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Freediving Equipment
By: Skip Hellen


Using appropriate equipment is of critical importance to be sage while free diving or underwater hunting. I can't tell you how many times I've heard of equipment failures that resulted in close calls and potentially very dangerous or even life threatening situations. I will cover the relevant equipment, pros and cons, what I use and why, in the following equipment sections.


MASKS
Underwater hunters should use a low-volume (close to the face) style mask. This style mask will be the easiest to clear and provide the widest possible rang of vision. It’s very important that your mask fit well to avoid escaping bubbles and (noise). I prefer the black silicone type mask that provides the least side-glare for clearer images and silicone seems to be the most durable.

The ability to see images at the edge of visibility may be the most important skill of the successful underwater hunter. Distinguishing images at the edge of visibility allows you early preparation for diving, stalking, and the shot.

Anti fogging
Many divers use a number of mask anti fog techniques and products, from anti fogging gels to rubbing spit or saliva to sea kelp on the lens. I have found that rubbing one drop of Glycerin on each lens should do the defog trick. I have developed a very good product for cleaning and defogging mask lenses.


NEW CUSTOM MADE COMPOSITE BLADE RUBBER FINS
I prefer the longer fins for free-diving or underwater hunting in open water. They provide much better propulsion and transfer of power. Blade stiffness should be considered for different leg strengths. For deep diving, a stiffer more powerful blade may be necessary to propel you out of deep water and negative buoyancy. For shallower diving a softer blade may be more comfortable after many hours in the water. For bottom hunting, a softer shorter fin may be more appropriate for turning and maneuvering. Remember, the fins must fit well for comfort and prevent foot blistering and avoid squeaking (noise) as you swim. If using strapped fins, be sure the straps are turned inward and or taped down to avoid fouling in the kelp while swimming.

New hybrid fin
I have developed a new hybrid fin with fiber blades rubber coated that fits my foot comfortably and performs extremely well for deep diving.

SNORKEL
Short, large barreled, comfortable mouthpiece snorkels are best for free-diving & underwater hunting
A short, large barreled snorkel with a comfortable silicone mouthpiece is best for free-diving. Excess snorkel bubbles (noise) may be a huge disadvantage and could substantially delay your underwater hunting success. Many free divers spit out their snorkel before diving to avoid unwanted bubbles (noise).

I avoid the new "easy clear" so-called "dry" snorkels
The above snorkel was not made for free diving. They are for the most part inconvenient, noisy and not that dry.

The main thing to remember is that the larger barrel is easier to breath through and a comfortable and durable mouth piece will make your hunting time much more enjoyable.


weight beltWEIGHT BELT
I have used the traditional led weight belts, 1 to 1 lb. of square or round weights around the waist in the past. I have experimented with a variety of lead shot weight belts as well.

The Problem
The main problem with traditional diving weight belts is all the weight is around the waist and wetsuit buoyancy is distributed evenly over the entire body. Hunting with all this counter wet-suit weight resting in the middle of your waist (swayback or lower back problems may occur). As I got older I began having low back discomfort after long hours of hunting using these traditional weight belts.

The Solution
weight-belt
Deluxe

weight belt weight-belt
#5 Pouch

Ultimate back brace weight belts
I have developed two new weight belt designs to distribute the weight across a larger area around the waist for more comfort and stealth while hunting. These weight belt designs come in two models. The deluxe back brace weight belt was designed with extremely durable materials to last a lifetime of hard underwater hunting. The pouch back brace weight belt comes in two configurations of five or six Velcro pouches which produces a wide rang of weight configuration options from 0-40+ lbs.

What I use
I use a #5 pouch back brace weight belt in the summer when I am wearing a 5mm wet suit with about 25-27 lb. of lead. I use a Deluxe back brace weight belt in the winter when I am wearing a 7mm wet suit with about 30-34 lb. of lead. I never have low back discomfort while underwater hunting since I started wearing the back brace weight belts.

Reduce or totally eliminate dive related low back pain
If you have ever had a low back problem or don’t want to develop one as a result of long hours of water underwater hunting one of these back brace weight belt products may be for you.
ORDER A BACK BRACE weight belt NOW!!!
<--Go To Products
UW-1WB1 Back Brace Weight Belt System - Weights Not Included 
(Custom Built by Skip)
Custom Made To Order - Email Skip
$150 to $300
Depending On Size
& Features 

Email Skip For More Details



weight belt weight-belt weight beltGLOVES
Gloves can be one of the most important pieces of equipment for an underwater hunter.
I recently found what I think are the best underwater hunting gloves in the world today Endurotech, they are made of neoprene with Kevlar in all the right places. These gloves have proven to be the most durable and comfortable while providing a fine balance of warmth, feel and protection.

These gloves may be to warm for tropical region waters but for water temperatures of below 70 degrees these gloves are the best.




***PLEASE FREE DIVE SAFELY***
Please remember! The marine environment can be very unforgiving you owe it to yourself and your future to free dive with only the most appropriate and safe equipment possible.

*****THE KEY IS TO BE WITH THE SEA*****
Good Luck and Good Diving!
Skip Hellen



Copyright 2007 Underwater Hunters