Tips for women in spearfishing
One of our contributors have sent us this article, telling her personal experiences and advising other women to practice spearfishing.
This short text is for those who are starting or want to start in spearfishing. Some tips to make it more comfortable, avoid wasting money in gear that could not be suitable for them and avoid feeling desperate with problems that some of us have already gone through.
To start, I will emphasize that there are several physical differences between a woman and a man. This is not about being sexist. It’s a fact that happens in general (but not always, of course).
Among these differences we can point less physical strength, both on the upper and lower body. With the same height and weight women have less bone density. Best abilities in the water, in gliding, making the most of their breath-hold… We can see it in sports like freediving. Women are very well adapted to this practice. Or in other activities like synchronized swimming, swimming… We will address this article on this and other obvious differences.
It is obvious that a woman’s body and a man’s body are not the same. They are not even similar. Because of this we have to avoid using wetsuits designed for males. Wider backs and bigger arms, narrower hips… there are a lot of differences. If we chose this kind of wetsuit, it’s highly probable to get water bags on it and get cold soon. We don’t have to say how different we are in the chest area.
Due to this, my advice is to chose a wetsuit designed for women. Preformed chest, thinner arms, adjusted waists, wider hips… We can find different designs from “big” brands, like Spetton, for example, with its woman line. Another option, more expensive, will be the tailor made wetsuits from the several existing brands, like Tecnoblue, Leroi… Spetton also make them tailor made (except in smooth skin).
The difference between a wetsuit that fits well will clearly have an effect on being way more comfortable and more protected from the cold. It is a key point, specially in cold waters.
Another thing to be aware is to buy high waist style trousers. Long john type will not fit very good due to the chest. Another important detail is the need of urinating. Woman can not use urine evacuation devices, and we have to be able to pull down the trousers easily. Of course, always avoid to urinate inside the wetsuit, because it can cause irritations, burns due to the ammonia and, over all, because the liquid moving around will cause us loss of heat and get cold. So, when we feel the need to urinate, we will go back to the shore and everything will be easy with high waist trousers (with long john trousers it’s needed to remove the jacket first).
As we said, the bone density in women and the muscles, are less than in men. So the body density in general is lower. This will make us to use more weight than a man with similar body. For this reason we advice, with thick wetsuits (7mm or more), to distribute the ballast using a vest. This way we will not be forcing our back.
Another important topic. We advice, specially at the beginning, soft fins. To perform a more relaxed fining and avoid ankle problems. With same fitness and body constitution, a little bit softer. And also, due to a better movement and less roughness, a better output will be achieved. Specially during stalk spearfishing and swimming on the Surface.
This is a problem I had suffered myself and I also have seen in other woman buddies. Loading the gun, mostly in big lengths. A common mistake is to put the speargun in the chest to load it, we shouldn’t do this (neither women nor men). It has to be loaded first in the abdominal area (or over the belt) up to the first slot. The chest will be used for the second one. A lot of us don’t have that much strength or we get hurt when we try to load it. To solve this, we have to pay close attention to the rubber bands always. Always look for very stretchable bands, soft to load. Playing with shortening the wishbone, longer rubber band and easy to load. Even if it doesn’t seem it, it will shoot perfectly. We will run from 19mm or hard 17mm rubber bands. Always the most elastic posible.
If we still can not like this, another solution is to use 14mm bands, with double bands. We will lose load speed, but they will be easier to load, each separate (softer) and we will win power in the shoot.
OTHER GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
The hair. If we have it long in the hood it can be an annoyance. We will tie it, even knowing that doing a bun for example, it will need a lot of room. And it is possible to cause air bags (or water bags if it goes inside), which will be very annoying. And also we have to watch out in case it goes out of the hood. A long lock can let water go in, or bother us when putting the mask. One of the best solutions is to use a swimming cap.
Always use gloves and socks in good condition. If they are not, the cold can cause us loss of sensitivity. And we can suffer cuts with the bottoms (rocks when we hold on them).
Be careful with the anemones. If we touch them, the tentacles can get stuck in our gloves and they will sting our face when we equalize (specially the lips).
The rest, it’s all the same. I hope this tips are useful to some beginners. And for any doubt or question, we open a thread in the forums.