HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR DIVE WEIGHTS?

VIDEO TUTORIAL

CHOOSING YOUR WEIGHTS ACCORDING TO YOUR SPORT

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WEIGHTS FOR SNORKELING

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WEIGHTS FOR SCUBA DIVING

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WEIGHTS FOR SPEARFISHING

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WEIGHTS FOR SCUBA DIVING

What's going to influence how much weight you need?
- Yourself: your physiology (weight) and your body mass index (weight/height).
- The water around you: in salt water you'll need more weight than in freshwater.
- Your suit: depending on its thickness, you'll float more or less.
- The weight of your tank: the air contained in your tank is also a factor to bear in mind! As the air in the tank is consumed, the tank will become lighter and it's buoyancy will tend to become positive (I float).

As a general rule, remember this summary: the thicker your suit, the more you'll feel the positive buoyancy effect and the more weight you're going to need.

WEIGHTS FOR SNORKELING

What's going to influence how much weight you need?
- The type of water: in salt water, you'll need more weight than in freshwater.
- The neoprene suit that you're using.
- Your physiology.

When snorkeling, however, you only need to be slightly weighted so as to make it easier to move through the water. Be aware that weights are needed only if you want to go freediving.

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WEIGHTS FOR SPEARFISHING AND FREEDIVING

What's going to influence how much weight you need?
- The type of water.
- The neoprene suit that you're using.
- Your physiology.
- Your intended dive depth.
- Your technical level and skill at the sport.

You obviously need weights to counteract the positive buoyancy. But take care not to use too much weight since in this case, you might find yourself trapped: you might find it hard to go back up and thereby put yourself in danger. The deeper you dive, the less weight you'll need on the surface but the more effort will be required in order to get into the water.

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                                   LEAD WEIGHTS

There are different types of lead weights.
- standard lead weights that are cheaper but rougher and therefore less finished and more fragile. However, this type of lead weight is good for beginners.
- coated weights that are standard weights coated in plastic. They're more environmentally-friendly, stronger and cheaper.
- "lead-free" lead weights : one is made of metal materials coated in anti-rust paint and the other is a flexible lead weight (small lead pellets contained in a pouch). More practical, this type of material can be used with belts fitted with pockets. They thereby take up less space and are more comfortable.

 

 

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                      WEIGHT BELTS  

Weight belts can have two types of buckle: one with a plastic buckle that doesn't wear as well and tends to open on its own over time, and the other with a metal buckle that's more wear-resistant.
In terms of materials used for the belts, you have several choices:
- polypropylene belt (nylon type) that is very strong and long-lasting.
- rubber belt that are going to keep the lead weights firmly in their initial place, since they stick to this material very well. The only disadvantage is that this type of belt is more fragile than a polypropylene belt.
- the "Marseille belt" that's like a normal belt with holes and a belt buckle. It's intended for experienced divers since it's more difficult to release.
- the belt with pockets that's more comfortable and enables you to slide in your lead weights.

 

 

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                      THE SPEARFISHING HARNESS  

This accessory designed for spearfishing distributes the weight better over your upper body, particularly your shoulders and back. It also prevents pain around your hips and lower back. What's more, it makes submersion easier (duck diving).
Beware! The harness doesn't replace a belt but it takes some of the load off te belt and distributes your weights in a better way.

 

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                     ANKLE WEIGHTS 

They distribute the weights over your whole body and don't generally exceed 500 g.
They're used mainly by divers and spearfishermen.

 

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                         WEIGHT RETAINERS
Otherwise known as "brakes", these weight retainers serve to link up the weights. This stops them moving and sliding around on your weight belt as you move in the water.

SAFETY RULES FOR WEIGHTING

For snorkeling and spearfishing, you should always carry out a test dive to try out your weighting. It's recommended to start with a few weights and add more to achieve neutral buoyancy. How do you know when you have neutral buoyancy? One sign: when you're on the surface, in a vertical position and breathing normally, the surface of the water should come half way up your mask.
One essential point: know your limits!
- In terms of endurance underwater ("aquacity");
- How long you can remain under water;
- How comfortable you feel in the water.
Choose equipment with a focus on safety (for example, pick a weight belt with a quick-release buckle).

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                  ARTICLE CO-WRITTEN WITH

                  alexandre vendeur decathlon toulon
                  Alexandre, salesperson at Decathlon in Toulon

                  I'm 33 years old... I've been a salesperson at Decathlon in Toulon and a dive instructor for 4 years. Before joining Decathlon, I was in the Navy where I took part in many operational dives. At this time, I got my certificate as a ship's diver, which is now equivalent to FFESSM level 3.

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