Welcome to Part Twelve of The Beginner’s Guide to Freediving, the best place to start your freediving journey.  If you’re planning to start freediving, this chapter covers weighting yourself correctly for freediving, what sort of weighting we need for different freediving disciplines and water temperatures, plus how to set your point of neutral buoyancy for performance and safety.

How to ensure you are weighting yourself correctly for freediving

Weighting yourself correctly for freediving depends on a number of factors:

  • Your weight
  • Your body size and composition
  • The thickness of your suit
  • Whether you are diving in salt or fresh water
  • The depths you will dive

Every situation will need a different approach.

One constant, however, is that we weight ourselves to be buoyant on the surface for safety reasons. Weighting yourself correctly for freediving means you need to ensure that you will stay at the surface, even after a full exhale, and if you get into trouble on your dive you want to make it as easy as possible for your buddy to rescue you and keep you at the surface.

The temperature of the water plays a big part in selecting what weight you will need. The warmer the water is, the thinner the suit you are likely to wear and, therefore, the less weight that will be needed – your wetsuit being very buoyant. On the whole, men are denser than women (insert your own pun here) and in many situations find that they either need no weight at all, or even need to add buoyancy to prevent them sinking at the surface when they exhale. In these circumstances, as part of weighting yourself correctly for freediving, freedivers often choose to still wear a weight belt, minus the weight, in order to help seal the two halves of their suit.

Beginners Guide to Freediving - weighting yourself correctly for freediving - Rubber Weight Belt Popular With Freedivers

Rubber Weight Belt Popular With Freedivers

There are different weighting systems for freediving, but the most important consideration with all of them is to ensure that they are easy to get rid of. Any weighting system you use must be quick release, either for you or your buddy, so that you can quickly return to the surface in the event of trouble.

The main systems for weighting yourself correctly for freediving, used by freedivers are rubber weight belts and neck weights. Most freedivers start with a rubber weight belt fitted tightly around their hips, giving them space to breathe diaphragmatically, with small weights spaced evenly around the body.

Some freedivers then add a neck weight to help trim the body during dynamic disciplines to or create a more streamlined position during freefall in depth disciplines. Some freedivers use only  a neck weight. One disadvantage of using a neck weight is that depending on the weight, it needs strong neck muscles to hold the head up when upright on the surface. Many freedivers do not like the feeling of anything impeding their ability to hold their head up.