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swimmer going freediver

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jun 9, 2003
first post....ok. i';m 18 and live in romania, been swimming for as long as i remember, for competitions that is, i have also played water polo, so as far as general water skills i have no problems.
i want to take up freediving but i have been encountering some problems.

first one would be the choice of fins. i want something that costs no more than 70$ (if it would be 50$ i could say it would be perfect). i also want to practice spearfishing, so i would need fins that are not only appropiate for freeding, but also for shallow/medium water spearfishing.
i would also want someone to explain to me the practical side of using a snorkel, because i only see it as an extra piece of equipement, that can get in the way and is totally useless. i mean, can't i just come up for air all the way without using that frigging tube thing? just a thought.
and third and worst problem is the suit. i've looked at the size charts on this site (the shop part of the site) and things don't look god for me, not at all. i am 1.77 cm tall, so i guess i would fit in the 1.80 cm group, right? well, they say there that the suit is for people who have a waist measurement of 91 cm, well mine is 80 cm relaxed. they also say a 98 cm chest measurement, mine is 121 relaxed. and the weight for that height is (as they mention) 80kg to 97 kg. i weigh 73 kg as of today. my arms could also be problem, as they are 42 cm relaxed. i have been bodybuilding for almost 3 years, and even though i'm not a juiced up gym rat, my measurements, as you can see, differ a lot from those in the chart. i'm attaching a picture of myself (only one i have from the front) so maybe you can tell me what size i should buy. and no, you can;t find suits and fins and such in romania, i have searched, so my only choice is to order online without trying things on first.

any help will be greatly appreciated


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hi memento

can't help you with long fins in the price range you prefer, but for suits check out www.eliossub.com.
they make excellent AND cheap tailor made suits. maybe the money you save there can go into your fin budget.

...and maybe you can take that scary photo off your posts.


(hope i don't need my health insurance now:blackeye )



Hi memento!

I fear you`ll have to spend a bit more on those fins, try scubastore for this (hence the "shop"-link on top of page...). Maybe Imersion J.B. Esclapez w/ black blades will do for a good price.

As for the snorkel, you don`t really need one. I just find it very relaxing to stare into the blue beneath me while doing the breathe-up. I think spearos prefer to use one because you can watch out for fishes while swimming easy on the surface rather than do repetitive apneas and being out of breath when there`s something worth going after... Your choice!

When it comes to the suit: Eliossub. Immerlustig is right, you don`t want to spend your dough on half-fitting but fully annoying suit. Better get one of these bespoke things it might save you a lot of money and nerves. Fit is very important when buying an apnea suit.

When i look at the picture i come to think that you better save that money for the speargun and just strangle some tuna, sharks or whatever you`re looking for... :duh

Welcome to freediving and DB! Greets from my side, Joe

P.S.: I`m a former competitive swimmer and a moderate bodybuilder too. One CAN freedive like this ;)
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hmm...i've been looking through the italian site for a few minutes and i already have some additional questions:

they have A LOT of different materials there. from what i read, i think the best choice would be the "sandwich neoprene" (smoothskin/nylon elastic/open cell). and for inner lining i would take the superelastic lining thing.

now, for the outer lining, i think the anti-tear (work) thing really attracts me. that's because in the black sea there are a lot of rocks and rocky bottoms. but the word "work" kind of makes me think about less mobility....how much less would that be?

so what kind of materials should i choose

also...what style of pants and jacket? do i need the hood? if so, can i choose an open jacket (the one with a zipper) that also has a hood.

what is the difference between high waist and long johns

and what is the difference between ecoline and neoflex.

i know these are a lot of questions, and i apologise for it.
Memento - I am in the same situation as you! I have done much lap swimming over the years, and now I am getting into freediving.

I also hate the snorkel! I was in Jamaica swimming around & diving down to check out stuff for a week. I tried using the snorkel several times but I think it sucks. If you're trained for swimming you can easily "breath up" while swimming around on the surface and looking down most of the time. Also, I enjoy looking at the surface - rock coves, birds, mussels, plants, etc. You can't talk to your friends with that thing in your mouth either.

I may try the snorkel again, but I doubt it, I like using the absolute minimum gear. Dolphins and whales do just fine with no snorkel, and they live down there 24/7!

I am in the process of ordering a 5mm wetsuit from Elios. I specified that I wanted coated open cell on the inside, and nylon on the outside, and this is their reply:

1) suit 5mm complete of jacket closed with hood incorporated + high
waist pants
Neoprene Heiwa 5mm Gold coating cell inside / nylon elastic outside
In tailor made export price Euro 176,00
In standard size export price Euro 155,00
Very very elastic and soft neoprene, slide for wear and good warmth.
(the best sellers for freediving)

2) suit 5mm complete of jacket closed with hood incorporated + high
waist pants
Neoprene Heiwa 5mm copper coating inside / nylon elastic outside
In tailor made export price Euro 176,00
In standard size export price Euro 155,00
elastic and soft neoprene, ultra slide for wear and good warmth. (the
best sellers for scubadiving)

3) suit 5mm complete of jacket closed with hood incorporated + high
waist pants
Neoprene Ecoline 5mm titanium coating inside / nylon standard outside
In tailor made export price Euro 149,00
In standard size export price Euro 127,00
elastic and soft neoprene, slide for wear and good warmth good for
shallow diving (20-25 mt).

4) suit 5mm complete of jacket closed with hood incorporated + high
waist pants
Neoprene Neoflex 5mm Black coating cell inside / nylon superstretch
In tailor made export price Euro 206,00
In standard size export price Euro 185,00
This is a new entry in exclusive products for 2004 only for Elios sub
Very very elastic and very soft neoprene, slide for wear, good warmth
and good resistence for coating use inside. (the best sellers for

I think I'm going to spring for #4. Most of the diving around here is on rock shores & reefs, I want nylon on the outside for durability. It looks like #4 is the most stretchy and flexible nylon possible. I'm guessing #1 is probably a little stiffer but more durable.

I don't know what "Black" coating is, but it's more expensive that metallic so hopefully it's good. I will report back when I've tried it!
hi guys

Dolphins and whales do just fine with no snorkel

fortunately, but don't forget they breath out of an opening on their backs, and they don't communicate above water.

anyhow, each his own.

i just have to say that a snorkel is an extremely usefull and cheap piece of equipment.
1.it allows for maximum relaxation. no need to exert myself to keep my head out of the water to breathe up. it's easier to breath up through a snorkel than on your back, especially when it's a bit choppy.
2. i can orient myself on the surface before diving.
3. usually surface swims are unavoidable, and it's a lot more comfortable with a snorkel.

the most important factor is relaxation on the surface. there's a big difference in breathing up relaxed and breathing up while having to keep your head out of the water. getting used to a snorkel doesn't take much time, and for the dive i either hand it over to the buddy/or drop it in his direction, or it's attached to a thin line to the float. for snorkeling i keep it on the mask strap and just take the mouthpiece out.

question about the elios suit you are ordering: did the company specify neoprene density?



still, i'd need a description, from anybody who knows, of those materials i mentioned in my last post.
Hi memento.
There have been quite a lot discussions about different materials, and i think you should browse through the.
Here is my thoughts on this matter.
I have a omer yamamoto open cell wetsuit, and i can comment on opencell material.
Yamamoto neoprene is very warm, feels great on skin, but tears quite easy. I have not had any problems with rocks on the bottom though, it is more likely to tear when putting the suit on, once its on i havent had any problems with it at all.

What i've heard of heiwa is that it is not quite as warm as yamamoto but it does not tear as easily.

If you have patience to put your wetsuit on properly i would defenetely go for open cell neoprene. If you feel that you'll tear it instantly get on with open cell inside and some cover on outside.

Tearing your wetsuit is not such a huge problem. You just need to glue it and it'll be a beaty again. ;)

Roland - of course you're right - anyone reading this, understand that I have virtually zero experience free diving or using a snorkel! Obviously most people prefer them. And thank you for the useful tips on using one!

I wish I knew more about the Elios materials. I think it's interesting that the only specify Ecoline and Neoflex neoprene on the website, but if you ask them, they mention Heiwa. If you click on "Materials" on their website there is good information.

I think the 1st thing to decide is whether you want "smoothskin" (uncoated neoprene) on the outside. This will make the suit very streamlined under water, and very stretchy and flexible. I asked to get a nylon layer on the outside, this protects the suit from damage but makes it a little stiffer. I assume that "nylon superstretch" on the outside makes it more stretchy.

On the inside, it seems like "open-cell" neoprene is the warmest, because it keeps the cold water off your skin. However, it tears easily. They can put a coating on to make it slicker. Or, you can get nylon lining on the inside as well.

I think if you get uncoated (smoothskin) outside AND inside, you get the most flexible and soft suit possible, but you have to be really careful about damage.

I want to be warm, so I'm getting coated, open-cell inside. I want the suit to last longer, so I'm getting nylon on the outside.

Other questions - Farmer Johns have straps that go up to your shoulders. Almost every post I've read here indicates that people prefer high-waist instead.

2-piece wetsuits generally don't have zippers - zippers constanly leak cold water into the suit.

I'm not totally sure about the difference between econline and neoflex, I know it's buried somewhere in the website, if you keep searching you'll find it.
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To add to the confusion, heiwa neoprene is available in three densities: High, medium and low. Elios can also make suits from Yamamoto neoprene if you prefer that!

I just received my 5 mm, medium density heiwa neoprene, Elios suit with superelastic inner and smoothskin outer lining today. Looking forward to testing it this weekend! :D

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