Open Menu

Suitable equipment and how to choose it

Freediving is getting more and more popular worldwide also thanks to the fact that it is less demanding as for material equipment. When we say freediving, everybody imagines free diving without instruments, weightlessness, freedom, independence, and all this only with basic equipment. But is it really like this? Is it so easy? Thanks to character of this beautiful sport is individual choice of suitable equipment in dependence on purpose and freediver’s performance intentions extremely important!

We would like to help you on the way in the world of freedom, peace, relaxation, friendship and independence.

There was not much to choose from a few years ago, as freediving was either totally unknown to most manufacturers or they completely ignored it. But the situation is changing rapidly, as freediving is getting more and more popular worldwide.

All big and established manufacturers of freediving and spearfishing equipment registered this rapid development of freediving and supply of equipment is very large today, so there is only one thing to do. It is necessary to choose the correct equipment, so that it suits as much as possible to the individual needs of each freediver. Good choice of equipment is supposed to show itself not only on good feeling of the diver, but also in his performances!


Do not we make a needles problem of it? What is so complicated about it? To breathe in, immerse and stay there for „some time“ … An essential parameter when choosing equipment is the purpose for which we go to the water. What is our goal and also what budget we have for it of course.

A freediver racer will have beside the basic equipment, which includes a low volume mask, a snorkel, a weight belt, 3 – 5 mm neoprene suit, socks, gloves, computer and long fins definitely some more suits, monofins, a nose clip, fluyd goggles, a weight collar and a complete set of a training buoy with a loading, a rope and a flag. Let us have a look now at choosing equipment from the viewpoint of a sports oriented recreational freediver.


It enables seeing under the water surface. A characteristic sign of the masks intended for freediving is their minimum internal volume. It is so as not to waste air needlessly on levelling the mask when descending and so that we therefore have more air on pressurization in the airs. A low volume mask will simply enable us deeper dives in terms of pressurization.

A often heard an opinion among divers that there is a bad “view” from the low-volume masks. The reverse is true. The fact that face-glass is very close to the eyes makes visual angle significantly larger and most low-volume masks have much larger field of vision than current masks for scuba diving.

Face-glass is usually made of tempered glass, but there are also masks with plastic face-glass. These masks are cheaper of course, but significantly more sensitive for scratching and their lifetime is therefore essentially shorter.



Facepieces are made either of black or of transparent silicone. Black silicone is more popular among freedivers mainly thanks to their appearance and also for the reason that it does not change its properties even after several years of using and especially its colour unlike transparent masks, which “turn yellow” in the course of time. An advantage of the masks with transparent silicone is significantly wider peripheral vision. A disadvantage might be disturbing reflection inside the mask, especially during photographing and filming.

The most important parameter when choosing a mask is how the mask fits the face, how well it seals and whether it is comfortable. It should not “underblow” anywhere and it should not significantly sit and press in any place even when more pressing. It should fit the face comfortably and seal without strong tightening the belt.


It is an integral part of freediving equipment and we use it for breathing on the water surface and we “spit it out” of the mouth just before immersion. That is the usual difference between a freediver, at least after the basic course, from a snorkeler. We do not have to spend a lot of effort on blowing water out of the snorkel after emerging from the water, and therefore we do not feel the need to use valve snorkels, which are usually more expensive, have more complex shape and they will also have a slightly larger wind resistance. Freedivers like simple, purposeful and functional things. When choosing a snorkel I recommend trying the mouthpiece, whether it does not press anywhere and whether it can be “spat” easily and of course whether it fits the mask!



Choosing suitable long fins will not definitely be as easy as choosing a snorkel! There is a large amount of fins of various parameters, constructions and materials on the market. From the structural point of view we distinguish compact fins, it means that a shoe and a blade are one unit and they cannot be taken apart and changed. It is a cheaper type of fins intended for recreational divers. Then there are demountable fins, where we can change damaged blades or a damaged shoe and we do not have to buy completely new fins.

Plastic blades are usually shaped and they have smaller side guide rails for better channelling of water and easier leading of fins. Carbon blades are significantly better off, they usually have guide rails that are higher and lead along the entire length of the blade, which significantly helps us to better technique and to more effective kick. Angle between the shoe and the blade is also very important.



Shoes of demountable fins adapt to various angles of blades quite well, which is another huge advantage of these fins. And the last and very substantial thing is construction hardness of the blades themselves. Carbon and laminate blades are manufactured in various hardnesses, it is usually a scale of 1 to 3 (soft, medium, hard), some manufacturers have a scale from 1 to 5 (extra soft, soft, medium, hard, extra hard). Watch out, final hardness of fins also depends on shoes into which the blades are fixed!!!

I often hear from students that they do not want to be world champions and that current long plastic fins are enough for them. When I ask them why they want to do freediving, what their goals are and what they expect from freediving, I usually get answers like “I want to enjoy it in the sea, I want to be able to stay in the sea for some time, I want to improve step by step…” Here it is advisable to think about it a little bit. If I really want to snorkel a little bit and I take the fins once or twice a year, to waste money on good fins. But if I intend to swimming pool trainings regularly, go diving on open water, train depths and improve step by step, I recommend to invest money and to buy laminate or carbon fins. Immediate difference in length of dive in comparison with plastic fins can be approximately up to 20 – 30 seconds only thanks to fins of better quality! Carbon fins will give us the invested energy back significantly more efficiently than plastic fins, mainly thanks to inherent properties of the used material and then also thanks to structure of fins, which materials as carbon and laminate or their combinations enable. When we move with the fins, we have a feeling that we have “slippers” on our feet and that we just stroke the water, but we actually achieve quite a good speed.


In order to have these feelings in the water, we must proceed responsibly to the choice of fins. I definitely do not recommend to buy fins on the internet, but to go to a specialized shop, where you will get expert advice and when you can try the fins so as to find out how they fit you and try them in the water in optimum case.

Shoes are tried with 1.5 to 3 mm thick socks and they should fit the foot perfectly. The foot should be enclosed, but the shoe should not press and clutch the foot anywhere. I recommend you not to hurry and to try several types and sizes of shoes and only then to proceed to the choice of blades. Shape, length and especially hardness of blades should correspond to your technique, condition and purpose, or athletic goals.

Price range is approximately from 1500 to 15 000 CZK today and I can confirm that price usually corresponds to quality and performance of fins. We could write a few more pages about fins and how to choose them, but it is beyond capacities of this article. I recommend you not to hurry when choosing fins and not to follow only parameters as price and appearance, but to consult it with experts.



Neoprene suit performs several important functions. It primarily “isolates” us from the external environment and thereby it help us maintain optimum body temperature. It also provides us with positive buoyancy and in combination with loading we can choose in what depth we will be “neutral,” which is important both in terms of safety during training of depths and in terms of comfort and energy expenditure during snorkeling. Furthermore we have here protection against UV radiation, mechanical protection against abrasion e.g. on cliffs, walls and wrecks, but also protection e.g. against stinging by a jellyfish etc.

A classic freediving suit consists of two pieces and it is characteristic for it to have no zipper. Trousers have high waist, the upper part has an integrated hood and it has so-called beavertail from below. It is a simple and time-tested design. This suit is very comfortable in combination with a suitable material both in terms of temperature and in terms of freedom of movement and therefore of total energy expenditure. It has a direct impact of freediver’s performance.



From the viewpoint of a recreational freediver it is length of dive and also overall sense of movement. The most suitable and the most frequent neoprene among recreational freedivers is combination of fabric on the outer surface and bare neoprene rubbers inside (open cell). We spread with conditioner before putting such a suit on, but the result is that the suit behaves on us like a “second skin” and in case of a thinner, 3 mm thick tailor-made suit we hardly realize that we are wearing a suit! A suit with “open cell” from the inside perfectly adheres to skin in addition to that and it behaves like one big sealing cuff. It significantly contributes to preservation of thermal comfort.

Today it is possible to choose from large amount of materials, but we must think over what we expect from the suit, in what conditions we will usually dive and what our wallet can stand. The most suitable suit for a recreational freediver and especially for a beginner is a suite with textile fabric from outside, mainly because of easy maintenance and resistance and total lifetime of the suite.



Customers come sometimes into our shop and want “the best” suits that are worn by competitors. They mean suits smooth from outside (so-called smooth skin ore slide skin) and with “open cell” from inside. Such a suit is nice and elastic … but it is necessary to realize that it has only taped seams, that it is significantly more sensitive to UV radiation, that you cannot sit in it on a sharp cliff, that it must be handled with extreme care, otherwise inexperienced freedivers will tear it somewhere already when putting it on for the first time and lifetime of such a suit is usually very short.

Choice of suit thickness is very important. We choose a thickness so that water temperature corresponds to neoprene strength. As it may vary individually, I state only indicatively generally recommended temperatures for the most common suit thicknesses:

Neoprene 1,5mm – 27 °C and more
Neoprene 3mm – 23-27 °C
Neoprene 5mm – 16-22 °C
Neoprene 7mm – less than 16 °C

I have bad news for active freedivers. If you thought that you will get by only with one suit, I have to disappoint you! You will definitely need 5 mm thick suit into Czech waters. Mediterranean Sea in summer or Red Sea in autumn and in spring will need 3 mm and suits with thickness 1.5 mm are suitable for warmer destinations or swimming pool trainings of dynamics.



Insulating properties of neoprene depends on its thickness as well as on its density. It usually counts that the softer material, the lower density and the better insulating properties on the water surface, where a freediver spends quite a lot of time. We should pay due attention to choice of the suit. In terms of comfort and energy saving is an appropriate suit at least as important as fins! A suit should fit the body as well as possible, there should not be free space anywhere, where water could stay, and it should also enable comfortable movement. If standard design of ready-made suits does not fit you, you do not have to worry. It is possible to order a tailor-made suit, which is the best possible option, but it just takes a little longer.


Socks are a very important part of equipment. Their main role beside protection against cold is especially mechanical protection not only against abrasion of an ankle on rocks and cliffs, but also protection of a foot in a shoe against abrasion, which can happen due to movement of a foot in a shoe during kicking itself.

When wearing fins we use thin socks with maximum thickness 3 mm, so as to avoid big changes in volume of a sock caused by ambient pressure. Gloves will also protect us against cold and injury. Thickness of gloves usually corresponds to the water temperature and handling options. We commonly use gloves with thickness from 1.5 to 5 mm.



Weight belt and loadings are an integral part of freediver’s equipment. Our diving without them would be possible, but needlessly energy-consuming and thereby uncomfortable and our performance would be weaker.


As I wrote above, a weight belt in combination with neoprene enables us to handle our buoyancy. If I know the location to which I go diving, I should always balance myself for the given depth, so as to be neutral in it …

It is characteristic for a freediving belt that it is made of elastic material – of rubber or of silicone. There are belts with different thickness. I personally recommend buying belts that are thicker, but elastic. It guarantees a long lifetime of the belt, its stable position on hips even when using heavier loading as well as so important comfort during freediving.

Two types of buckles are essentially used: spinous type, so called marseillase, and QR (quick release) type. It is not possible to say which system is better, it is rather a question of what people get used to and what they find more comfortable for handling. Loadings themselves are used incorporated by plastic into lead from 0.5 to 1.5 kg. 1 kg loadings are used most frequently.



A freediving computer? What is it good for? Would not a depth recorder and a watch be enough? Or a current scuba diving computer? There are many possibilities of course and it depends only on us what is sufficient for us and how much money we want to invest in equipment. There is a wide selection of computers with various functions today. With respect to the fact that this is not an investment for one year, the price difference between the individual models is not so big and I personally recommend paying a bit more and having a functionally charged computer.

Basic functions of freediving watch are: depth measurement, dive time, surface interval (minutes : seconds), number of dives and water temperature. In advanced models we will also find functions as measurement of descent and ascent rate, decompression function in the sense of monitoring of surface interval, function of warm ups for prevention of lung damage from underpressure, measurement of freediver’s pulse, several depth alarms, alarms of descent and ascent rate and many others. A basic function of a watch, stopwatch and countdown timer must not miss of course.



Today there are computers on the market with functions both for scuba diving and for freediving, so it is not necessary to buy a separate computer for each activity. Worse news is that scuba and free modes do not communicate between each other in the sense of decompression calculation and therefore it is advisable to be very cautious and not to mix these two activities together at one event!

The purpose is not just to have a freediving computer full of functions on the wrist. The purpose is to have at least a basic overview of our performances and of performances of our teammate and the purpose is safety of course! We should know our depths and times, so that we could provide each other with quality safety (dive security) and also so as to be able to adhere to the basic rule decompression rule, which means in freediving adhering to two to three times longer surface interval than is our dive time.

An interface is also manufactured for all computers so as to download dives into the computer, which facilitates records and analysis of dives and keeping training or only experience diving “diaries”.



According to the principle “Safety above all” we must not forget a diving knife. Unlike scuba divers, a freediver does not have much time for crisis management under the water. Entangling into a nylon fishing line or similar pitfalls may be fatal.

We need a knife or a so-called cutter on open water. I recommend rather a cutter for a freediver, as it is essentially sharper and handling it is significantly easier and faster. Cutters are quite cheap, they can be bought for prices around 500 CZK or even less. Choice and price range of knives is significantly larger according to the quality of the used materials, design and brand.



It is very important for a freediver to have his diving place properly signed. For depth training we use a special freediving buoy with a rope and a loading. It should be furnished with a telescopic rod with a diving flag that is well visible even when water surface is slightly wavy. According to the rules, a buoy should not approach a sailing vessel to a distance of less than 25 m.

When choosing a training buoy we pay attention to quality of the used materials, processing and structural design. The buoy must have sufficient buoyancy not only because of safety, but also so as to reduce losses of energy expended by a freediver in the discipline of free immersion (pulling oneself up a rope).

Choice of buoys is narrow, but sufficient. Buoys and other products of the Czech company Apneautic bear comparison with the world elite. Signing a diving place is compulsory in many countries and a diver without a surface buoy exposes himself to a risk of sanction. Light, compact inflatable circle-shaped or torpedo-shaped buoys are suitable for current snorkeling. Both variants are furnished with a flag and are usually red and white or reflective orange colour. An apneist pulls the buoy on a thin string behind him or the buoy floats freely on the water surface loaded only with a light loading.



Maintenance and storing is easy and if you follow basic recommendations, your equipment will serve you long and well. When using it in the sea, we regularly desalinate all material and we dry it away from direct sunlight in a well ventilated place. It is also suitable to wash all equipment in drinking water after using it in a swimming pool.

I recommend not to throw away fin pads after buying, but to use them regularly, so that shoes do not become distorted in the course of time. Fins should be stored in such a way so that they did not stand on the blades and so that they were not twisted after some time. It is optimal to hang them and lay them so that there were not any loading on them. A neoprene suit should hang in a wardrobe of course so that it was not loaded by anything. A mask is stored in a plastic box, so that it does not came do deformation of facepieces.



Freediving is a beautiful sport and in case that we succeed in choosing equipment that will fit us best and that will conform to our needs, we will enjoy it in water much more and we will like coming back often. Do not therefore hurry needlessly and think over carefully what you actually want, what you expect, what your goals are, where you want to dive … These are the basic information, without which choice of material would be difficult.

There is a large amount of brands and models on the market and therefore we recommend for better orientation to consult choice with your instructor or with more experienced colleagues -freedivers. Probably the best option is to find out a specialized freediving center, where they have years of experience both with teaching and with selling equipment and counselling and where they have most equipment in stock and where it is possible to try equipment. I wish you a lot of joy of diving and a lucky hand when choosing material...