Weighting yourself correctly and your buoyancy is key to enjoyable freediving for both pool and depth diving. The amount of weight you need to wear when freediving depends on a number of factors such as your weight, body composition, thickness of suit, fresh or salt water, depth, and more. There are two main weighting systems used – a neck weight or a weight belt. This differs based on where the diver carries most of his/her weight, but can also be personal preference as some do not like the feeling of anything impeding their neck or head movement.
Weighting yourself for the pool
The optimum amount of weight needed for dynamic with fins (DYN) and dynamic without fins (DNF) differs.
In DYN, it is easier to correct any inaccuracies in buoyancies due to the use of fins, however, this also results in a compromised technique. Understand your body positioning in the water and trust in the buoyancy check undertaken by pushing off the wall and gliding. Perhaps include a glide after a few kicks to gain a greater understanding on your own buoyancy and body positioning.
For DYN diving, you do not have the same amount of control and propulsion in comparison to DYN and so even the smallest changes in weighting or positioning can make a difference. Most people struggle with DNF diving because of buoyancy and also control. It is frustrating to feel like you aren’t moving anywhere or just floating up and kicking yourself back down due to poor weighting. Check your buoyancy by pushing off the wall and gliding at your intended depth. Ask someone to check for you and also understand your own body positioning within the water for optimum results. there is nothing more satisfying than getting your weighting bang on. With every kick and pull, each glide feels infinitely long and is one of the reasons as to why DNF is so relaxing and enjoyable.
Weighing yourself for depth
For depth diving, it is normally recommended to be neutrally buoyant at about 10m or 1/3 of your dive. Too heavy and although your freefall will start earlier, the climb back up may be exhausting. Too light and you may struggle in the earlier stages of your dive trying to go deeper, but will have an easier swim back up. When people start diving for depth, they may try to wear more weight than needed to get under the water more easily. Bad technique is no excuse for over-weighting, and effort should be made to learn a correct duck dive, stroke technique, and body positioning. There is no one equation that fits all for buoyancy. Experiment with varying weights on your weight belt and/or neck weight and find something that works for you.
AFC Training Officer