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Question Dangerous to use a wetsuit?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Theo Granlund

New Member
Jul 9, 2021
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Hi!

I'm very new to any sort of freediving but I am a certified scuba diver and above average swimmer.
Finnily enough I have never used a wetsuit (except with scuba gear on). I just ordered my first one and from what I understand they are buoyant. However, I recently heard or read somewhere that wetsuits can have a negative buoyancy at certain depths.
My question is if that is something I have to worry about. Don't want to swim down and not be able to swim back up...

Thanks in advance for any answers!
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
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Wetsuits by themselves are never negative, always some buoyancy. They require using weights to counter that buoyancy. As you descend, water pressure compresses the wetsuit, reducing its buoyancy. Below a certain point, you become negative and require effort to swim back above your neutral point. Normal. Takes a bit of practice to get the right combination of suit and weight, but unless you are wearing a very thick suit, swimming back to the surface is not an issue.
 

Theo Granlund

New Member
Jul 9, 2021
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Wetsuits by themselves are never negative, always some buoyancy. They require using weights to counter that buoyancy. As you descend, water pressure compresses the wetsuit, reducing its buoyancy. Below a certain point, you become negative and require effort to swim back above your neutral point. Normal. Takes a bit of practice to get the right combination of suit and weight, but unless you are wearing a very thick suit, swimming back to the surface is not an issue.
Thank you very much for the relpy!
 
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Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
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Thank you very much for the relpy!
There is a lot of argument over neutral depth. I believe most freedive courses recommend 10 meters but they are also assuming very deep dives. I'm not diving deep and generally like to hunt at around 20 feet, so I adjust my weight to be neutral that that depth. But there is another consideration. Many blackouts happen after the diver hits the surface. When you blackout you relax and do a passive exhale. If you have too much weight, you sink. Unless your buddy is there to save you, you die. So you should do a test by passively exhaling on the surface to see if you sink or float. Freeiive training businesses say that if I have enough weight to be neutral as shallow as 20 feet, then I'm going to sink with a passive exhale. That's why they say I should wear less weight so that I have to kick down to 10 meters to be neutral. But they are wrong. I float.

What is wrong with their hard and fast rule is that they are based in Florida and assume warmer water and thinner or no wetsuit. In
California we wear 5 mm and 7mm wetsuits and there is more rubber to compress and expand with changes in depth and a greater change in buoyancy with a given change in depth.

I hope this wasn't too confusing. If so, I'll try harder.
 
Last edited:

Hypercubeh2o

New Member
Apr 24, 2021
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If you’re new to Freediving the chances of you going deep enough to make your suit heavy is pretty slim. I recommend taking a course and never dive alone. Slowly increase your depth. In Ontario we dive in cold fresh water and we tend to slightly underweight for additional safety.
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
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Like Bill, I often like to dive shallow, to stalk fish in string weed for example. That involves carrying a lot of lead, which can be dangerous/hardwork if you suddenly, say, find a drop off and decide to dive much deeper.
 
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