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I have seen the light!!

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jan 31, 2002
I have seen the light!! (re: bouyancy)

Ive been freediving for about 6 months, with a surfing wetsuit and 4 pounds of weight. I would have to fin all the way to the bottom, and then keep finning slowly while inverted to stay down.

Then I read the 'Freedive' book, and realised I was majorly underweighted

I got hold of another 4 pounds and went out. It was amazing!!! After a few initial fin strokes I would be gliding down to the bottom with hardly any effort. And when I got there I could stay down with no effort, totally relaxed. It felt amazing!!!! I felt like a fish!!! I could stay totally still and see loads more, or could move around easily if I wanted. Then when the call for air came, I would just fin to the surface. It has made a HUUUUUUUUGE difference to the experience

Ive also been scuba diving for 2 and a half years, and freediving is WAY better. You feel much more like one of the fish than an observer in bulky complicated scuba gear

What I have to be careful of now, is the dreaded SWB. But I dont hyperventilate at all, and dont push my luck

Im hooked, big time!!

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Hi Barry,

Yep I got frustrated when diving shallow because you keep floating up. You actually have to weigh yourself depending on the depth you get to. You will find when you get better and start diving deeper, you want to use less weight so your "Neutral Buoyancy" point is deeper.
You do need extra weight for diving shallow, but be careful because too much and you won't float back up in an emergency.
(I think Terry Maas reccomends being bouyant at 5m so you float up in case of a SWB)

On deeper dives though you want less weight so you aren't sinking like a stone on the bottom. Also makes the long trip up easier, once you get to the neutral point, you can almost stop kicking and get a "free ride" up. Also much safer to be underweighted on a deep dive.
I'm not sure where you weigh yourself to be neutral in that case, perhaps halfway ?
Any suggestions from the "Pro" divers who read this ?

I dive on the South coast of NSW and freedive with a 5mm top and 3mm bottom. If I'm diving around 10m, I use about 9 pounds, If I'm diving around 20m or more then I only use about 5 pounds. I guess I would need around 12 pounds to be neutral at 5m, but don't really bother. (Sometimes just exhale a bit, although you lose a bit of bottom time, also maybe grab onto a rock)

Ayway sounds like you enjoy it. I'm also from a scuba background but I enjoy both freediving and scuba. I really like the feeling of being able to swim wihtout all the heavy stuff. Also noticed fish seem to interact different while not blowing bubbles.
Being able to triple the speed of scuba without effort !
Specially useful for playing with bigger critters such as Seals, Turtles and Manta Rays.

Lot's of luck and hope you see lots of cool stuff down there.
a weighty issue...

Hi Barry and Walrus and welcome to freediving as well as this site. As much of freediving technique and equipment is purely personal, developed through experience and preference, how you weight yourself is no different.

My preference is to be neutrally bouyant at 5m. That way I don't have to keep kicking at the surface to hold my head up and it's like Walrus said, it's a free ride up. You want to take note of the depths that you do the majority of your diving at and weight yourself appropriately, for example, as a new diver you'll want to be able to get down easy but not so heavy as to work hard to get back up. I recommend that you wear enough lead so that when at the surface and floating vertically with your face mask at water level, when you exhale you have a slight tendency to sink, and when you inhale, that you have a slight rise to the surface. Then take off a pound and have fun. The deeper you go, the more your wetsuit will compress, making you heavier, so if you end up at 5-7m, you'll be cruising against the botom just having to use a finger to hold off the bottom, depending on the sweel and surge. If you end up going deeper eventually, you'll want to take off another pound or two as you see fit. In open water I like to be a bit heavy; if there's kelp around to help pull myself down, I'll lose a pound. Simple stuff and fun if you practice safety and patience.

I like to be boyant about -10m it is usually there wher I find the most interesting stuff to investigate;) And when I get used to it it is also good point to do first "check" to your body how you feel, sometimes I stay at -10m and wait till I am sure I am fine if not sure and then fin just couple of times and relax, keep going down. That is the most relaxing diving for me up to about -25m but if going deeper I start to sink bit faster than I would like...
I used to be neutral about -15m but I think that is good for deeper diving...about -30m and past...not that useful for me..at least not quite yet.
Also if you have too much weight I find it difficult to start going back up if close to the bottom, since I keep sinking and my fins hit the bottom when I start kicking..

Hey Guys

I worked over this ballast stuff many times and I'll try to make a case for less lead.
body with residual lung volume in sea water = -1# (1/2 kilo)
tropical suit = +7# (3 K)
6mm Farmer John w/boots = +16# (7K)
5.4 litre VC = 12# (5.5K) Pack = 1# (1/2K) Residual volume = 3# (1.5K)
(tropics) surface weight = + 6# (3K) body (with RV) + suit ( + 19# (9K) ready to dive)
...........5 meter weight = + 13# (6K)
.........10 meter weight = + 8# (3.5K)

With 5 # (2.5K) of lead you will remain positive during the breathe up and be neutral about 45 ft (15 meters). In case of SWB you will most likely get to the surface and stay there. It's not difficult to get off the surface at + 14# (6K) and at 100 ft (30 M) you're only 3# (>1K) negative.
For dropping on fish in shallow water, try letting out about half of your air. Combined with 2# (1K) more lead, this worked great in 20-30 foot (10M), the only time I tried it. A two-legged pike will get you to the bottom with one kick. Bottom time is 30-40% less. For the ambush technique you can always dive down and hang on.
With my 6mm and 15# (7K) of lead the numbers are similar until about 60 ft (20M), then you get heavier fast (7# or 3.5K negative at 100.
I'm trying to convince everyone to take off lead until they are buoyant on the surface with empty lungs. After I took the course and worked on technique, I cut my weight belt in half.

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Count me in the club for less lead.

My offering to Barry was my usual-try-this-and-go-from-there schtick. Realize Barry that until you put some serious time, UNDER SUPERVISION, being a bit heavy at the depths you'll likely hit will be a bunch easier to get down there and see what all we're fussing about. As time goes on, take off an lb or two and see what happens.

I make the case for SUPERVISION so when you inevitably getting pooped and might need to take a breather, there's somebody there to tell you to take it easy, as your lips are blue.

Been there, as has Bill.

having trouble

hey guys,

after tanya's clinic, i ditched about 4lbs of lead. now the fish haul @ss when i kick so hard to get down. i want to go back up about 2lbs. not sure if there's an easier method in getting down w/ less weight, ie. at an angle or whatever?


ps. barry, i added the 'bouyancy' to your thread title so people would know what's in here. ;)
Ditch more weight

the only good way to ditch more weight is to be less buoyant. I dive in 38 F water in winter and use a Beuchat Mundial Reversible 3.5 mm suit. With that i need 13 pound of lead because the water is very shallow (9m-30' max). A well fitting 3.5mm will keep you warmer then a 6.5mm because it stick to your body better.

Also, when you hunt, if you dont take a full breath before going down, you'll be less buoyant so you'll need less weight.

The only difference with a 3.5mm is that it wont compress as good as a 7mm so the buoyancy difference at depth will not be as good, meaning that it's harder to get the right amount of weight to be neutral at a given depth.

By he way, even if i use a 3.5mm suit, i still need 7mm booties and hot gloves.
I sympathize with the dilemma Anderson. I know that I wear too much weight- 18 lbs with a 7mm suit and all the goodies. I do that so when I'm on the bottom, rooting around for mondo abalone, I'M ON THE BOTTOM. It helps to combat the surge and what-not. When I'm out in the open I'll drop a couple and see how things are.

I'm getting stoked about the white seabass this year and with talking to those that have been doing it for a while, I've got to think that being able to just slowly lose some of your air, and sink into the kelp rooms where they might be, is a helluva lot better way to avoid spooking them.

All that said, I still ascend with my hand on or near my belt release- good habit.

Weight Problem

Hey Guys,

As an ex-hunter turned deep diver I know the delima quite well.
I still go out and hunt for bugs and a fish here and there. (Hoping my new gun shows up soon) You have to remember Andrsn that Tanya (love her to death, great team mate) hasn't done much hunting if any. The clinics that are put on are mainly geared for deep free diving. When I deep dive I wear a 2 piece Sporasub 5mm on 5mm. I wear 8lbs. I'm neutral at about 45 to 50 ft. When I'm hunting I wear my 3mm Scuba Pro with a 3mm Hooded vest. I wear from 9lbs to 12lbs depending on the conditions. Two different goals so two different weights. Just remember that you have to make it within about 5 to 10 ft. of the surface before you are bouyant when you are that over weighted. Bill has all the formulas. And he doesn't even need a computer. :D Do what you are comfortable with, just be safe about it. Don't push the time when you're wearing alot of weight.

i'm going back to 10lbs. i think the only way to compensate for this will be for aquiles and i to keep a closer watch over eachother. he's gone back to a heavy belt already.

sven, give me a date in april so i can get a cheap ticket soon!