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Freedive scootering?

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.

Frank O'Donnell

Apneic shutterbug
Apr 23, 2003
I get out freediving on a regular basis on charter boats that draw many scuba divers, including several friends who bring along Gavins. One of these trips I was thinking of bribing them into lending me one to play with for a few minutes during one of their surface intervals.

Is freedive scootering just a matter of breathing up, pressing the trigger and letting er rip? Or is there any technique or other considerations that should be kept in mind for a safe dive? (I'd think with anything that speeds up descents you'd want to be careful with equalizing.) Thanks for any input.

I use mine all the time. I put a scooter ring and crotch strap on a weight belt and took off all of the lead. I also use a regular nylon scuba belt and not a rubber freediving belt for this. This allows me to clear my ears with one hand while driving with the other.

A few years ago I met Kirk Krack at DEMA and he convinced me to carry a Spare-air along with me. I keep it on the right hip of my belt and only use it with my scooter- never while just plain freediving. I figure that if the scooter would flood I could get a breath and dump the scooter. Since I don't wear any lead I would get back to the surface without a problem.

Using a scooter allows me to retrieve weightbelts that the bubble blowr's always seem to be dropping. I wouldn't want to try and drag a 30+ pound belt up from depth on my own.;)

My father-in-law just got a Gavin and I hope to use it this summer. Right now I have an old Dacor Seasprint. I have used a friends Aeris which was pretty nice because it balances out better and it has a battery meter. It is very easy to see when your running out of juice and need to get back to the boat.

Scooter brands

Jon, thanks for the tips, those are all really helpful ideas.

By the way, pleading guilty to a fairly high cluelessness quotient in this particular area, I'm not all that clear on one make vs. another. After checking out some online pictures I can see that although my scootering scuba buddies are DIR-oriented, it's Makos rather than Gavins they're driving. (Still a nice DPV.)

You can get a Mako, by Oceanic, for a LOT less money than a Gavin. I believe that a Gavin has rewound Mako motor in it.

Most divers I know go with Mako's until they can afford a Gavin. George even has a trade in policy for Makos towards buying a Gavin.

I'm lucky to just be able to afford my old Dacor. ;)


I saw some on e-bay for as low as $340. I might have to save up for one during the summer. Heck, since im going to be majoring in electronics engineering, I could build my own for less than $200... Anyone else want one???
See ya,
You must be very careful not to get decompression sickness while freediving with a scooter (Kirk Krack got bad DCS from scooter diving). You can stay down just way too long.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Kirk was also going to 257' at the time.

My scootering all takes place in 100' of water and I always double my surface time before I go down again.

According to most freediving tables, diving with a 2:1 ratio (surface:bottom time) at 30m results in a DCS risk after 2 hours. With a scooter it will be even worse because most of the time will be spent on the bottom, as opposed to in midwater during the slower ascent/descent with fins.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
So would you recommend a 3:1 or a 4:1 ratio?

oo, i've been out there for too long. :hmm
how can i get hold of those freediving tables?
Laminar and I follow a few rules during deep recreational diving:
30m 2 minute dives are followed by a 4+ minute surface interval, taking care not to keep this up for more than 1 hour
40m 2 minute dives are followed by a 7+ minute surface interval, taking care not to keep this up for more than 1 hour

With a scooter, due to the different profile (more bottom time) and much faster ascent rate, I would double those surface interval times.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
hi Eric

That seems like unusually long surface times for someone like you, World spearfishing champion Alberto March apparently does Repetitive dives at the World champs in Tahiti a couple years back to 45m some of his dives were over 3mins he keeps this up for 6 or more hours. If I remember correctly he took a bubble to the brain a couple of times so maybe that is what you are trying to say about Surface times. Btw is a bubble to the brain DCS.


If anybody has high-quality, preferably digital video footage of scooter freediving, please contact me with a PM.

I am interested in acquisition.

Paul Kotik
I don't have any right now, but I could get some in the next month or two.

I know that there's a video out there somewhere of me "hamming" it up for the camera right before I slammed my head, and scooter, into the side of a shipwreck.:head

Luckily that hasn't surfaced anywhere that I have seen.;)


The surface times I listed are what you need to avoid DCS. These are not the times that laminar and I need to recover. We typically recover within about 2.5-3 minutes, but must force ourselves to wait for the required interval to go back down.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada

Oh right thanks bud, come to think of it thats pretty insane freedivers kinda using tables like the scuba guys except you guys have got no tanks :duh


10x Eric.
although i'm not yet in the phase that those rules would help me.
since i dive shallower, and i dive in (much) warmer water, more chance that i'll be diving for 4 hours or so at the 20's.
are there real tables for that?
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Does anyone has a clue about changing the dive style during the dive?
for example: taking a ride down with a scooter to a wreck 35meters down, parking it on the deck (imagine yourself it's a sunken scooter carrier:D), swimming inside, and when time comes, going out and taking a ride up.
is that a good idea or a bad idea?

So Paul, going the american way? more expensive, less effort? ;)
should be good fun, i'de be carefull not to get addicted to the easy ride.:hmm
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