Having the right equipment whilst spearfishing is not only important for comfort and functionality but also plays an important safety role. Critical spearfishing gear includes mask, snorkel, wetsuit, weight belt, fins, gloves and socks.
Having an ill-fitting mask or one that fogs up continuously can not only be very frustrating but dangerous as well. The ability to SEE under water is what it’s all about;
There are many makes and models in the market. Get the one that FITS YOUR face the best;
For deeper dives utilize a low volume mask, which allows for easier mask equalization. The downside with low-volume masks is that they offer limited vision;
Smear the inside of the lens of a new mask with toothpaste to avoid fogging up.
All you need is a simple J shaped snorkel. Snorkels with purge valves and anti-splash contraptions add additional drag, dead air space and the purge valves can break when you least expected;
For the average spearo, a medium bore snorkel with a comfortable mouthpiece is all that’s needed;
Having a mouth piece that’s uncomfortable or too hard, will cause your gums to pain or even start to bleed and possibly also irritate your tongue causing swelling.
The diving experience will be largely governed by how comfortable you are in the water. Being warm is the greatest priority and a safety issue, particularly with prolonged exposure in cold water;
A warm diver will have a more enjoyable and longer dive;
Wetsuits are made of neoprene, which is very buoyant. To compensate for the buoyancy, a weight belt is needed;
Wetsuits come in various types of materials and thicknesses. From lycra for tropical waters to 3mm and 5mm suits for temperate waters. For very cold water, you would use up to a 7mm suit. The thicker the wetsuit, the heavier the weight belt needed.
Wetsuits offer protection from the sunburn and various stinging sea animals.
In cooler waters it is advisable the wetsuit incorporates a hood since most of your body heat is loss through your head.
The most important part of a wetsuit is the fit. If you have an odd body shape, then a custom made wetsuit is the best option.
Open cell wetsuits are often favored by spearfishers. Open cell suits are much softer and much more flexible. They need soapy water for you to put them on, which makes them easy to get into and out of. There softness and flexibility allows the wetsuit to keep you warmer, for longer periods of time and keeps abrasion against the skin down to a minimum. On the downside they are more expensive and have a shorted lifespan than closed cell.
The wetsuit should incorporate a loading pad on the chest. This will alleviate the bruising of your chest from loading your gun.
A weight belt is needed to counter-act the buoyancy of your wetsuit. Since everyone has a different body shape each ones weighting will be different.
Depending on the depth of water that you’re diving in, a spearo should generally try to be positively buoyant until 6m. In deeper water weight for neutral buoyancy at 10 metres. This increases the chances you will float to the surface in the event of a blackout and have a much greater chance of surviving through a timely rescue.
If you ever feel at risk of blackout OR you are involved in a rescue, immediately ditch your weight belt.
Care should be taken NOT TO OVERWEIGHT yourself, as this might make you go down quicker, the extra time gained on the bottom is offset against the additional time and energy it takes to swim back up as well as the additional time it will take to recover.
It’s much easier to swim down against the buoyancy of your wetsuit, than to swim up, against gravity. Much safer as well.
Remember, when you’re laying on the surface, when you EXHALE, you must still be positively buoyant.
Most spearo’s use the Marseilles rubber weight belt with a quick release buckle. This stretches and doesn’t turn whilst you’re diving, unlike the normal webbing belts. This accounts for the compressing of your wetsuit as you go deeper. This way, your quick release buckle will always be in the same position.
When surfacing from a deep dive and you’re feeling out of breath, it is advisable to open your buckle whilst ascending. Should you black out, the belt will slip from your hand and the weight belt will fall off, allowing your wetsuits buoyancy to take you to the surface.
It is also advisable to have TWO complete weight belts on hand. This way, you’d be more inclined to dump your weight belt should the need arise.
Long bladed fins work well for spearfishing.
Your fins should fit your feet perfectly. Too tight, can cause feet to cramp up, conversely, too loose can lead to blisters loss of fins (particularly if entering in surf etc).
Most spearing fins are closed heel fins so must be worn with neoprene socks. Fit the fins on WITH your neoprene socks on. There are very few open heeled long bladed fins on the market. These tend to lack the power of their closed heel counterparts.
Be sure to regularly inspect your fins for cracking/fatigue (especially if using composite or carbon type blades). If your fin breaks at sea this can be a major safety issue, especially if shorediving or having to swim up current to reach an anchored boat etc.
Your knife isn’t going to be used to fend off aggressive sharks;
The knife serves two basic functions, namely, to dispatch his catch as quickly, safely and humanely as possible and to cut himself free from any line or rope he might get entangled in.
A smallish knife with a strong sharp point is what is required.
Bulky knives are heavy and cumbersome and tend to hook onto kelp and your floatline and offers more water resistance.
Many favor flat knives with a pancake type sheath, which is very streamlined.
Gloves are used to protect the hands from not only the cold, but from fish spines, corals and reefs.
If you’re spearing with a closed heel long bladed fin, you’ll need a pair of neoprene socks.