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    6 Freediving Mistakes Spearos Make

    November 09, 2023 5 min read

    6 Freediving Mistakes Spearos Make





    Hyperventilation poses a significant risk in spearfishing due to its potential to lead to shallow water blackout. Spearos can engage in rapid and deep breathing before a dive to extend breath-hold time, but thisdangerously lowers carbon dioxide levels in the blood, masking the body's natural urge to breathe. As a result, spearfishers might push their limits beyond safe levels, leading to a sudden blackout underwater without warning signs. To mitigate this risk, proper breath-control techniques and education about the dangers of hyperventilation are essential to ensure the safety of spearfishers during their dives.

    To get a better breath-hold, regular training and time out spearfishing will help you improve over time. Over-breathing is a dangerous temptation as it does reduce your urge to breathe but your urge to breathe is a good thing - listen to your body and please don’t hyperventilate. Do a freediving or spearfishing course and learn to relax and set your mind on slow and steady progression with a good dive buddy!



    In swimming pool training that specifically caters for spearfishing (such as the Brisbane Bullsharks), you can quickly see good and poor finning technique. Often spearos that have never had any formal training or feedback will bend at the knee to generate power in their finning. This pulls their body out ofstreamline creating drag and uses more of their body's resources unnecessarily.

    A proficient freediving finning technique involves a series of coordinated movements tomaximize efficiency and conserve energy. Starting with a streamlined body position, divers initiate the kick from the hips, using a fluid, relaxed motion that generates power from the large muscle groups in the legs. The fins move in a continuous fluttering motion, with pointed toes, minimal knee bend and flowing cadence. Maintaining a steady rhythm and using only moderate force, divers ensure that each kick contributes to forward propulsion while minimizing oxygen consumption, ultimately allowing for longer and more controlled dives.



    Many divers will start hunting as soon as they leave the surface scanning the bottom for targets as soon as they have come out of their duckdive. Another reason they might be looking up too much, is to keep track of their descent as it can be easy to dive on an angle.

    The problem with this is that bad head position results in poor streamlining which creates drag. It can also compress the Eustachian tubes making it difficult to equalize. Another negative to looking up is the postural strain which means that the diver isn't relaxed. 

    The trick to overcome this is to make an agreement with yourself to start hunting on the bottom. Keep a neutral head position and only look up occasionally to maintain course and quickly scan for your ideal body position on the bottom. Remember that you look like a predator when you are hunting on the way down!



    Finning too hard on the descent will burn up precious oxygen stores and decrease depth and bottom time. Many spearos will be neutrally buoyant at 10 meters meaning that when they are deeper than 10 meters, they will sink.The sink phase is your friend.

    While descending, use inertia and negative buoyancy when you can. This means you can stop kicking and glide towards the bottom. This saves valuable energy, increases dive time and makes you less threatening to fish on the bottom.

    Embrace the sink phase



    Occasionally a post will come up on social media that includes dive time and depth on a watch. The poster will be proud of their improvement and performance and I get it BUT it doesn’t serve anyone. We aren't freediving, we are spearfishing and when we confuse the two, young and inexperienced spearos see the freediving and performance angle and think they have to do it too.

    A spearfishing session isn’t measured by dive time or depth, it's not even measured by the fish you take home. It’s measured by froth. The froth you generate, the froth you instill in others and coming home safe with your mates. Sometimes your diving is on. Sometimes the fish are on BUT all the time, your FROTH should be on!



    Overweighting and underweighting. Some guys don’t realise it but they are overweighted. If you are diving 5m+ water, when you passively exhale on the surface - your mask shouldn't go beneath the surface. Even if you do some super shallow drops with this weighting, you can descend with a half breath so that you stay on the bottom and don’t float up.

    The main reasons people are overweight are; lack of awareness, they like the easy descent (and don't think about the dangerous ascent), they are not used to diving deeper water and/or new wetsuit/environment.

    The problem is, it’s bloody dangerous.

    An overweighted diver works hard to ascend and this is the part of the dive where they should be working the least. If they are overweighted and blackout, they will also sink and make buddy rescue difficult until their weightbelt is released.

    In the shallows, you can also be underweighted. Thick neoprene and foraging are a common recipe for this. If your dive is all shallow stuff then adding a weight can be a good idea. For this reason a slip on weight (drop weight like this one) can be great bit of gear to have on your float/weightbelt. You can also dive on less than a full breath to help you stay down.

    “A buddy is always your best piece of safety equipment”- Simon Trippe

    In the dynamic world of spearfishing, steering clear of these six common freediving mistakes is pivotal for a safe and fulfilling underwater experience.

    1. Hyperventilation stands as a formidable foe, tempting divers to overbreathe and disrupt the body's vital signals, jeopardizing their well-being. To enhance breath-hold capability, consistent training and mindful progression should replace the perilous practice of hyperventilation.
    2. Moreover, mastering streamlined finning technique is essential, as the fluidity of movement from the hips and the fluttering motion of the fins powered by large leg muscles facilitate efficient propulsion and extended dives.
    3. Additionally, the importance of maintaining proper head position cannot be overstated, with unnecessary focus on the bottom or fish compromises streamlined form and equalization.
    4. Embracing the "sink phase" during descent conserves energy and fosters a less intrusive presence for successful bottom encounters.
    5. A shift in perspective is crucial, as diving performance must not overshadow the fundamental essence of spearfishing – the exhilarating camaraderie, the infectious enthusiasm, and the return to the surface with tales of adventure, all encapsulated in the term "froth."
    6. Finally, meticulous buoyancy control demands attention, as incorrect weighting could lead to dangerous situations; therefore, divers must become attuned to their equipment and environment, ensuring their safety remains paramount amidst the pursuit of underwater thrills.

    About the Author

    Shrek helps people get better at spearfishing at theNoob Spearo. Sharing interviews with spearing legends from all over the planet on the Noob Spearo Podcast, penning books like99 Tips to Get Better at Spearfishing and99 Spearo Recipes as well as teachingspearfishing courses here in Brisbane. The Noob Spearo are proud partners with Adreno!