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How to make a neck weight for Freediving

We often get asked about neck weights and I recently needed a heavier neck weight so I decided to create this post to show how to make one.

Below are two images showing the supplies needed.

01 Neck Weights - Supplies

02 Neck Weight - Lead Pellets

The bag of lead pellets can be purchased at Bass Pro Shop or most other hunting stores. I bought a 25 lbs bag of very small pellets, but you might be able to find a store that carry smaller bags or maybe a dive shop that carry lead pellets. Bass Pro Shop also has the 1 inch buckles I used for my neck weight. I find 1 inch big enough to open even with cloves on and it isn’t as bulky as some of the larger buckles.

The scale, funnel and inner tube was purchased from Canadian Tire and the tape is from Home Depot. Only one color tape is needed, but I just wanted to show all the cool colors available.

03 Neck Weight - Hose and - buckles

The length of the bike tube should be the length of your neck circumference plus 20 cm. My neck is 40 cm and I cut off 60 cm of tube, which worked out nicely.

The thickness doesn’t matter as much, because the tube will expand, but I did made sure I didn’t buy a racing tire, which is very thin. The inner tube I bought can be used for a range of tire widths, ranging from 1.75″ to 2.125″.

04 Neck Weight - Buckles

There are a few ways of attaching the buckles and I have chosen the simplest solution. I find it has worked well on my last neck weight which has held up great for two years and show no signs of wear and tear. It can be a little difficult to get the tube through the ends of the buckle, but it only took me 5 minutes for the first and 2 minutes for the second buckle. Make sure to do the hardest of the buckles (if they are different) first, because the tube is easier to hold when it is empty.

There is a different way of attaching the buckle shown here from another blog: orangellous.

There are also great tips and discussions about neck weights at the Aida Canada Forums

05 Neck Weight - Weighing

The lead pellets are extremely small and hard to control, so make sure to do all the weighing and filling in a big plastic container. You should get some help from an instructor or experienced freediver with determining how much weight you need both with and without a wetsuit.

06 Neck Weight - Filling

Filling the neck weight would have been hard without a funnel and I also found out that I needed a plunger. I am creating a 5 pound neck weight and all the pellets don’t fit in the tube without stamping them and expanding the tube a bit. I filled up about 10 cm of the bike tube and then used the stick to stamp the pellets. After stamping, the tube will mostly keep the thicker shape and more pellets can be added. I did this in 5 cm increments stamping each time and made sure I had about 15 cm of tube left after adding all the pellets.

The plastic clip was very useful when adding the second buckle. I placed the plastic clip tight to the pellets which allowed me to fairly easily add the second buckle and try on the neck weight for size. The size of the neck weight stretched out was about 47 cm, but bent it was only 43 cm and with tape it finally ended up a little over 42 cm inside.

The spoon in the picture was used to scoop up a few of the small guys that got away from me.

07 Neck Weight - Before Tape

Above is the neck weight before I taped it and before I shaped it. Make sure to spend lots of time shaping it so it will be symmetrical and  isn’t too thick in the sides. If you make it too thick in the sides it can be harder to get your arms correctly above your head for streamlining.

08 Neck Weight - Finished

This is the final look of the neck weight with two layers of tape. I added two layers to make it as strong as possible and make sure none of the little pellets have a chance to get out and so water can’t get in.

This is almost identical to my previous neck weight which has been great so far. I will be using it for our freedive practices when I don’t wear a wetsuit.  I will be creating a heavier neck weight for when I wear a wetsuit.

I hope this will help you make your own, but I will also be posting these neck weights for sale, because several people have said that they prefer to buy them instead of making them.

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One Big Breath – Description of a breathhold

Philippe Beauchamp

This is such a great video by our friends in Montreal from ApneaCity about a breathhold and deep dive.

The video takes you on a journey on what it is like to dive deep while holding your breath. Philippe Beauchamp is an instructor and great at explaining the feelings you have during a dive.

If you have never tried freediving I hope this will make you want to come join us or other instructors in a freediving course.

 

 

 

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Do I Need To Do a Freediving Course

Freediving is a very easy sport to get into. Many freedivers and spearfishers get into the sport by learning from friends and family, but this can carry serious risks if they’re not learning from a qualified instructor. Freediving appears to be relatively simple, but there is a lot of information on safety, physiology and technique to learn and it is easy to get wrong. Read more…

Split shot of two free divers training in sea with buoy

 

Read More on Deeperblue where this article was posted…

 

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William Winram 145m Freediving World Record (VWT)

This is the full video of William Winram’s world record from September 3rd 2013. Congratulation again to our good friend and inspiring mentor.

It was a privilege to be a part of the safety team and see how well William prepared physically and mentally for this event. The organization and safety preparation were very well planned and executed which I have written more about here.

More information:

http://williamwinram.com
www.facebook.com/WilliamWinramPage
www.twitter.com/williamwinram

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William Winram – Freediving World Record – 145m Variable

On September 3rd 2013 William completed an amazing world record dive to 145m in a category called variable weight. I was honoured to be one of the safety divers at this event and got a first hand experience of all that goes on.

The safety team consisted of Andrea Zuccari at 50-60m on scooter, 3 technical divers along the line all the way to the bottom and fellow Canadian Natalie Doduc and myself at 20 and 25 meters.

Natalie and I have dove together several times before and Andrea is extremely experienced and professional, which made it easy during the dive preparations. Everyone knew their tasks which meant we didn’t have to communicate very much and could keep the performance area as calm as possible for William.

All that said it can’t be helped that the setting is busy. There is a doctor and medical staff, platform organizer, photographers, technical divers, safety divers, judges and spectators.

It is impressive how William can keep his mental focus with everything going on around him before the dive.

William breathing up for variable world record

Being a safety is not that hard if everything goes well, as it did on all William’s warm-up dives and the world record itself. It is still very important to always prepare and breathe up, because you need to prepare for the case where the dive goes wrong and you might need to dive deeper than planned or stay longer under water. My safety depth was 25 meters and I could expect to wait at the bottom for 10 –30 seconds. In all the safety dives we did with William we never exceeded the planned hang time and never needed to go deeper than planned.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd0Xzq2tq-A&w=626&h=350&hd=1]
William going down with the sled in a warmup dive

Safetying for a world record does add more alertness, because you know how much training, effort and money goes into an event like this. I came up fairly close to William from 25 meters as I needed to make sure he was ok, but I was very conscious of keeping enough distance so I wouldn’t touch him which would get him disqualified. It was evident all the way up that he was strong and wouldn’t need our help. When we broke the surface William completed the surface protocol very quickly and continued to breathe easily. Another dive where the safeties luckily didn’t need to intervene.

From the picture below it is easy to see the happiness for William and his wife Michèle after the successful record attempt.

William and Michele after record

The organizational job of Andrea and Sergio from Freediving World was incredible. Normally as a safety diver you are asked to help with lots of things, but for this event everything was so well organized and Sergio handled everything on the platform, while Andrea took care of the sled and everything in the water.

Andrea has been coaching William for a long time helping him with equalization and the results speaks for them selves. It is clear to see that the friendship between them also helped William reach his goal.

I have started the equalization course at Freediving World, with Andrea and will be going back for the second class today.

Below Andrea can be seen holding the sign with William.

William and Andrea just after world record

As extra safety on this deep dive three tech divers were stationed at various depths along the line with the deepest at the bottom. Below are the three technical divers on a deco stop afterwards. The deepest of the divers Jim Dowling on the left were on a re-breather and was fascinating to talk to about his gear and the decompression needed to come up safely.

Technical divers on deco stop after world record

What a great event to be a part of and a privilege to witness this first-hand and meet so many skilled people.

Links to other posts about the World Record:

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Practice dive with last years AIDA 2 star students

“De-icing” after a dive in Lake Ontario. Water is at refreshing 9C, but on a positive note: NW wind flattened out lake, there is no thermocline and viz is 12 m! Photo: “De-icing” after a dive in Lake Ontario. Water is at refreshing 9C, but on a positive note: NW wind flattened out lake, there is no thermocline and viz is 12 m!

Practice Dive with AIDA 2 star

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No, it’s not photoshopped: Freedivers sip coffee with sharks 30 meters under sea

 

 

 

Sipping coffee among sharks

(CNN) — Things which might distract you while having coffee with a friend: food in their teeth, attractive waiters, giant sharks circling your head.

It’s not a hallucination — this remarkable photograph of two men sharing a drink 30 meters below the water is part of an art project exploring the mysterious world of freediving.

You can read the whole article here and see more of Lia Barrets photos

You can also check out Lia Barrett here