not the method.

I wonder how much of the 'tolerance' is mental and how much is physical. The mental part is easy...we are all familiar with overcoming the urge to breath, so to apply it to cold would be no different. I also believe that even autonomic responses such as shivering have the capacity to be influenced.

Where I run into problems is with the 'energy' factor. The foods mentioned (fatty acids) hold lots of energy, and could seemingly be more than enough for a temporary dip into icy water. But where I run into a problem is how a man could climb Everest wearing only a pair of shorts.

I'm not challenging the claim; I only inquire as to how the energy needs were met. Even if this fella has the ability to stand the pain of the cold, he is still subject to the laws of themodynamics. Assuming he is human, he would be made of some 70% water like the rest of us. And if water freezes at 0C, he would need to keep 'his water' warmer than that. And to do this, energy would be needed.

So do you know if he had to bring many times more food with him on the trip compared to the rest of his team (I assume he had a team/witnesses).

Sorry for all the gas. Humans can do some pretty spectacular things. Nothing is impossible, but everything is explainable. I think the explanations of how they accomplish these feats are even more interesting than the feats themselves.
This is a huge topic, and I'm at work and don't have time to respond fully. I have done lots of research in the area of cold tolerance. This is what I can say so far:

- Both Laminar and I started off with very poor cold tolerance
- Only by practice was our cold tolerance improved
- Studies have found that the average human will start shivering at a core temperature of 36.5C
- However, the same studies found that with repeated exposure, the shivering threshold temperature can be lowered to 35.5C, and in some australian natives was measured to be as low as 35.0C
- If the body is generating heat with traditional metabolic methods, then this will consume calories, oxygen, and produce carbon dioxide
- So, any person generating lots of heat by traditional means will find that apnea ability is impaired due to the vastly increased metabolic rate
- Any person who can handle extreme cold for long periods, and perform long apneas at the same time, thus must be generating heat through some unknown mechanism
- When I have been working on my cold tolerance, my metabolic rate DOES increase, so I think I'm just generating heat through normal metabolic methods, but I don't think Wim Hof is doing that though

Wim Hof himself explains his method. He claims to have awakened Kundalini via Tummo Yoga exercises. I had the opportunity to meet several kundalini awakened people in florida. They all have one thing in common, their 'normal' resting body temperature is around 34.0C to 34.5C! Something very strange must be happening to the nervous system. There is something called 'Bentov's Hypothesis' which tries to explain the kundalini phenomenon, and in my opinion it is very close to the truth. According to Bentov, the kundalini exercises exploit the shockwave created by the heart, to cause a wave which travels up and bounces off the skull, travelling down to the base of the spine, and bouncing off the tense muscles (mula bandha), creating a standing acoustic wave along the spine, with nodes/focal points along the nerve plexuses. Bentov elaborates and shows how an acoustic wave set up in the head can eventually create an electric shunt (sort of piezoelectric effect), eventually creating the huge magnetic field emanating from the head, as measured from the heads of people who have awakened kundalini.

Qigong/Kundalini master Glenn Morris explains that in a kundalini awakened person, the intestines act as a coil, storing energy like an electrical supercapacitor. Qigong masters have said for centuries that extended practice can 'store' chi in the dan tian area. So, perhaps these people have stored a huge amount of electrical energy in the abdomen, and when generating heat, they simply use that store charge/electricity to generate heat via electrical resistance in the nervous system, without increasing their oxygen consumption rate. Qigong masters say that this energy, once used, must be replenished with qigong exercises like a battery.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
I get cold very easy. Always have. My hands and feet go stone cold well before anyone else. Martin Stepanek told me he has the same problem. I figure it must be a good problem to have. :D

Kirk Krack mentioned something about fatty foods taking more oxygen to break down and thus wouldn’t be good for freediving. Any comments?

PS The111, get a hooded apnea suit. I didn’t think I was getting much water and drag from a suit without a built in hood until I got one with a hood. Now it feels like my brakes are dragging when I dive in a suit without a built in hood. I’m looking at the Sporasub TSUNAMI 1.5mm hooded suit right now. Its $180 at http://www.norcalfreedive.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id
Last edited:
@ Matt and Shaca

Oops, sorry to correct someone who was correct in the first place -- I was focused on Matt's post, only skimmed Eric's and didn't realize that Shaca was't referring to Matt's post.

That'll teach me to read DB at work :D.
Who is this Kundalini?

Is he a DB member :D

How do i go about awakening Kundalini?

Having a magnetic head sounds cool.
  • Like
Reactions: unirdna
Lot's of points to cover as this thread has wandered all over the place.

First, as far as a non-hooded apnea suit goes, look at some of the Picasso models on the DB store. Ted, UNIRDNA, has one and it works out really nice for trips and summer diving- it's a one piece 3mm with opencell inside. For a warm water hooded suit look into some of the 1mm Riffe suits.

Second, as far as suits in warm water goes, I always used a suit, and a hood, on my warm water scuba trips. I also know of another instructor, from Wisconsin, who uses a 7mm jumpsuit and a 3mm beanie when diving in 84 degree water (F) down in Cayman. The reason we wore our warm suits in warm water was because we were doing 90 minute photgraphy dives, meaning little or no movement, 4-5 times a day. Over the period of a week this starts to take a toll on you. Some people would make fun of me at first when they saw the suits we would wear, but when our dives are, consistantly, 40 minutes longer and we STILL come back with more air in our tanks they would start to understand why.

Third, I wear a much thinner suit for freediving and stay much warmer than I do when scuba diving, and still overheat. Even in winter when we freedive I just need to swim for a few minutes to warm up. I recently ran a bunch of long-time scuba divers through some freediving training and the first thing they realized is that they can get by with a MUCH thinner suit and less weight.

Fourth, everything I had read, and experienced, when it comes to cold adaptation, states that the more you exercise in cold weather the more accstomed you get to being in it. It shouldn't surprise anyone that a couple of Canadian's can stay warm in water that scares off the Texans, but I wonder how well the Canadians would do when working out in extreme heat if not properly adapted???

One thing I have played around with on cold nights in Wisconsin is to simply do a couple of breath holds to contractions to warm when I am cold- it works! Not as much fun as shared body warmth, but it still does the trick.;)

Fifith, Moving water sucks the heat away quick! All you need to do is borrow a dive scooter some time and see how much faster you cool down compared to just swimming, or even sitting still at static. Hanging out in a 72 degree stream of high flow water would seem to cool someone off quite quickly- which is why the extreme cave divers down there use argon in their drysuit along with their thinsulate underwear.

I would like to add that although my hands remain warm even in cold water, I cannot touch anything hot. I get red welts (burns) from objects which other people can pick up without any pain.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
  • Like
Reactions: Pablo
Some more info on reiki tummo:


A lot of interesting surfing in here:


Links.. a lot of links...


I still don't find the techniques!!! courses, experiences, scams and loads of holly grail stuff... but is hard to find any useful data.

Highly interesting thread. :)

I will never forget a reportage about bare hand siberian tiger hunting (relocation). At around -40º the locals where awakening on the bivouac (a fire, no tent or anything else than they clothes!!!): they shake the snow from they parkas, and fully rested laugh at the restless and frozen to death reporters on all they tech gizmo...
The following interview with the cameramen was interesting: he explain that this people eat like five normal persons exercise like ten, and laugh like a hundred. The metabolism of this people must be fantastic... but they may have something else?
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing


ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2024 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.