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Weights and belts

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2002
Hi Everyone

I've never bothered with weights when snorkelling before but I want to do it properly this year :eek: . I understand the reason for a rubber weight belt, but I can't seem to find one - or at least, all the ones I've found have had the "old-fashioned" buckle type, not quick-release, and they seem to be quite expensive. I've seen on DiveInn that Cressi do something called a Cinturion Elastico belt - is this what it sounds like, elastic, and is this as good as rubber? Anyone got any other recommendations?

Also, roughly how much weight would I need to use to give the same buoyancy with a 3mm wetsuit in salt water as (nearly) naked in fresh?

Thanks, Bryan
3.5 mm two piece

for a 3.5 mm suit, two piece (farmer john ...) 5kg (11 pound) should do the job. BUT remember, neoprene will crush as you go down, this will make you a lot more negative, because of the weight, than when you dive in swimwear only. So the trick with neoprene is to know how deep you want to go and the deeper, the less weight you should use.

In the good old days, when I visited Hawaii, I wore 6# of lead for snorkelling in a bathing suit and was neutral at 30 feet. When I bought a 3mm hooded 2 piece it took 11# to neutralize the air, suit and blubber at 33 feet. If you're slim and trim and diving deep in a one piece, you'll only need 4-5#. I won't even tell you how much lead the good fish-stickers use here. #/2.2=kilogram.

While we're measuring and if you know anyone my age or better, I'd like a saying translated....

" A pint a pound, the world around "

Does pound refer to currency or weight? Does pint mean measurement or brew? Are there or were there 2 1/2 pints in an imperial quart?

Pound a pint? Show me where!

Would that you could still get a pint (brew) for a pound (currency) Bill. I think the saying referred to weight, as I've heard it said before that a pint of water weighs a pound (some advice on dehydration from a cycling book - "down a pound? drink a pint"). However a litre of water (1.7 pints) weighs a kilo (2.2 pounds), so as you suggest the maths doesn't stack up (there are only 2 pints in an imperial quart).

Which only goes to show that people in the olden days were less interested in the accuracy of a saying than whether it rhymed.

Thanks for the advice on weights. I am quite stick-like so I'll probably start with about 6lb. Any ideas on the belt, anyone?
Hi Bryan, the Marseilles style belts are quite nice, and the old-fashioned belt buckles on them actually do work as a quick release, but they tend to be fairly expensive.
My friend Tony, in B.C., bought a strip of solid neoprene rubber for a few bucks and made 6 or 8 belts out of it. He very kindly sent me one for free, and I put a quick release buckle on it: Voila! Cost me about 2 lbs (currency;0) .
El cheapo, and the only belt I use anymore.
Erik Y.

Go to my buddy Steve at www.stansdiving.com, tell him what you want, a rubber weight belt and quick release buckle and give him your address. Done deal.

You can tell him Sven sent you. But duck quickly.

Hey Bill, what about the saying, "Once a week is never too much, but once a night's enough?"

I just used my custum 7 mil 1 piece for the first time and I could barely get underwater. Previously I had used a 4 mil surfing wetsuit and about 10# in weight. This amount is now not nearly enough. Will the neoprene pouch weight belt (uses bags) hold enough weight? is this practical? Or is a traditional belt with metalweights a better solution?
Im 5-8 145lbs with about 12% bodyfat. Thanks in advance...
Sporasub Marseillaise belt


Your diving conditions are very similar to mine, so I will give you my specs. By the way, last week I received the Sporasub Marseillaise rubber weight belt from the Deeper Blue Shop after diving with Jim Glynn and seeing his. They were $21 US. The first time using it was totally satisfactory. Didn't even have to think about readjusting belt at depth. I could not use it in the ocean the weekend I received it, because on the boat I realized the rubber was thicker than the nylon webbing I used with the "coated" weights with thinner slots. However, This weekend I went back to the original "exposed-lead" weights and they fit fine. The rubber belt is thick. 0.275" (7mm) by 1.8" (45-46mm).

Here are my similar specs as yours and weight I use. 2.5mm one piece suit (cheap parkway), 3mm socks, 5mm hood/gloves. Weight in ocean is 6 pounds, fresh water 4 pounds. Weight is 160 pounds, 11% body fat. I realize my suit is .5mm thinner, but remaining conditions similar. I hope this helps.

Hawk- With your 7mm suit, figure it this way... with your body in the water and all your freedive gear, you want to be floating vertically with the water level right below your chin. That's a good baseline and you can modify it from there. As you get better and go deeper/longer/farther, you'll no doubt reduce a few pounds. When you come up here to No Cal and root around for abs, you'll want to add a couple to help you stay in place against the surge. Another factor is what the 7mm suit is made of- the new rubber like Yamamoto is so flexible because it has a lot of air in it, thus needing more lead to offset it, and that's why the formula stuff doesn't fly anymore other than being a real rough rule of thumb.

At 6-3 and 205 paid-for pounds, with a 1/4 suit from Wetsuit Factory, now sadly gone, I was sporting 14 pounds. I went to Picasso suits and had to add 7 pounds. Now with all nice and fingered out, I'm happy with 16-1/2 pounds. Throw on the SCUBA gear and knock off another 3.

Hope it helps.

sven sveltly stubby.
Jim - thanks for the advice, in fact I've just got back from holiday and found 6lb was ideal for neutral buoyancy at about 40 ft, with an extra 2lb for shallower reefs. I got a Cressi Cinturon (sp?) rubber belt which has a quick-release buckle, very cheap from DiveInn (£10 or $15) and in my very limited experience seemed great.
Thanks for the tip. My suit is made from some U.S. manufacturer-definitly not the super soft stretchy stuff- but it holds less air. I had never considered this to be a factor. I added 4lbs and a couple loose rocks into my pouches and it seems to work better. No more fins kicking wildly in the air while trying to get underwater. By the way, is there a recommended way to slow down my ascent? between 10' and the surface I drift up real quick.
Thanks again,
up fast is good...

Originally posted by Hawkeye31
By the way, is there a recommended way to slow down my ascent? between 10' and the surface I drift up real quick.

Well, getting to the surface "on time" has always been a priority in my freediving, but I know what you mean. There's two ways that I do it, and there are no doubt many others. The first thing is that by the time I'm at ten feet and less, I'm pretty much venting air from my mouth and nose so am less bouyant than I was on the way down. I'm sure there are those that hve been to a freediving seminar that may have a take on this practice, and I'd like to hear from them...

The other way is like with SCUBA gear and find you're hauling ass to the Sun- "flare" or spread out your body to increase the surface area and increase the drag of your body going up through the water. And vent. Vent like a mutha! It sounds like you're still a tad bit light, do you have to kick like Hell to get to a nuetral depth, and what is that depth? This is where doing the dive plan thing comes into play. If you know you'll see big digits, then lighten up and plan on using some serious finesse to get down. Then be thankful that you don't have to beat the water on the way up.

I should have thought of flairing my fins on the ascent...kind of an obvious solution...i think ive spent too much time underwater recently. I read your response at lunch today and tried the "flair" this afternoon. Locking my ankles at 90 degrees definitely slowed me down, but also cought a bunch of kelp and made some racket.
My intentions are to be neuturally bouyant between 15 and 20 feet, and I have no real intentions of going deeper than that other than retreiving a fish...So let me get this straight; when planning to go deeper, one generally uses less weight while one planning on lurking in the relative shallows uses more weight? This sounds like I'll be in a tough spot when I need to go deep (for me) because I'll be overweighted.

As you put more time in, you'll end up with less weight. And then you'll add a half pound or so to make your descent really calm and quiet. The white seabass'll appreciate it.

Now that sounds a bit condesending or simplistic, but once you figure out your abilities to breathe up and descend for a given depth, along with being weighted for a particular range of depths, life gets pretty golden. That's not to say that there won't be times that you'll wish you had a Honda strapped to your backside for that time(s) when you just stay a little tooo long and tooo deep for that white seabass. You have my complete empathy and understanding.

So it's a matter of getting out there and doing it; having a collection of weights in your float to take off and remove to find your ideal weight and then practicing some more and finding you had it all wrong and need to go over it again. But there are worse things to have to do...

Then when you think you have it down, you get a new suit, a new mask, eat a bean burrito that morning, or are lugging around a new gun... and then there are times when everything is unchanged from the last dive when all was OK and for some reason, usually mental, you can't get down for any luck or money...

I dont know about any WSB, but those orange goldfish of the sea sure seem to like me. Who's got the bass cologne?
Thanks again
quick release wityh rubber belt??

I have OMER rubber belt...IT is good, but I have noticed that I can't release it with just quick draw, because the rubber belt seems to be bit too wide for the old facioned lock system... any comments??
modified weight

Ive gone out a number of times recently and found your advice beneficial. I added weight until I was no longer struggling to get underwater. Four pounds did the trick. This did have an adverse effect, as I got under 15 feet (more or less) I sank, and had to grab ahold of a sturdy kelp stock to keep still. This caused a lot of wasted energy, and probably not a good technique...So i am now in the process of slowly removing weight so that I can float motionless at 20 feet. Im finding that it is not as simple as it sounds.I am either accelerating toward the bottom or the top. Im looking forward to being able to have this weight thing under control. Still havent seen those wsb, but got a nice calico the other day....
weighty issues...

Do these make me look fat??

Good deal, Hawk. You get enough of those calico's and you'll make some good, if not hungry, friends. Yes, the weight thing's a bear, though you've gotta admit, it's a lot more fun in dicking around trying to find your nuetral point than getting your teeth drilled, with all due respects to Aquiles...

Once you start going to places repeatedly and can know what to expect of the depth and all, you'll be able to dial in the weight. In the meantime, try shifting your weights up and down your torso to see of your attitude in the watyer is good, i.e, flat and stable, head down, feet down... and then do the lung fill thing, half a fill, empty, etc. and see what happens.