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How much weight do I need for my wetsuits for snorkeling?

Discussion in 'Snorkeling / Freediving' started by Krtismo, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Krtismo

    Krtismo Angel Fish

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    I'm looking to get some weights to get me closer to neutral buoyancy for my two wetsuits I normally use.

    I'm a snorkeler who will be attempting at some underwater photography so I will have no other gear except for mask, snorkel, fins/booties, wetsuit, camera, and weights/belt.

    My two suits are:

    5/4mm Bare Velocity Fullsuit

    5mm Mares Trilastic Deluxe Core Warmer


    How much weight do you think I should have for each suit?

    What size combination of weights should I buy?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. muddiver

    muddiver Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Coast USA
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    You could use the old: [your weight] X 10% and then leave the +/- 4 lbs off. Add weight or delete weight in 1 lb incaments until you find a happy medium.

    It is also totally dependent on the density of the water you are going to dive as well. For fresh you will probably use half that weight, for warm sea water you will probably use 1/3 or so.

    Test in shallow water to prevent plumetting to the bottom and drowding.
     
  3. Dave C

    Dave C Manta Ray

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    For the shorty suit with the hood in salt water, you might start by trying 10 lb. However, you may find that as much as 12 lb would be good to stay down in shallow water for photography. I use 10-11 lb for a 3 mm shorty with no hood, and I could probably even use a little more.

    Don't go by the recommendations of scuba divers. I've rented weight belts in a number of places, and they usually can't believe that I am asking for as much weight as I do. Scuba divers are used to weighting for depth, not for water <15 ft deep, and they also have more heavy gear than snorkelers.
     
  4. Krtismo

    Krtismo Angel Fish

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  5. muddiver

    muddiver Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Coast USA
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    Yea, SCUBA diver have absolutly no comprehention of how to free dive.




    Oh, wait, I fit that catagory, don't I?
     
  6. Dave C

    Dave C Manta Ray

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    Muddiver, I wasn't directing my comments toward you. In fact, I did not even see your post until after I posted mine. You must have posted it while I was writing my reply.
     
  7. Soggy_Diver

    Soggy_Diver Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SW Ontario
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    The two guidelines that I have read and tried for snorkelling are either weight yourself to be neutral at 15 feet, or weight yourself to be neutral at half the maximum depth you are diving to.

    Something to consider for snorkelling in a wetsuit is that during the descent, the wetsuit gets compressed and you lose buoyancy. In scuba, that is not a problem, because it is offset by putting air into the BC, but in snorkelling, obviously that's not possible. So depending on how thick the wetsuit is, how much weight you need, and how deep you go, you can end up losing a lot of buoyancy as you descend, then having to kick a lot of weight up from the bottom. The keen freedivers I know wear a 5mm wetsuit or less, for just that reason--it allows them to wear less weight, and have a smaller buoyancy shift.

    When I am snorkelling in really cold water, I wear the same 7mm farmer john and 7mm jacket, boots, hood, and gloves that I use for scuba. I wear 24 pounds of weight for scuba, but only 16 for snorkelling, and probably should wear less.
     
  8. fdog

    fdog ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    In my 5 mil freediving suit I wear 11 pounds.

    This weights me such that I am absolutely neutral at 33'. I am positive at 15'; and, at the surface (with a full breath of air) I float with the water level at the collarbone. When I exhale, the water level rises to my chin.

    Of course everyone varies, but the above weighting is used by most serious freedivers.

    Avoid the temptation to weight yourself to be neutral at (or very near) the surface. It will doubtless make your photography easier, but, will increase your odds of being a statistic. 90% of freediving blackouts happen at the surface.


    All the best, James
     
  9. cmburch

    cmburch Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Suisun Bay
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    IMO, I think it could be dangerous to be neutrally buoyant at 15'.

    I am a cold water freediver 46-54F and require 24lbs for 35'.

    It depends how much you would like to spend on a belt and weights.

    A very comfortable freedive belt is a Marseillaise.

    MAKO Spearguns - Freedive Weight Belt

    Two pound or smaller weights tend to be more comfortable and easy to adjust. I use TinMan weights.

    For the ultimate in comfort a harness can be used, but I am hesitant to use one. I feel safer with a belt.
    Weight Harness For Sale Cheap. - Spearboard Spearfishing Community
     
  10. Krtismo

    Krtismo Angel Fish

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    Thanks for all of the input!

    I not aiming for neutral buoyancy, but I would like to have less of a fight to get down low.

    I ended up buying this belt:

    Aqua Weight Belt with Stainless Steel Buckle

    And this weight mold:

    Aqua 4.5 LBS Block Style Weight Mold

    I'm a DIY kind of guy, and I think this might be a better approach for me then buying and having to pay shipping for weights.

    I'm going to get some used wheel weights from the dealership I used to work at, and give it a try!
     

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