RECOMMENDATIONS & IDEAS
As freediving is growing in popularity there is also more and more freediving gear to chose from. Below we will give you some ideas and tips about the best equipment for freediving as well as suggestions on where to buy.
Freediving masks differ from other masks in having a smaller volume than scuba masks. They are also genreally a more snug fit. To find the best mask you should try one on your face for comfort and sizing. If you dont have the opportunity, you'll have to guess and read the descriptions of the mask if it fits a smaller face or a bigger nose etc.
Our favourite masks are:
- Aquasphere 'Sphera' (in photo to the left); easy to find in the US & Europe. (Also sold by I AM WATER in Cape Town.) The Sphera is super comfy but not as durable as the others, it has softer plastic lenses that follow the shape of your face both for comfort and more view underwater, but the soft fit in the silicone makes it pretty fragile and the lenses easily become dislodged when not stored/ carried in the box. They are pretty easy to put back in and all avid Sphera users get good at popping them back in, but good to know if you don't like finicky products.
- Reef 'Inferno': easy to find in South Africa. (Either from REEF or I AM WATER)
- Cressi 'Nano': easy to find in Europe.
The fins we use in freediving are longer than snorkelling and scuba diving fins. They also always have a full foot pocket instead of a heel strap for a better fit. We more or less always use thin neoprene socks in the fins to avoid chafing. There are a few different materials in the fin blade which gives a different response in the water. The plastic or fiberglass fins are cheaper and good for beginners, the plastic is also pretty durable, but your ankles take a lot of strain kicking. Carbon fibre fins are more light weight and gives the blade a nice flex in the water and are more energy efficient and easy to fin with.
- Mares Concorde; plastic fin, semi soft and good for beginners. Easy to find in Europe, US, South America, Asia
- Waterway Fins; our own freediving fin supplier, available for use on all our courses and possible to buy from us on your trip or online.
- Leaderfins; offers different blades at a good price. Easy to order online and ships worldwide
- Alchemy; great tailormade carbonfins for beginners who wants to go directly for carbon. Ships worldwide from Europe
- Spierre fins: durable tailormade carbon fibre fins well suited to beginners to advanced. Ships worldwide from South Africa
Generally freediving suits consist of a pair of high pants or long johns, and an upper jacket that fits like a tight sweater with a hoodie. The top connects between the thighs with velcro or stubs. The best freediving suits are tailormade to fit your body. Some brands of very flexible surf-suits or triathlon wetsuits are also good for beginners and warm water freediving. The suit should have a snug fit but you must still be able to move and breathe freely. There are a number of different inside and outside materials on freediving suits which gives them different charachteristics. For beginners we recommend a nylon inside (like on surf or scuba suits) with either a smooth-skin (thinly coated raw neoprene) or nylon outside. These suits are easy to put on and will keep you warm. Smooth-skin is more fragile but more stretchy. Nylon is better for places with rocks and for extending the lifetime of the suit, but it will not be as flexible. We've found that having one side smooth-skin and one nylon makes for a more durable but still flexible suit. Smooth-skin inside and outside is very fragile and you can literally put a finger through it if you're not careful, let alone tearing it on a rock or reef. So best option we recommend is choose either smooth-skin on the inside (then you need to use some kind of soap to put it on) and nylon outside, the more durable outside. Or nylon inside (so no need for soap to put the suit on) and smooth-skin outside. Be careful over the rocks! But both these options make for slightly more flexibility than nylon on both sides!
There are mainly two big international brands specialising in tailor-made freediving wetsuits:
- Oceaner wetsuits from Canada; ships worldwide but most affordable in US and Canada
- Elios wetsuits from Italy; ships worldwide but most affordable in Europe
- Coral wetsuits in South Africa are great for affordable tailor-made suits and warm water triathlon suits if you are based in South Africa or passing through
We recommend the most simple, straight kind of snorkel without any valves on top or bottom. It's less drag when you are snorkelling and freediving, less risk of leakage and fits well on the mask. Use a semisoft version that is not too stiff as it can give you headaches when tucked under the mask strap.
We use rubber weightbelts as they are flexible and stays on the hips when we are freediving. There are a few different thickness, buckle and colour options available on online shops.Find what is most affordable in your region.
As there are very few 'real' freediving shops and scuba diving shops don't offer a big variety, most of the freediving gear you can only find online. Here are a few options, but even Ebay and Amazon sometimes have the above products for sale.
- Scubastore /diveinn.com: Offers a big variety of all kinds of gear. Ships worldwide but the fees outside of Europe can be very high.
- Freedivershop.com A specific freediving gear online store. Ships worldwide but the fees outside of the US can be very high.
YOGA & WARM WATER FREEDIVING GEAR:
We love our I AM WATER Eco-Yoga leggings made by our friends from SpiritGirl in Cape Town!
SpiritGirl products are made from recycled PET, a product made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles, aiming to achieve what they can do to minimize the impact on the environment and to benefit humanity.
Fabric processing of recycled polyester is similar to fabrics made from virgin polyester yarns. Product performance is equivalent or even superior to virgin products. The recycled PET is woven with spandex to create a COOLMAX® performance fabric, resulting in the ultimate workout pants that are breathable, comfortable, moisture wicking and quick drying.
This product reduces:
•The need for landfill space
•Demand for dyes and fixing agents
•Demand on oil, every 1 ton of recycled PET yarn can save 6 tons oil
Resulting in less pollution and energy savings (more than 80% than virgin products)
Not only are they keeping plastic out the ocean but proceeds from the I Am Water and Angel Fish products go towards our I AM WATER Ocean Conservation Foundation.