Read This Before You Buy Your First Kit Of Freediving Equipment (It'll Make You Smarter and Save You Hundreds of Dollars) 

If you are reading this, you’ve decided to take the plunge and become a certified freediver or you probably just finished a freediving course. You’ve either seen your freediving instructor wear freediving gear, been taught (more like brainwashed) of its importance to improving yourself as a freediver or have seen influencers with their long fins and poor finning technique on Instagram and you’re now ready to blindly throw a 1000 dollars to buy your first full kit of freediving equipment. 

But before you arm yourself to freedive on a full breath into the ocean—and dive with an empty brain into the financial abyss of freediving gear—let’s have a little chat. 

I’ve walked in your shoes or should I say freedived in your fins, wore the same clothes or wetsuits, and with much ignorance spent more money than I should have when I bought freediving equipment that I did not really need as a beginner.

Before my freediving course, I had never worn either freediving long fins or a freediving wetsuit. I had a consistent static breath hold of 3 minutes and was happily freediving to a depth of 8-10m with a standard entry-level 1.5mm wetsuit someone had bought me as a gift. Yes, I was that much on a budget at that time, that I had to rely on gifts to scuba dive or freedive. 

After my freediving courses, I too brainwashed by what I’ve seen and was taught, thought that I needed the proper freediving gear to progress. Yes, I bought the freediving mask, the freediving snorkel, the freediving wetsuit, the freediving fins and monofin, the freediving dive computer and the freediving weight belt.

Guess what happened? I never really got to use the monofin and long fins properly since I found myself living at a place with restricted depth in Mauritius. I found myself losing 15 minutes trying to get in and out of a freediving wetsuit in a water temperature warm enough that I never really needed the thermal protection of a 3.5mm wetsuit. I lost my freediving weight belt on one of the first courses I taught while my student was practicing blackout rescue on me, and I could not get my freediving computer locally fixed when one of the buttons stopped working (I’m not the only freediver I know in that similar situation).

This guide is intended to help you avoid the same mistakes that I made as a newbie freediver. Reading it will not only make you smarter but could also save you a few hundred dollars on your purchase. Money that you can invest on actual training to become a better freediver.

The Mask: See Clearly, Spend Wisely.

First up, the mask. You’ll be tempted to buy that sleek, hydrodynamic mask that promises to make you look like Batman (who by the way also happens to wear his underwear with a belt, on top of his pants). Just go for a low-volume mask. This isn’t just a buzzword—it means there’s less space between your face and the mask, making it easier to equalize the pressure.

For an extra 50 dollars, they’ll try to sell you that next-level mask that does not fog, or that does not need equalizing before 20m deep. These are sales gimmicks. I’ve tested them myself. Most of these high-end masks come with a price tag that could cover a weekend training with an experienced freediving coach, where you can actually spend time inwater to become a better freediver.

All you need to look for in the mask is that it fits well and is comfortable, especially for the nose pocket. If you find yourself having to spend more than 30 dollars for a freediving mask, you’re either being scammed or disrespecting your intelligence. 

The Snorkel: It's a Tube, Not a Telescope.

Next, let’s talk snorkels. Yes, they’re essential, but they don’t need to be as complex as NASA equipment. A simple J-shaped snorkel will do the trick. Don’t fall for the marketing gimmicks of splash guards, dry tops, and purge valves. You’ll pay more for something that you will barely use in freediving. Remember, it’s a tube for breathing, not a telescope to Mars. As a matter of fact, the snorkel is probably going to be the least used piece of freediving equipment in your kit. So stick with basic models, ideally one that floats and you’ll be fine. 

If you find yourself having to spend more than 25 dollars for a freediving snorkel, you’re either being scammed or disrespecting your intelligence. 

Fins: Bigger Isn't Always Better.

Fins are where many newbies splash their cash unnecessarily. You’ll see long, sleek carbon fiber fins, probably the ones made by Molchanovs and think, “I need those to be a better freediver” Well, hold your sea horses. While carbon fiber fins are great, they’re also great at emptying your wallet and turning you into a weak freediver.

Unless you plan to regularly freedive deeper than 30m, plastic fins, even short ones are all you will ever need. Because they are heavier, they might be a tad less efficient than carbon freediving fins but on the other hand, they are durable, affordable, easy to travel with, and perfectly adequate for beginners. Also, the extra weight of training with plastic fins is going to build the strength and muscle endurance of your legs so that when you switch to carbon fins, you actually see a positive difference. Freediving with plastic fins for at least a year or two before moving to carbon will be like running with ankle weights. As a rule of thumb, I tell my students not to buy carbon fins before they can easily do 100m in dynamic apnea with plastic fins. 

If you find yourself having to spend more than 75 dollars for beginner freediving fins, you’re either being scammed or disrespecting your intelligence.

Wetsuits: Function Over Fashion.

Wetsuits are another big-ticket item where you can save. You might be tempted to buy a two-piece freediving wetsuit, even a custom-tailored one, or a camo-patterned wetsuit that promises to make you invisible to fish and incredibly attractive to other freedivers. 

Here’s the truth: Fish don’t care, and neither do other freedivers. A good off-the-rack wetsuit will keep you warm and protected without costing more than your monthly rent. It’ll also save your freediving buddies from having to wait 15 minutes for you to put your wetsuit on. 

If you find yourself having to spend more than 75 dollars for an off-the-rack wetsuit, you’re either being scammed, disrespecting your intelligence, or freediving in the wrong country (thinking about those living in cold countries that need 7mm wetsuits).

Weight Belt & Weights: Avoid the Fancy.

You’re going to need a weight belt to help you descend, but there’s no need to get one encrusted with gold. A simple rubber belt with lead weights will do the job just fine. Rubber belts are preferred because they stay put better than nylon ones. Weight belts are pretty standard and functional. The extra you pay for a particular brand is just for the name.

An even cheaper and more reliable weight system is to build your own neck weight. Stay away from expensive neck weights like the Lobster, unless you want to be one of those freedivers who is stuck in their progression with 250 dollars around the neck (yes I’ve seen and coached freedivers who bought it against my recommendation and ended up having to rely on my training advice to progress).

If you find yourself having to spend more than 25 dollars for a freediving weight belt and 15 dollars per kg, you’re either being scammed or disrespecting your intelligence.

Dive Computer: Not All Gadgets Are Necessary.

Now, onto the dive computer. This is where things can get really pricey, and unless you’re planning to set new depth records, you don’t need one. The rope will give you your depth and a classic Casio watch like the F91W that is water resistant to 100m will be more than enough to track your dive time. Just make sure you start the stopwatch before your dive, and stop it at the end.

If you find yourself having to spend more than 25 dollars for a Casio watch, you’re either being scammed or disrespecting your intelligence.

GoPro: To Film or Not to Film.

Finally, let’s address the GoPro dilemma. Yes, everyone wants to capture their freediving adventures or film your progress, but do you really need to buy the latest GoPro? Unless you’re planning to make a living off your freediving videos, an older model or a different brand altogether will suffice. Remember, the goal is to enjoy your dive, not to become a superficial influencer.

Anything more than 100 dollars, you’re either being scammed or disrespecting your intelligence.

Freedive Smart, Freedive Cheap.

In conclusion, the freediving industry is like the ocean itself—vast, enticing, and at times with poor visibility. Without clarity, you can easily hit a financial rock. And like with any other industry, their goal is to make you pay more for something that is worth less. But with a little knowledge and smart shopping, you can get started with freediving without drowning in debt. 

Remember, the most important gear in freediving is you. Equip yourself with wisdom, invest in skills, resist the lure of overpriced gear, and you’ll find that the true treasure of freediving isn’t the equipment—it’s the experience. Your future self, and your bank account, will thank you. And if this guide saved you hundreds of dollars, you can thank me by buying me a coffee with some of that extra cash. Happy freediving!

Additional Tips for Budget-Conscious Freedivers.

1. Buy Second-Hand: Look for used freediving equipment on forums, classified ads, at freediving clubs, or dive shops. Many freedivers upgrade their gear regularly (mostly because they bought freediving gear that does not fit them firsthand), and you can find high-quality items at a fraction of the cost.

2. Rent Before You Buy: If you’re new to freediving, consider renting equipment before making a purchase. This allows you to try different brands and styles to see what works best for you, and avoid buying freediving equipment that does not fit you.

3. Join a Freediving Club: Many freediving clubs offer access to communal gear or discounts at local freediving shops. It’s also a great way to meet other freedivers and learn from their experiences and buying mistakes.

4. DIY Gear: For those handy with tools, consider making your own neck weight or customizing your fins. There are plenty of online tutorials dedicated to DIY freediving gear.

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