As a beginner spearo and freediver you might think that all freediving weight belts are created equal and that I would not matter whether you get a Nylon or Rubber weight belt.
This is one of the biggest misconceptions and probably the most common equipment purchase mistakes that a beginner freediver can make.
I have to admit that my first weight belt was plain vanilla nylon belt with a stainless steel flip closure buckle. I didn't even think twice about getting it, especially since I bought it from a retired spearo.
It was terrible. The weights would slide around on the belt which would mess with my balance. I had to adjust it after every dive.
And, that's not even the worse thing about it... Since the belt was made from nylon it was very durable but had zero stretch or grip. It was impossible to get a good tight fit around my hips and every time I did a duck dive and head down to the bottom the belt would slide down my hips to somewhere around my middle. This was quite frustrating and really threw me off...
I simply had to replace it with a Rubber freediving belt. I'm sure a nylon belt can work fine for Scuba Divers that spend most of their time in the head-up position underwater but that's not freediving.
I had to get rid of that silly nylon belt and replace it with a proper freediving rubber belt.
Nylon Diving Belt
Rubber Diving Belt
Does not stretch, contract or compress
Does stretch, contract and compress
Weights can slide around without keepers
Weights don't slide around
Usually come with clasp type buckles
Either clasp or pin/Marseilles style buckles
Quick release buckle
Quick release buckle
More suitable for Scuba diving
Suitable for Scuba diving and Freediving
Now that we've established that freedivers should stick to rubber belts we will quickly run through what you need to look out for when selecting a weight belt.
The main distinguishing factor with rubber weight belts are the buckles. You can either choose between the clasp type or the pin type also known as a Marseillaise type buckle.
Clasp buckles come in either stainless steel or glass filled nylon. The do offer quick release protection, so if you are in a pinch and need to drop your belt you simple open the clasp and let the belt slide free.
These buckles also have the benefit of being infinitely adjustable. With a Pin style buckle you might end up with a situation of the belt being too tight at one hole and too loose at the next.
The Riffe Freediving belt features horizontal ribs that helps to keep it from sliding around on your waist.
Marseillaise Style buckles are more durable than others and offers a secure lock while still giving you the safety of a quick release. The pins of these buckles are spring loaded so the moment that you pull on the free end of the belt the pin will jump out of the hole and stay open.
The texture of the Cressi belt offers just as much grip as the Riffe and much more than what any nylon belt could offer. The Cressi also have more stretch than the Riffe belt which is a good thing since you will have to get it to the next hole to make sure that it is tight enough.
Cressi claims that the belt will contract and compress along with your body and wetsuit as you dive deeper which ensures that the belt remain just as tight as it was at the surface.
Quick side note:
Riffe is a top international freediving and spearfishing brand with over 40 years of experience. You won't go wrong choosing any of their quality gear.
When it comes to diving weights you can choose between vinyl coated or uncoated lace through lead weights.
Either of the belts mentioned above will work with these vinyl coated hard weights or uncoated lace through weights made by Sea Pearl and with one of those freediving weight belts these weights won't slide around even without a weight keeper.
These diving weights come in anything from 1lb to 12lbs.
How much weight should you freedive with, you ask...? Well that is a whole separate article on its own. And, one which we are busy working on.
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